Air Fryer Whole Chicken is an easy, affordable way to cook mouth-watering, rotisserie style chicken dinner and requires minimal attention. Tender, juicy inside and crispy outside makes this hands-off whole chicken a busy weeknight miracle!
Cooking a whole chicken has never been easier with an air fryer. In one hour and almost no effort, you can have crispy, juicy, rotisserie style chicken right at home. It's so hands-off, you can make mashed potatoes, salad, or mac and cheese at the same time. No matter what, you will nail dinner with this crazy easy recipe!
What we love about this recipe
- 5 minute prep and hands-free cooking (except for the one-time flip).
- Budget-friendly because buying the whole bird is more economical than buying in pieces.
- The chicken sits above the grease in the fryer which makes crispy skin.
- It makes delicious leftovers to add soup, salad, casserole, or bone broth.
- Easy cleanup, especially if making Cosori air fryer whole chicken (or Vortex).
Minimal ingredients with big flavor
See recipe card for quantities.
- garlic powder
- salt and pepper
- extra virgin olive oil - or preferred oil
How to cook a whole chicken in the air fryer
- Let the chicken rest at room temperature 20 minutes to remove the chill. Combine the seasonings.
- Pat it dry, then brush oil and seasonings over the entire surface.
- Place it into the preheated basket and bake 30 minutes.
- Remove from the cooker, flip it over and bake another 25 minutes, or until it reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165°F. Remove, cover loosely, and allow to rest 5 minutes at room temperature before serving.
Boom! You have a scrumptious, juicy, tender rotisserie style, whole cooked chicken that's ready to devour.
Basket vs toaster oven
I own several air fryers because, well, I'm obsessed. But also, I love to test recipes and work out every kink, so you don't have to. I have cooked whole chicken in various types of air fryers, so I know they're all capable of turning out a delicious, juicy, crispy, chicken dinner. But, I do have a favorite style.
1. Basket air fryer
The Cosori Air Fryer or the Instant Vortex are great fryers to cook whole chicken because it's so compact yet fits a 5 lb. chicken. As a result, any mess is contained to a portable drawer that's easy to clean. Also, there's no need to truss the bird because the basket allows you to tuck the legs in, which prevents them from drying out.
2. Air fryer toaster oven
I've tested this whole chicken recipe in the Instant Vortex Air Fryer Oven and the Instant Omni Plus Air Fryer Toaster Oven. Either of these will turn out amazing, but it does help to truss the legs to avoid them drying out, which means extra steps.
Let me just say for now that the basket fryer wins on A) easy cleanup and B) the fact that no trussing is required. Stay tuned as I'm planning to share more extensive reviews and test kitchen adventures.
Before air frying:
- remove chill: Allow the chicken rest at room temperature to remove the chill and promote more even heating.
- remove moisture: pat the chicken completely dry before adding seasoning because it helps
- type of oil: You can use your preferred oil. I prefer extra virgin olive oil because it's heart-smart. Also, most AF's max temperature is 400°F so the extra virgin olive oil won't burn.
- seasonings: Use any combination of seasonings. I'm using my favorite minimalist seasoning because I love the gorgeous orange-red color it adds.
- trussing: I don't recommend trussing whole chicken for the basket fryer because it causes the legs to sit too close to the burner. I've made this mistake using the Cosori XL air fryer. However, trussing chicken for the AF toaster oven totally works and prevents the legs from drying out.
During / after cooking:
- food safety: Always cook chicken to a minimum temperature of 165°F (74 °C). Use an instant read thermometer that has been sanitized between uses to avoid contamination.
- rest after air frying: Always allow a minimum 5 minute rest after air frying whole chicken to allow carryover cooking and to keep the juices from spilling out.
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Air Fryer Whole Chicken
- 5 lb. Whole Chicken
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Allow WHOLE CHICKEN to rest at room temperature about 20 minutes to remove the chill.
- Preheat the air fryer to 360°F.
- Pat the chicken completely dry with a paper towel and remove any giblets from the inner cavity.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together GARLIC POWDER, PAPRIKA, SALT, PEPPER, and OLIVE OIL.
- Brush or smear spice mixture over the surface of the whole chicken.
- Place the bird breast side down in the air fryer basket (press the back side as flat as possible into the basket to prevent it being too close to the burner inside the cooker.)
- Air fry the chicken for 30 minutes.
- Carefully open the unit, remove the basket (or tray) and use tongs to flip the chicken over so it's facing breast side up.
- Air fry another 20-25 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165°F on an instant read thermometer.
- Transfer whole chicken out of the basket, loosely cover, and allow to rest 5 minutes at room temperature before cutting and serving.
Serving and storage instructions
- Serve chicken warm. To store, allow to cool completely and refrigerate in an airtight container up to 5 days. Freeze up to 30 days (or longer if vacuum sealed).
Nutrition data provided as courtesy estimates using unbranded ingredients from a nutrition database. Please consult preferred resource for precise data.