Easy Crispy Air Fried Cornish Hen Recipe

Air Fried Cornish Hen is one of our favourite roast chicken recipes to cook at home.

Our Air Fryer Cornish Hen recipe features fresh poultry slathered in butter and a homemade dry rub spices.

Our simple Air Fryer Cornish Hen recipe takes less than 1 hour to cook, a perfect entree to celebrate Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving or Christmas.

We suggest serving Cornish Hen cooked in an air fryer with fresh salads, roasted pumpkin, mashed potatoes and gravy.

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Save our Air Fried Cornish Hen recipe to Pinterest!

What Is Cornish Hen?

Rock Cornish game hen (often called Cornish game hen) looks like a miniature chicken—which is exactly what it is.

The birds petite size and young age give it a unique flavour and texture that larger chickens do not have. Not to mention the unique opportunity of getting an entire chicken on your plate!

Connecticut farmers Jacques and Alphonsine Makowsky cross-bred the standard Cornish chicken with a White Plymouth Rock hen and a Malayan fighting cock in the 1950s. The result, dubbed the Rock Cornish Game Hen, matures quickly, developing particularly large breasts and fatty skin. A Cornish game hen must weigh between 1 and 2 pounds, but the norm is about 1 1/4 pounds. A Cornish game hen has to be slaughtered before five weeks of age and can be either male or female.

The small meat-to-bone ratio makes one Air Fried Cornish Hen the perfect serving size for most people alongside a side dish or two.

We tested this roasted cornish hen recipe in a Hamilton Beach Air Fryer.
We tested this roasted cornish hen recipe in a Hamilton Beach Air Fryer.

Best Air Fryers

An air fryer is a small countertop convection oven designed to simulate deep frying without submerging the food in oil. A fan circulates hot air at high speed, producing a crisp layer via browning reactions.

In 2010, Philips introduced the Airfryer brand of convection oven at a consumer electronics fair in Berlin. It used the patented Rapid Air technology, though the term air fryer is now used generically.

Early air fryers were barrel-shaped, though more recently, many have come to resemble toaster ovens and pressure cookers, offering additional functions like toasting, baking, dehydrating and rotisserie.

A decade after their launch, Air Fryers are now one of the trendiest kitchen appliance. They are particularly popular with gourmands living in condos or apartments in big cities like Toronto as they reduce the number of appliances taking up space in your kitchen.

  • Hamilton Beach: I tested this recipe with a Hamilton Beach toaster oven-style air fryer. They are an excellent option for those looking for an affordable air fryer and I particularly like mine as it allowed me to replace my toaster, dehydrator and rotisserie. It’s also easier to spread food out and make it crispy by using a baking tray rather than a basket.
  • Instant Vortex: This popular air fryer is brought to you by the inventors of the popular Instant Pot. It’s 6 quart capacity features an easy to clean tray that air frys, roasts and bakes.
  • COSORI: This 5.8 quart air fryer is an 11-in-1 cooker featuring a nonstick basket and helpful shake reminder setting.
  • Ninja: This premium brand is the perfect option for those looking to invest in a heavy duty stainless steel air fryer. The product has been designed to look similar to an Instant Pot, with the top of the air fryer flipping backwards so you can easily lower a basket filled with food.
  • NuWave: This sleek digital air fryer features a traditional removable basket and reaches temperatures up to 390 F.
Air Fried Cornish Hen recipe ingredients.
Air Fried Cornish Hen recipe ingredients.

How To Make Air Fryer Cornish Hen

Our air fryer Cornish Hen recipe is so easy to make you’ll have it ready to serve in under 1 hour!

There are two methods to making Cornish Hen in an air fryer, which depend on the style of device you are using.

  • Traditional Basket: air fryers with a removable basket are still the most common. In order to make Air Fryer Cornish Hen in these machines, simply lower the seasoned bird into the basket.
  • Toaster Oven Tray: modern air fryers featuring a glass door and tray configuration make it easy to prepare Cornish Hen in an air fryer at home. Simply place the hen on the tray basket and watch them brown and get crispy through the glass door. Some of these devices also have a rotisserie feature, which you can use in tandem with the air fryer to enjoy uniform cooking.
Slather Air Fried Cornish Hen with butter and stuff the cavity with tarragon, garlic and lemon wedges.
Slather Air Fried Cornish Hen with butter and stuff the cavity with tarragon, garlic and lemon wedges.

My Family Loves Air Fried Cornish Hen

My family loves eating homemade roast chicken.

We’d often serve roast Cornish Hen on special occasions like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.

Cornish Hen is also an easy recipe to prepare for an intimate dinner party with 3-4 guests as you can cut the birds in half and serve them with your favourite side dishes.

Cornish Hen is perfectly paired with homemade gravy, cranberry sauce and herb stuffing/dressing.

Now that we’ve upgraded our kitchen with the trendiest new gadget we love making Air Fried Cornish Hen at home.

Cooking Air Fryer Cornish Hen is a modern day marvel for home cooks who love to eat a roast chicken feast. Air Fryers cook food much quicker and help ensure Air Fried Cornish Hen are crispy, moist and delicious!

Sprinkle homemade seasoning over buttered cornish hen skin.
Sprinkle homemade seasoning over buttered cornish hen skin.

