Easy Instant Pot Cornish Hen And Gravy

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This Instant Pot Cornish Hen recipe is an easy meat and potatoes one-pot meal that the whole family will love! Super tender and flavorful, Cornish hen is a no-fuss Instant Pot recipe you’ll want to make again and again.

Suitable for gluten-free diets. Post includes Weight Watchers points.

finished instant pot cornish hen inside the instant pot

This Instant Pot Cornish Hen recipe wth gravy is a delicious one-pot meal that is soooooo simple to make. We’re talking a classic Sunday supper style dish that the whole family will love. Yeap.

And the best part?! With a minimal amount of effort, you’ll have a complete and satisfying meal on the table in under an hour!

Related Link : Air Fryer Cornish Hen.

Why Make This Recipe

  • All you need is 3 simple ingredients!
  • You end up with juicy meat and crispy skin the whole family will love..
  • Easy to make. Serve up a satisfying, complete meal with minimal effort.
  • A versatile recipe – change up the flavors to suit your taste.
  • Cook Cornish hens as a great meal prep solution.
the completed instant pot cornish hen on a white plate

What Is Cornish Hen?

Did you know a Cornish Game Hen is also called a Rock Cornish Game Hen? This game bird is a crossbred, between a Cornish and White Plymouth Rock Chicken. They’re between 1-2 lbs and because of their miniature size, they’re usually sold in 2 packs.

You may think that with the name “hen” that you’d be getting a female bird, but cornish game hens can be male or female. They taste just like a regular chicken and are even more tender.

Ingredient Notes

  • Cornish Hen – this recipe calls for uncooked defrosted cornish hens
  • Seasoning – the great flavor comes from Creole seasoning, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, thyme, fresh rosemary, salt and pepper, fresh garlic and onions.
  • Citrus – both fresh lemon juice and lemon zest are needed.
  • Potatoes – you can use red or white potatoes, just make sure the are cut to a smaller size so they cook.
  • Oil –  Use olive oil or no-calorie cooking spray.
  • Butter – this calls for softened unsalted butter, If using salted butter you might want to reduce the salt.
  • Flour – this calls for plain all purpose flour which will help thicken the gravy.
  • Cooking liquid – use water or chicken broth / chicken stock for cooking

Ready to learn just how easy it is to make Instant Pot Cornish Hen that is so tender it falls right off the bone? Gather up your ingredients and I will show you……

How To Make Instant Pot Cornish Hen

Get complete ingredients list and instructions from the recipe card below.

  • Rub the seasoning mix all over the Cornish hen.
  • Pour water into Instant Pot insert, add the trivet and place hen on the trivet.
  • Place the lid on and turn valve to the sealing position. Set to pressure cook / manual cook on high pressure for 20 mins.
  • When done allow for a natural pressure release for 5 mins, then perform a quick pressure release.
  • Remove the hen from the Instant Pot, drain the water, then put Cornish hen back in.
  • If using your Duo Crisp, spray the Cornish hen with oil. Place the air fryer lid on the Duo Crisp and then air fry at 400F / 204C for 8-10 mins.
  • Open the lid, turn the hen over, spray with oil, place the air fryer lid back on, and air fry for another 8-10 mins.
  • If using the broiler to finish, set your broiler to 400F / 200C and broil the hen until golden brown and crispy.
image collage showing the steps for making instant pot cornish hen

