Instant Pot Cornish Hen

Whole chicken roasted served with potato slices and lemon slices in a white bowl

Delicious one-pot meal you can make in your Instant Pot in only 25 minutes!

Easy recipe that's perfect for beginners.

Whole chicken roasted served with potato slices and lemon slices in a white bowl

This simple, tasty Instant Pot Cornish game hen recipe is a great solution if you need to quickly “roast” a game hen without compromising on cooking tender, juicy meat.

With Instant Pot, the cooking time for Cornish hen is only 25 minutes and the results are amazing.

Want to know how I make my Cornish game hen Instant Pot recipe extra delicious? My top tip for you is to add lemon, oil, and FRESH herbs for your seasoning.

I mix all the ingredients in a bowl and then season the chicken with the mixture.

These extra flavors sealed inside your Instant Pot help give the cornish hen a deeper flavor.

The fresher your herbs, the more fragrant your hen is going to be.

If you want, you can season inside of the cavity as well for an extra taste.

This recipe is also gluten-free AND low in fat and carbs.

Cornish Hen Recipe Video

Is It a One-Pot Meal?

Yes, this cornish hen is a delicious one-pot meal! You can even cook your sides in the same Instant Pot cooker as your Cornish hens. Simply put your potatoes, veg, or other raw ingredients in beside your hen, seal the lid and leave the Instant Pot to work its magic.

If you prefer to cook all the elements of your meal separately, you can make your side recipes in another pot or cook them while your Cornish hen is broiling.

Check out my recipe for Instant Pot Red Potatoes as inspiration for your main course trimmings. I’m certain they’ll complement your pressure cooker Cornish hen perfectly.

Can I Use Frozen Cornish Hens?

Yes, you can use a frozen cornish game hen for this recipe.

If you’re using a frozen Cornish hen, increase the Instant Pot cooking time by 5 mins. You’ll want to cook the chicken on High Pressure for 30 minutes, instead of 25. This extended cook time ensures your hen is cooked all the way through.

You can still season your frozen Cornish game hen. Once in the Instant Pot, simply sprinkle your seasonings on top of the chicken and add a little lemon and garlic around the sides.

If you’re adding potatoes, insert these around the sides of the hen, too.

Can I Use Sweet Potatoes Instead of White Potatoes?

You sure can. The instructions are the same for sweet potatoes as they are for white ones. Just Place them on the bottom of the pot as usual.

I love sweet potatoes. They are so festive and remind me of the holidays. Sweet potatoes are a great dinner course add-on to serve up if you’ve got family or friends sitting around the table.

How To Serve?

This one pot meal is great as is. If you still looking for side dishes, check out What To Serve With Cornish Hens for 15 delicious ideas.

Can I Cook Two Cornish Hens at the Same Time?

To cook two Cornish game hens in your Instant Pot at the same time, increase the cooking time by an extra 5 minutes.

Other instructions stays the same - Wait for a natural release for 5 minutes and then release the remaining pressure manually.

You can do it by moving the floating valve from the sealing position to the venting position.

If you’re hosting a dinner party, having all the family over, or cooking for holiday festivities you might need more than two birds.

Have no fear! If you can fit another hen in the Instant Pot, GO FOR IT.

Here’s a handy table to help with increased quantities of broth to hen ratio:

Hens Liquid
1 Cornish hen ½ cup chicken broth
2 Cornish hens 1 cup chicken broth
3 Cornish hens 1 ½ cup chicken broth

Can I add onions?

Sure! Feel free to add 5 small onions (or a big one cut into pieces...).

Can I use poultry seasoning?

Yes. I didn't use it for this recipe, but feel free to add one tablespoon of poultry seasoning in the first step.

You can add dried or fresh rosemary as well.

Can I reduce the fat?

If you want to reduce the saturated fat in this recipe, a handy replacement for the chicken stock gravy is pressure cooking the hen in water instead.

Pour 1 cup water in the pot to pressure cook two Cornish hens.

Can I reduce the fat?

If you want to reduce the saturated fat in this recipe, a handy replacement for the chicken stock gravy is pressure cooking the hen in water instead.

Use ½ cup of cold water for one cornish hen

Use 1 cup of water for 2 cornish hens.

How Do I Make the Cornish Hen Crispy?

Just as we did for the Instant Pot Duck recipe, If you want to get crispy meat, broil the cooked Cornish hen in the Air Fryer Lid at 400 °F for 10 minutes right after cooking it in the Instant Pot.

If you don't have an Air Fryer Lid, Mealthy CrispLid or a similar appliance, place hen on a baking sheet and broil in the oven at 400°F for 5 minutes. Then use tongs to flip it over and broil at 400°F for another 5 minutes.

I think we can all agree… no one likes a soggy bird. Sticking your Cornish hen under the broiler gives you soft, tender meat on the inside and extra crispy chicken skin on the outside.

You’ll be able to fool your dinner party guests into thinking you “roasted” that chicken for hours. The magic of Instant Pot means a full “roast” will take under an hour using the pressure cook method.

Do I Have to Use Garlic?

For my Instant Pot Cornish hen recipe, I’m using garlic twice:

  1. Minced garlic clove as part of the seasoning which I rub into the meat.
  2. A whole head of garlic which I place inside the pressure cooker, as part of the cooking process.

I don’t peel the head of garlic, instead, I cut it in half and place it in the pot as it is.

I am OBSESSED with garlic. The intense, aromatic flavor of cooked garlic is so delicious. The smell makes my mouth water.

