Air fryer whole chicken makes a delicious dinner, tender and flavorful, with perfectly crisp skin on the outside. Best of all it is actually very quick and easy to roast a whole chicken in an air fryer! 😋
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How to cook a whole chicken in the air fryer
Roasted chicken makes a delicious family dinner, and if you cook it in the air fryer it’s quick and easy! If you’ve never tried cooking a whole chicken in an air fryer before, it’s time to give it a try!
Air frying a whole chicken is much quicker than oven roasting, and one easy trick ensures the chicken remains moist and tender on the inside and perfectly crispy on the outside, just like a rotisserie chicken.
I recently upgraded my Philips Viva air fryer to the xxl model, and I am so excited to be able to cook a whole chicken in my air fryer now! If you have a smaller air fryer or are just cooking for one or two, then you should try my air fryer half chicken recipe.
Air frying is such a great way to cook chicken, it is quick and hands-off, but you still you get delicious crispy fried chicken! Some other great air fryer chicken recipes to try are air fryer chicken breast, air fryer whole chicken wings, or air fryer chicken burgers.
Scroll down for the printable card for this air fryer whole chicken recipe, or read on for all the details.
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.
Oil. A little oil is needed for roasting, especially if you want to get really crispy skin. I usually use light olive oil, but any cooking oil with a high smoke point will work (e.g. avocado oil, vegetable oil). For a healthier version you can use a cooking spray.
Seasoning. I usually use keep things simple with seasoning and use salt and pepper. However, you can use any spice rub, spice mix or seasoning blend that you like with chicken.
Some ideas for other seasonings to try are:
- Simple salt and pepper
- Traditional rosemary and thyme
- Cajun seasoning
- Smoked paprika and
- Lemon pepper dry rub
- Garlic and rosemary (use garlic powder or crushed garlic cloves)
- Sage an onion powder
Step 1: Season the chicken. First pat the raw chicken dry with a paper towel, then drizzle the chicken with oil, and add the seasoning rub. To get good coverage with the seasoning, rub it in evenly over the whole chicken, including inside the cavity.
Step 2: Place chicken in the air fryer. Place the chicken in air fryer basket presentation side down. Because we need to flip it during cooking it will end up the other way up when it finishes cooking, so if you have a preference then remember to start it upside down.
Tip: If your air fryer is prone to sticking it is a good idea to place 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 if you are unsure]
Step 3: Air fry chicken. Roast the chicken in the air fryer at 390°F/200°C.
Step 4: Flip the chicken. The secret to air frying a whole chicken and ensuring that it comes out perfectly moist (not dried out like some recipes you will try) is to flip the chicken over halfway through the cooking time.
This technique prevents so many of the juices draining out of the chicken during cooking and directs then back into the center of the bird (in the same way that cooking a rotisserie chicken does).
The easiest way to flip a chicken in an air fryer that I have found is:
- lift the air fryer basket out of the pan,
- pop a plate on top of the basket, and hold it in place
- carefully turn the basket and plate over so the chicken gently falls onto the plate (don’t worry, it doesn’t have far to fall!).
- Then it is as easy as sliding the chicken off the plate back into the air fryer basket.
Step 5: Finish cooking. Continue air frying the chicken until it is golden brown and has reached at least 165°F/ 75°C in the center of the thickest part.
How long to air fry a whole chicken
The cooking times for air frying a whole chicken depends on the size of the chicken you have. To estimate how long to roast it, I follow the approximate air frying times in the table below:
|Chicken Size||Air Frying Time||Resting Time|
|2.5-3lb||45-50 mins||10 minutes|
|3-4lb||50-60 mins||10 minutes|
|4-6lb||1hr 15mins – 1hr 30 mins||10 minutes|
The exact cook times will also depend on how powerful your air fryer is.
Chicken is cooked correctly when the internal temperature reads at least 165°F/ 75°C in the center of this thickest part. The best and safest way to tell how long to cook a chicken in the air fryer is to use a meat thermometer.
Any instant-read thermometer will do the trick, but I often use the Meater* when I’m cooking roast chicken. This is a truly wireless meat thermometer that uses Bluetooth to tell your phone when the meat is ready. It is perfect to use with an air fryer as there are no wires.
I normally serve roasted chicken with a side of vegetables and roast or mashed potatoes.
If I’m cooking a full-sized whole chicken then my air fryer is close to capacity and I can’t also air fry vegetables at the same time, so I have to air fry them separately.
I usually toss in some vegetables to pre-cook for 5 or 10 minutes before cooking the chicken. Then remove them to a bowl and cover with foil until the chicken is done roasting.
You can then pop the veg back in to the air fryer to finish cooking while the chicken rests for at least 10 minutes.
Storing and reheating
Store any leftover chicken in an air-tight container in the refrigerator, and use within 3 days.
You can reheat the chicken in the air fryer – air fry for 4-5 minutes until warmed through. Alternatively, you can reheat it in the microwave, 2-3 minutes on high.
Air Fryer Whole Chicken Recipe Card
How to cook a whole chicken in an air fryer.
- 3lb whole chicken
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt (kosher or flaked)
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- (optional) seasoning rub
- Preheat air fryer to 390°F (200°C).
- Pat chicken dry. Drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Rub seasoning into the chicken including inside the cavity.
- Place chicken in air fryer basket [Note 1].
- Cook chicken in air fryer for 25 minutes.
- When the time is up, remove the air fryer basket, carefully flip the chicken over and air fry for another 25-30 minutes until it is golden brown and 165°F/ 75°C in the center of the thickest part [Note 2].
- Remove chicken from the air fryer to a plate or cutting board. Cover with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving and serving.
- If your air fryer is prone to sticking you can place the chicken on a small square of parchment if recommended for your air fryer.
- Use an instant-read met thermometer to check the internal temperature is at least 165°F (75°C) in the center of the thickest part of the chicken.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 382Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 7gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 122mgSodium: 695mgProtein: 30g
You may also like:
- Air fryer chicken tenders
- Air fryer chicken breast
- Air fryer chicken thighs
- Air fryer chicken wings
- Air fryer popcorn chicken
- Air fryer chicken recipes
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