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air fryer cornish hen recipe

Air Fryer Cornish Hen Recipe (Low Carb, Keto)

Summer Yule
Yes, you can air fry Cornish hen! With my air fryer Cornish hen recipe, you'll have an impressive entrée ready in under an hour.
5 from 3 votes
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 2
Calories 694 kcal


For the Cornish hen:

  • 1 Cornish hen (total weight of my hen was about 2 lbs/907 grams)
  • ½ tablespoon butter, melted
  • ½ teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • black pepper, to taste

For the side dishes:

  • 2-3 medium zucchini, sliced (approximately 21 ounces/595 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 1 lb. fresh cauliflower, chopped into florets (454 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • fresh parsley or chives, chopped (for garnish, optional)


To make the Cornish hen:

  • Thread the Cornish hen on your air fryer's rotisserie spit.
  • Mix the reduced-sodium soy sauce and ½-tablespoon of melted butter together. Brush the butter-soy sauce mixture all over the Cornish hen. Sprinkle the hen with black pepper.
  • Attach the spit with the Cornish hen to your air fryer. If your air fryer oven has a drip tray, make sure it is placed in the oven.
  • Roast the Cornish hen at 350°F (175°C) for 40 minutes. Make sure the air fryer is set to rotate the spit. (My air fryer has a "rotate" button.)
  • Ensure that your hen reaches a food-safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). If it has not, you may need to cook it a little longer.
  • When it is done cooking, remove the Cornish hen from the fryer and let it rest for 15 minutes while you finish the meal.

To make the side dishes:

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  • Cut the stem and blossom ends off of the zucchini. Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and then slice it into half moons that are ½-inch thick.
  • Mix the sliced zucchini with the avocado oil. Spread out in a metal roasting pan. Sprinkle the zucchini with salt and pepper.
  • Roast the zucchini in the top third of the oven for approximately 40-45 minutes, stirring and flipping halfway through cooking time. Work on the rest of the meal while the zucchini cooks.
  • Put the chopped cauliflower in a large pot and cover it with water. Bring the pot to a boil on the stovetop. Boil the cauliflower for 20 minutes; you want it to get really soft.

Finishing your Cornish game hen air fryer meal:

  • Drain the cauliflower thoroughly after boiling. While it is still hot, put it in a food processor with the butter, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper.
  • Blend the cauliflower until it is an almost-smooth puree, similar in consistency to thin mashed potatoes. If cauliflower bits are sticking to the sides of the food processor, stop the processor, scrape down the sides with a spatula, and start the processor again.
  • Evenly divide the mashed cauliflower and roasted zucchini between two plates.
  • Cut the cooked hen in half lengthwise with sharp kitchen shears. Put a game hen half, skin-side up, on each plate.
  • Garnish the plates with fresh parsley or chives, if desired.


This is a level 2 recipe (transition or weight maintenance). The nutrition information for this recipe includes ½ of a whole Cornish hen, plus ½ of the zucchini and mashed cauliflower. Though some enjoy a whole Cornish hen to themselves, it is quite a lot of food! Sticking with a half hen portion may be better if you have a weight loss goal.
There are multiple ways that you could make this a lower calorie meal. One way would be to skip eating the skin of your air fryer Cornish hen. In full disclosure, I strongly dislike suggesting this, because the crispy skin is one of my favorite parts.
A better suggestion may be to swap the cauliflower and zucchini for a green salad with low-calorie dressing. Both cauliflower and zucchini are non-starchy, low-calorie vegetables. However, when you start adding butter or oil to them, you are packing on the calories.
Believe it or not, my mashed cauliflower recipe provides more calories from butter than from actual cauliflower! At 100 calories per tablespoon for butter and 120 calories per tablespoon for oil, these ingredients are EXTREMELY energy-dense.
It's all too easy to self-sabotage weight loss with the generous addition of added fats in foods. I'm speaking from experience here! I used to roast my veggies in tons of olive oil, unknowingly adding HUNDREDs of additional calories to my meals. Please don't copy my mistake!
Nutrition information per serving includes half of a roasted Cornish game hen. Because these hens have some natural variability in weight, your meal's calorie content and nutritional profile may vary.
Nutrition information is for one serving of the recipe. One serving of this meal has 13.2 grams of net carbs, appropriate for most low carb and keto diet plans.


Calories: 694kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 42.3gFat: 49.6gSaturated Fat: 18.1gSodium: 486.8mgPotassium: 1481.6mgFiber: 8.8gVitamin A: 21.3% DVVitamin C: 264.5% DVCalcium: 12.3% DVIron: 18.3% DV
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