Crisp skinned and succulent, this air fryer whole chicken will become a weeknight regular thing. It is faster than oven roasting and creates a juicy, tender rotisserie style chicken! Let the air fryer do the work for you!
This is one of my all time favourite ways to cook a whole chicken. It honestly doesn’t get any easier (or tastier!) than this and the whole family loves it.
You can use any spice blend you fancy on the chicken. Add a salad and some rice or potatoes on the side and dinner is done!
Whole Chicken Air Fryer
Why would you cook a whole chicken in the air fryer when you could just roast it in the oven? I’m not kidding you when I tell you that chicken is just plain juicier when cooked in the air fryer.
The circulating air makes a whole roast chicken with super crispy skin and juicy meat so flavourful you have to eat it to believe it. It tastes for all the world like a rotisserie chicken from your favourite grocery store.
This air fryer whole chicken recipe is an easy way to get a wholesome and delicious weeknight dinner on the table.
And don’t even think the fun stops with the most delectable chicken you’ve ever made in your kitchen. The next day, when you have eaten most of the meat off of the bones, toss the leftover chicken into a pot with a couple of halved onions, carrots, celery stalks, and a bay leaf and cover it all by 2 inches with cold water.
Bring that up to a boil, then drop the heat and let it simmer for an hour then strain. Add any of the meat that fell off of the bones back in, chop up the onions, celery, and carrots and return that to the pot as well.
Season it to taste with salt and pepper and a splash of vinegar, then simmer some egg noodles in the whole thing until tender. Voila! You just made chicken noodle soup and got two meals out of one chicken!
Without any further ado, let’s go over our ingredients and equipment list. I think you’ll be thrilled with the brevity of both.
- 3 to 4 pound chicken
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Seasoning blend (like Montreal Chicken Seasoning)
- Granulated garlic, garlic powder, or onion powder
- Neutral oil like canola, vegetable, or sunflower oil
- Optional but tasty: Smoked paprika
The size of your chicken is important: I don’t recommend cooking a chicken larger than 4 pounds in the air fryer. A 3 to 4 lb chicken is the sweet spot in size.
You can use any seasoning blend that dings your chimes, but I love Montreal Chicken Seasoning for our air fryer whole chicken. I also love to use granulated garlic to boost the seasoning. If you’d like, you could swap in garlic powder and/or onion powder.
It’s not strictly necessary to use smoked paprika, but I love the flavour and colour it lends to the finished chicken.
- 5.5 quart air fryer or larger capacity
- Paper towels
- Parchment paper
- Instant read thermometer or meat thermometer
The air fryer should come as no surprise in a recipe titled “Air Fryer Whole Chicken”, but the other equipment might require a little more explanation. One thing about the air fryer, though; it’s crucial to use an air fryer with a basket that has 5 to 6 quarts capacity.
This ensures the chicken will fit in the basket. A larger chicken may not fit in the air fryer, so don’t be tempted to stuff a bigger bird in there.
It’s important to pat both the outside of the chicken and the cavity dry with paper towels. Doing this keeps your seasoning blend from “melting” and gives the oil a dry surface to spread over more evenly. This is one of the keys to creating an extra crispy skin.
The parchment paper is simply to help release the chicken more easily from your air fryer basket after cooking. It keeps the skin from sticking to the surface of the basket.
And finally, an instant read thermometer is a must have when cooking whole birds. Test the temperature in the thickest part of the chicken breast and again in the thigh.
If the lowest internal temperature of your chicken breast is 165ºF and the lowest temperature in the thigh is 175ºF, it is done. You may want to cook the chicken until the internal temperature of the chicken thigh measures upwards of 195ºF depending on your own personal preference.
Air Fryer Whole Chicken
Use a fork to combine the Montreal chicken seasoning, kosher salt, granulated garlic, and smoked paprika in a small bowl. Set it aside.
Pat the outside and the cavity of the chicken with paper towels. Place a square of parchment paper in the basket of your air fryer.
Drizzle the oil evenly over the breast side and back of the chicken and rub it around to coat. Sprinkle the seasoning mixture evenly over the top, bottom, and inside of the chicken and rub to distribute it evenly.
Place the chicken breast-side down in the air fryer basket. Set the air fryer to 350ºF for 30 minutes of cooking time.
After 30 minutes, carefully flip the chicken breast side up and air fry for another 30 minutes, or until the thickest part of the breast meat reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF and the thighs measure 175ºF.
Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes before carving and serving.
Air Fryer Whole ChickenRate Recipe
- air fryer
- Paper towels
- parchment paper
- Instant read thermometer or meat thermometer
- 1 tablespoon Montreal chicken seasoning
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons neutral oil like canola, sunflower, vegetable, grapeseed, or olive oil
- 1 whole chicken 3-4 pounds
- Use a fork to combine the Montreal chicken seasoning, kosher salt, granulated garlic, and smoked paprika in a small bowl. Set it aside.
- Pat the chicken dry -inside and out- with paper towels. Place a square of parchment paper in the basket of your air fryer.
- Drizzle the oil evenly over the breast side and back of the chicken and rub it around to coat. Sprinkle the seasoning mixture evenly over the top, bottom, and inside of the chicken and rub to distribute it evenly.
- Place the chicken breast side down in the air fryer basket. Set the air fryer to 350ºF for 30 minutes of cooking time.
- After 30 minutes, carefully flip the chicken breast side up and air fry for another 30 minutes, or until the breast meat reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF and the thighs measure 175ºF.
- Let the chicken stand for 15 minutes before carving and serving.
Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.