Air Fryer Whole Chicken is crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and perfectly cooked every time! This recipe only takes 5 minutes to prep, and the rest is hands-off thanks to the air fryer.
As if I haven’t mentioned it before, I’ll say it again: I LOVE Air Fryer Recipes! They’re quick and easy, and the clean-up is pretty low maintenance. I make Air Fryer Chicken Breast, Air Fryer Chicken Thighs, Air Fryer Chicken Wings and Air Fryer Turkey Breast regularly, but this is the first time I’ve used it to cook a whole chicken. I usually Roast a Whole Chicken, but was curious how the air fryer recipe would compare. All I can say is “Wow!” The chicken is crispy, tender, and so full of flavor! I used the leftovers to make Chicken Salad and chicken sandwiches so I can enjoy it all week.
Air Fryer Rotisserie Chicken
Cooking a whole chicken in the air fryer is a game changer for your weeknight dinners! I can get golden, crispy skin without much oil and rich, slow-cooked flavor in less than an hour! This air fryer whole chicken recipe is also great if you’re following low carb, keto and paleo diets.
How To Make Air Fryer Whole Chicken
- Whole chicken — For my air fryer, I use a 3-pound whole chicken. Remember to check the size of your air fryer before buying a chicken to make sure it’ll fit.
- Seasoning blend — I like to season the chicken with a mix of garlic powder, onion powder, sweet paprika, cumin, kosher salt, and black pepper. This is my favorite poultry seasoning mix.
- Oil — For simplicity’s sake, I recommend cooking spray. You can also use regular oil and rub it in with your hands or a pastry brush.
Prepare and season the chicken:
- Before you begin, remove the chicken from the fridge and leave it out for about 30 minutes. Remove any parts that may be in the cavity of the bird. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.
- Preheat the air fryer if your model requires you to do so.
- In a small bowl, add the garlic powder, onion powder, sweet paprika, cumin, salt, and black pepper. Mix the seasonings well to combine.
- Spray the chicken with olive oil or avocado oil and evenly rub the spices in. Be sure to season the chicken thoroughly and coat it all over. I don’t mind doing this step with my hands, but if you prefer not to, I suggest wearing gloves or using a pastry brush.
Cook the whole chicken in the air fryer:
- Using a piece of butcher’s twine, tightly secure the legs of the chicken together. Then, place the whole chicken (chicken breast side down) in the air fryer basket.
- Air fry the chicken at 350°F for about 25 minutes. At this point, flip the chicken over and continue cooking for an additional 25 minutes. The chicken is done cooking when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
- Note: The cooking time will vary depending on the size of your chicken, and you may need to adjust accordingly. I always recommend using a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature and make sure the chicken is cooked through.
Rest, carve, and serve:
- Remove the chicken from the air fryer and transfer it to a cutting board to rest for at least 10 minutes. I like to cover it with a piece of aluminum foil while it is resting.
- Then, carve and serve the chicken with your favorite sides.
- My number one tip for getting golden, crispy skin is to pat the chicken dry very well before seasoning it. The moisture from taking the chicken out of the fridge will make it difficult for the skin to crisp up.
- I highly recommend using a food thermometer to check the internal temperature. This way, you’ll know when it reaches 165°F and is cooked to perfection.
- Be sure to give the chicken time to rest before you cut it. This will give the juices time to redistribute and prevent the meat from drying out. I aim for a rest time of at least 10 minutes, if not a little bit longer.
- Before you toss the carcass, I recommend turning it into a nutritious, flavorful bone broth! For step-by-step instructions, check out my homemade turkey broth recipe.
How To Store Leftovers
- To Store: Once the leftovers have cooled, transfer them to an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. I recommend keeping the chicken as whole as possible because it will help the meat retain more moisture and prevent it from drying out.
- To Freeze: Whenever I have leftovers from a whole chicken, I’ll freeze some of it to have an easy protein on hand for soups and casseroles. I recommend shredding the extra chicken and storing it in a freezer-safe bag or container for up to 6 months.
