This air fryer whole chicken recipe is crispy on the outside and juicy and moist in the middle. Ready in less than 50 minutes; it’s a fast and easy way to cook an entire chook!
An entire chicken cooked in the air fryer? Yes, you can, and yes it’s incredible.
I typically cook air fryer chicken thighs or air fryer chicken breast for my family on busy weeknights. However, on weekends or when we want something a little extra, the whole bird is the way to go! It’s so much faster than a roast chicken.
Air frying a whole chicken is a great idea if you want to enjoy a tender and juicy chicken with extra crispy skin. Depending on the chicken’s size and your air fryer’s temperature, it can take as little as 45 minutes until it’s done.
We’ve stopped ordering rotisserie chickens now and just make it ourselves.
Table of Contents
Why this recipe works
- 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. Although you can use the drippings to make some epic gravy.
- Juicy and moist meat. Because the air fryer creates hot air circulation around the chicken, it can help keep the meat moist and juicy. I don’t need to make elaborate spice rub or marinade to keep it flavorful.
- Healthier. Using a fraction of the butter and oil that an oven-baked chicken would require, it makes a fabulously low carb and keto friendly dinner.
If you’ve ever roasted a whole chicken before, you’ll be familiar with the simple ingredients needed. Here is everything you will need:
- Whole chicken. We used a 3-pound chicken, which is ideal for feeding 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 crisps up the skin.
- Salt and pepper. To season.
- Spices. I used smoked paprika, Italian seasoning, and mustard powder. You can swap it out for your favorite poultry seasoning (this typically also includes garlic powder, onion powder, dried basil and oregano).
- Rosemary. Fresh rosemary adds a sweet aroma and flavor.
Find the printable recipe with measurements below.
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. Lightly grease the base with cooking spray.
Step 2- Season the chicken. Pat dry chicken with a 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 and also inside the cavity.
Step 3- Set up the chicken. Place the chicken in the air fryer, chicken breast side down.
Step 4- Air fry the chicken. Air fry for 25 minutes, flip and cook the other side for another 25 minutes. When the internal temperature of the chicken is 165F, remove it from the air fryer.
Step 5- 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. I’ve tried this chicken in both my Phillips XXL Air Fryer and my Ninja Dual Air Fryer and the cooking times have been almost identical (even though the Ninja is much bigger).
When cooked at 200C/400F, here are the approximate cooking times.
- 3-4 pound chicken: 40-50 minutes
- 4-5 pound chicken: 50-55 minutes
- 5-6 pound chicken: 55-60 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.
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 freezer 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.
More air fryer chicken recipes
- Air Fryer chicken drumsticks
- Air fryer chicken nuggets
- Air Fryer fried chicken
- Air fryer chicken parmesan
- Air fryer chicken tenderloins
- Air fryer cornish hen
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. Grease the air fryer basket with cooking spray.
- 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 25 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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