How To Make Instant Pot Cornish Hen and Gravy

  1. Start your Cornish Game Hen by drying the hen with paper towels.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, mix butter with your lemon zest, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and dried thyme.
  3. Rub the outside and under the skin of the hen with the butter mixture and add some to the inside of the hen.
  4. Stuff half of the lemon wedges into the cavity, along with the fresh rosemary.
  5. Turn the Instant Pot sauté function on, and when the display reads “hot”, add in the olive oil.
  6. Once the olive oil is simmering, place the hen to the pot with the breast side down and cook for 3 mins undisturbed. Flip the cornish hen over and brown the other side for about 3 mins as well. Once both sides have been browned, remove, and set aside on a plate.
the completed instant pot cornish hen with gravy
  1. Add the onion and garlic to the insert and cook for a few mins, stirring occasionally.
  2. Then pour in water and use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pot.
  3. Cancel the sauté function and add the hen back to the pot with the breast side up.
  4. Add in your potatoes (if using). Put the lid on and turn the valve to the sealing position.
  5. Pressure cook for 12 minutes on High Pressure. When done, allow a Natural Pressure Release for 10 minutes, then use a quick pressure release to release the remaining pressure.
  6. Open the lid and use tongs to take out the cooked Cornish hen and place it on a baking sheet. Brush with the melted butter.
  7. To finish, set your broiler to 400F / 204C and broil the hen until golden brown and crispy.
image collage showing the steps for making instant pot cornish hen with gravy

How To Make The Gravy

  • Turn the Instant Pot on to saute function again. Use a slotted spoon to remove the onion and garlic from the drippings.
  • Combine flour and butter to make a ball.
  • Add the flour and butter to the simmering drippings and stir well until the gravy thickens.

Make In The Air Fryer

No Instant Pot? No problem! You can also make Cornish hen in the air fryer. Just head on over to my Air Fryer Cornish Hen post to learn just how easy it is!

finished air fryer cornish hen inside the air fryer basket

Pro Recipe Tips

  • Cooking time does not include time for the Instant Pot to come up to pressure or for the pressure to be released.
  • If you like a thicker gravy, use 3 tablespoons of butter and 3 tablespoons of flour.
  • Feel free to add in extra veggies such as carrots or onions.
  • Do not open your Instant Pot until all the pressure has been released.
  • If your birds are smaller, you can cook two Cornish hens at the same time.
  • Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature to make sure it has reached 165F / 74C and is cooked through before serving.
  • Ps learn all about your Instant Pot Settings, The Instant Pot Burn Message and Instant Pot Natural Pressure Release.

Chef’s Tip ==> this is a great way to use your Instant Pot Duo Crisp to finish up the cornish hen. If you don’t have one, you can also use the Mealthy CrispLid or put it in the broiler, following the instructions above.

instant pot cornish hen on a white plate and ready to be served

FAQs

Can You Cook A Frozen Cornish Hens?

Yes, you can cook your frozen cornish hens in the Instant Pot. Just add an extra 4-5 minutes to the cooking time when pressure cooking the instant pot cornish hens.

Delicious Recipe Variations

  • Want to change up your flavors? Try my poultry seasoning like homemade poultry seasoning, Italian seasoning, stone house seasoning, fresh thyme,
  • Add heat – add heat with red pepper flakes, cayenne, and more. Bear in mind that your dry rub might already have some heat.

Prep Ahead and Storage

  • Prep Ahead – This recipe is so easy to make. Season meat ahead of time and just keep in the refrigerator until needed!
  • Store – Store cooked meat in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. 
  • Freeze – Follow the handy tips for how to freeze this;
    • Transfer into these convenient Ziploc freezer bags.
    • Squeeze out all the extra air and seal the bags.
    • Label the bags and then lay them flat in the freezer.
    • Store in the freezer up to 3 months.
    • To make reheating easier, freeze in the right portion sizes that you need for the future.
  • To Thaw – Remove the frozen chicken from the freezer the night before needed and let thaw in the fridge.
close up view of the instant pot cornish hen

More Instant Pot Recipes

Need other recipes for your pressure cooker? Then try these below.

Serving Suggestions

Instant pot quick start guide image

Weight Watchers Points

There are 7 Blue Plan SmartPoints in one serving.