- To Reheat: To keep the skin crispy, I suggest reheating leftovers in the oven or the air fryer at 375°F for 3-4 minutes, flipping halfway through. You can also reheat leftover chicken in the microwave, covering it with a damp paper towel to help keep it moist.
What To Serve with Air Fryer Whole Chicken
- Air fryer veggies: During the time that it takes to rest and slice the chicken, I can make a delicious, healthy side in the air fryer, like crispy asparagus or flavorful Brussels sprouts.
- A fresh salad: For a quick lunch or light dinner, I’ll add sliced air fryer chicken to a simple arugula salad, crunchy red cabbage salad, or fresh Mediterranean salad.
- Comforting casseroles: This healthy green bean casserole and cheesy cauliflower casserole are two of my favorite sides to pair with tender chicken. The combo is so cozy and satisfying!
- A side of potatoes: I absolutely love chicken with a side of potatoes! I like to rotate between potato wedges, potatoes au gratin, and creamy mashed potatoes. If I want something a little lighter, I’ll go with mashed sweet potatoes or mashed cauliflower.
- Seasoning combinations: I never get bored with this recipe because it’s so easy to switch up the seasonings. Some other dry rub combos I enjoy are Herbs de Provence, smokey BBQ, zesty lemon pepper, and spicy chipotle.
- Herb compound butter: Swap the dry rub for a compound butter made with garlic and fresh herbs such as parsley, basil, oregano, rosemary, or thyme. For expert tips, check out my homemade garlic butter recipe.
- Leftover inspiration: There are SO many ways to use leftover Air Fryer whole chicken. Some of my favorite easy recipes are these chicken zucchini boats, chicken noodle soup, and chicken fajita meal prep bowls.
- Air Fryer: My favorite part about this recipe is that the Air Fryer does the work.
- Meat thermometer: I cannot recommend using a meat thermometer enough! It’s the best way to avoid over or undercooked chicken.
- Butcher’s twine: To help the chicken cook evenly, I suggest using a piece of butcher’s twine to secure the legs together.
Frequently Asked Questions
I know it can seem intimidating to carve a whole chicken, but it’s actually pretty simple! First, remove the butcher’s twine and use a sharp knife to separate the chicken legs. Next, remove both of the chicken wings. Then, carefully cut down the center of the chicken along the breastbone and remove both of the chicken breasts. Finally, cut the meat into slices and enjoy!
The air fryer is a great healthy option for cooking a whole chicken. With the air fryer, I can get crispy, mouthwatering chicken without excess butter or oil. Plus, any extra fat drips to the bottom of the air fryer so the chicken is juicy and tender without being greasy or oily.
The cooking time will vary depending on the size of your chicken. My rule of thumb is about 45-50 minutes for a 3-pound chicken and around 60 minutes for a 4-pound chicken. I always recommend using a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature at the thickest part of the chicken. It will be cooked to perfection once it reaches 165°F.
- First, remove the chicken from the fridge and leave it out for about 30 minutes before cooking.
- In a small bowl, add garlic powder, onion powder, sweet paprika, salt, black pepper and cumin. Mix all together.
- Spray the chicken with avocado oil or olive oil and rub the spices all over, evenly.
- Then, tightly tie the legs of the chicken together using a piece of butcher’s twine and place the whole chicken (belly side down) in the air fryer basket.
- Air fry the chicken at 350°F for about 25 minutes. Then flip over, and continue cooking for 25 minutes more, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
- Transfer it to a cutting board and let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving and serving.
- For golden, crispy skin, pat the chicken very dry before seasoning it.
- Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature and determine when the chicken is done.
- Allow the chicken time to rest before you cut it to redistribute the juices.
- Before you toss the carcass, turn it into a nutritious, flavorful bone broth!
- To Store: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Keeping the chicken as whole as possible will prevent it from drying out in the fridge.
- To Freeze: Shred the leftover chicken and store in a freezer-safe bag or container for up to 6 months.
- To Reheat: For crispy skin, reheat leftovers in the oven or air fryer at 375°F for 3-4 minutes, flipping halfway through. You can also reheat leftovers in the microwave.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.