The Best Way to Defrost a Cornish Hen in the Microwave

You can (and should) defrost a Cornish hen immediately before cooking it.
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A Cornish hen is a small bird that weighs one to two pounds. Like all forms of poultry, Cornish hens need to be properly handled to avoid food-borne illness.


Part of this process is the defrosting of a frozen bird. The microwave allows you to thaw your hen immediately before cooking it. In the microwave, defrosting will take less than 20 minutes.

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  1. Remove the Cornish hen from the packaging and place it on a microwave-safe plate. There is no need to wash the chicken prior to cooking it (this can spread bacteria into your sink).
  2. Set the plate in the microwave.
  3. Turn the oven on following the instructions provided with the microwave for defrost.
    • For example, some units have a switch or button that indicate the defrost cycle. Run the microwave for 5 minutes on the defrost cycle.
  4. Turn the hen over on the plate.
  5. Defrost it for an additional 3 minutes.
  6. Leave the hen in the microwave for 10 minutes once the defrost cycle ends. This will complete the thawing.


Cook the Cornish hen immediately after defrosting it. Avoid defrosting the hen days before cooking it, as this may allow bacteria to grow.


Wash your hands and the plate thoroughly after handling the raw poultry to avoid contaminating other foods or surfaces.



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