This well-seasoned whole chicken made in an air fryer is moist, juicy, and tender inside and crispy outside. It’s deliciously flavored with garlic, rosemary, and onions for a mouthwatering meal.
The air fryer uses hot circulating air to cook the chicken, producing a crisp exterior while keeping the inside juicy and tender. This process significantly reduces cooking time compared to traditional oven roasting, making it perfect for busy weeknights or last-minute meals.
The air fryer's small size makes it the perfect small appliance for compact spaces where space is limited. This air fryer whole chicken recipe offers convenience, speed, and a healthier cooking option without compromising taste or quality.
Reasons to Love
- Crispy outside and juicy inside. Rapid hot air circulation ensures the chicken skin becomes crispy and golden brown while keeping the meat tender and juicy. This results in a delicious texture similar to rotisserie chicken that is hard to achieve with traditional oven roasting.
- Time-saving option. The air fryer significantly reduces the cooking time compared to conventional methods, making it perfect for busy weeknights or last-minute meals.
- Less oil. The excess fat drips away during cooking, resulting in a leaner and lighter dish.
You only need a few simple ingredients to make the best air fryer chicken. You'll just need the chicken, some fat, and seasonings.
Here's what you'll need:
- whole chicken
- unsalted butter
- garlic powder
- dried rosemary
- smoked sweet paprika
- olive oili
- fresh garlic
- fresh rosemary
- red onion
- unsalted butter
Scroll down to the recipe card for quantities used.
Ready to cook a whole chicken? To start, preheat your air fryer to 370°F (188°C) and set it at 45 minutes.
In a small bowl combine butter, garlic powder, and dried rosemary. Set aside. In a tiny plate, mix garlic powder and paprika. Set aside.
Trim and Stuff whole chicken. Pat dry chicken including cavity. Trim the tips of the chicken wings. Season with salt and ground black pepper. Stuff cavity with whole garlic, fresh rosemary placed on each side, and red onions.
Truss the chicken without a twine by slitting both sides of the skin, near the chicken legs. Season whole chicken. Spoon butter mixture around the chicken breast under the chicken skin. Pour and massage olive oil over the entire chicken. Season with salt, black pepper, and garlic mixture.
Gently transfer seasoned whole chicken onto Air Fryer tray, breast side up. Then slowly insert tray into the lower cooking chamber, on top of the drip pan.
If desired, cut root vegetables like potatoes and carrots and add additional seasonings.
Place optional vegetables around the chicken. After 20 minutes, gently flip the chicken, breast side down.
Continue air frying. For the last 10 minutes, manually increase the temperature to 390°F (199°C) for crispier skin. Remove the air fryer basket or tray at the last 5 minutes, and flip breast side up. Then remove the chicken from the air fryer and let it rest before slicing.
Hint: Trussing or tying the chicken before air frying helps it cook more evenly. This process involves securing the wings and legs close to the body, preventing them from getting too close to the heating element. It promotes uniform cooking and ensures that all parts of the chicken cook at the same rate.
When it comes to preparing a whole chicken in the air fryer, there are numerous variations you can incorporate to create unique and flavorful dishes. Here are a few ideas you can try:
- Seasoning - experiment with different seasoning blends of herbs, spices, and marinades to create delicious flavors. For a traditional taste, try using classic seasonings like garlic powder, paprika, thyme, or rosemary. If you're feeling adventurous, add a touch of cayenne pepper or chili powder for some heat.
- Brining - to brine your chicken, dissolve salt in water and submerge the chicken in the mixture for at least an hour before air frying. This process helps to enhance the flavor and moisture retention of the meat.
- Spatchcock - spatchcocking the chicken before air frying will reduce the cooking time and allow for more even browning and crispy skin.
You can even cook a frozen Cornish hen in an air fryer without the need to thaw it first. It's a great option when cooking for just one person.
