This air fryer whole chicken recipe is one of my favorite things to make. It's perfect for meal prep or serving a large group of people. You only need a handful of seasonings and then let the air fryer do the rest of the work.
Why I love this chicken recipe
I was nervous about trying a whole chicken in the air fryer at first. I wanted to see if it was possible to make such a large item in my little air fryer. Now it is easily one of my favorite things to make in the air fryer.
Once the chicken is in the air fryer, you do have some extra time on your hands. I'll use this time to make my sides or additions if I am using this for a meal prep.
This recipe is perfect if you are looking for a roast chicken that is juicy and tender.
Not to mention, this air fryer method takes right at an hour of cook time, while cooking a whole chicken in the oven takes closer to 2 ½-3 hours of cook time.
Looking for more? Check out this article where we share our favorite top 50 air fryer chicken recipes.
Making chicken in the air fryer
This chicken comes out with crispy skin and is juicy on the inside. It's really the perfect chicken.
You can serve it as your meal or you can shred the chicken for another recipe. It really is a multipurpose recipe.
Once the chicken is prepped you just have to rub the outside of the chicken with the seasonings and let it cook. Just put it in the air fryer and walk away.
It really is that easy!
I know that my family will have a delicious meal without me having to spend hours in the kitchen.
What You'll Need to Make a Whole Chicken in the Air Fryer
- Air Fryer - I use the Cosori 5.8 qt basket style air fryer.
- Silicone liner - Use a silicone liner to make for easy basket cleanup.
- Olive oil- I use extra light olive oil because it has a higher smoke point than regular olive. Avocado oil is another great choice to use and has a higher smoke point.
- Twine - Use the twine to hold the legs together during the cooking process.
Learn more about oils and smoke points and the best oils to use in the air fryer.
- 4lb whole chicken - A 4 lb chicken fits perfectly in my 5.8 qt air fryer
- Italian seasoning - adds flavor to the chicken
- Ground Black Pepper - adds a little spice and additional flavor
- Salt - Add a little salt for extra flavor
- Paprika - I used regular paprika for this recipe, but you can also use smoked paprika if you have it.
How to make Whole Chicken in the Air Fryer
Prepare the liner of the basket with non stick cooking spray.
Clean the chicken and remove any innards that are in the cavity of the chicken. Rub the seasonings all over the chicken, covering it well.
Place the seasoned chicken into the prepared air fryer basket, breast side down, and air fry at 390 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes.
After 25 minutes, flip the chicken to cook breast side up, and cook for an additional 30-40 minutes.
Before removing the chicken, check the internal temperature by inserting a digital meat thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken breast. If the temperature reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit or higher you can remove it from the Air Fryer. Otherwise, add an additional 2 minutes of cooking time until the temperature has reached 165 degrees.
There are many different things to serve with chicken, and here are a few of my favorites.
Make sure to keep an instant read thermometer on hand to ensure the internal temperature has reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Use twine to hold the legs together during the cooking process. It keeps the legs together for easy maneuverability, and helps keep any stuffed items (such as onion or lemon slices) inside of the cavity.
Add a Tablespoon of water to the bottom of the air fryer basket before air frying the chicken. The water will help absorb some of the fat drippings and cut back on the smoke from the fat.
Save the chicken bones from the cooked chicken and boil it for chicken stock to be used for your favorite soups and stews.
Change things up easily with the seasonings! I love to use simple seasonings, but you can also spice things up with lemon pepper seasoning, cayenne pepper, cumin, or blackened seasoning.
Use the cooked chicken to serve sliced, and then shred leftovers for items such as chicken salad, chicken soup, chicken and sausage gumbo, or chicken and sausage jambalaya.
Storage and Reheating
Remove any remaining chicken meat from the bird. Save any chicken bones and place them in the freezer for making chicken stock in the future.
Store any leftover chicken meat in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Reheat leftover chicken in the air fryer at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 2-3 minutes, or until heated through.
FAQs about Air Fryer Chicken
I use the Cosori 6.8 quart and it's the perfect size for a 4-4 ½ lb. chicken.
I like to tie a piece of cooking twine to the legs to keep them together and in place. This keeps the legs and thighs from flaring out.
The sky is the limit when it comes to seasoning chicken. I love to use garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, oregano, rosemary, basil, and even lemon to season my chicken. It's also fun to create your own homemade seasoning blend to use as a rub.
Yes, let the chicken thaw for 20 - 30 minutes at room temperature and add additional cook time to the recipe if needed.
I like to shred leftover chicken and serve over rice, over salads, in tacos, in gumbo, use in soups, and more.
There are so many delicious options to go with Air Fryer chicken, I like to use my air fryer to make the sides as well, and then I don't have as many dirty dishes. Some of my favorites are Air Fryer Potatoes, Air Fryer Asparagus, and Air Fryer Parmesan Brussel Sprouts. If you really want to make dinner special make these Air Fryer Cake Mix Cookies for dessert.
This is such an easy recipe, and it's perfect for a hands off meal when you need to feed a crowd.
If you're looking for more chicken recipes, check out some of our favorites below.
MORE AIR FRYER CHICKEN RECIPES
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Air Fryer Whole Chicken
- Air Fryer
- 1 4lb Whole Chicken
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon Paprika
- ½ teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- Preheat the Air Fryer to 360 degrees Fahrenheit. One preheated, prepare the liner of the basket with non stick cooking spray.
- Clean the chicken and remove any innards that are in the cavity of the chicken. Rub the seasonings all over the chicken, covering it well.
- Place the seasoned chicken into the prepared Air Fryer basket, breast side down, and cook for 25 minutes. Then flip the chicken to cook breast side up, and cook for an additional 40 minutes.
- Before removing the chicken, check the temperature by inserting a thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken breast. If the temperature reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit or higher you can remove it from the Air Fryer. Otherwise, add an additional 2 minutes of cook time until the temperature has reached 165 degrees.
- Store leftover chicken in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
- Reheat leftover chicken in the Air Fryer at 280 degrees Fahrenheit for 8-10 minutes, or until the chicken is reheated through.
- Use any leftover chicken for additional recipes and for meal prepping.
*Nutritional information is a calculated guesstimate. Please note that this can change with different brands and modifications you may make to the recipe. For the most accurate information, use a nutritional calculator with the exact brands and measurements you're using with each recipe.