This air fryer Cornish hen recipe is sure to be a success!

This recipe produces a tender, juicy game hen with a savory seasoned, crispy skin from the air fryer in minutes!

No more long cooking times in the oven with the air fryer on hand!

air fryer cornish hen on a serving plate

Easy Air Fryer Cornish Hen

  • Powerful Ninja, Nuwave, or Cuisinart air fryers cook with little to no fat and in less time than other methods!
  • Cornish hens (AKA Cornish game hens) cook quickly in the air fryer making it a “set it and forget it” dinner with minimal clean up and no heating up the oven!
  • This Cornish hen recipe is perfect for smaller holiday gatherings and they look just as elegant and festive as any larger, whole poultry would.
Air Fryer Cornish Hen ingredients including olive oil, seasonings, and cornish hen

Ingredients and Variations

Cornish Hens – Cornish game hens are primarily found in the frozen section shrink-wrapped and without giblets. They are nearly identical in size which makes it easier to bake more than one. Allow them to thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

Seasoning Mix – Switch out olive oil for leftover melted bacon grease for a smoky, flavorful skin. Garlic, paprika, and rosemary infuse savory flavor into Cornish hens, but you can use a DIY Italian blend or a simple poultry seasoning if desired.

Variations – Tuck in some sprigs of fresh rosemary, oregano, thyme, sage, or a slice of lemon into the cavity for an even more savory flavor.

How to Make Air Fryer Cornish Hen

Whether you have a basket or rotisserie model of air fryer, this recipe will give you succulent and savory meat every time!

  1. Preheat the Air Fryer to 350°F.
  2. Whisk oil and seasonings together and brush over the Cornish hen (per the recipe below).
  3. Place the Cornish hen in the air fryer basket and cook for 20 minutes, then flip and cook another 20 minutes or until a thermometer reads 165°F inserted into the thickest part of the breast.
  4. Let the Cornish hen rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

While the hen rests, whip up some mushrooms and asparagus in the air fryer for the perfect side dish.

Air Fryer Cornish Hen in an air fryer

Pro Tips and Tricks

  • Poultry should reach a temp of 165°F, but you could remove it from the air fryer at around 162°F because it will continue to cook as it rests.
  • Be sure to preheat the air fryer before cooking the Cornish hen. This seals the outside of the hen, locking in all the juices.
  • Remove the meat from the carcass before storing it to avoid contamination. Save the carcass to make stock, if desired.
  • Freeze meat in zippered bags in the freezer for up to one month.

Side Dishes to Serve with Cornish Hens

air fryer cornish hen on a serving plate
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Air Fryer Cornish Hen

This Air Fryer Cornish hen recipe makes succulent and juicy morsels of meat.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Resting Time 10 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 1



  • 1 cornish hen about 1½ – 2 pounds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary crushed
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper


  • Preheat air fryer to 350℉.
  • In a small bowl mix together the olive oil, garlic powder, salt, paprika, rosemary and pepper.
  • Brush the olive oil mixture over the hen. Twist wings to tuck under the bird.
  • Carefully place hen in the air fryer basket, breast side down. Cook for 20 minutes, flip, and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the temperature is 165℉ at the thickest part of the bird.
  • Remove from air fryer and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.


Freeze leftovers for up to 1 month in the freezer. 
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Nutrition Information

Calories: 1031kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 78g | Fat: 77g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 14g | Monounsaturated Fat: 38g | Cholesterol: 455mg | Sodium: 1439mg | Potassium: 1099mg | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 736IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American

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About the author

Holly is a mom of 4 with a love for all things air fryer! Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making recipes for the everyday home cook!
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