Top tip: Pat the chicken dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Then, brush it with oil or melted butter and sprinkle it generously with salt and your favorite seasonings. The oil helps crisp up the skin while the salt adds flavor.
- Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness in the thickest part of the thigh. The chicken is cooked when the thermometer reads 165°F (74°C).
- Let it rest for a few minutes after cooking to allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat before carving.
- Carefully cut along the breastbone with a sharp knife or poultry shears to separate into two halves. From there, slice against the grain into picture-perfect pieces.
One elegant presentation option is to carve the chicken into neat slices and arrange them on a platter surrounded by fresh herbs and citrus slices. Another option is to place the chicken on a bed of roasted vegetables, such as carrots, potatoes, and Brussels sprouts.
For those looking for a less formal presentation, you can place the whole cooked chicken on a cutting board with some artisan Italian bread and let your guests carve their portions. Add some finely chopped nuts, such as almonds or pistachios, for added crunch.
The leftovers are great for making a chicken and stuffing casserole or chicken salad recipe. You can also use the meat as a salad topping.
Once the chicken has cooled down, place it in an airtight container or wrap it tightly in aluminum foil. If you anticipate consuming the air-fried whole chicken within a few days, you can refrigerate it for up to 4 days.
Freezing the chicken will keep it fresh for up to 3 months. Simply wrap it securely in plastic wrap and then place it in a freezer-safe bag or container. When ready to eat, allow the frozen chicken to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating and serving. This will help preserve its moisture and flavor.
Yes, you can use frozen chicken in an air fryer. However, keep in mind that it may take longer to cook compared to thawed or fresh chicken.
To prevent your air fried chicken from drying out, make sure not to overcook it. Use a meat thermometer to ensure it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
Cleaning your air fryer after cooking chicken is simple. Allow the appliance to cool down completely before cleaning. Remove any excess grease or food particles from the basket or tray. Wash them with warm soapy water or place them in a dishwasher if they are dishwasher-safe. Wipe down the inside of the air fryer with a damp cloth or sponge.
Here are more easy air fryer recipes you may enjoy:
- Air fryer pork belly is a delightful appetizer or snack.
- Baby back ribs in air fryer are a great alternative to grilling.
- Air fryer chicken tenders with flour are perfect for kids.
- Shrimp shish kabob can be air-fried easily.
- Chicken legs in air fryer are a quick and easy dinner idea.
Whole Chicken in Air Fryer
- 1 small whole chicken 850 grams (1.874 pounds)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
- ¼ teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
- 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 head fresh garlic cut tips
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- ½ small fresh red onion cut in two
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter cold
- Pre-heat Air Fryer at 370°F (188°C). Set at 45 minutes
- In a small bowl combine butter, garlic powder, and dried rosemary. Set aside.
- In a tiny plate, mix garlic powder and paprika. Set aside.
- Trim and Stuff whole chicken. Pat dry chicken including cavity. Trim the tips of the chicken wings. Season with salt and ground black pepper. Stuff cavity with whole garlic, fresh rosemary placed on each side, and red onions.
- Truss the chicken without a twine by slitting both sides of the skin, near the chicken legs. Insert one chicken leg on the opposite side of the skin. Do this for the other chicken leg, creating criss-crossed chicken legs.
- Season whole chicken. Spoon butter mixture around the chicken breast under the chicken skin.
- Pour and massage olive oil over the entire chicken. Season with salt, black pepper, and garlic mixture.
- Gently transfer seasoned whole chicken onto Air Fryer tray, breast side up. Then slowly insert tray into the lower cooking chamber, on top of the drip pan.
- After 20 minutes, gently turn whole chicken, breast side down.
- No need to wait for the “turn food” reminder provided by the Air Fryer.
- See tips or notes when closing the door.
- Return the Air Fryer tray into the cooking chamber.
- At the last 10 minutes, manually increase the temperature at 390F (199C) for a crispier skin.
- Remove the Air Fryer tray at the last 5 minutes, flip whole chicken, breast side up.