In my opinion, the garlic really upgrades my Instant Pot Cornish game hen recipe and emphasizes the taste of the chicken meat. If you don’t have fresh garlic, using garlic powder works just as well, too.

As with so many Instant Pot recipes, if you don’t like an ingredient, just take it out. That’s why I love cooking with my Instant Pot so much. You can tailor your recipe to include exactly what YOU want.

What Do I Do With the Bones?

You can use the leftover chicken bone to make my Instant Pot Chicken Stock.

The great thing about this recipe is that there’s next to no waste. Repurpose the old bones to make delicious stock which you can use in many more of my Instant Pot recipes. You can also use the stock as chicken gravy to make this Instant Pot chicken leg quarters recipe or keep for the next time you make Instant Pot Cornish hen.

I love how this recipe is economical as well as so-so tasty.

Instant Pot Holiday Recipes

Instant Pot Duck

Instant Pot London Broil

Instant Pot Country Style Ribs

Smoked Meatloaf

Whole chicken roasted served with potato slices and lemon slices in a white bowl

Instant Pot Cornish Hen

Wanna make Instant Pot Cornish Hen? This pressure cooker recipe is quick, easy and delicious! The perfect one-pot meal for dinner.
4.74 from 34 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cornish game hen, Cornish Hens, Instant Pot Cornish Hen
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 2
Author: Corrie


  • 1 cornish hen
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 2 bunches fresh thyme
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 2 potatoes chopped
  • 1 spring fresh thyme


  • Pour the olive oil into the Instant Pot and press "saute".
  • Marinate the chicken with melted butter, salt, lemon zest, garlic cloves, and thyme.
  • Place the chicken inside the Instant Pot and saute for 5 minutes.
  • Add potatoes, fresh thyme, and chicken broth. Stir well.
  • Set the pot to high pressure for 25 minutes.
  • When cooking time is complete, do a quick pressure release.
  • Dish out and serve.

How to get crispy chicken

  • After cooking, you can broil the cornish hen in the Air Fryer Lid or in the oven for 10 minutes before serving.


Calories: 212kcal Carbohydrates: 10g Protein: 11g Fat: 14g Saturated Fat: 4g Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g Monounsaturated Fat: 7g Trans Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 64mg Sodium: 262mg Potassium: 378mg Fiber: 1g Sugar: 1g Vitamin A: 203IU Vitamin C: 14mg Calcium: 20mg Iron: 1mg


Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @corriecooksblog or tag #corriecooks!

46 thoughts on “Instant Pot Cornish Hen

  1. I have a 4 pound cornish hen. I plan to add small potatoes, carrots, onion, and a bit of garlic to the Instant Pot.
    How long do you think I should pressure cook a single 4 pound cornish hen?
    (Thank you SO MUCH for this recipe Corrie!)

  2. If we use the instant pot air fryer, do we take the potatoes and stock out of the pot (at #7) and then put the chicken back in by itself? Haven't used the air fryer yet to know how this goes.

    1. Yes, exactly. You'll need to take everything out of the pot, rinse it out, and dry the interior before proceeding to use it as an air fryer. For air frying, you need to avoid liquid, as the moisture prevents browning. So you'd place the chicken on the air fryer rack by itself. Hope that helps!

    1. Yes, you will be able to pressure cook this way, but if you are using the air fryer method to crisp at the end that won't work. You'll have to do one at a time.

  3. I have a 3 qt Instant Pot. Is it possible to cook a Cornish hen in a 3 qt with 1/2 cup water? I usually halve the recipes and adjust the liquid when I use recipes because i have no idea what size a pot the recipe is using. Do you use a 6 qt for most of your recipes?

  4. I have a roasting hen aka stewing hen which I bought to pressure cook chicken fricassee. However, your recipe looks so much better. Do you think it’s possible to use this type of hen with your recipe? If yes, any pressure cook advice? Thanks in advance.

    1. Yes, it should work as long as it fits. Stewing hens are a bit larger than cornish hens so I would add around 10 minutes to the cook time to make sure it's cooked through.

      1. Thank you so much for taking the time to so quickly respond. I’m cooking the hen, 5.20 lbs., this weekend using your above recipe and your cook time advice. If it comes out as good as all your other IP recipes I’ve cooked, I’m sure it will be a winner.

          1. Oh my goodness, this cooked perfectly moist and I’m glad I asked your advice. The extra 10 minutes was key as I checked it per this recipe and it didn’t ‘feel’ done. Added quartered sweet onions, bay leaf and chopped carrots as I was going for that chicken fricassee taste. Removed the hen, added 1/2 cup broth into the pot’s liquid, turned on sauté and made dumplings. This was a great Sunday dinner-type meal. Thanks so much.

    1. Yes the paper can stay on the garlic halves. You can add the lemon slices at the same time you add the garlic halves, or use lemon slices for garnish.

  5. Corrie; I enjoy your recipes but am confused when less than 8oz of liquid is used which is the case with a few recipes. I have a CrockPot Express and use of the pressure cooker function calls for a minimum of 8oz of liquid to be used. Anything less sets off an error message. I thought Instapots required the same amount. Please advise. Thank you.

    1. It depends on the recipe and the model, but usually 1/2 cup liquid is enough for it to function and additional liquid is often released from ingredients in the pot. If your model needs more liquid, you can add 1 cup of chicken broth.

  6. made gornish hen in the instant pot , i could not believe how good it was it was like having a party in your mouth thats how good it was

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating