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Air Fryer Roast Chicken

Everyone loves roast chicken – crispy skin, and juicy yet delicate meat. It’s kind of a hassle to cook the traditional way, and so here’s my recipe for cooking roast chicken in the air fryer! It’s so much quicker and more convenient than oven roasting (and waaay easier than going to the store for a rotisserie chicken 🤭).

Air fried roast chicken being sliced on a wooden board.

Why air frying is the only way to roast chicken

This air fryer roast chicken recipe has quickly become a staple in my kitchen. With its irresistibly crispy skin, juicy meat, and quick cooking compared to oven roasting, this recipe is my secret weapon for whipping up a delicious, satisfying roast chicken dinner with minimal effort.

It’s also great for meal prep. Air frying a whole chicken means dinner one night, then loads of leftovers to use during the week, for things like tacos, salads, sandwiches, and more!

Golden roast chicken in air fryer basket.

What do you need?

Whole chicken

The key to selecting a chicken for air frying is to make sure you get the one that is the right size for your air fryer.

A small or medium whole chicken, size 13-16 (1.3-1.6 kg/ 3-3½ lb), is the perfect size for my air fryer, but check the capacity of your air fryer and how deep the basket is to be sure that it will fit.

Note: The cooking times depend on the size of the chicken you use – the smaller the bird, the quicker it will roast. See below for more on cooking times.

Oil

A little oil is needed for roasting, especially if you want to get really crispy chicken skin. I like to use light olive oil, but any liquid cooking oil with a high smoke point will work (e.g. avocado oil, vegetable oil).

Seasoning

My go-to seasoning for roast chicken is rosemary, salt, and pepper. However, you can use standard chicken seasoning or rub.

For some other seasoning options try:

  • Rosemary, thyme, and lemon (add lemon halves to the cavity)
  • Garlic and rosemary (use garlic powder or crushed garlic cloves)
  • Rubbed sage and onion powder
  • Cajun seasoning
  • Smoked paprika and garlic powder
  • Lemon pepper dry rub

Let’s cook this roast chicken in the air fryer!

1

Preheat.

Preheat the air fryer to 400°F/ 200°C while you prepare the chicken.

If your air fryer doesn’t have a preheat mode, just set it to air fry for 3-4 minutes.

2

Prepare the chicken.

Pat the raw chicken dry with a paper towel. Remember to remove any packets or off-cuts from inside the chicken.

Drizzle chicken with oil, sprinkle with chopped rosemary, and season well with salt and pepper. Rub the seasoning and oil evenly over the whole chicken, including inside the cavity.

Whole chicken prepared for roasting on a white plate.
Add some sprigs of rosemary to the cavity too!

3

Pop the whole chicken in the air fryer.

Place the chicken in the air fryer breast side down. If your air fryer is prone to sticking it is a good idea to pop it on a small square of parchment or baking paper for the first cooking period. Note: some air fryers do not recommend using parchment, so check your manual first.

Uncooked whole chicken in air fryer basket.

4

Sear then flip.

Air fry the roast chicken at 200°C/ 400°F for 15 minutes, to sear the outside. This helps to get the skin really crispy.

When the first cooking time is up, carefully flip the chicken over. This is the key to getting it to cook evenly, and stay perfectly juicy during cooking (similar to a rotisserie chicken).

5

Finish roasting chicken.

Lower the temperature to 180°C/ 360°F, the air fry the roast chicken until it is golden brown and has reached at least 74°C/ 165°F in the center of the thickest part. Times depend on the size of chicken used, see section below for more.

Check the temperature with an instant-read thermometer in a few places to ensure it is cooked the whole way through.

Air fried roast chicken in air fryer basket.

6

Rest.

Remove the chicken, place it on a board or plate, and cover it loosely with foil. Allow it to rest for at least ten minutes before carving.

A note on cooking times: how long to cook a whole chicken in the air fryer?

The cooking times will vary based on the size of the chicken, and how powerful your air fryer is.

Chicken is cooked correctly when the internal temperature reads at least 74°C/ 165°F in the center of the thickest part. Use a meat thermometer to test the internal temperature in the center of the thickest part. Check the temperature in a few places to ensure it is evenly cooked.

To estimate how long to roast it, I use the rule of approximately 30 minutes per kg/ 14 minutes per lb, plus another 15 minutes.

You can use the table below to estimate cooking times:

SizeSear @ 200°CRoast @ 180°CTotal
1kg-1.2kg15 mins30-35 mins45-50 mins
1.3kg-1.5kg15 mins40-45 mins55-60 mins
1.6kg-1.7kg 15 mins50-55 mins65-70 mins
1.8kg-2kg15 mins55-60 mins70-75 mins
2.1-2.3kg15 mins64-70 mins79-85 mins
** The exact cook times will depend on the exact shape and size of your chicken, its starting temperature, and also how powerful your air fryer is.
SizeSear @ 400°F*Roast @ 360°F*Total*
2lb-2.5lb 15 mins30-35 mins45-50 mins
2.5lb-3lb 15 mins35-45 mins50-60 mins
3lb-3.5lb 15 mins45-50 mins60-70 mins
3.5lb-4lb15 mins50-60 mins70-80 mins
4lb-5lb15 mins60-70 mins80-85 mins
** The exact cook times will depend on the exact shape and size of your chicken, its starting temperature, and also how powerful your air fryer is.
Slices of air fryer roast chicken with gravy and potatoes.

Storing and reheating

Store any leftover roast chicken in an air-tight container in the refrigerator, and use it within 3 days.

You can reheat the chicken in the air fryer. Air fry for 5-10 minutes until 165°F/ 74°C in the center.

Air fried roast chicken being sliced on a wooden board.

Air Fryer Roast Chicken

4.6 from 47 votes
Everyone loves roast chicken – crispy skin, and juicy yet delicate meat. It's kind of a hassle to cook the traditional way, and so here's my recipe for cooking roast chicken in the air fryer!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time50 minutes
Total Time1 hour 5 minutes
Serves4 Servings

Ingredients

  • 3 lb / 1.5 kg whole chicken
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary

Directions

  • Preheat air fryer to 200°C/ 400°F.
  • Finely chop half the rosemary.
  • Pat chicken dry, then drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with the chopped rosemary, and season well with salt and pepper.
  • Rub seasoning into the chicken. Place the remaining rosemary sprigs inside the cavity.
  • Place prepared roast chicken in air fryer basket, breast side down [Note 1].
  • Roast chicken in the air fryer at 200°C/ 400°F for 15 minutes. Then carefully flip it over.
  • Lower temperature to 180°C/ 360°F, then air fry roast chicken for another 40-50 minutes until it is golden brown and at least 74°C/ 165°F in the center of the thickest part [Note 2].
  • Remove chicken from the air fryer, cover with foil and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before carving and serving. 

Notes

  1. If food tends to stick to your air fryer, you can place the chicken on a small square of parchment (if recommended for your air fryer).
  2. Use an instant-read meat thermometer to check the internal temperature is at least 74°C/ 165°F in the center of the thickest part of the chicken.

Nutrition

Calories: 382kcal  Protein: 30g  Fat: 28g  Saturated Fat: 7g  Cholesterol: 122mg  Sodium: 695mg

Nutrition information is an estimate and provided for informational purposes only.

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Pam

Friday 15th of March 2024

Who knew cooking a whole chicken in the air fryer would be so easy! Thanks for this recipe, we had it hot the first night, and shredded the leftovers for sandwiches the next day.

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