BEST Air Fryer Whole Chicken with a secret technique - The meat is amazingly juicy with crispy skin using basic pantry spices. Easiest way to make a flavorful roast chicken in under one hour!
Air Fryer Whole Chicken
Make a succulent, juicy chicken at home using your air fryer for weeknight dinner. This recipe is super easy but I have a few tricks up my sleeves to ensure that the meat stays juicy tender.
Can you put a whole chicken in the air fryer? Absolutely and it is so much easier than oven baking. This is extremely flavorful and cooks in less time. It serves a family favorite and the leftovers make great lunch next day made into sandwiches, soups, quesadillas or stirred with pastas.
If you have never tried a whole bird in an air fryer then you are in for a pleasant surprise.
THE SECRET TECHNIQUE
Add water into the basket! A splash of water added in the basket, tends to create steam and prevents the breast from drying and retain it's moisture. But, don't you worry about the skin. The chicken is flipped and cooked again which makes sure that the skin has enough time to get amazingly crispy.
WHY YOU'LL LOVE THIS RECIPE?
- Basic pantry spices - We went with basic seasonings like garlic powder, paprika, pepper, salt and Italian seasoning. There is no chopping or need to run to the store to buy fresh herbs.
- Fool proof recipe - Cook a moist, juicy and insanely flavorful bird everytime.
- Makes great leftovers - Leftover meat can be used to make various dishes for lunch the next day.
- Less time - It takes less time than oven baking.
The bird is cooked at a slightly higher 370 degrees for the first 30 minutes with breast side down and then a medium 350 degrees after flipping. A 3 pound bird will need 45 to 50 minutes and a 4 pound one will need closer to 60 minutes.
Cook until the internal temperature reaches 165°F on a meat thermometer. Check it early to ensure it doesn’t overcook.
What Size Chicken to Use?
Select a bird that is approximately 3 to 4 pounds. I used my 6-quart air fryer to cook 3 ¾ pound chicken. You want to make sure that the bird does not touch the top of the air fryer when placed inside the basket and closed.
To Truss or Not to Truss?
Trussing means to tie the bird snugly with kitchen twine so that the wings and legs stay close to the body. It makes a prettier presentation and makes it more compact. But, we choose not to for these reasons-
- An easy no-fuss recipe that will be comfortable for beginners.
- Trussing makes the bird slightly taller in size and you increase the chance of it touching the top of heat coil when air frying.
With just a few ingredients, you can have a amazing roasted bird in no time.
- CHICKEN: Choose one that is about 3 to 4 lbs in size and not bigger. It should be able to fit in your air fryer basket without touching the top.
- BUTTER - Butter makes everything better, right? It adds flavor and helps with the browning. Use unsalted butter.
- SEASONING - We used a basic but super flavorful blend of paprika, garlic powder, pepper and Italian seasoning. There is no mincing or chopping needed.
PRO TIPS FOR A TENDER AND JUICY BIRD
Truly roasting a whole chicken could not be any easier! With just a few tips you can have the best bird ready in about an hour. Consider this instead of turkey this Thanksgiving, especially if you are having an intimate gathering.
- Add water into the basket. This might sounds unusual, but the steam created guarantees a juicy meat.
- Look inside the chicken and remove any giblets if you see them.
- Make sure to dry the skin thoroughly with paper towels on all sides to remove all moisture --> one of the key to a crispy skin.
- Cook breast side down and flip after 30 minutes. This will prevent the white meat from drying out.
- Flip - But you do want to flip the chicken halfway through to make sure the skin gets crispy all over. Trust me you don’t want to miss that step.
- Spreading spice butter under the skin directly in contact with the breast creates a flavorful and tender breast.
- Make sure not to tear the skin when loosening with a spoon.
- Let it rest - Allow to rest after air frying for about 10 minutes. You want to allow the delicious juices to soak back into the meat before slicing.
- Season evenly - Make sure to spread the seasoning evenly so that it tastes amazing all over.
- Internal temperature - You want to cook till it reaches 165 degrees inside but not over cook. Insert the meat thermometer into the thigh area away from the bone. The temperature will continue to rise a couple of degrees while resting.
HOW TO MAKE?
The best recipe with garlic herb butter under and on the skin, is stuffed with lemon, roasted until it’s crispy, golden on the outside, and juicy on the inside.
- Prep - Remove all of the stuff from the cavity and pat dry thoroughly with paper towels on all sides. Next, you’re going to loosen skin from the breast meat by running a small flat spoon or your fingers gently underneath the skin.
- Season - Mix melted butter along with all spices. Spread under the loosened skin directly on top of the meat and then all over the skin.
- Air fry - Add water into the basket. Place breast-side down in the basket and cook at 370 degrees for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes is up, pull out the basket and flip the breast side up. Place it back and cook at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reaches 165 degrees. Now you’re ready to enjoy some truly delicious bird!
HOW TO SERVE?
This recipe makes a fabulous weeknight dinner or for small Thanksgiving. Serve with Parmesan Roasted Brussels Sprouts to make a complete meal.
HOW TO USE LEFTOVERS?
Possibilities are almost endless, besides being delicious on its own, the shredded meat taste scrumptious served in so many ways.
- Sandwiches - Toss with bbq sauce to make a pulled barbecue sandwich or make this avocado sandwich.
- Salad - Add chopped meat to your favorite salads for added protein or try in this pasta pesto salad.
- Soups - Add this to your favorite soup recipes to make it more filling and hearty. Think Spinach Soup, Creamy Rice Soup or Tomato Soup.
- Dip - Try this Buffalo Chicken Dip.
- Quesadilla - Make a Spicy Mexican Quesadilla.
- Fried Rice - Make a quick fried rice with scrambled eggs, scallions, soy sauce, sesame oil, pepper and cooked rice.
How to Store Leftovers?
Remove the meat from the carcass and keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or place it in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
To reheat - Warm in the microwave! Refresh the flavors with a little salt and pepper.
More Air Fryer Chicken Recipes to Try:
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Air Fryer Whole Chicken - Juicy!
- 3 ½ pound whole chicken
- 1 lemon cut into 4
- 4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
- 1 to 2 teaspoons salt we used 2 teaspoons - refer notes
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Air Fryer used
- 6 Quart air fryer
- (Before starting - Make sure that your chicken will fit in the air fryer basket without touching the top when closed. We used a 6 quart Instant Vortex Air Fryer and was able to fit 3 ¾ lbs chicken)
- Take the chicken out of the fridge about 20 minutes before (not necessary but recommended).
- Empty the cavity of the chicken and pat the skin thoroughly dry with paper towels.
- Using a small, flat spoon loosen the skin from chicken from the top of the breasts. Make sure not to tear the skin while doing so,
- Mix all spice butter ingredients in a bowl and drizzle some spice butter under the skin and smear remaining all over the surface of the chicken.
- Stuff cut lemon wedges inside chicken.
- Preheat air fryer to 370°F. When hot, pour ⅓ cup water into the basket (this creates steam when cooking and keeps the meat super juicy). Place the chicken breast side down and cook for 30 minutes.
- Gently flip chicken over and cook at 350°F for 20 to 30 minutes or until an instant read thermometer reaches 165°F.
- Remove from air fryer and rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Nutritional information is based on third party calculations, should be considered estimates and not be construed as a guarantee. Varying factors such as product types, brands purchased, produce, the way ingredients are processed and more change the nutritional information in any recipe.
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