Best Juicy Air Fryer Whole Chicken (Easy Recipe)

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

Air fryer whole chicken can be used in so many different ways! Make this recipe with butter, garlic, onion, and a delicious blend of spices. Chicken recipes don’t have to be hard – and this entire chicken is so simple to make! You’ll have a juicy chicken the first time you make it! 

air fryer whole chicken


I’m a big fan of super crispy skin with a juicy middle in cooked chicken. It’s a simple low carb recipe that proves that air frying is a breeze.

With a quicker cooking time, you can cook a smaller or larger chicken in less time and with less mess. 

I really think that this is the easiest way to cook a chicken – and it might be my favorite way, too.

You’ll have juicy meat to pair with your favorite sides with a quick and simple cooking process! 


Air Fryer Whole Chicken

Now you can cook a whole chicken in the air fryer and keep your kitchen cool. Or, use that freed-up oven space for a tasty dessert instead!

Crispy cauliflower and rosemary potatoes are easy side dishes to make this a complete meal. 

You can also slice up air fryer rotisserie chicken to use in salads, sandwiches, and even casseroles.

Feeding a crowd? Whip up a big bowl of my Southern Style Potato Salad and some corn on the cob for an easy homemade feast.

whisking together rub for air fryer whole chicken

Tips for Making Whole Chicken in Air Fryer

  • Keep your workspace clean. It’s important to clean your hands and surfaces while working to prevent food poisoning. 

    For more information on chicken preparation and safety practices, visit here.
  • Want a juicy bird? Stuffing the cavity will keep moisture inside, as well as trying the legs closed with twine. 

    However, you can leave the legs untied if it helps to fit the whole chicken in the air fryer basket.
  • Make it extra crispy. Raise the temperature to 370° for the last 5 minutes of cooking.
  • Choose your nonstick spray carefully! Ones with a propellant can cause the inner basket to deteriorate over time. 

    You can also get an olive oil sprayer to fill with any oil that has a high smoke point.

How Big of a Chicken Can You Cook in an Air Fryer?

I highly recommend you use a smaller chicken, even with larger capacity air fryers. 

There’s a noticeable difference between organic, hormone-free birds and regular ones.

You’ll probably need to purchase the former to ensure that it fits inside the basket. 

Either way, keep it under 4.5 pounds for best results and don’t let your air fryer rotisserie chicken touch the top of your machine.


How To Air Fry Whole Chicken

Prepare the bird the same way you would with any other cooking method:

  1. Remove the giblets and pat dry.
  2. Stuff the cavity with vegetables and fresh herbs.
  3. Rub seasoned butter under the skin.
  4. Add a dry rub all over the outside before tying the legs with twine.

Then, spray the basket with your favorite oil spray and place the poultry inside. 

It takes about an hour to air fry whole chicken, and you will need to flip it halfway so it gets crispy on all sides.

Once it’s done, allow your air fryer roasted chicken to rest on a cutting board before carving. 

This allows the juices to redistribute through the meat for perfectly moist bites.


Air Fryer Roasted Chicken FAQ

Do I need to preheat my air fryer?

No, there’s no need to do so for this air fryer whole chicken recipe.

Are there drippings in the pan for gravy? 

Yes! There are plenty of drippings in the bottom of the basket when you air fry whole chicken.

Carefully remove the bird, then the inner tray, before pouring the drippings into a saucepan. 

If you don’t have a favorite recipe, I’ve got one that can be made in just 20 minutes.

How long does an air fryer whole chicken last in the refrigerator? 

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days.

You can also place the cooled meat in a storage bag and freeze it for up to 4 months. Then, thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.

What are the best sides to pair with air fryer roast chicken? 

Everyone knows that white meat and dark meat go with just about anything! You can literally make new sides every single time you make this whole bird. 

I’m a big fan of pairing the breast meat with sweet potatoes and green beans, but I also know that an option for an easy weeknight dinner could be french fries, too! 

This classic roast chicken is versatile in that it can be turned into a full chicken dinner without a bunch of extra time. Don’t forget to squeeze some fresh juice from lemon halves and garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs for a more fun flavor. 

