This air fryer whole chicken is tender and juicy in the middle, has crispy, well-seasoned skin, is super simple to make, and cooks in about an hour (or 70-80 from frozen!) for perfect results every time!
As a household of one, I’m not churning out a full roast dinner regularly. I do love meal-prepping an entire chicken to use in various recipes throughout the week, though. And I have faithfully used my recipe for whole roasted chicken for several years. However, since its purchase, I’ve discovered that air fryer whole chicken is the perfect method for super tender, juicy meat and crispy skin with the least amount of time and effort!
Can You Air Fry A Whole Chicken
Well, this recipe certainly wouldn’t exist if you couldn’t. However, more than being able to cook a whole chicken in an air fryer, I encourage it!
As long as you choose a chicken that fits your air fryer basket, cooking a whole chicken in an air fryer is super simple. It requires little effort for the best results, avoiding dry chicken every single time! You can even air fry frozen whole chicken when you forget to thaw the meat first (it happens!).
Even better, you need just a few simple pantry spices to make the most delicious seasoning. It’s perfect for taking this air fryer roasted chicken to the next level while containing way less sodium than store-bought rotisserie chicken and is easily tweakable to your tastes. It’s also cheaper to cook it yourself – you’ll never want to buy rotisserie chicken again.
After eating some immediately, Sunday roast style, leftover air fryer whole chicken is perfect for slicing or shredding to add to soups, casseroles, sandwiches, wraps, salads, and more!
What You Need to Air Fryer Whole Chicken
This air fry whole chicken recipe is low-carb, keto, gluten-free, and prepared with just a handful of simple ingredients.
- Chicken: Choose the size of the chicken based on your air fryer basket size. I like to use a 3-5 lb chicken (fresh or frozen, though I prefer fresh when possible).
- Olive oil: This will help the seasonings adhere to the meat and makes for crispier chicken skin. Melted butter would also work. Other neutral oil would also work.
- Vegetables: I love stuffing this air fryer roast chicken with an aromatic blend of onion, garlic, celery, and carrot.
- Rosemary: Use a few fresh rosemary sprigs to add to the veggies when stuffing the bird.
How To Season Whole Chicken For Air Fryer
My preferred seasoning for this air fryer roasted chicken is made entirely of inexpensive pantry spices:
- Black pepper
- Paprika (regular or smoked)
- Dried oregano
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Lemon zest or dried lemon powder (optional but absolutely delicious).
How To Cook Whole Chicken In An Air Fryer
Cooking a whole chicken in an air fryer is amazingly simple and requires minimal effort and hands-on prep time.
First, prepare the vegetables by cleaning and peeling the carrots, garlic, and onion. Also rinse the celery, trimming the ends if needed.
I like to stuff the chicken with the whole veggies, but you can chop them into smaller pieces, if preferred.
Then, pat the chicken dry with paper towels, and stuff the cavity with the vegetables and rosemary. Remove the giblets first, if the chicken has them.
Prepare the seasoning by combining all the spices and oil in a small bowl. Then rub it all over the chicken.
You can also lift the skin on top and rub it underneath it to spread even more flavor.
How Long to Air Fryer a Whole Chicken
First, spray or brush oil/cooking spray in your air fryer basket, then place the chicken breast side down.
Cook for 50 minutes at 355ºF/180ºC, flip the chicken and cook for a further 10-12 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken is 165ºF/74ºC.
For crispier skin, flip the chicken after 35-40 minutes. To test the temperature, use a meat or instant read thermometer and stick it in the thickest part of the chicken (the inner thigh), avoiding any bones as they can throw off the readings.
Finally, remove the chicken from the air fryer and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. This allows the juices to settle for super juicy chicken. Check my post Whole Roasted Chicken to how to carve a chicken.
Can You Cook Frozen Whole Chicken in an Air Fryer?
If you accidentally forget to thaw the meat but have a roast planned for this evening, fear not. It’s possible to cook air fryer frozen whole chicken.
First, place the chicken in your air fryer basket, breast-side-up. Cook it for about 12-16 minutes at 200ºF/95ºC or until the chicken has almost thawed.
Then, remove any giblets from the chicken (if there are any), stuff the cavity with the veggies and rosemary (if using), pat the chicken dry with paper towels, and season the chicken’s outside with the oil-spice blend.
Pop it back in the air fryer at 360ºF/180ºC for around 35 minutes, then flip and continue to cook for another 15-25 minutes (based on the size of the bird) or until the inside temperature of the chicken reaches 165 ºF/74ºC. Allow it to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
How to Store Leftover Air Fryer Whole Chicken
Wrap the chicken well and place it in a dish with a lip (in case of any liquid seepage). Store it in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Sliced/shredded chicken can be stored in an airtight container.
I prefer to remove the chicken from the carcass when freezing it. You can either slice or shred it and place it in a freezer bag to store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Save the carcass to make delicious homemade chicken broth.
How to Reheat Whole Chicken in the Air Fryer
Place the leftover chicken in the air fryer and cook at 360ºF/180ºC for about 5-8 minutes or until it’s warmed through. Alternatively, you can reheat it in a microwave, but be careful not to overcook it, or it will dry out.
