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+ servings
a roasted cornish game hen on a large plate

Air Fryer Cornish Game Hens

Sandi Gaertner
A deliciously seasoned Cornish game hens recipe that is cooked quickly in the air fryer.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Meal Recipes
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 569 kcal


  • 2 Cornish game hens
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 orange
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon flat leaf parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • Add the melted butter and seasonings to a bowl and mix well.
  • Cut a small orange or mandarin orange in half and put it into the cavity of each Cornish game hen.
  • Gently pull up the skin on the breast of each hen.
  • Spread the butter herb mixture under the skin, then rub the remaining butter all over the outside of each hen.
  • Oil the bottom of the basket of your air fryer. See note.
  • Add the two hens.
  • Cook at 375º F for 20 minutes.
  • Open the air fryer and use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature.
  • If the temperature is 165º F, your hens are done. If they are not hot enough internally, cook for an additional 10 minutes and recheck the temperature.
  • When the hens are finished, remove from the air fryer


  1. I used a spray coconut oil for the basket of my air fryer and you can a different oil, but make sure it is made for high heat.
  2. You can use regular oranges or mandarin oranges as I did.
  3. Use vegan butter if you would like this recipe to be dairy-free.
  4. The roasted game hens will keep up to 4 days in an air-tight container, or up to 4 months in the freezer.
Can you cook frozen game hens in the air fryer? Yes, you can cook frozen game hens in the air fryer. You will need to extend the cooking time by 20-30 minutes. Note in cooking frozen hens in the air fryer, you won't be able to get the seasoning under the skin. If you want the flavor to really cook into the game hens, you will need to thaw them.

If you do decide to cook them before thawing, you will need to increase the cooking time significantly and check the internal temperature.


Serving: 1gCalories: 569kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 39gFat: 43gSaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 257mgSodium: 819mgPotassium: 590mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 690IUVitamin C: 20mgCalcium: 44mgIron: 2mg
Keyword air fryer Cornish game hens, air fryer game hens
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