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Air Fryer Cornish Hen

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Air fryer Cornish hen makes a great meal for two. Like roast chicken, but much quicker to cook, and perfectly sized for one or two without leaving a ton of leftovers. Check out how to air fry Cornish game hen to perfection below.

Air fryer Cornish hen
Air fryer Cornish game hen.

How to Roast Cornish Hen in an Air Fryer

Cornish hen (or Cornish game hen) is easy to cook in an air fryer, and as a bonus you can roast a side of veggies in there at the same time! A much smaller bird than regular chicken, it roasts in around half the time, and is just the right size for dinner for two.

Roasted Cornish game hens have less fat and calories than regular roasted chickens, meaning they make for a slightly healthier option, but still have all the taste.

Also air frying means (unlike traditional roasting) they are not sitting in oil while they cook, so they absorb less. The action of the hot air frying will also ensure that it comes out with perfectly crispy skin.

I love pairing this easy Cornish hen air fryer recipe with air fried roast potatoes or other air fried veges, and microwaved steamed vegetables. Perfect for a simple meal, or a dinner party!

Preparing Cornish Hen

This recipe has minimal prep time to keep things simple: brush with melted butter, season with salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme. But you can use any other seasoning mix or spice blend that you like with roast chicken.

When seasoning the hen, be sure to add some seasoning inside the cavity. You can also add stuffing or fill the cavity with a lemon or onion and garlic.

Trussing the hen is important to ensure it cooks evenly, it also helps retain moisture, keeping the meat tender and juicy. We will also need to tuck the wings in to protect them from getting charred to a crisp.

I love a one pot dinner, and roasting a side of veggies in the air fryer with the hen couldn’t be easier!

Simply scatter your cut veggies (think potatoes, onions, parsnips, sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin) in the bottom of the air fryer basket with a quick spray of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Then gently place the Cornish hen on top.

Roasting Cornish Game Hen

You will need to preheat the air fryer (to 390°F) so that the hen goes in when it is hot. How long to roast it for depends on the size, but a 1.5 pound bird should take approximately 30 minutes.

The cooking time in the recipe card below is perfect for my Philips XL Airfryer. If you have another powerful air fryer brand like Nuwave or Ninja Foodi then expect cook times to be similar.

However, the best way to tell whether your bird is cooked is to use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature

Meat thermometer tip:
Measure the temperature at the thickest part of your Cornish hen for an accurate temperature reading.

We are aiming for an internal temperature for 165°F, but I usually remove the hen when the thermometer reads 160°F because the temperature will continue to rise another 5 degrees (or more) while it is resting.

I have managed to over-cook Cornish hen in the past before I learnt this trick!

Resting Cornish Game Hen

Once it has reached the desired temperature, remove from the air fryer, and resist the urge to tuck in straight away.

Tent with foil and leave to rest for ten minutes so that it can finish cooking and the juices can reabsorb into the meat.

Remember to continue to check the temperature while it is resting to ensure that it has reached the all important temperature of 165°F.

Then cut the string, and serve!

Scroll down for this recipe card for this air fryer Cornish hen!

Air Fryer Cornish Hen Recipe

Air fryer Cornish hen
Yield: 2 Servings

Air fryer Cornish hen

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Resting time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

How to cook a Cornish hen in an air fryer.


  • 1 Cornish game hen
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small bunch rosemary and/or thyme, (or ½ teaspoon dried)
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • Cooking spray


  1. Preheat air fryer to 390°F (200°C).
  2. Pat the Cornish hen dry.
  3. Mix oil, herbs and salt together, and rub into the skin of the Cornish hen. Also place some seasoning inside the cavity, if you are using fresh herbs, place a small bunch of rosemary and/or thyme inside.
  4. Tuck the wings in, and tie the legs together to truss the bird.
  5. Spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray (to help prevent sticking).
  6. Place the Cornish hen into the air fryer basket.
  7. Air fry at 390°F (200°C) for 30 minutes, until the temperature of the thickest part is 160°F (70°C).
  8. Remove Cornish hen from the air fryer, cover with tented aluminum foil, and leave to rest for at least ten minutes. This allows it to finish cooking (temperature should continue to rise to 165°F), and allows the juices to reabsorb.
  9. Cut the string and serve!

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Nutrition Information:



Amount Per Serving: Calories: 513.3Total Fat: 38.6gSaturated Fat: 9.7gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 227.3mgSodium: 719mgCarbohydrates: 0.3gFiber: 0.2gSugar: 0.1gProtein: 38.6g

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