air fryer cornish hens

Air Fryer Cornish Hens

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Air fryer Cornish hens are absolutely delicious with crispy roasted skin and a juicy meaty center. It’s so tender, the meat falls right off the bone!

cornish hen on a white plate

Delicious Air Fryer Cornish Hens

Air fryer basket filled with two cornish hens

Cornish hens are one of my favorite protein options to serve at a dinner party. Not only do they make the dish look and feel just a tad bit fancy, but the taste is absolutely exquisite!

roasted cornish hens in air fryer basket

 

You might be wondering: What is a Cornish hen?

You’ve probably seen and eaten one before and never realized it because you thought it was a chicken! Many people tend to confuse the two, but their biggest difference is their mature size.

Cornish hens run on the smaller side and are perfect to serve at a formal dinner party or just a simple meal for two. In my opinion, it tastes just like chicken but with much more tender meat.

two cornish hens on a white plate

Don’t have an air fryer? No problem! I actually have 2 other ways you can make Cornish hens at home.

Cook In The Instant Pot

The recipe to cook Cornish hens in the Instant Pot is very similar to this air fryer one except you need to add a cup of water to the pot and adjust the timing.

An added bonus is that depending on what size Instant Pot you have, you can cook multiples hens at once. The only thing you won’t be able to do is get that crispy skin like you would in the air fryer.

Air Fryer Cornish Hens

Bake In The Oven

If you don’t have an air fryer or an Instant Pot, you can just use your oven! Just follow these instructions to make a beautiful oven roasted Cornish hen to serve at dinner.

whole roasted cornish hen at the bottom of air fryer basket

How To Air Fry Cornish Hens

Single cornish hen in the air fryer

Before you prep the Cornish hen, double-check and make sure to remove any giblets it may have inside. You can actually take the giblets, season them, and place them in the air fryer basket to cook with the hens if you would like.

Woman pulling out an aifryer basket with a cornish hen inside

Once the insides of the Cornish hens have been cleaned out, brush each one with olive oil and rub with salt and pepper. You can also add some of your other favorite seasonings!

If you are in the mood for something more than salt and pepper, I highly recommend using some lemon along with the pepper to give it a zesty flavor profile.

two cornish hens cooked in air fryer

After the Cornish hens have been prepped and seasoned, place the hens in the air fryer and set the temperature to 400°F. The time should be set for 40 minutes.

Halfway through, flip the Cornish hens with tongs, so they get evenly roasted and browned on both sides.

Flipping cornish hens in air fryer basket with tongs

If your air fryer doesn’t fit 2 Cornish hens at once, you can cook one hen in the air fryer as well.  The cooking time for 1 Cornish hen is slightly different—cook for 30 minutes at 400° F.

air fryer cornish hen on a white plate

What To Serve With Cornish Hens

Two cornish hens in an air fryer basket

To make the perfect dinner, here are some of my favorite side dishes to serve alongside the air fryer Cornish hens. Any of these recipes would go perfectly with this roasted dish!

cornish hen with roasted brussel sprouts and heirloom caprese salad

More Healthy Air Fryer Recipes

Air fryer basket filled with two cornish hens

If you loved these ‘fried’ Cornish hens, check out some of my other air fryer recipes!

These are some of my favorites:

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Air Fryer Cornish Hens
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5 from 1 vote

Air Fryer Cornish Hens

These air fryer cornish hens are amazing! With golden-brown crispy skin and juicy meat that falls off the bone, these air fried cornish hens are mouthwatering! You can cook 1 or 2 cornish hens in the air fryer!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: air fryer cornish hen, cornish game hen, cornish hen
Cooking Method: Air Fryer
Diet: Gluten-Free, Keto / Low-Carb, Paleo
Servings: 4
Calories: 482kcal

Recipe Video

Ingredients

  • 2 cornish hens
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Recommended Kitchen Tools (click the links below to see the items used to make this recipe)

Instructions

  • If cornish hens have giblets in the bag inside, remove the giblets from the bag and put in the air fryer basket (giblets can cook together with the cornish hens)
  • Brush the cornish hens with olive oil and rub with salt and pepper. You can also add your favorite seasonings.
  • Put the cornish hens in the air fryer and set the temperature to 400F and the time for 40 minutes.
  • Halfway through, flip the cornish hens with tongs, so they brown evenly on both sides.

Notes

If your air fryer doesn't fit 2 cornish hens at once, you can cook one cornish hen in the air fryer as well.  The cooking time for 1 cornish hen is 30 minutes at 400F.
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Nutrition

Calories: 482kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 227mg | Sodium: 1009mg | Potassium: 531mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 243IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 2mg
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