How to Serve Air Fryer Whole Chicken
There are plenty of ways to serve air fryer roasted chicken, either as a roast dinner or added to other dishes. I love serving it with:
- Creamy mashed potatoes or baked potatoes.
- Brown gravy
- Vegetable side dishes like
- Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts
- Yorkshire puddings
You can use the leftovers reheated or shred/chop the meat to add to salads, wraps, sandwiches, pasta dishes, soups, and more!
Overcooked chicken is the biggest culprit for dried meat, so cook it only until it reaches 165ºF/74ºC.
Air fry roast chicken until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165ºF/74ºC. To test this, use a meat thermometer and insert it into the thickest part of the meat (usually the inner thigh area near the breast). Avoid touching any bones, as it can cause inaccurate readings.
Air fryer whole chicken cooking time varies based on the size of the chicken and your individual air fryer model. I’ve found that a 3lb chicken will need around 45-50 minutes, and a 4lb chicken requires about an hour. However, it’s always best to use a meat thermometer to cook the chicken until the internal temperature reaches 165ºF/74ºC.
When cooking a frozen whole chicken, you’ll need to thaw the chicken at lower temperatures for 10-15 minutes, then increase the temperature and cook for 50-60 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165ºF.
While this depends on the cut of meat, when roasting chicken in an air fryer, I highly recommend flipping the chicken after 45-50 minutes, so it keeps the drier meat juicy but gives the skin a chance to crisp up at the end.
More Chicken Recipes
- Oven Baked Chicken Breast
- Air Fryer Chicken Wings
- Crispy Chicken Sandwich
- Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Thighs 2 Ways
- Air Fryer Chicken Tenders (From Scratch)
If you try this easy air fryer whole chicken recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!
The Best Air Fryer Whole Chicken (Fresh or Frozen)
- 3.52 lb whole chicken Increase/ decrease the size based on your air fryer size. I like to use a 3-4lb chicken
- 2 tablespoon olive oil or butter or other neutral cooking oil
- 2.65 oz carrots 2 small
- 2.3 oz celery 1 stick
- 1.2 oz onion 1 small
- 0.35 oz garlic 2 cloves
- 0.15 oz rosemary few sprigs
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried lemon or lemon zest, optional
- Food Thermometer optional
- Prepare the vegetables by cleaning and peeling the carrots, garlic, and onion. Also rinse the celery, trimming the ends if needed.I like to stuff the chicken with the whole veggies, but you can chop them into smaller pieces before if preferred.
- Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, and stuff the cavity with the vegetables and rosemary. Remove the giblets first, if the chicken has them.
- Prepare the seasoning by combining all the spices and oil in a small bowl. Then rub it all over the chicken.You can also lift the skin on top and rub it underneath it to spread even more flavor.
- Spray or brush oil/cooking spray in your air fryer basket, then place the chicken breast side down.
- Cook for 50 minutes at 355ºF/180ºC, flip the chicken and cook for a further 10-12 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken is 165ºF/74ºC.For crispier skin, flip the chicken after 35-40 minutes. To test the temperature, use a meat thermometer and stick it in the thickest part of the chicken (the inner thigh), avoiding any bones as they can throw off the readings.
- Remove the chicken from the air fryer and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
- Fridge: Wrap the chicken well and place it in a dish with a lip (in case of any liquid seepage), then store it in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Sliced/shredded chicken can be stored in an airtight container. Freezer: remove the chicken from the carcass when freezing it. You can either slice or shred it and place it in a freezer bag to store in the freezer for up to 3 months.Reheat: Place the leftover chicken in the air fryer and cook at 360ºF/180ºC for about 5-8 minutes or until it's warmed through. Or you can reheat it in a microwave, but be careful not to overcook it, or it will dry out.
- Choose a chicken that fits your air fryer: It’ll be pretty tricky to roast chicken in an air fryer unless the bird fits your air fryer basket. A 6-quart basket should hold a medium-sized bird around 4-5.5 lb Smaller baskets are best for a 3-4 lb bird. You may need to break the backbone to fit if it’s too tall.
- For crispier skin, pat the chicken dry with paper towels before seasoning it. Also, after flipping the chicken, spray it with more oil. You could even increase the temperature in the air fryer to 400ºF in the last 2-3 minutes for extra crispy skin.
- Cook breast down first: This way, the juices help to keep the drier (white meat) parts of the chicken from drying out as it cooks.
- The cooking time varies: Based on the size of the chicken and your air fryer model. The best way to ensure the air fryer whole chicken is properly cooked is with a meat thermometer/instant-read thermometer (checking for an internal temperature that reaches 165ºF/74ºC).
- Leave it to rest: For at least 10 minutes before cutting it. This allows the juices to settle for super juicy chicken.
- Save the drippings: You can use them to make delicious chicken gravy in just 10 minutes. Alternatively, pour them over veggies (that cook in about 10 mins) and cook them in the air fryer while the chicken rests.
- Instead of stuffing the cavity with rosemary, you could add dried rosemary to the seasoning. For even more flavor, thyme, sage, and basil work well, too.
- For some spice, add a little chili powder or cayenne pepper to the seasoning.
- This recipe is easy to customize. So use any of your favorite herbs and/or spices for chicken, like Italian seasoning, chicken seasoning, Cajun seasoning, etc.
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