How to Roast a Whole Chicken in an Air Fryer

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Roast a whole chicken in an air fryer! It is a great way to roast chicken. Tender and flavorful, with perfectly crisp skin on the outside.

A whole roast chicken in front of air fryer
Air Fryer Recipes

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How to Roast Chicken in the Air Fryer

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!

Roast chicken is such a great family dinner, and air frying really is the best way to roast a whole chicken. It is so quick and easy, and with one little trick gives you moist tender chicken that’s flavorful and still crispy on the outside (and doesn’t get stuck to the air fryer basket).

Cooked whole chicken in air fryer basket
Air fry a whole chicken – its perfectly roasted!

How to Prepare and Season Chicken for Air Frying

To prepare a chicken for air frying, pat it dry, and season to your liking. Some seasonings I like to use are:

  • Simple salt and pepper
  • Traditional rosemary and thyme
  • Cajun
  • Lemon pepper
  • Garlic and rosemary

First drizzle the chicken with oil, then add seasoning. To get good coverage with the seasoning you should rub it in evenly over the whole chicken. But, if you are in a rush you can add seasoning on top once it is in the air fryer basket (adding more to the underneath once you flip it during cooking).

Placing the Chicken in the Air Fryer

The chicken needs to sit on a small square of parchment or baking paper for the first cooking period. This is to prevent it from sticking to the air fryer basket as it starts to cook from raw, and can be removed when you flip the chicken over.

Place chicken in air fryer basket either side up. 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.

Whole chicken in the air fryer basket
Look, you can fit a whole chicken in the air fryer basket!

How Long to Roast a Whole Chicken in an Air Fryer

Chicken is cooked correctly when the internal temperature reads at least 165°F (75°C). As for how long to roast it, I follow the approximate chicken roast cooking times in the table below:

Chicken SizeAir Frying TimeResting Time
2.5-3lb45-50 mins10 minutes
3-4lb50-60 mins10 minutes
4-6lb1hr 15mins – 1hr 30 mins10 minutes
Estimated cooking times for whole chicken in air fryer

You can tell when chicken is cooked because the juices run clear when you stick a knife in the thickest part. This is not something that you want to get wrong, as under-cooked chicken can be dangerous. It should be white the whole way through, with no pink remaining.

The best and safest way to tell how long to cook a chicken in the air fryer is to use a meat thermometer. If you don’t have one, please consider getting one. Think of it as an investment, you will never again have to worry about whether your chicken is under-cooked, and will never ruin it by overcooking!

I recently discovered the Meater [affiliate link] – this is a truly wireless meat thermometer. It is like a skewer that you stick in the chicken and then uses Bluetooth to tell your phone when the meat is ready (you have to keep your phone nearby). I use it way more than I expected, and it is just perfect to use with an air fryer as there are no wires.

With chicken you are aiming for an internal temperature of 165°F (75°C), but remember that the temperature of the meat will continue to rise a little while it rests, so you can remove it from the air fryer when it reaches around 163°F, but continue to measure the temperature while it rests to ensure that it does reach the target!

Roast chicken in air fryer basket
Roast chicken in air fryer basket.

Air Frying the Roast Chicken

My 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 half way through the cooking time.

This techniques captures the juices that are in their way draining out of the chicken and directs then back into the center of the bird (in the same way that a rotisserie cooked chicken does).

To make this easier to do, I always sit the chicken on a small square of baking paper to start with. This ensures it does not stick to the air fryer basket. By the time you flip it the skin will have started to crisp, so it is unlikely to stick to the basket so you can remove the paper if you wish.

The easiest way to flip a chicken in an air fryer that I have found is to pop a plate on to of the basket, and carefully lift the basket out of the pan and turn it 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 it off the plate back into the air fryer basket. Remove the square of parchment if if is stuck to the top of the chicken, and put the chicken back in the air fryer to roast for the remaining cook time.

What to Serve with Air Fryer Chicken

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 cook them in batches.

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 10 minutes or so.

Try:

Air Fryer Whole Chicken Recipe

A whole roast chicken in front of air fryer
Yield: 4 Servings

Air Fryer Roast Chicken

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

How to roast chicken in an air fryer.

Ingredients

  • 3lb whole chicken,
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat air fryer to 390°F (200°C).    
  2. Pat chicken half dry. Rub with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Place square of baking paper in air fryer basket, and place chicken on top.
    Whole chicken in the air fryer basket
  4. Cook chicken in air fryer for 25 minutes.
  5. When the time is up, remove the air fryer basket, flip the chicken over and cook in air fryer for another 25-30 minutes. 
  6. The chicken is cooked if the juices run clear when you stick a knife in the thickest part. If you are unsure check with a meat thermometer - internal temperature should be 165°F (75°C). 
  7. Cover the chicken with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving and serving. 

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 382Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 7gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 122mgSodium: 695mgProtein: 30g

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