Air Fryer Whole Chicken

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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.


Now you can cook an entire bird with this countertop appliance 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 the meat 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.

whole chicken ingredients

Tips and Tricks For Air Fryer Whole Chicken

  • 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.
  • Use a smaller chicken. There’s a noticeable difference between organic, hormone-free birds and regular ones, so you’ll probably need to purchase the former so it fits inside the basket. Either way, keep it under 4.5 pounds for best results and don’t let it touch the top of your machine.
  • 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 the meat fit better inside the 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. I highly recommend this one, or you can also get an olive oil sprayer to fill with any high smoke point oil.
rub for whole chicken

How To Cook Chicken In An Air Fryer

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

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

Then, spray the basket with your favorite oil spray and place the poultry inside. It takes about an hour to cook, and you will need to flip it halfway so it gets crispy on all sides.

Once it’s done, allow it to rest on a cutting board before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute through the meat for perfectly moist bites.

rubbing butter under the skin

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brushing rub on chicken

FAQ – Common Recipe Questions

Do I need to preheat my air fryer?

No, there’s no need to do so for this recipe.

Are there drippings in the pan for gravy?

Yes! Just be sure your basket is on a flat surface before separating it from the lower pan. If you don’t have a favorite recipe, I’ve got one that can be made in just 20 minutes.

air fryer rotisserie chicken

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.


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cut air fryer whole chicken

Air Fryer Chicken

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 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 25 mins
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

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  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!

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