Discover the secret to a delicious air fryer Cornish hen cooked right from the freezer. You'll enjoy crispy and flavorful meat without having to thaw.
With the air fryer, you can achieve a perfectly cooked and crispy-skinned whole hen in half the time of a roasted Cornish hen. The hot circulating air inside the fryer ensures even cooking and locks in all the flavors, resulting in a tender and juicy bird that is simply irresistible.
Not only does cooking a Cornish game hen in the air fryer save you time, but it also produces healthier results. Since this method uses little to no oil, it significantly reduces the calorie content compared to traditional frying or roasting techniques.
Reasons to Love
- No need for thawing. You can skip the tedious process of thawing your Cornish hen with this air fryer recipe. Simply remove it from the freezer and pop it into the air fryer. This eliminates the hassle of planning ahead.
- Retains moisture and tenderness. The circulating hot air in the fryer ensures even cooking, resulting in juicy meat that is far from dry.
- Crispy skin without excess oil or grease. The hot air circulation in the fryer creates a beautiful golden crust while reducing the need for added fats.
- Versatile seasoning options. You can experiment with various herbs, spices, marinades, or rubs to enhance its flavor profile.
You only need a few basic seasonings to cook Cornish hen in the air fryer.
Here are the ingredients used to make this simple recipe:
- frozen Cornish hen
- garlic powder
- smoked sweet paprika
- salt and ground black pepper
- olive oil
Scroll down to the recipe card for quantities used.
Preheat the air fryer to 245°F (118C) and set cook time for 30 minutes.
Cook frozen Cornish hen in an air fryer basket or tray.
Slowly turn Cornish hen over after 10 minutes.
Cook for an additional 10 minutes. Increase the temperature to 270°F (132°C), and slowly turn Cornish hen, wing side up.
Remove thawed Cornish hen and pat dry. Season cavity with salt and ground black pepper. Brush skin with olive oil. Increase air fryer to 370°F (188°C) and set the timer to 45 minutes.
Season the Cornish hen with salt, ground black pepper, and a mixture of the other seasonings.
Place back in the air fryer and turn every 10 minutes, with the breast side up at the last 5 minutes.
Once the Cornish hen is golden after 45 minutes and the instant-read thermometer registers 165°F at the thickest part of the inner thigh while the juices run clear, remove the air fryer tray. Allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
Hint: Turning the whole Cornish hen is easier with the use of two flat kitchen tongs. One part of the kitchen tong is inserted in the cavity to get a good grip while the other supports the turning process.
Consider experimenting with various seasoning and flavoring options for an even more mouthwatering air fryer Cornish hen.
- Change the seasonings. Add spicier seasonings like cayenne pepper or chili powder to add an extra kick or herbs such as thyme and rosemary for an herbal tone.
- Thaw and marinate. Skip thawing the meat in the air fryer and marinate it before air frying. A mixture of lemon juice, olive oil, Dijon mustard, honey, and minced garlic will infuse the meat with a refreshing citrusy taste.
- Baste during cooking. Enhance the flavor and juiciness of your Cornish hen by basting it with marinade or melted butter during cooking. This adds moisture and imparts delicious flavors to the meat.
You can also try the seasoning blend used in our air fryer chicken legs recipe.
Top tip: Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature to avoid undercooking or overcooking. The recommended temperature for cooked poultry is 165 degrees F (74°C). Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the hen to get an accurate reading.
- Preheat the air fryer. To ensure that your air fryer cornish hen cooks evenly and thoroughly, it's important to preheat the air fryer before placing the hen inside. This allows for a consistent cooking temperature and helps achieve a crispy exterior.
- Allow enough space around the hen. To allow proper airflow and even cooking, make sure there is enough space around the hen in the air fryer basket or on the tray. Overcrowding can lead to unevenly cooked portions.
Following these tips, you can create a mouthwatering air fryer cornish hen recipe that is perfectly cooked and flavorful.
You can enjoy this flavorful dish as a main course for any occasion. We like to serve it with a vegetable ratatouille and a side of potatoes.
Creamy mashed potatoes with gravy are a classic accompaniment when. you want something comforting and satisfying. Scalloped potatoes or twice-baked potatoes are a good choice if you want to skip the gray.
Add a touch of freshness and balance to your meal with a simple green salad. You can also include some crusty Italian artisan bread on the side.
Once cooled, wrap the Cornish hen tightly in plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container. It is recommended to store it in the refrigerator within two hours of cooking. The cooked bird can be safely stored in the refrigerator for up to four days.
For longer storage, wrap it tightly with aluminum foil or place it in a freezer bag and put it in the freezer. Properly frozen cooked Cornish hens can be stored for up to three months without significantly losing quality.
Love air frying? Here are a few more air fryer recipes to try:
- Air fryer frozen wings are deliciously crispy.
- Garlic bread in the air fryer is perfectly toasted.
- Homemade chicken nuggets in the air fryer are quick and tasty.
- Shrimp skewers are bursting with flavor.
- Home fries in an air fryer are an irresistible side dish.
Air Fryer Cornish Hen from Frozen
- 1 Cornish hen about 22 ounces / 1.375 pounds net weight
- ½ tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
- kosher salt to taste
- ground black pepper to taste
- 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Preheat the air fryer to 245°F (118°C) and set it for 30 minutes.
- Gently transfer Cornish hen onto Air Fryer tray and slowly insert tray into the middle cooking chamber, near the rotisserie catch. Let’s start thawing the frozen Cornish hen.
- Slowly turn Cornish hen over after 10 minutes. No need to wait for the “turn food” reminder provided by the Air Fryer.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix garlic powder and smoked sweet paprika. Set aside.
- After 10 minutes, increase the temperature to 270°F (132°C), then slowly turn Cornish hen, wing side up. Then turn over the other side of the wing after 5 minutes.
- Slowly remove the Air Fryer tray with thawed Cornish hen. See tips or notes when closing the door.
- Before the Air Fryer timer ends (30 minutes set), increase the heat to 370°F (188°C) and set the timer to 45 minutes.
- Pat dry the whole Cornish hen. Remove any remaining broken ice from the cavity, if any.
- Season cavity of Cornish hen with salt and ground black pepper.
- Brush the skin with olive oil. Season with the salt, ground black pepper, and the garlic mixture.
- Slowly insert Air Fryer tray into the middle cooking chamber, near the rotisserie catch.
- Turn on each side after every 10 minutes, with the breast side up at the last 5 minutes.
- Once the whole Cornish hen is golden after 45 minutes and the instant-read thermometer registers 165°F at the thickest part of the inner thigh while the juices run clear, remove the Air Fryer tray.
- Allow to Air Fryer Cornish hen to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.