Air Fryer Cornish Hen is a super delicious dish that’s also quick and easy to make! Just the thing for Sunday suppers, meal prep and fuss-free weekday meals.

Suitable for gluten free and low carb diets. Post includes Weight Watchers Points.

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finished air fryer cornish hen inside the air fryer basket

Easy low maintenance dinners are my current jam. Like this delicious Air Fryer Cornish Hen. It is quick and simple to cook Cornish hens in just 30 minutes. Yeap, simple maintenance-free recipes like this are what it’s aaaalllllll about.

By air frying these, you end up with mini rotisserie chickens with juicy meat inside yet deliciously crispy skin outside that the whole family will love. Just like this Crispy Air Fryer Whole Chicken or the best way to Reheat Fried Chicken In Air Fryer.

Why Make This Recipe

  • Can be made with fresh or frozen defrosted Cornish hen.
  • It is meal prep and freezer friendly.
  • Really flexible for ingredient swaps.
  • Great for Sunday lunches, easy dinners, date night, holidays like Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas and more.

What Is A Cornish Hen?

A Cornish hen, also known as a ‘Cornish game hen’ are small chickens usually between 1 lb and 2.5 lb  from the county of Cornwall in the UK.

They taste exactly the same as regular chicken. If you get smaller hens, you can serve each person their very own little hens, which looks seriously impressive.

air fryer cornish hen on a white plate and ready to serve

So, go on and grab your everyday ingredients and let’s get to work on this cornish game hen air fryer recipe!!

Ingredient Notes

  • Meat – this recipe calls for a cornish hen.
  • Oil- use olive oil or any cooking oil you prefer.
  • Seasoning – this recipe uses Shawarma spice mix but you can use other spice blends or seasonings to your taste.
  • Salt – if needed add to taste.

How to Cook Cornish Hens In Air Fryer

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 350 degrees F / 180 degrees C.
  2. Pat the hen dry with paper towels.
  3. Combine oil, Shawarma seasoning mix and salt (if desired) in a small bowl then rub onto the hen.
  4. Place the hen in the air fryer basket (backbone side up) and air fry for 15 minutes.
  5. Then flipping halfway, cook for another 15 minutes on the other side, depending on the size of your bird.
  6. It is important to check that the internal temperature is at least 165 degrees F / 75 degrees C using a digital thermometer before serving.
  7. Let the Air Fried Cornish Hen rest for a few minutes before serving.
image collage showing the steps for making air fryer cornish hen

Recipe Tips

Here are a few tips to make sure you get the best Air Fryer Cornish Game Hen ever.

  • Make sure your hen is dry by patting with a paper towel, prior to adding the rub. A rub works well in the air fryer, and you don’t want your dry rub to not stick. Plus this will help make skin crispy.
  • Start with the hen breast side down in the air fryer, then turn over about halfway through the cooking time.
  • Do make sure the entire hen is coated in the rub, so every mouthful is full of flavor.
  • If you have small birds you might be able to fit two hens into the Air Fryer basket.
  • For the best result, preheat Air Fryer before starting to cook your meat.
  • To avoid any sticking you can first Oil your Air fryer before cooking.
  • Don’t crowd the air fryer basket; so the hot air circulates and food cooks evenly.
  • Air Fryer temperatures can vary depending on the make and model. Use the cooking times listed as a guide, check food for doneness, and adjust as needed.

Delicious Recipe Variations

  • Vary the seasoning – You can season cornish game hens in many different ways. Some delicious seasoning variations include: onion powder, garlic powder, cajun seasoning, Smoked paprika, Italian seasoning like this Italian seasoning and poultry seasoning like Poultry Seasoning Recipe. Or check out this list of Easy Homemade spice blends.
  • Add heat – add heat with red pepper flakes, cayenne, and more. Bear in mind that your dry rub might already have some heat.
top down view of cooked air fryer cornish hen inside the air fryer basket

Storage and Meal Prep

Prep Ahead – Yeap, this Air Fried Cornish Game Hen recipe is a great meal prep solution. You can absolutely make this ahead of time and store for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

  • Prep Ahead – This recipe is so easy to make. Season the chicken ahead of time and just keep in the refrigerator until needed!
  • Store – Store cooked meat in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. 
  • Reheat – reheat cornish hen for about 2 minutes at 400 degrees F in apreheated Air Fryer. To make reheating easier, freeze in the right portion sizes that you need for the future.
  • Freeze – Follow the handy tips for how to freeze this; Cool and transfer into Ziploc freezer bags. Squeeze out all the extra air and seal the bags. Label the bags and then lay them flat in the freezer. Store in the freezer up to 3 months.
  • To Thaw – Remove the frozen chicken from the freezer the night before needed and let thaw in the fridge.

