Thanksgiving Recipe: Cornish Game Hens

Celebrate your Thanksgiving at your favorite camping destination this year! This simple and delicious Thanksgiving recipe is ideal for a romantic dinner for two this holiday season!  All you need is an Instant Pot to do all the cooking for the entire meal!  If you’re looking for an RV to get you to your destination, check out the RVs for sale at Van City RV.

Cornish Hen


Recipe adapted from to serve 2.

  • 2 2lb Cornish Game Hens
  • Tbsp Cooking Oil
  • 4Tbsp Butter, softened
  • tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • tsp Poultry Seasoning
  • tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 small Onion, sliced
  • small Lemons, cut in eighths, divided in half
  • sprig Fresh Rosemary (optional) or fresh thyme, or both
  • 2/3 cup Water
  • small Potatoes, cut in half (optional) If they are very small, leave whole and pierce with a fork
  • 2 Carrots roughly chopped


  1. Pat dry both hens with a paper towel.
  2. Rub both birds with butter.  Add small cubes of butter under the skin to moisten the birds.
  3. Combine salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, and garlic powder and rub over the outsides of the birds evenly.  Season the cavity of each bird, as well.
  4. Stuff 1/4 of the lemons into each bird and a sprig of fresh rosemary.
  5. Turn your Instant Pot to Sauté, and wait until the display reads, “Hot” before you add the oil.
  6. Place one hen into the pot, breast down, and cook for 3 minutes without moving it. Using tongs, turn the bird over and cook for an additional three minutes. Remove the hen and repeat for the second bird.
  7. While the hens are resting, add the sliced onions to the pot and stir.  You may need to add 1 tsp of butter to deglaze the pan.  Once the onions are fragrant and translucent, add water.
  8. Add the hens, breast up, side by side in the pot, if possible.  You may have to layer the hens with the potatoes, but it’s best to fit them both in the bottom.
  9. Add potatoes, carrots, and the juice from the remaining lemons and a pinch of salt and pepper for the vegetables.
  10. Cancel the sauté function on the pot, replace the lid, and set it to seal.
  11. Set to Manual (or Pressure Cook) Button, or dial on Ultra. Set time to 12 minutes using the + or – button.
  12. When the pot beeps, allow it to naturally depressurize for 10 minutes before hitting the quick release value.
  13. If you have a broiler, or the Instant Pot Air Fryer lid, remove the hens and veggies from the pot.  With tongs and a wet cloth, wipe out the pot and add the Air Fryer basket.  If using your oven, turn it to broil.
  14. Place the hens in the air fryer, one at a time set the Air Fryer lid in place, and press the “Broil” button.  Set the temperature to 400 and cook for 1-2 minutes or until desired brownness is achieved. Repeat for the second bird.
  15. For the oven, place the hens on a sheet pan and set the broiler to 400.  Cook until desired crispiness occurs.
  16. If you choose not to brown the hens, serve it immediately with the vegetables from the pot!

Enjoy your holidays wherever you go with this Instant Pot Thanksgiving camping recipe! Contact us to find an RV that’s right for your family!

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