This is the best air fryer chicken recipe, so follow the simple steps on the printable recipe card below! Cooking chicken in the air fryer is much better and faster than cooking it in the regular oven! 

cooked whole chicken in air fryer

With love, from our simple kitchen to yours. 

Don’t miss a thing! Follow us on
Facebook | Twitter Pinterest | Instagram 


Best Juicy Air Fryer Whole Chicken (Easy Recipe)

Donna Elick
Air fryer whole chicken can be used in so many different ways! Make this recipe with butter, garlic, onion, and a delicious blend of spices.
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine American
Method Air Fryer
Servings 6


  • 4.5 pound Whole Chicken, (free-range, hormone free)

Seasoning Rub

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, or avocado oil

For the cavity

  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
  • 4 cloves garlic , peeled and crushed
  • 5 sprigs of fresh thyme

Garlic Butter

  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, softened
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  • Remove all packaging from the whole chicken, including any giblets inside the cavity. Place in a large bowl and pat to dry.
  • In a small bowl, add all of the seasoning rub ingredients. Stir to combine and set aside.
  • Add the yellow onion, crushed garlic cloves and fresh thyme into the cavity of the chicken.
  • Starting at the end of the chicken near the legs, loosen the skin using a flat hand to get under the surface.
  • In a small bowl, combine all garlic butter ingredients. Stir until well mixed.
  • Spread the garlic butter mixture underneath the loosened chicken to coat the breast meat.
  • With a basting brush, coat the entire outside of the chicken with the seasoning rub on both sides. Spray your air fryer basket with olive oil spray. Use kitchen twine to tie the legs together and place in the air fryer basket, breast side down.
  • Set your air fryer to 360°F and cook for 60 minutes (or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F), carefully flipping the chicken halfway through.
  • Transfer to a cutting board and allow the chicken to rest for 10-15 minutes. Carve with a sharp knife and serve.

Donna’s Notes

This recipe was done in a Cosori air fryer with a 5.8 qt basket. I wouldn’t recommend using anything smaller than this, as the chicken size may not fit. All air fryers cook a little bit differently. If you are using a different brand than the one mentioned, just be sure to check on your chicken to make sure it is cooking properly.
Try to keep your chicken size under 4.5 pounds. I would say that is probably the maximum size that will fit in the Cosori air fryer. I recommend hormone-free, free-range, organic chickens when possible because they are typically smaller and work perfectly in the air fryer basket. If your chicken is sticking up just a bit out of the basket, you can press to make your chicken fit. Just make sure it does not touch the top of your machine.
It’s important to make sure you are cleaning your hands and surfaces while working with raw chicken to prevent food poisoning. For more information on chicken preparation and safety practices, visit here.
Adding onion, garlic, and thyme to the cavity will keep moisture inside and make the chicken nice and juicy. I love using this twine to hold all of that closed to further help with keeping the chicken from drying out. If your chicken does however seem too big for your basket, you can leave the legs untied so that it fits a little better.
Store cooked chicken leftovers in an airtight container for 3-4 days in the refrigerator. You can also place cooked chicken in a freezer bag and store for 3-4 months.
It is important to use a cooking spray without a propellant, as most air fryer baskets will deteriorate over time using traditional cooking sprays. I highly recommend this one or you can also get an olive oil sprayer to use with your choice of oil.
If you like your chicken extra crispy, I recommend raising the temperature to 370°F for the last 5 minutes of cook time.
Ways to serve: sliced chicken over salad, in a sandwich, make chicken salad, chicken noodle casserole, serve with side of vegetables.
If your chicken is smaller than 4 pounds, you may need to decrease your cooking times. Pull your basket out to check the temperature to make sure it is cooked to the proper temperature at 165° F.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 476cal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 143mg | Sodium: 1436mg | Sugar: 1g | Fiber: 1g | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 2mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Cut air fryer whole chicken

Originally published March 2021, updated and republished March 2024

Disclosure: Posts may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link your price will remain the same and The Slow Roasted Italian will automatically receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting us, it helps us keep creating new recipes.

The Simple Kitchen cookbook affiliate linked banner


  1. Best chicken I have ever had! I love the air fryer I have the same one but I think it's bigger. I can cook a five to a five and a half pound chicken in mine and it comes out perfect every time. I'm going to try your seasonings because that sounds delicious!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating