This air fryer whole chicken recipe is crispy on the outside and juicy and moist in the middle. Ready in less than 45 minutes; it’s a fast and easy way to cook an entire chook!
We cook plenty of chicken recipes in our air fryer.
On regular rotation are air fryer chicken thighs or fried chicken. Still, after our recent obsession with cooking a whole chicken in the instant pot, we wanted to replicate that but in our trusty handy dandy air fryer.
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Why this recipe works
Air frying a whole chicken is a great idea if you want to enjoy a crispy, tender and juicy chicken that’s cooked super fast. Depending on the chicken’s size and your air fryer’s temperature, it can take as little as 35 minutes until it’s done.
We’ve stopped ordering rotisserie chickens and now make our own because it’s:
- Quick. Compared to an oven-roasted chicken, air frying takes a fraction of the time.
- No mess. Like with air fryer chicken wings, the air fryer catches excess juices, and the clean-up is minimal.
- Juicy and moist meat. Because the air fryer creates hot air circulation around the chicken, it can help keep the meat moist and juicy (have you tried our air fryer chicken breast yet?)
- Healthier. Using a fraction of the butter and oil that an oven-baked chicken would require, this not only is healthier but it’s also naturally low carb and keto friendly!
What I love the most about this recipe is that it’s the perfect thing to make to feed a crowd, especially in our family, where everyone has a different preference for their favorite cut of chicken!
If you’ve ever roasted a whole chicken before, you’ll be familiar with the simple ingredients needed for this recipe. Here is what you’ll need:
- Whole chicken. We used a 3-pound chicken which is the deal size to feed 4-6 people and can fit in most air fryers. If you own a larger air fryer, you can use a larger chicken and increase the cooking time (see timing below).
- Olive oil. Keeps the chicken moist and with a crispy skin.
- Salt and pepper. To season.
- Smoked paprika. For that subtle smoky flavor.
- Italian seasonings. A combination of dried herbs, including oregano, basil, rosemary, and marjoram.
- Rosemary. Fresh rosemary adds a sweet aroma and flavor.
- Mustard powder.
- Garlic powder. Or onion powder.
How to cook a whole chicken in the air fryer?
In just four easy steps, your air fryer whole chicken will be ready to enjoy:
Step 1- Preheat the air fryer
Preheat the air fryer to 180C or 350F.
Step 2- Season the chicken
Pat dry chicken with paper towel and drizzle some olive oil. Now, mix all the spices, then season the chicken. Rub the spices all over the exterior of the chicken. Remove the giblets from inside the chicken and rub them with some of the spice mix.
Step 3- air fry the whole chicken
Place the chicken in the air fryer, breast side down.
Air fry for 25 minutes, flip and cook the other side for another 20 minutes. When the internal temperature of the chicken is 165F, remove it from the air fryer.
Step 4- Rest and Serve
Let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Cooking time and chicken size
The cooking time for a whole chicken in an air fryer will depend on the size of your air fryer. Here is a general guideline for cooking times for different size chickens in an air fryer (when cooked at 200C/400F):
- 3-4 pound chicken: 30-40 minutes
- 4-5 pound chicken: 40-50 minutes
- 5-6 pound chicken: 50-60 minutes
Always be sure to use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. Once it is at least 165F, it’s ready to enjoy.
Tips to make the best recipe
- Trussing the chicken helps it cook evenly and helps it hold its shape while it’s in the air fryer. To truss a chicken, tie the legs together with kitchen twine and tuck the wings under the body.
- Placing a rack in the bottom of the air fryer basket can help lift the chicken off the bottom and allow for more even cooking. These can be found at homeware stores or online.
- Brining the chicken before cooking it in the air fryer can help keep it moist and flavorful. To brine a chicken, mix together a solution of water, salt, and sugar (or other seasonings) and soak the chicken in it for several hours or overnight.
- Swap out the spices used in this recipe for your favorite chicken seasoning blend.
To store. Place leftover chicken in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
To freeze. Once the chicken has cooled to room temperature, place in a ziplock bag and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. You can also shred it before doing so.
Reheating. Microwave portions of the chicken for 20-30 seconds or reheat in a preheated oven until warm.
Shredded leftover chicken is excellent for soups (like Mexican or chicken noodle soup), sandwiches, or over salads!
Recommended tools to make this recipe
- Air fryer. My go-to air fryer easily fits a whole chicken and cooks it perfectly.
- Tongs. For the removal of the chicken.
- Chef’s knife. A must-have for every kitchen.
More air fryer chicken recipes
Frequently asked questions
To fit all a whole chicken in the air fryer basket, you’ll need a 6-quart air fryer to fit it in.
Yes, you can cook two half-chickens in the air fryer. Reduce the cooking time by 10 minutes and brush oil on the skinless side of the chicken.
You can reheat a whole chicken in the air fryer. Preheat the air fryer for 5 minutes, then regularly turn the chicken in it while it’s heating up.
Air Fryer Whole Chicken
- Preheat the air fryer to 180C/350F.
- Pat dry the chicken, then drizzle the olive oil on all sides.
- In a small bowl, combine all the spices. Rub the spices all over the chicken.
- Place the chicken in the air fryer breast side down. Air fry for 25 minutes before flipping and cooking for a further 20 minutes. Once the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165F, remove it from the air fryer.
- Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before carving.
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Recipe looks great and I am going to use it.