Slow cooker Cornish hens come out tender and moist in just a few hours. Add potatoes for a complete meal. Enjoy these little chickens as is or crisp Cornish hens in air fryer skin and then enjoy the juicy meat for dinner.
If you have ever seen Cornish game hens at the grocery store you have probably said “oh how cute” too huh? We have made these many ways but hadn’t tried them low and slow yet so it was time to tackle these Crockpot recipe directions and share with you thawed or frozen. (affiliate links present)
Crockpot Cornish Hens
How Long to Cook Cornish Hens literally takes 10 minute to prep. A bit longer if you want to add potatoes and even chunks of carrots on the bottom. That is up to you but those make great edible trivets as opposed to using a metal version to keep them off the bottom. You will need;
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- 2 cornish hens, fresh or frozen
- Chicken broth or water
- Lawrys seasoned salt
- Garlic salt
- Onion powder or other seasonings of your choice
5 potatoes optional, cut into large bite size pieces. You could peel and cut chunks of carrots and add in there too if you wanted to. If you use a small trivet like one you use in a pressure cooker then you could omit the vegetables (but why???)
Cornish Hens in Slow Cooker
It is handy to have a meat thermometer handy so you don’t overcook them and dry the protein out. Timing will vary slightly depending on the size and weight of yours.
Always set for the minimum timing suggested below, test, and then monitor it every 30 minutes after that until the internal meat temperature is reached. And like I said below if you are going to broil or air fry at the end to change the texture of the skin then remove when it hits about 5 degrees under as it will continue cooking with those steps.
- Rinse and cut potatoes into 6ths. Lay in bottom of slow cooker. (if you don’t want to add potatoes just use a low trivet to keep off the bottom so skin doesn’t get soggy) Pour in broth or cold water.
- You’ll want to pat dry skin and dry with paper towels, rub olive oil on skin.
- Set on top of potatoes with breast sides facing up.
- Sprinkle seasonings on top of birds. Close lid and set to low and cook cornish hens together for 4.5-5 hours cook time or until thickest part registers 165 degrees F.
- Remove, rest on cutting board for 20 minutes before separating pieces and/or slicing meat.
- Serve with potatoes topped with butter and salt and pepper.
If you want to crisp the skin, remove once they reach 160 degrees internally. Preheat air fryer to 400 F and set inside. Spray tops with olive oil and air fry for 4 minutes or until top is golden brown to your liking and internally reaches 165 F.
Frozen Cornish Hen
Now if these are frozen you can of course defrost or pop those babies right in there as is. So easy cooked fresh or takes the same time for frozen whole chicken slow cooker too. It doesn’t make a difference in timing, seriously. You would think that it would but even with a whole regular chicken I cook that rock hard all the time and you’d never know the difference.
Another option if you love it crispy is to follow our Frozen Whole Chicken in Air Fryer directions. To fit inside the basket it does have to be rather small, so little chickens are the perfect size, works quite well to get crispy skin and still get tender and juicy meat on the inside as another option.
Last but not least you can use your oven. With a whole regular size you’re looking at 3-4 hours to reach a safe internal temperature but since these are about half the weight you can cut that in half. Of course there will be slight variations but checking at hour 2 with a thermometer works. Follow our Whole Frozen Chicken in Oven for that option.
Cornish Hens and Potatoes Recipe
We have served these a number of different ways. You can serve whole is you want to be fancy pants but we never do. Instead I will cut into pieces and serve these “cute pieces” to the kiddos that way. If I take it straight out after making the slow cooker recipe the meat typically just wants to fall off the bone so I discard all the bones.
Then you can make all sorts of shredded chicken meals like tacos, burrito bowls, over rice with a bit of salsa for a super healthy choice….the choices go on and on. Or
- For a lighter option, you can shred and use it in salads. Combine it with fresh greens, vegetables, and your favorite dressings or vinaigrettes.
- Consider adding toppings like nuts, dried fruits, or croutons for extra texture and flavor.
- For a unique and exotic twist, you can use thinly sliced meat inside our sushi cups.
- Pair it with traditional sushi rice, seaweed, and condiments like soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger.
Regardless of the serving style, consider garnishing with fresh herbs, citrus wedges, or edible flowers to enhance the flavors. Offer a variety of sauces or gravies on the side, such as cranberry sauce, chimichurri, or a creamy mushroom sauce, for family members or guests to customize their meal.
Want to see a few of my favorite things that I am totally obsessed with?? Take a peek and see how many you might already have…twinsies!
Slow Cooker Cornish Hens
- Rinse and cut potatoes into 6ths. Lay in bottom of slow cooker. (if you don't want to add potatoes just use a low trivet to keep off the bottom so skin doesn't get soggy) Pour in broth.
- You'll want to pat dry skin of birds and dry with paper towels, rub olive oil on skin. Set cornish hens on top of potatoes with breast sides facing up.
- Sprinkle seasonings on top of birds. (if frozen rub with a bit of oil first so they stick) Close lid and set to low for 4.5-5 hours or until thickest part registers 165 degrees F. Remove, rest on cutting board for 15 minutes before separating pieces and/or slicing meat.
- Serve with potatoes topped with butter and salt and pepper.
- ** If you want to crisp the skin, remove once they reach 160 degrees internally. Preheat air fryer to 400 F and set inside. Spray tops with olive oil and air fry for 4 minutes or until top is golden brown to your liking and internally reaches 165 F.