Instant Pot Cornish Hens

Instant Pot Cornish Hens (From Fresh Or Frozen)

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These Instant Pot cornish hens are so tender and mouthwatering!  Juicy meat truly falls off the bone!

Instant Pot Cornish Hens

There is something about cornish hens that makes them a more festive meal than regular chicken :)  Cornish hens are basically miniature chickens, they are often sold in packages of two.  They taste exactly like regular-size chicken but are usually more tender.

Before I got my Instant Pot, I often baked cornish hens in the oven.  And now I successfully made them in my Instant Pot!

Instant Pot Cornish Hens Recipe

The process for cooking cornish hens in the Instant Pot is the same as cooking the whole chicken in the Instant Pot.  The difference is that while only one regular-size chicken can fit in the Instant Pot, multiple cornish hens can fit in the Instant Pot at once!

Just like Instant Pot rotisserie chicken can be cooked from fresh or frozen, Instant Pot cornish hens can also be cooked from fresh or frozen.  Being able to cook meat straight from frozen is one of my favorite Instant Pot features!

How To Cook Cornish Hens In Instant Pot

How To Cook Cornish Hens In The Instant Pot

Since cornish hens are usually sold in packages of two, I find two cornish hens to be the perfect amount to cook in the Instant Pot at once.  Just put 2 fresh or frozen cornish hens in the Instant Pot along with 1 cup of water (you can put the hens directly in the pot, trivet is optional).  Season the cornish hens beforehand with your favorite seasonings (and if they are frozen, just sprinkle the seasonings on top).  Pressure cook the cornish hens on Manual High Pressure for 20 minutes for fresh or 50 minutes for frozen, quick release (QR) the steam and they are ready!

Instapot cornish hens

Want to cook just one cornish hen? No problem, just reduce cooking time by 5 minutes.  Want to cook more than two cornish hens?  Just add 5 minutes to the cooking time :)

If you want the skin of the cornish hens to be crispy and brown, you can broil them in a pre-heated oven for 5 minutes after they are done cooking.

Easy Instant Pot Cornish Hens

Like the sweet potatoes that I served with these cornish hens? They are made in the 2nd Instant Pot :) Check out my Instant Pot roasted sweet potatoes recipe or browse all my Instant Pot recipes.

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Instapot cornish hens
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5 from 2 votes

Instant Pot Cornish Hens (From Fresh Or Frozen)

These Instant Pot cornish hens are mouthwatering! So tender and fall-off-the-bone! Just put cornish hens in the Instant Pot, press the button and they'll be cooked to perfection!
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Instant Pot
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cornish hen
Cooking Method: Instant Pot
Diet: Gluten-Free, Keto / Low-Carb, Paleo
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 450kcal

Recipe Video


  • 2 cornish hens
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt and pepper

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


  • Rub cornish hens with salt and pepper.
  • Pour water in the Instant Pot and add cornish hens.
  • Close the lid of the Instant Pot and turn the valve to a Sealing position.
  • Press the "Pressure Cook" or "Manual" button and set the time to 20 minutes on High pressure for fresh cornish hens (or for 50 minutes for frozen).
  • When it's done cooking, quick release (QR) the steam.
  • Carefully remove cornish hens from the Instant Pot and serve.


If desired, put cooked cornish hens in the oven under the broiler for 5 minutes to brown the skin.
If cooking just 1 cornish hen, reduce pressure cooking time by 5 minutes.
If cooking more than 2 cornish hens, increase pressure cooking time by 5 minutes.
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Calories: 450kcal | Protein: 39g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 227mg | Sodium: 140mg | Potassium: 531mg | Vitamin A: 243IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 2mg
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13 replies
  1. Barbara
    Barbara says:

    I just made this recipe with 1 Cornish Hen in the Instant Pot. It turned out perfect… I served it right away and forgot to take pic. I could not believe how good it was and it fell of the bone… The left over sauce will allow me to make gravy for left overs.

  2. Kassandra
    Kassandra says:

    I just made this, and they came out perfect! They were almost thawed so I adjusted the time to 35min in the instapot, and broiled them for 5 min after and absolutely amazing! One thing I did was put dried basil leaves, only two per hen inside to add a little extra flavor, but I think it would have been great even if I didn’t do that. My husband lived that we didn’t have to cook them for over an hour, this is the best trick for little hens!!!

  3. Patti
    Patti says:

    Making these hens when they are frozen are quickly becoming a weekly meal in our house especially with the summer heat & no one wants to turn on the oven! I’ve found that spraying on Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter on the frozen hens & then seasoning them allows the seasonings to spread more evenly. Yum!!

  4. Janine Mills
    Janine Mills says:

    When I normally cooked the Cornish hens fully in the oven, I always stuffed them. When using Instant pot, can you still do this?

  5. Becky
    Becky says:

    Thanks for the information. We did our hens for dinner and they were great. I used chicken broth instead of water in the instant pot. We also stuffed them with a rice dressing using precooked Uncle Ben long grain and wild rice, pecans and cranberries. Then added a little celery flake to the broth while browning the hens in the oven along with corn starch to make gravy

  6. Troy
    Troy says:

    5 stars
    Tried it for Thanksgiving (’22) dinner w my gf and I. This was our second try using the instant pot. I was skeptical the birds were cooked after only 20min. But they were done and delicious! We did use stock instead of water and turned that into gravy w wild porcini mushrooms we foraged this year. Thanks for the EASY recipe!


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