How to make a cornish hen in air fryer so it has crispy skin and tender meat inside. Perfect individual serving that’s packed with protein and tastes amazing cooked this way.
I’m sure you’ve made a chicken but have you tried a cornish hen recipe in air fryer yet? They’re perfect for one or two people and taste amazing with a crispy outside. One of many easy air fryer recipes on our site. (affiliate links present, originally published 5/21)
Air Fryer Cornish Hen Frozen
If yours is still rock hard I would suggest using our Ninja Foodi cornish hens recipe since you can pressure cook and then air crisp. If not then you still can do it in this machine. Start at 200 degrees F for 17 minutes or until mostly defrosted. Increase temp to 360 F, spray with olive oil and season. Crisp for 15 minutes. Turn over, spray, season and cook for another 10-15 minutes or until 165 F inside.
How to Cook Cornish Hen in Air Fryer
Of course you can make smaller pieces like air fryer leg quarters or even frozen chicken wings. But these whole birds are just so “cute”! I mean you can eat the entire thing yourself for a really healthy meal.
NO need to fry to get this yummy texture outside. Just use this or your own dry rub to amp up the flavor up. Then the chicken skin is crispy with a ton of flavor. That is the only way I enjoy eating it.
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Air Fryer Cornish Hen
You can find these babies at your local grocery store. They’re typically wrapped tightly in brightly colored wrappers, sold individually. If you’re at Costco they can be sold in bulk. On sale they’re great to buy in bulk.
They look like baby chickens really, and they are. Categorized as less than 5 weeks old and less than 2 pounds each, you may have been intimidated to try them but shouldn’t be.
Treat it the same way really. You can bake, smoke, or now cook them in your Ninja Foodi, Cosori, or other brand. If you chose to use our chicken marinade that would be wonderful too.
How Long to Cook Two Cornish Hens in Air Fryer
One of the most important tips is to make sure you spray the basket with non stick spray though. If not you’ll regret seeing all that wonderfully crisp skin stick and stay on the bottom only to be scraped off and discarded.
Yes, a bit more than a larger version actually. These babies are lower in fat but have the same great flavor as a big whole bird.
This time a simple mix of seasonings were used. Just throw them together and sprinkle all over the bottom and top. A bit of olive or vegetable oil on the outer skin will help it to stick nicely.
Do you wash Cornish hens before cooking?
That is the big debate right?? Some say you’ll spread bacteria if you rinse poultry, I do so quickly. So long as you aren’t splashing it all around your countertop I feel safe and like to get the juices off the outside.
How to Cook Cornish Hen in Air Fryer
Tip: Whether you rinse or not it is a good idea to pat it dry on the outside with paper towels. Especially when air frying you don’t want moisture on the skin or it won’t become like really crispy like fried chicken.
I use olive oil for everything when cooking, baking I use vegetable. This is used to get the seasonings to stick. If you want it really really crisp just spray more on at the very end. Works like a charm. Here are a few step by step photos so you can see how these were done.
Of course timing may vary slightly depending on the size you have. 20 minutes is good if you’re just going to pressure cook it. Add air crisp and 17 min. is a bit better at the beginning. Follow our Ninja Foodi cornish hen recipe here for details.
How to Cook Cornish Game Hens
Some refer to these as Cornish game hens, the same thing. If you don’t want to do the additional steps to make your own rub you could use ready made. Dry poultry rub is pretty good and made by one of my favorite brands.
- Rinse cornish hens and pat dry with paper towels.
- Brush olive oil on underside and tops and brush inside of your air fryer basket too.
- In a bowl mix seasonings together, or use favorite seasonings of choice. Rub mixture on all sides of one or both of them until it’s all gone.
- Place them in the basket with breast side facing down.
- Cook at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes total. Flip them over to make breast side facing up after 25 minutes of cook time.
- timing will vary from 30 minutes to 40 minutes depending on how large they are
- When done check internal temperature in thickest part with a meat thermometer to ensure it reaches 165 degrees F. Remove and let sit and rest for 5 minutes before slicing or consuming.
One usually served 1 – 2 people depending on how hungry or large they are. My girls can share one and it is the perfect size, my husband needs his own.
Always check temp. at the end. If it is not high enough cook for an additional 3-4 minutes and check again. Overall air fried cornish hens are a super easy one pot meal done in under 45 minutes flat. We serve them with air fryer broccoli, asparagus or biscuits in air fryer.
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Cornish Hen in Air Fryer
- Rinse cornish hens and pat dry with paper towels. Brush oil on underside and top of hens (breast will be on bottom to begin with) and brush inside of basket too.
- In a bowl mix seasonings together. Rub seasoning on all sides of both of them until gone.
- Place them in the basket with breast side facing down. Cook at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes total. Flip them over to make breast side facing up after 25 minutes of cook time.
- When done check internal temperature to ensure it reaches 165 F. Remove and let sit and rest for 5 minutes before slicing or consuming.
- How to Cook Frozen Cornish Game Hens – Start at 200 degrees F for 17 minutes or until mostly defrosted. Increase temp to 360 F, spray with olive oil and season. Crisp for 15 minutes. Turn over, spray, season and cook for another 10-15 minutes or until 165 F inside.