Tools Needed

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instant pot cornish hen on a white plate and ready to be served
Print Recipe
4.91 from 11 votes

Easy Instant Pot Cornish Hen

Instant Pot Cornish Hen is an easy one-pot meal that your family will love!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time18 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Western
Servings: 8
Calories: 244kcal
Author: Bintu Hardy

Ingredients

Instant Pot Cornish Hen Ingredients:

  • 2 lb (908g) Cornish Hen
  • 1 Tbsp Creole seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil or no-calorie cooking spray
  • 1 cup (236ml) water for cooking

Instant Pot Cornish Hen and Gravy Ingredients:

  • 2 lb (908g) Cornish Hen
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp butter softened
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ small onion sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic smashed
  • 1 small lemon cut in eighths, divided in half
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • cup (80ml) water
  • 4 small red potatoes cut in half (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp butter softened

Instructions

Make it in the Instant Pot:

  • Rub the seasoning mix all over the Cornish hen.
  • Pour water into Instant Pot insert, add the trivet and place hen on the trivet.
  • Place the lid on and turn valve to the sealing position. Set to pressure cook / manual cook on high pressure for 20 mins.
  • When done allow for a natural pressure release for 5 mins, then perform a quick pressure release.
  • To finish in the Instant Pot, remove the hen, drain the water, and put Cornish hen back in.
  • If using your Duo Crisp, spray the Cornish hen with oil. Place the air fryer lid on the Duo Crisp and then air fry at 400F / 204C for 8-10 mins. Then open the lid, turn the hen over, spray with oil, place the air fryer lid back on, and air fry for another 8-10 mins.
  • If using the broiler to finish, set your broiler to 400F / 204C and broil the hen until golden brown and crispy.

Make it in the Instant Pot: with gravy

  • Dry the Cornish hen with paper towels.
  • In a medium bowl, mix butter with your lemon zest, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and dried thyme.
  • Rub the outside and under the skin of the hen with the butter mixture. Add some of the butter mixture to the inside of the cavity of the hen as well.
  • Stuff half of the lemon wedges into the cavity along with the fresh rosemary.
  • Turn the Instant Pot Saute function on, when the display reads “hot”, add olive oil.
  • Once the oil is simmering, add the hen to the pot with the breast side down and cook for 3 mins undisturbed. Flip the Instant Pot Cornish Hen over and brown the other side for about 3 mins as well. Once both sides have been browned, remove the hen and set aside on a plate.
  • Add the onion and garlic to the Instant Pot insert and cook for a few mins, stirring occasionally.
  • Add in water and use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pot.
  • Cancel the Saute function and add the hen back to the pot with the breast side up.
  • Add in your potatoes. Put the lid on and turn the release valve to the sealing position.
  • Pressure cook for 12 mins on High Pressure and use a Natural Pressure Release for 10 mins once done cooking to release the remaining pressure.
  • Open the lid and use tongs to take out the hen and place it on a baking sheet. Brush the hen with the melted butter.
  • To finish, set the broiler to 400F / 204C, and broil the hen until golden brown and crispy.
  • To make the gravy, turn the pot on to sauté again. Use a slotted spoon to remove the onion and garlic from the drippings.
  • Combine flour and butter to make a ball.
  • Add butter ball to the simmering drippings and stir well until the gravy thickens.
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Notes

  • Cooking time does not include time for the Instant Pot to come up to pressure or for the pressure to be released.
  • If you like a thicker gravy, use 3 tablespoons of butter and 3 tablespoons of flour.
  • Feel free to add in extra veggies such as carrots or onions.
  • Do not open your Instant Pot until all the pressure has been released.
  • Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature to make sure it has reached 165F / 74C and is cooked through before serving.
Chef’s Tip ==> this is a great way to use your Instant Pot Duo Crisp to finish up the cornish hen. If you don’t have one, you can also use the Mealthy CrispLid or put it in the broiler, following the instructions above.
There are 7 Blue Plan SmartPoints in one serving of this.

Nutrition

Calories: 244kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 115mg | Sodium: 71mg | Potassium: 280mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 383IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1mg

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