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Extra Crispy Air Fryer Cornish Hen + 5 Sheet Pan Dinner Ideas!

Extra Crispy Air Fryer Cornish Hen + 5 Sheet Pan Dinner Ideas!

This is the BEST Air Fryer Cornish Hen recipe. When you make an air fried Cornish hen you’re left with extra crispy skins, juicy meat and an impressively easy dinner. Only 5 minutes prep time and 40 minutes of cooking time.

Like Air Fryer Recipes? Here are a few reader favorites: Air Fryer Chicken WingsJamaican Jerk Chicken Wings, Crispy Air Fryer Tater TotsFrozen Burrito in Air FryerAir Fryer Pizza Rolls and Air Fried Frozen French Fries!

Air Fryer Cornish Hen

Why is this Cornish Hen air fryer recipe better than traditional baked Cornish hens? Two reasons: majorly reduced cooking time and the forced circulating hot air creates a super crispy skin while maintaining a juicy and tender center. And who doesn’t love crispy skin chicken? (See: Crispy Shake and Bake Chicken). Look how crispy this skin is!

In the market for a new Air Fryer? Amazon has a ton on sale, including our favorite the Ninja Foodie Digital Fry. Cooking Cornish Hens in Ninja Foodi will top your favorite air fryer recipes list in no time.

Close up of a cook air fryer cornish hen with a slice of lemon next to it.

What Are Cornish Game Hens?

A Cornish hen is a small breed of chicken, usually weighing between 1-2 pounds. It’s the perfect size to feed 1-2 people. Small family households can grab a twin pack for $6-$8 for an inexpensive meal. It also makes a great Valentine’s Dinner.

Despite the full name (Cornish Game Hens), it’s not a game bird therefore does not have a gamey taste. It tastes like a “regular” chicken.

How to Cook Cornish Hen in Air Fryer

Expect to spend only 5 minutes preparing the ingredients and only 40 minutes air frying. After combining the seasonings, rub it on the Cornish hens after lubing them up with oil. From there just transfer the birds to the air fryer for 40 minutes. That’s it! You’re done.

Dry Chicken Rub

Cooked Cornish game hens + your favorite dry chicken rub = spectacular. You really can’t go wrong using your favorite chicken run recipe. The dry rub listed below is our favorite, non-spicy, chicken rub. Other great seasoning options to consider: Jamaican Jerk Seasoning or even BBQ Rub.

Cornish Hen Cooked In Air Fryer Tips

Do I have to use oil? – Yes and no. Using oil is best because it creates a crisp coating for the skin without drying it out. You can use butter, however it won’t crisp up the skin as well as oil.

Is Pre-heating necessary? It depends on the model of air fryer you’re using. Check the instruction manual for your model. Some need to be pre-heated while other models do not.

How much Cornish Hens to serve? Plan on serving one bird, per person, if they have hearty appetites. Two people with smaller appetites can easily share one bird.

Final temperature – ALWAYS use a meat thermometer. Dimensions and weight of Cornish hens always vary, so don’t go by time. Our go-to digital thermometer is the Thermaworks Dot.

Raw whole chicken on a dark cutting board next to oil and seasonings in a clear bowl.

Can I Cook Two Cornish Hens At Once

Yep. In fact the Cornish hen air fryer recipe, as written, is for two Cornish hens at once. You can shave off a few minutes if you’re baking just one.

Frozen Cornish Hens

Forgot to defrost your Cornish hens? Not a problem. Just pre-heat your air fryer to 370 degrees F.  Cook the bird for 20 minutes before removing and coating in oil and seasonings (per the recipe below). Place the seasoned bird back into the air fryer, flipped from the original position, and cook for 20 more minutes.

How To Reheat Chicken In The Air Fryer

It’s easy to reheat Cornish Hens. Just preheat your air fryer to 360 degrees F. Place the leftover Cornish hens in an air fryer basket sprayed with cooking spray and cook for 16-18 minutes, until heated through out. If you already cut your bird in half, it will only need about 5-6 minutes.

Whole Chicken in Air Fryer

You can use this recipe to make an Air Fryer Whole Chicken. It will just take a bit more time as whole chickens are larger than Cornish game hens.

