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deep fried whole cornish hen on a plate

Fried Cornish Hen

Fried Cornish hen recipe featuring a whole Cornish hen marinated, well seasoned and deep fried to a fine crispiness and great flavor.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: southern
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 929kcal
Author: Marwin Brown


  • fryer


For Marinade

  • 1 pint Buttermilk
  • 1 bunch Fresh cilantro roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch Fresh parsley roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp vodka

For Dredge

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp Chile powder
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp allspice
  • 1/2 tbsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tbsp smoked paprika

For Frying

  • 1 lb cornish hen
  • Vegetable oil


Marinade Instructions

  • Blend buttermilk and herbs in a blended.
  • Place cornish hen in an extra large ziplock bag and add marinade. Let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight

Spice Rub Instructions

  • Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl and reserve.

Frying Instructions

  • Remove hen from refrigerator and let reach room temperature
  • Add oil to the fryer. Be sure not to fill it too high as the hen will take up much space so you’ll need to leave room to prevent overflow. Bring fryer to 350 degrees
  • Mix in about a 1/3 of the spice rub with the flour and corn starch.
  • Dredge the hen in the flour mixture and then using long tongs slowly add the chicken to the hot oil. If it looks like you’re at risk of overflow, stop at this point, remove the chicken, let the oil cool and remove oil as needed.
  • Fry the hen for 20-25 minutes. Check for doneness using a meat thermometer. Place the thermometer into the thigh to check for doneness. You’re good to go at 165 degrees.
  • Remove the hen and place on a cooling rack and let rest 5-10 minutes.
  • Cut into quarters and serve.


For cleaner taste with that golden color use peanut oil instead of vegetable. It’s more expensive, but you can use it to fry multiple times before changing the oil.
The spice rub cause for Chile powder. If you have access to a specific Chile like ancho use it instead of the blends.
When dredging the hen, make sure you get into all the nooks and crannies so the bird is well covered
Adding vodka to the marinade helps for evaporation during frying which adds to the crisp.
Be generous with the salt in the marinade to help flavor the inside of the chicken.
If your fryer is not big enough to submerge the entire hen at once then either cut the hen in half and fry or cook one side at a time using tongues to flip the bird.
For gluten-free version swap the all-purpose flour with brown rice flour. The absence of gluten actually adds more crunch to this recipe so it's an added bonus.


Calories: 929kcal | Carbohydrates: 82g | Protein: 52g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 255mg | Sodium: 5712mg | Potassium: 1234mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 5355IU | Vitamin C: 40.7mg | Calcium: 405mg | Iron: 6.9mg
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