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A white rectangle platter with two hens on it with potato wedges

Air Fryer Cornish Hen

This air fryer Cornish hen recipe is easy to make and a delight to serve. With hardly any work on your part, the meat comes out moist and the skin is perfectly crispy.
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword air fryer cornish hen, cornish hen, how to cook cornish hen
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 435kcal


  • 2 Cornish hens (each one will be around 1.5 pounds)
  • olive oil (extra virgin - to coat the birds)
  • 2 teaspoons tarragon (dried)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (or regular if you prefer)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • .25 teaspoon pepper


  • Unpackage hens over the sink and pour juices down the drain. Pat dry inside and out with paper towels
  • In a small mixing bowl, add tarragon, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Mix together with a whisk until combined. You will have extra rub, so don't stress.
  • Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees F and set the timer for 40 minutes.
  • Pour a small amount of olive oil on your hand and rub both the birds to coat the skin, front and back.
  • Hold one of the birds in one hand and scoop up some of the rub with your other and sprinkle it over the hen on all sides. Repeat with the other hen and place them both on the air fryer rack breast side down.
  • Once the airfryer beeps to tell you to add the food, place the rack in the air fryer. Turn the temperature down to 370.
  • After 30 minutes are up, flip the birds breast side up and continue cooking for the 10 minutes still on the timer. The internal temperature should read 165 degrees F, if it needs more time add 3 minutes.
  • Let the birds rest for 10 minutes before cutting into them.
  • Serve
  • Smile
  • Enjoy


Helpful tips
  • I've used a few different air fryers. The oven type, the air fryer lid for my instant pot and the one that currently has my heart. The instant Vortex pro. The IVP is my current favorite because in my opinion, it is the easiest one to use and clean up is a dream.
  • The IVP is considered an oven type of air fryer, so the directions is for that, but if you have the basket type, make sure the hens aren't touching each other or just barely touching.
  • They’ve changed their recommendation on whether to wash poultry before you cook it. They now say that washing the bird increases the chances of getting food poisoning and of cross contaminating other things, like tools, surfaces and utensils in the kitchen. Here are two websites that talk about it.
  • What I do is unwrap the chicken, drain the liquid straight down the drain and pat the bird dry with a paper towel, both inside and out.
  • The hens come in different sizes and the average weight is around 1 ½ pounds per bird. My hens were two different sizes but they were cooked the same amount of time and both turned out great.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 435kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 227mg | Sodium: 503mg | Potassium: 588mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 532IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 2mg