Our air fryer whole chicken cooking method ensures incredibly crispy skin and succulent, juicy meat that will have the family coming back for seconds.
Using just a few simple ingredients like oil, salt, and pepper, along with your trusty air fryer, you'll achieve a perfectly cooked bird that rivals any traditional oven roast chicken; it's a game-changer.
The secret lies in the circulating hot air of the fryer, which works similarly to a rotisserie chicken and seals in juices while crisping the skin to perfection.
How to Cook a Whole Chicken in the Air Fryer
Watch our quick video to discover how to cook a whole roast chicken in the air fryer basket.
Or read on for all the tips and tricks for this air fryer whole chicken recipe.
We'll cover everything from chicken seasoning ideas, preparation steps, air fryer instructions and serving suggestions.
We also have a fantastic slow-cooker whole chicken recipe.
Here's what you'll need to make our air fryer whole chicken recipe.
Selecting a smaller whole chicken for air frying is typically more successful, as it ensures even cooking and achieves a delightful crispy skin.
In our experience, a whole chicken weighing between 1.2 kg to 1.5kg is the ideal size for our Ninja Dual Air Fryer.
It fits perfectly in the basket, cooking a whole chicken thoroughly without any risk of burning.
The dual drawers feature of the Ninja air fryer allows you to cook two chickens simultaneously - a perfect solution for a family roast dinner. This way, everyone can enjoy their favourite parts, with four legs and wings available for sharing!
If you are cooking a larger chicken, you will need to add extra cooking time to cook through and will risk the skin burning.
Olive oil or a few sprays of spray oil is all you need to get a crispy, golden-roasted chicken skin.
Feel free to use your favourite oil. Just ensure it has a high smoke point, such as vegetable oil, rapeseed or avocado oil.
A few pinches each of salt and pepper are enough to season a roast chicken and bring out its natural flavours.
While salt and pepper are the basic seasonings used in this air fryer roast chicken recipe, feel free to experiment with other dry seasonings to add more flavour to your chicken.
You can buy many dry seasonings from supermarkets; here are some ideas.
- Piri Piri
- Italian Herb
- Smoked Paprika and Onion
- Jamaican Jerk spice blend
- Curry Powder
Or make your own dry spice mix using seasonings and dried herbs with onion powder or garlic powder for a quick flavour boost.
When preparing chicken with a bottled marinade, it's important to carefully time when you apply it. The sugars found in these marinades can burn if they're exposed to high heat for an extended period.
To avoid this, wait until the air fryer chicken has finished cooking before adding your marinade.
Then air fry for a few extra minutes at a lower temperature to create a flavorful glaze without burning.
First and foremost, you'll need an air fryer. This recipe will work with most air fryer models. Some air fryers even have a rotisserie option, perfect for cooking an air fryer rotisserie chicken.
You'll need measuring spoons for your seasonings, a couple of forks to turn the entire chicken over in one quick go halfway through cooking.
Lastly, an instant-read thermometer is handy to ensure your chicken reaches the proper temperature for safe consumption. Meat thermometers are so cheap and really are worth it for peace of mind the chicken is cooked through!
We will go into a bit more detail now about how to cook your whole roast chicken in an air fryer. If you want the quick printable recipe use the jump button below.Jump to Recipe
Pat the chicken dry with a kitchen paper towel, ensuring that the cavity is empty. This step is crucial as it helps the seasonings stick better and promotes crispier skin.
Next, coat the chicken skin with oil. You can do this either by spraying the chicken with oil or rubbing it into the chicken skin with your hands. Once your chicken is coated in oil, season it generously on both sides with salt and pepper or your chosen seasoning blend /spice mixture or dry rub.
To prevent any sticking during the cooking process, lightly spray or rub the bottom of your air fryer basket with a bit of oil or line it with an air fryer liner.
Air Frying Whole Chicken
Place your seasoned raw chicken in the air fryer basket, breast side down.
Set your air fryer to 200°C /(400°F) on the Air Fry setting. There's no need to preheat the air fryer for this recipe. Some air fryer models have a roast function; you do not need to use that for this recipe.
Please note that these cooking times are for a 1.2kg whole chicken. If you have a larger chicken weighing 1.5kg, you must adjust the timings to 1 hour (30 minutes each side). Use a meat thermometer to check internal temperature.
The total air fryer chicken whole cooking time is 50 minutes for 1.2 kg. One of the key features of this recipe is the unique flipping technique involved halfway through the cooking process, ensuring an evenly cooked bird.
Air fry chicken breast side down for 25 minutes. After the initial 25 minutes of cooking, carefully use two forks to flip the chicken breast-side up.