Air Fryer Cornish Hen Cooking Tips

  • Place the Cornish Hen in one flat layer, without any overlap or touching, otherwise you’ll end up with an unevenly cooked and potentially soggy product.
  • Slather Cornish Hen skin with butter or vegetable oil using your hands.
  • Use our homemade dry rub recipe to flavour the skin or purchase your favourite store bought poultry seasoning in the spice section.
  • We’ve stuffed the cavity of the bird with lemon wedges, garlic cloves and fresh herbs. You can also leave the interior empty or add homemade stuffing.
  • Cornish Hen is finished cooking and safe to eat once the internal temperature reads 165 F.
  • Cornish Hen can come in a variety of sizes. If you purchase smaller birds serve them on a plate to each guest. If they are larger, slice them in half and serve a leg, breast and wing on each plate.
Roasted Air Fried Cornish Hen in a basket until the skin has browned and is crispy.
Roasted Air Fried Cornish Hen in a basket until the skin has browned and is crispy.

What To Serve With Air Fried Cornish Hen

Air Fried Cornish Hen is the perfect lunch or dinner for chicken lovers.

We suggest serving Air Fried Cornish Hen with sweet potato fries, baked sweet potatoes, sweet potato rice and onion rings.

We also love serving this recipe with homemade healthy salads like Vegetarian Lebanese Eggplant Fatteh, Citrus “Rojak” Singapore Salad, Roasted Pumpkin Feta Salad with Beetroot & Pine Nuts, Roasted Beetroot Salad with Grapefruit, Canadian Salad, Cajun Spicy Chorizo Corn Salad, Cherry Pecan Kale Salad, or Garlic Lemon Chickpea Avocado Salad.

After dinner why not dazzle your guests with one of our popular desserts such as Oat Flour Cookies with Chocolate ChipsDark Chocolate Lindt Lindor CookiesMaraschino Cherry Cupcakes RecipeCinnamon Babka For Chocolate LoversRhubarb Strawberry Dutch Baby or Jordgubbstårta Swedish Strawberry Cake.

Divide Air Fried Cornish Hen into quarters using a sharp French knife on a cutting board.
Divide Air Fried Cornish Hen into quarters using a sharp French knife on a cutting board.

Air Fryer Cornish Hen Health Benefits

Our easy Air Fried Cornish Hen recipe is packed full of healthy ingredients.

Chicken is high in protein and provides B vitamins such as niacin, which helps your body access the energy in foods.   

It is only recently that scientists have begun to identify the components responsible for garlic’s myriad health benefits. Rich in phytochemicals and potassium, garlic helps boost your immune system, fight cancer and protect your heart.

Onions are a humble vegetable packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. Regular consumption of onions can help boost digestive health and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

Paprika is rich in vitamin A, capsaicin, and carotenoid antioxidants. These substances may help prevent inflammation and improve your cholesterol, eye health and blood sugar levels.

Rich in energy-boosting manganese and anti-inflamatory phytochemicals, thyme may help keep your blood and immune system healthy.

A rich source of phytochemicals and vitamin C, lemons help boost your immune system and neutralize free radicals that cause disease and skin aging. Lemons also protect against heart disease and help improve blood flow to the brain.

Tarragon provides blood-healthy iron, as well as phytochemicals that may help protect against cognitive decline, slow the growth of cancer, and protect your eyes.

We love serving this  Air Fried Cornish Hen recipe with roasted pumpkin and mashed potatoes.
We love serving this Air Fried Cornish Hen recipe with roasted pumpkin and mashed potatoes.

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Now you're an expert on how to make homemade Air Fried Cornish Hen!
Now you’re an expert on how to make homemade Air Fried Cornish Hen!

Best Homemade Air Fried Cornish Hen Recipe

Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Air Fried Cornish Hen

Learn how to make the best Air Fried Cornish Hen. Our easy homemade roast chicken recipe features spiced crispy skin and juicy meat.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Air Fried Cornish Hen
Servings: 6
Calories: 1664kcal

Equipment

  • Air Fryer
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • mixing bowl
  • French knife

Ingredients

  • 2 Cornish Game Hens
  • 1/8 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Thyme
  • 1 Lemon quartered and stuffed in each hen
  • 2 sprigs Fresh Rosemary or Tarragon stuffed in each hen
  • 3 tbsp Butter softened
  • 8 cloves Garlic

Instructions

  • Preheat air fryer to 450 F.
  • Rub hens with softened butter with your hands.
  • In a small bowl mix together salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika and dried thyme. Season buttered hens with spice mixture.
  • Place 2 lemon wedges, 4 garlic cloves and 1 sprig of rosemary or tarragon in the cavity of each Cornish hen.
  • Spritz air fryer basket or tray with cooking spray. Reduce heat to 350 F.
  • Arrange hens in air fryer basket so they do not touch. This ensures the skin gets crispy when cooking.
  • Roast Cornish hens in the air fryer for 30 minutes. Flip hens then roast for an additional 10 minutes.
  • Remove hens from the air fryer and tent with foil for 10 minutes.
  • Serve individual chickens on dinner plates with your favourite salads and side dishes.

Nutrition

Calories: 1664kcal | Carbohydrates: 3.2g | Protein: 210.6g | Fat: 85.8g | Saturated Fat: 28.3g | Cholesterol: 1015mg | Sodium: 493mg | Potassium: 54mg | Fiber: 0.6g | Sugar: 0.6g | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 4mg

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