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Air Fryer Cornish Hen. Two quick, simple, and delicious ways to cook Cornish hens in the air fryer. Both methods produce rotisserie style crispy Cornish hens that are perfect for dinner for two in the air fryer.
You will love these Cornish game hens for a quick lunch and dinner, you can add your favourite seasoning or use our suggestion and they are easy to cook at the same time as your other sides.
Also, before we dive into this air fryer Cornish hens recipe, I recommend you check out our free air fryer mini course. It is ideal for air fryer beginners or those that want to get more confident with their air fryer. The free course runs for 5 days with a new lesson delivered each day to your inbox.
Or browse our site as we have 450+ air fryer recipes that are easy to recreate at home and we have been showing people how to use the air fryer since 2011.
Cornish Hen In Air Fryer
The hubby and I have spent the last 12 years living in Portugal and one meal that is hugely popular here in Portugal is Piri Piri Chicken.
It’s a Portuguese outdoor cafe experience where you have chicken that is cooked in a piri piri marinade on a barbecue. It is then served with a side salad, bread, and usually some fries too.
Out of all the food I have eaten in 12 years in Portugal it is the firm favourite and similar to the food you would get at Nando’s just a little bit more traditional.
You would normally order half chicken or it would be one chicken between the two of us.
The reason I mention this, is because the size of the chicken that you have at the piri piri restaurants is the same as a Cornish game hen.
Weighing in at around 800g, it is the perfect size for two.
Regardless of whether you like piri piri chicken or not, Cornish hen in the air fryer is ideal for an easy meal for two.
What Is A Cornish Hen?
If you have not heard of a Cornish hen, then here is the quick explanation:
A Cornish game hen is a cross between a Cornish and white Plymouth chicken. They are a young breed therefore have a maximum weight of 900g or 2 pounds. Compare this to the average chicken we all use in our air fryers of 1.2kg (2.6 pounds) and you have a smaller option for a smaller air fryer or a smaller portion size.
Here in Portugal all Cornish hens are between 700g and 800g and the chickens we have used today in this Cornish game hen recipe is 800g.
However, if you can’t source a classic game hen, then you can simply go with a chicken that weighs no more than 900g and then the times and temps will remain the same.
Can I Air Fry A Cornish Hen?
Yes, you can. Cornish hen is fantastic in the air fryer and is like cooking an air fryer rotisserie chicken, you are just going smaller.
When we showed our readers how to cook an air fryer roast chicken dinner, the only complaint is that some people’s air fryers were not big enough to make it.
But use a Cornish game hen instead of a classic whole chicken and you will have enough space to do everything in the air fryer.
For example, this is one Cornish hen in our Philips Air Fryer XL:
I am sure from this picture that you can visualise adding in vegetables and potatoes and being able to cook an air fryer Cornish hen meal.
Can You Cook 2 Cornish Hens In Air Fryer?
Yes, you can!
As a plan B if you don’t want to do the meal in one, you can do 2 cornish hens together.
It is a tight squeeze, and we didn’t tie up the legs and yet both Cornish hens cooked equally for us in the air fryer.
As you can see below this is what the space looks like:
Its just about deciding if you want an all in one dinner or would rather cook two Cornish hens together.
How To Cook Cornish Hen In Air Fryer?
This is how to cook an air fryer Cornish game hen:
- Rub extra virgin olive oil and add seasonings to your Cornish hen.
- Place in the air fryer breast side down.
- Air fry.
- Turn your Cornish hen to breast side up.
- Air fry + serve.
The method above is how you can do it when you are cooking 2 Cornish hens in air fryer at the same time.
However, if you are cooking a single Cornish hen with other sides, then it is done slightly different:
- Season and oil your Cornish hen.
- Place into the air fryer basket breast side down.
- Turn your Cornish hen and add in sides.
- Air fry + serve your game hen and sides together.
Also note, you can use any seasoning you like. Add a taco seasoning, add a dry chicken rub, add piri piri, keep it simple with rosemary, the choice is yours.
How Long To Cook Cornish Hen In Air Fryer?
A regular rotisserie chicken in the air fryer will take about 60 minutes. Depending on whether it is frozen if it has stuffing or its size.
What is wonderful about the cook time of a Cornish game hen is that because they are much smaller, they are much quicker to cook.
In fact, one Cornish hen on its own will take only 30 minutes and cooking 2 Cornish hens together in the air fryer will take 40 minutes.
What To Serve With Air Fryer Cornish Hens?
I love my air fryer Cornish hens and here are a few serving suggestions that will make eating game hens in the air fryer even better:
Air Fryer Cornish Hens (2 Ways)
- Mix dry rub ingredients in a bowl.
- Cover your Cornish hens with extra virgin olive oil and then cover in the seasoning making sure the hen is well coated.
- Air fry for 20 minutes at 180c/360f breast side down.
- Turn the Cornish hen and do another 20 minutes at the same temperature with the breast side up.
- Remove from the air fryer, allow to rest for 5 minutes and then serve with your favourite sides.