Easy Air Fryer Whole Chicken Recipe

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This easy Air Fryer Whole Chicken recipe is one of the easiest ways to make a full roasted chicken with perfectly crispy skin and the juiciest chicken, without heating up the house with the oven.

Whole Cooked Chicken

We roast a whole chicken at our house quite often for dinner because it’s great to have for leftovers for the rest of the week. You can do a quick dry rub or try this Lemon Pepper Chicken for a different version to keep things exciting.

Why You’ll Love It

  • Making a whole chicken in the air fryer is one of the easiest, hands-off ways to cook a whole chicken and have it turn out with crispy skin but still so juicy on the inside.
  • It’s faster than oven-roasting, done in under an hour, saving you time and making it a viable option for weeknight dinners. It also ensures you have left over chicken for sandwiches and salads throughout the week.
  • You won’t have to deal with oil splatters or a dirty oven, just a straightforward, easy-to-clean appliance.

Marina says: 5 stars
Fantastic way to cook a whole chicken and get this amazing crispy skin using an air fryer

If you want to cook more chicken in the air fryer, you should also give these KFC copycat air fryer chicken drumsticks a try. They’re perfect for a weeknight when you don’t have time to do the whole chicken.

» Looking for more? Try air fryer bang bang shrimp and pork belly bites. See all our air fryer recipes.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Raw Whole Chicken
  • Whole chicken – we used roughly a 3-pound chicken. Just make sure whatever chicken you buy fits in your air fryer basket with a little space around for the air to circulate.
  • Butter – I use salted butter that is melted but not hot. You could use olive oil as well.
  • Seasonings – You can get creative here if you want. I use paprika, seasoning salt, black pepper, garlic powder, dried rosemary and dried sage. This homemade dry rub or Cajun seasoning would work well also.

Equipment Needed

  • Air Fryer – An air fryer with a basket or tray large enough to fit your whole chicken. I use a Ninja MaxXL and there’s room for a 3-4 pound chicken in the basket.
  • Basting brush This is to brush the wet rub onto the chicken, whic you can also do with your hands, if you’d rather.
  • Forks or tongs – I use 2 large forks to lift the chicken out of the basket to turn it over. You can also do this with tongs.

Not all air fryers will cook at the same rate, so it’s very important to check the internal temperature of your chicken at regular intervals to ensure it gets cooked to the proper temperature. I use this handy instant read thermometer by Thermapen.

Cut Up Chicken

Expert Tips for Air Fryer Chicken

  • Check on the chicken a few times during cooking to make sure the top isn’t burning. If it’s too close to the heating element, it can get too dark. If it does, cover the top with a piece of tin foil or turn the heat down.
  • Many air fryers don’t circulate air perfectly evenly, so halfway through the cooking time, it’s a good idea to rotate the chicken. Whether you flip it or simply adjust its position, this ensures that the bird cooks uniformly, giving you consistent results.
  • Not all air fryers cook at the same rate, so yours might need more or less time than mine did. The best way to know when it’s done is to check with a meat thermometer to make sure the meat has reached 165 degrees F.
  • Rest the chicken for at least 10 minutes after cooking to let the juices redistribute so they don’t flow out when you slice.

How to Cook a Whole Chicken in the Air Fryer

Step One: Prep the Chicken

Make sure whatever chicken you buy can fit into your basket. I have a 5.6 quart air fryer and it fits a 3 lb chicken, but would not be big enough for a 5 lb chicken.

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator around 30 minutes before you want to start cooking it, so it can come up to in temperature. It’s okay if you skip this extra time, but it might mean cooking it for a minute or two longer.

Mix up your wet rub and brush it all over the chicken’s exterior, making sure to get into the crevices.

pressure cooker chicken

Step Two: Air Fry

I always find that it’s best to let the air fryer pre-heat for a few minutes. It helps keep the food from sticking to the basket, and just like the oven, it helps keep the cooking time consistent.

So set your air fryer for a few minutes longer than you intend to cook it for. In this case, we’ll set it for 60 minutes.

After a 5-minute warm up, place the seasoned chicken breast-side down in the basket and start the clock. There’s no need to oil the basket, since the chicken is coated with butter.

Whole Cooked Chicken

After 30 minutes, turn the chicken over so it’s breast-side up.

Whole Cooked Chicken

This can be a bit challenging, because you need to be careful not to upset the beautiful crisping skin. If you use tongs to grasp it around the center, the skin will likely break. Instead, I use 2 forks on either end to spear it and lift it out, then you can rotate it and put it back in.

Step Three: Remove & Rest

When you near the end of the cooking time, start checking the internal temperature of the chicken. The thighs will cook faster and will reach the correct internal temp faster, so be sure to check the breast, without touching the bone.

It should reach the internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Continue cooking and checking every 5 minutes until that temperature is reached.

