This Ninja Foodi air fryer Cornish Hen recipe is crispy, buttery and perfectly seasoned on the outside with a juicy, tender inside. The potatoes are also nicely seasoned and develop a crispy outside with a pillowy, fluffy inside. It’s PERFECTION!
An Air Fryer Cornish Game Hen is a perfect weeknight dinner because it’s so easy to make and it’s practically a ‘one pan’ dinner!
Air frying a cornish game hen with potatoes is an easy weeknight dinner!
Cornish hen – One large hen (approximately 2 lbs) will feed two people, or one very generously with leftovers. The difference between a regular chicken and a Cornish Game Hen is a regular chicken is usually at least double the size (and weight) of a Cornish hen.
Baby (creamer) potatoes – I used tri color baby potatoes, but use what you have. If you have no new/baby potatoes on hand, use regular potatoes and simply cut up into large chunks approx. 2” in diameter.
Basting Butter – This is just a mixture of butter and herbs/seasonings that I explain to you how to make. It’s to baste the hen as it’s air frying to add even more flavor and crispiness.
Oil – Just a little is needed to coat the potatoes for crispiness and so the seasonings stick. Any cooking oil you have on hand is fine here.
Seasonings – Just a few seasonings are needed here, but if you don’t have what I used on hand, feel free to use your favorite seasonings!
How Long to cook a Game Hen in the Air Fryer with the Potatoes
I cooked my 1.5lb Cornish hen for about 30 minutes all combined (stopping to flip and baste the chicken in between).
If you wanted to cook the hen from frozen, I would pressure cook the hen instead, as Melanie from Melanie Cooks did, and then air crisp at the end for a tasty, crispy skin.
Air frying the hen from frozen won’t work well because the outside of the bird will burn by the time the inside came to temperature.
Also, cooking the potatoes would need to be done separately because the potatoes would be obliterated if pressure cooked along with the hen when it was frozen.
Storing the Leftovers:
If there’s leftover chicken, it will stay good in the fridge for 3-4 days. The potatoes (if kept separate from the chicken) will be good up to a week.
You can freeze the entire thing in a freezer safe container for up to a month.
Handy Tips and Tricks:
A really good meat thermometer makes this job SO MUCH EASIER. This is the kind I use and it’s awesome because it’s a digital read and in my opinion, more accurate than the regular dial type of thermometer.
Remember when cooking any poultry, you want an internal temperature of 165 degrees Farenheit. It’s best to check the temperature as you go because some air crispers run a bit hotter (or colder) than other brand names.
This recipe doesn’t make a gravy like my other recipe, Ninja Foodi Roasted Chicken does, but it’s easy enough to make one! You can always make a chicken gravy by thickening some bone broth and seasonings, with a cornstarch slurry, or you can use a commercial gravy packet for ease and convenience.
Heck, you could even double the basting butter recipe (which can be made well ahead of time, incidentally) and brush a little extra onto the meat and potatoes on the plate.
****Don’t forget to pin this Ninja Foodi Air Fryer Cornish Hen recipe to your favorite Pinterest board!****
Favorite Sides for this Cornish Game Hen Dinner
- 1 Cornish game hen, (thawed), 1.5 lb
- 1.5 lbs baby potatoes (see options in Notes below)
- For the Basting Butter:
- 1/3c Butter
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp parsley (1 tsp fresh if you have it)
- as desired, salt and pepper
- For the Potatoes:
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- as desired, Salt and Pepper
- Pat the hen dry very very well with paper kitchen towels. Season the inside of the bird with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- In a bowl, combine the butter and the seasonings for the basting butter listed above. With a butter knife or clean hands, take HALF the butter mixture and spread it over the entire hen.
- In a bowl, place the potatoes, oil, salt and pepper, and Italian seasoning. Toss well to distribute oil and seasonings.
- Place the hen, BREAST DOWN in the crisping basket. Sprinkle the potatoes around the hen. Place inside the bowl liner insert in the Ninja Foodi.
- Set the Foodi on 'Air Crisp' at 350F for 10 minutes and close the lid.
- After ten minutes is up, carefully flip the hen over so it's breast side up. (I used a set of tongs to flip it over).
- Air fry for another 10 minutes and then check on the hen. The potatoes should be getting crispy. Move some of the potatoes around to help in even cooking, and use the remaining butter mixture to baste the chicken.
- Air fry for another 10 minutes.
- When finished air frying, the temperature at the thigh should be 165F. Turn the unit off and close the lid. Let the hen rest 5 minutes.
- Carefully remove the crisping basket and then using the tongs, remove the chicken carefully from the basket. Cut in half down the breast bone through to the back to separate into halves. Serve with the potatoes and enjoy!
If you don't have all the seasonings listed, feel free to use something like an all purpose seasoning, or even a Montreal Steak Seasoning would be delicious.
If you don't have baby/creamer potatoes, use larger potatoes and cut them into 2' pieces, leaving the skin on.
It's important to have the chicken patted as dry as possible for the butter to spread nicely.