Two raw cornish hens on an air fryer sheet.

Sheet Pan Dinner Ideas

Sheet Pan Cornish Hens and Green Beans

To make green beans on the same sheet, just cut off the rough ends (optional) of 1 lb. of green beans, toss in 1/2 tablespoon of avocado oil and add to the cooking sheet in a single layer, 15 minutes before the birds are done. Add any salt, pepper or seasonings you prefer before baking. 

Sheet Pan Cornish Game Hens and Asparagus

To make asparagus on the same sheet, cut off the rough ends of 1 lb. asparagus, toss in 1/2 tablespoon of avocado oil and add to the cooking sheet in a single layer, 25 minutes before the birds are done (only 15-18 minutes if using skinny asparagus). Add any salt, pepper or seasonings you prefer before baking. You could also make Sous Vide Asparagus to serve with it instead.

Sheet Pan Chicken and Mushrooms

To make Air Fryer Mushrooms on the same sheet, toss the mushrooms in your favorite marinade (this mushroom recipe has two options) and add to the air fryer basket 5 minutes before the Cornish Hens are set to be done.

Air Fryer Mushrooms on a spotted plate with thyme leaves. Next to the plate is a glass of water, fork and blue stripped napkin.

Sheet Pan Cornish Hens and Zucchini

To make zucchini on the same sheet, cut 1 lb. of zucchini into quarters and toss in a 1/2 tablespoon of avocado oil and add to the cooking sheet in a single layer, 12-15 minutes before the birds are done. Add any salt, pepper or seasonings you prefer before baking. 

Sheet Pan Cornish Hen and Air Fryer Baby Potatoes

To make air fryer baby potatoes on the same sheet, toss the potatoes in 1 tablespoon of avocado oil and add to the air fryer basket, in a single layer, 20 minutes before the air fryer Cornish hens are set to be finished.Close up shot of gold air fryer baby potatoes in a black cast iron pan with a sprig of rosemary.

Cornish Game Hen Side Dish Ideas

Air Fryer Artichoke + 5 Dipping Sauces!

Sous Vide Mashed Potatoes

Sous Vide Carrots

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Instant Pot Baked Potatoes

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

What Wine Pairs With Roasted Chicken

Wine – Syrah, Pinot Noir, Burgundy, Champagne

## I’d love to hear from you! Use hashtag #foodieandwine when you’ve made this recipe and post to social media! Leave a comment below, after you’ve made it, to let me know your thoughts!

Overhead shot of an air fryer Cornish hen on a white plate next to a slice of lemon and sprig of parsley.
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Air Fryer Cornish Hen

This is the BEST Air Fryer Cornish hen recipe. When you make an air fried Cornish hen you're left with extra crispy skins, juicy meat and an impressively easy dinner. Only 5 minutes prep time and 40 minutes of cooking time.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Air Fryer Recipes, Chicken, Cornish Hens, Healthy Recipes
Servings: 4 People
Calories: 516kcal
Author: Darcey Olson
Cost: $8.00

Ingredients

  • 2 Cornish Game Hens (*Note 1)
  • 2 tbsp Olive or Avocado Oil (*Note 2)
  • 1 tsp Dried Thyme
  • 1 tsp Dried Rosemary
  • 1 tsp Dried Sage
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Cracked Black Pepper

Instructions

  • Spray the inside of the air fryer with cooking spray and preheat to 360 degrees.
  • Add all of the spices to a small bowl and mix to combine. Set aside.
  • Use a paper towel to pat dry the Cornish hens.
  • Coat the Cornish hens with the oil, evenly on all sides.
  • Rub the spice mix evenly over both hens and transfer them to the air fryer basket, breast side down. 
  • Cook for 30 minutes before flipping and cooking an additional 10 minutes. The Cornish hens are done when the internal temperature is 165 degrees F.

EQUIPMENT

Notes

Note 1 - The total weight of the birds will determine the total cook time. If your birds are larger than average it may need an extra 5 minutes of cook time.
Note 2 - You can also use vegetable or canola oil. 

Nutrition

Calories: 516kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 227mg | Sodium: 719mg | Potassium: 546mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 256IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 2mg
Recipe Rating




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