Cut Up Chicken

When it’s done, remove it from the basket to rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting into it. This will make sure all the juiciness doesn’t run out the second you cut in.

How to Store & Reheat

  • Before storing, let the chicken cool down to room temperature to avoid moisture buildup, which can make the chicken soggy.
  • Use air-tight containers or sealable plastic bags to store the chicken. If you’re using bags, try to squeeze out as much air as possible to minimize freezer burn if you’re freezing them.
  • Store in the refrigerator if you plan to eat it within 3-4 days. For longer storage, freeze the leftovers. In the freezer, it can last up to 4 months. Just make sure to label the container or bag with the date, so you know how long they’ve been stored.

Reheating Chicken

  • If frozen, thaw the chicken in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. This ensures even reheating and reduces the risk of bacterial growth.
  • You can put the remaining chicken back into the air fryer to reheat it. Air fry on 375 degrees F in the basket for about 5-12 minutes. It will take longer if the meat is still frozen.

Questions About the Recipe

Will the Chicken Have Crispy Skin?

When you take the chicken out of the air fryer, you won’t believe how crispy the skin is. The air circulation helps get it super crispy and crunchy. It’s so delicious, especially with the rub on it. You won’t be able to resist. The best part is that every part of the chicken gets crisped equally. No soggy spots like when you cook it in the oven.

How Can I Tell When The Chicken Is Done?

Poultry should reach the internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Continue cooking and checking every 5 minutes until that temperature is reached. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting into it. This will make sure all the juiciness doesn’t run out the second you cut in.

Can I Freeze The Leftovers?

Yes. While you can use the leftovers for all kinds of things you can definitely freeze the leftover chicken to use later. Fill a freezer bag with chicken, squeeze out all the air and seal. Store for up to 3 months in the freezer. Thaw chicken in the refrigerator overnight.

A whole chicken is such a great meal to make because it keeps on giving. You can easily make multiple meals from the one chicken and it’s just as easy as your old method of buying a rotisserie chicken. Then you can use the left overs for other things, like chicken salad, these delicious chicken flautas or these chicken southwestern eggrolls.

Air frying a chicken is an easy, no-brainer for dinner.

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Whole Cooked Chicken

Easy Air Fryer Whole Chicken Recipe

Did you know you can cook a whole chicken in the Air Fryer? Not only is it one of the easiest ways to make a chicken, it comes out with crispy skin and the juiciest chicken.
5 from 19 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 6 Servings
Calories: 303kcal
Author: Laura Lynch

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds chicken
  • 1/4 cup butter or olive oil melted but not hot
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried sage

Instructions

  • Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking.
  • Preheat the air fryer on 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
  • Pat the chicken dry. Mix the butter or olive oil and seasonings in a small bowl. Brush the entire chicken with the seasoning paste.
  • Set the chicken, breast side down in the air fryer basket. Cook for 30 minutes. Turn the chicken over and cook for another 20-30 minutes. (50 minutes is typically enough for a 3 lb chicken – cook less if your chicken is smaller and more if bigger). Confirm that the internal temperature of the chicken has risen to 165 degrees F (75 degrees C). If not, continue cooking at 5 minute intervals until done.
  • Allow the chicken to rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Equipment Needed

Notes

  • Check on the chicken a few times during cooking to make sure the top isn’t burning. If it’s too close to the heating element, it can get too dark. If it does, cover the top with a piece of tin foil or turn the heat down.
  • Many air fryers don’t circulate air perfectly evenly, so halfway through the cooking time, it’s a good idea to rotate the chicken. Whether you flip it or simply adjust its position, this ensures that the bird cooks uniformly, giving you consistent results.
  • Not all air fryers cook at the same rate, so yours might need more or less time than mine did. The best way to know when it’s done is to check with a meat thermometer to make sure the meat has reached 165 degrees F.
  • Rest the chicken for at least 10 minutes after cooking to let the juices redistribute so they don’t flow out when you slice.

Nutrition

Calories: 303kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 338mg | Potassium: 206mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 471IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 1mg

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Whole Chicken

10 thoughts on “Easy Air Fryer Whole Chicken Recipe

  1. Jessie says:

    5 stars
    I usually use my oven, but it was great to break free! I have a double basket air fryer so I cooked the veggies in the other side at the same time.

  2. Julia says:

    5 stars
    Wow, this is so helpful, but I think I need to upgrade my air fryer! My chicken just barely fit in and there wasn’t much room for air circulation. Do you think that affects the crispy skin? I mean, it was still crispy, just the sides of the legs weren’t.

  3. Linda says:

    5 stars
    Oh yum! That chicken was so juicy and delicious. I’m a big fan of an air fryer because I don’t like cleaning the oven. Hah Now I just need to get a thermometer.

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