Cornish Fried Hen Recipe

Cornish hens are a breed of young chicken that is often smaller in size than other young chicken. They are a great option for when you need to feed a small crowd.

Wash and pat dry the hens on both sides. Mix the wet rub ingredients in a bowl. Evenly distribute the seasoning on both hens, inside the cavity and on the outside. Check out below how I make Fried Cornish Hen Recipe.

cornish hen recipe fried

How to Cook Cornish Hen Recipe

Seasoning the Hens

The simplest way to season Cornish game hens is with salt and pepper, but they can be seasoned in many different ways. Adding spices like garlic powder and cayenne pepper can provide more intense flavor.

Another option is to inject the hens with a marinade or rub them with a paste before frying. A variety of flavors can be used in the injections, including paprika, garlic and herb blends, or lemon pepper.

A trussing is another simple way to prepare the hens for frying. This helps keep the hens in shape, and it can also help prevent the wings from being overcooked.

Combine the buttermilk, onion powder, garlic powder, thyme, and pepper sauce in a large resealable plastic bag. Add the hens and turn to coat. Seal the bag and refrigerate for 8 hours.

Preparing the Cornish Hens

Cornish game hens (also called poussin or squab chickens) are 4- to 6-week-old small birds that weigh about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds. A whole one serves only two to three people, making it a good choice for dinner parties and holidays.

You can season them like any other chicken, with rubs made from olive oil, garlic salt, onion powder, paprika and chili pepper or use your favorite blend of spices and seasonings. You can also inject them with a seasoned marinade before frying to enhance their flavor and keep them moist.

Rinse and dry the hens well. Combine the buttermilk, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and cayenne in a large resealable plastic bag with the hens. Seal the bag and shake it to coat the hens in the mixture. Place it in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 2 hours and up to 8. It is important not to overfill the bag with the hens as doing so can prevent proper cooking of the hens.

Frying the Cornish Hens

Cornish hens are essentially mini whole chickens bred for their meat. Their small size makes them easy to cook and yields a juicy, tender interior. They’re a great option for weeknight dinners or as a substitute for Thanksgiving turkey.

Deep frying is one of the best ways to prepare them, as it creates crispy skin and infuses the meat with rich flavor. Use a high-smoke point oil, like peanut or canola, to ensure the food doesn’t burn in the hot oil.

Before deep frying, let the hens thaw overnight. If you’d prefer, you can place them in a bowl of cold water and switch out the water regularly to help speed up the process.

To deep fry the hens, heat the oil to 375F and carefully drop each hen into the pot. Fry for about 13 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165F. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels before serving.

Serving and Enjoying

Cornish hens have a subtler, more delicate flavor than regular chicken parts. They are also a bit leaner than other whole meat sources like chicken breasts and thighs. They provide a high-protein, low-calorie meal option for those on a weight loss diet.

The fried version of the Cornish hen is quick and easy to make, making it an ideal dinner option for weeknights or holidays. The seasoned skin is crisp and crunchy, while the juicy interior is well-complemented by a variety of sides.

Serve your fried Cornish hen recipe with traditional accompaniments like mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, or a simple green salad. If you’re feeling adventurous, try pairing your fried Cornish hen with international side dishes like couscous or stir-fried noodles. You can even elevate your meal with a selection of dipping sauces. The tangy barbecue, creamy garlic aioli, or zesty honey mustard will add another dimension of flavor to your meal. Just be sure to use a food thermometer to ensure the internal temperature is above 165 degrees F.