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 hen to perfection below.
Cornish 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. Cornish hens have less fat and calories regular 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.
Preparing Cornish Hen
This recipe keeps seasoning simple: brush with melted butter, season with salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme. But you can use any other seasoning 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.
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. 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!
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!
Air fryer Cornish hen
- 1 Cornish hen
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small bunch rosemary and/or thyme (or ½ teaspoon dried)
- ½ tsp salt
- Preheat air fryer to 390°F (200°C).
- Pat the Cornish hen dry.
- Mix oil, herbs ad 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.
- Tuck the wings in, and tie the legs together to truss the bird.
- Place the Cornish hen into the air fryer basket.
- Air fry at 390°F (200°C) for 30 minutes, until the temperature of the thickest part is 160°F (70°C).
- Remove Cornish hen from the air fryer, cover with tented 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.
- Cut the string and serve!
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