air fryer cornish hens on a plate with roasted apples

Ninja Foodi Air Fryer Cornish Hens

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If you want a fancy meal that looks amazing, air fryer cornish hens are it. They are easy to make and so flavorful, succulent, and juicy. Another great way to use your Ninja Foodi Air Fryer Oven to make great meals.

cornish hens on a bed of lettuce on a plate

The air fryer changes everything and brings “fried” food into the realm of everyday enjoyment. A super-powered convection oven, the air fryer creates healthy versions of foods that are typically fried.

First, you need to season your cornish hens. Take your thawed hens out (1 per 2 people) and sprinkle them liberally with salt and pepper. You can add any of these great seasonings as well:

You’ll get delicious crispy-skinned cornish hens every time, without frying! And these are ready in less than 30 minutes. It’s healthier, easier, and less mess and heat in the kitchen!

It’s a perfect weeknight dinner because it’s so easy and only uses “one pot”

Cornish hens are a breed of chicken that usually weigh less than 2 pounds. They taste like chicken but look so elegant and special when you cook them whole. You will usually find them in the freezer section of your grocery store.

How to cook a frozen cornish hen

You can cook them from frozen, but it takes a bit longer. Cook the frozen bird for 20 minutes, then take it out and season it, turn it over, and cook it according to the directions below.

Then spray the hens with a nice coat of oil spray. Grapeseed has a high smoke point, so it works well, or you can use other sprays. You can also rub the birds with butter instead or drizzle on some olive oil and rub it all over. (I would use butter every time)

Air fry it at 375 for 25 minutes. Then check to see if its internal temperature is 165. If you are going to cook poultry, a meat thermometer like this one is a must!

Here’s how I make it!

Cornish hen in Ninja Foodi

cornish hens on a place of lettuce
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Ninja Foodi Air Fryer Cornish Hens

Crispy skinned, succulent, juicy flavorful cornish hens.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: air fryer cornish hens, cornish hens, ninja foodi air fryer oven
Servings: 4
Author: Christina


  • 2 cornish hens, thawed
  • 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon italian seasoning blend
  • 2 Tablespoons butter at room temperature
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 apples, cut in quarters (or use new potatoes or green beans if you prefer)


  • Mix butter and mustard and rub onto hens on all areas
  • Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and italian seasoning
  • Place apples on the oven tray and sprinkle with salt and pepper
  • Place hens on top
  • Air fry at 375 for 25 minutes and begin checking internal temperature. Cook until it reaches 165.

Ninja Foodi air fryer recipes for chicken

For a ton more Ninja Foodi air fryer recipes for chicken, click here.

If you want specifics, check these out:

For more information on cooking whole birds, check out how to cook a whole chicken, turkey or duck here.

Air Fryer Cooking Times Cheat Sheet

Download and use this handy air fryer cooking times cheat sheet in your kitchen!

You’re going to be so in love with these air fryer cornish hens, you’re going to want to buy them all the time!

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