Continue to cook the chicken at the same temperature for an additional 25 minutes.
If adding a marinade to your air fryer roast chicken, do it now and cook for 5 minutes longer to create a glaze.
Internal Temperature of Cooked Chicken
Once your chicken is done cooking, the easiest way to check for doneness is to open the drawer and check the temperature using a meat thermometer. It should read at least 75℃/ 167℉ at the thickest part.
Be sure to check both the thigh and the breast, and ensure the thermometer is in the meat and not touching the thigh or breast bone.
It's important to allow the cooked chicken to rest for 10 minutes before serving. This step allows the juices to redistribute throughout the chicken, resulting in a perfectly tender and juicy bird.
You might want to add some fresh herbs for garnishing.
When you're ready to serve, carve the chicken into pieces. Pair your perfectly cooked air fryer chicken with your favourite sides.
In this case, we've served ours between two people, half a chicken each with delicious air fryer sweet potatoes and a refreshing coleslaw.
More Chicken Side Dish Ideas
Here are a few other side dish ideas, but we have loads you should take a look for yourself!
Take a look at this picture of the inside of our whole chicken cooked and cut into the breast meat. Notice how flawlessly it's cooked, with the skin achieving an enchanting level of crispiness. It truly is absolutely delicious!
📖 Step by Step Recipe
Air Fryer Whole Chicken
- 1.2 kg Whole Chicken
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil or Spray oil
- 2 large pinches of Salt and Pepper see notes for more Seasoning Ideas
- Start by preparing your 1.2 kg Whole Chicken. Pat it dry with kitchen paper towel and ensure the cavity is empty.
- Next, coat the chicken skin with 1 tablespoon Olive Oil. Either by spraying with oil or rubbing oil into the chicken with your hands.
- Once your chicken is coated in oil, season it generously on both sides with 2 large pinches of Salt and Pepper. Be sure to cover all areas for a uniform flavour. *See notes for more seasoning ideas
- Spray or rub the bottom of your air fryer basket with a little bit of olive oil or line it with an air fryer liner.
- Place your seasoned chicken in the air fryer basket, positioning it breast side down.
- Set your air fryer to 200°C (400°F). Cook the chicken for 25 minutes on that side . *Cooking times given are for a 1.2kg whole chicken. See notes for other size cooking time.
- After the initial 25 minutes of cooking, carefully use two forks to flip the chicken over so that it's now breast-side up. Flipping halfway ensures the chicken skin crisps evenly on both sides.
- Continue to cook the chicken at the same temperature (200°C / 400°F) for another additional 25 minutes.
- Once your chicken is done cooking, open the drawer and check the temperature. It should read at least 75℃/ 167℉ at the thickest part (check the thigh and breast). Make sure the thermometer is in the meat and not touching the bone.
- Now let the cooked chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving. This step allows the juices to redistribute throughout the chicken, resulting in a more tender and juicy bird. Add some fresh herbs to serve.
- Serve with your favourite sides. We have served with air fryer sweet potatoes and coleslaw. See other suggestions on the blog post.
- Piri Piri
- Italian Herb
- Smoked Paprika and Onion
- Jamaican Jerk spice blend
- Curry Powder
Cooking TimesAdjust cooking time depending on the size of your chicken.
1.2 kg Whole ChickenAir fry for 25 minutes each side. 50 minutes total.
1.5kg Whole ChickenAir fry for 30 minutes each side. 60 minutes total. We can not fit a larger chicken in our air fryer drawer, so we have not cooked a larger one before, but if you have a larger air fryer, add extra time and test with a meat thermometer for doneness!
Leftover Chicken Ideas
For quick easy meals, use leftover shredded chicken in salads, mixed in with our spicy jollof rice , orzo pasta or Singapore noodles. You could even air fry whole chickens ahead of time to be used for meal prep meals.
Air Fried Chicken Storage
For optimal freshness and safety, cooked chicken should be stored properly. After cooking, cool the chicken. Then using airtight packaging like zip-lock bags or plastic wrap, or a sealed container to prevent drying out.
Remember not to leave cooked chicken at room temperature for over two hours.
If you have a whole cooked chicken, cut it into smaller pieces for even cooling and easier storage. Properly stored, cooked chicken can last three days in the fridge.
To avoid excess thawing, freeze the leftover roast chicken in portion sizes you'll use later in a freezer bag.
Frozen cooked chicken is best consumed within 4 months. Thaw frozen chicken in the fridge overnight.
More Chicken Recipes
We hope you enjoyed our whole chicken air fryer recipe. Here are more chicken recipes for you to try!
Be sure to check out our other air fryer recipes on our site too.