How To Use For Meals – in addition to eating as is, use them as suggested below:

FAQs

How Long to Cook Cornish Hen In Air Fryer

Wondering how long to cook cornish hen in air fryer? Cooking time will depend on the size of the birds. It can be anytime between 30-45 minutes depending on the size of them.

Mine was large and took about 35 minutes. When cooking this for the first time, I recommend aiming for 30 mins and then checking the internal temperature.

What is the Temperature for Air Fryer Cooked Cornish Game Hen?

The temperature for cooking this is 400 degrees F / 200 degrees C.

The most important thing is to make sure that the meat reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F / 76C. Use an instant read thermometer for checking this.

Can You Make This With Frozen Cornish Hen?

So far, I have defrosted frozen cornish hens first before cooking. And that works a treat since you still end up with tender meat and super crispy skin.

How To Defrost Cornish Hen?

Assuming they are singly wrapped and not in one big lump, defrost them in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Make sure there is a container to catch all the drips as they that under them.

What is Shawarma Seasoning?

Shawarma is a well loved traditional Middle Eastern street food. Just imagine fragrantly spiced marinated piece of chicken, lamb, pork cooking and continually rotating on rotisserie stick.

And now you can easily recreate this taste at home with this shawarma spice mix. This easy-to-whip-up DIY spice made with a mix of spices aka ingredients you already own in your spice cupboard = authentic shawarma flavor. Just think fragrant, smoky, warming, middle eastern flavors in one jar. Thanks to smoked paprika, cinnamon, cumin, and more.

cooked Air fryer cornish game hen inside the air fryer basket and ready to serve

Cooking Temperature

The temperature for cooking the air fryer roast chicken in this recipe is 350F /180C.

The most important thing is to make sure that the cooked chicken must reach an internal temperature of 165F / 75 C before serving. Use a meat thermometer to check.

More Air Fryer Recipes

For more air fryer recipe ideas check out these below.

Serving Suggestions

Weight Watchers Points

There are 7 Blue Plan SmartPoints in one serving of this.

Tools Needed

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finished air fryer cornish hen inside the air fryer basket

Print Recipe

Air Fryer Cornish Hen

Air Fryer Cornish Hen is a super flavorful meal that’s quick and easy to make!

Prep Time10 mins

Cook Time30 mins

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: American, Western

Diet: Gluten Free, Low Calorie

Servings: 8

Calories: 245kcal

Instructions

  • Preheat the Air Fryer to 400F / 204C.

  • Pat the hen dry. Combine oil, Shawarma seasoning mix and salt (if desired) then rub onto the hen.
  • Place hen in the air fryer basket with the backbone side facing up and cook for about 15 mins.

  • Turn over and cook for another 15 mins, until golden and crispy.

  • Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature to make sure it has reached 165F / 75C and is cooked thoroughly.

  • Allow the Air Fryer Cornish Hen rest a few mins before serving.

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Notes

  • Make sure your chicken is dry prior to adding the rub. A rub works well in the air fryer, and you don’t want your dry rub to not stick.
  • Start with the hen breast side down in the air fryer, then turn over about halfway through the cooking time.
  • Do make sure the entire hen is coated in the rub, so every mouthful is full of flavor.
  • It is important to make sure that the cooked chicken must reach an internal temperature of 165F / 75 C before serving. Use a meat thermometer to check this.

There are 7 Blue Plan SmartPoints in one serving of this.

Nutrition

Calories: 245kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 115mg | Sodium: 69mg | Potassium: 268mg | Fiber: 1g | Vitamin A: 122IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1mg