Did you know you can cook a whole chicken in an air fryer?
If you haven’t tried an air fryer for cooking a whole chicken yet, read on to learn step by step how easy it is to do!
As long as your air fryer is large enough, it’s the perfect way to cook a whole roasted chicken in about an hour.
When I first got our air fryer, it was with the sole intention of making air fryer chips and our own chicken nuggets at home (we still do this!) I never imagined that I could make so many air fryer recipes!
How To Cook A Whole Chicken In An Air Fryer
When using an air fryer to roast a whole chicken, we follow the same process as when cooking it in an oven.
Adding Oil And Seasoning To Air Fryer Chicken
You can pop the chicken straight in the air fryer, and it will cook just fine; it will also taste just fine – but if you want to really crisp up the chicken’s skin, I recommend adding a little oil and some of your favourite seasonings.
You really don’t need to add much oil – I used 1 tbsp of olive oil and pasted it on with a pastry brush to ensure it was coated all over. You can add whatever seasoning you prefer; my usual includes;
- 1tsp smoked paprika
- 1tsp dried mixed herbs
- 1tsp garlic salt/granules
I mix it all together in a small pot and then sprinkle it over the oiled chicken, using either the pastry brush or my hands, to rub it all over.
Putting The Chicken In The Air Fryer
Once I am done seasoning the chicken, I put it straight into the air fryer basket. I don’t usually preheat the air fryer – usually because I forget!
You can heat it up for 5 minutes or so while you are seasoning up the chicken, but it is no big deal if you don’t; an air fryer heats up so quickly anyway.
I like to cook the chicken breast side down for the bulk of the cooking time. It always seems to come out more evenly cooked and not too overcooked across the breast when I cook it this way.
For the first 45 minutes, I cook it at 180C. I like to check it once or twice during this time to make sure it isn’t overcooking. A quick opening of the air fryer tray won’t affect or delay the cooking time.
Once the 45 minutes is up, I turn the chicken over so that it is breast side up. I then cook it for a further 15 minutes at the same temperature.
After 15 minutes, I pierce the chicken to ensure it is cooked through – if you get a clear juice running out, you should be good to tuck in.
If I am ever unsure – and if it is one of the first times you are cooking a whole chicken in an air fryer – you should use a meat thermometer to double-check it is cooked through.
Different air fryer machines can behave differently, so always check it is cooked through before eating!
What Air Fryer Is Best For Cooking A Whole Chicken?
My favourite air fryers out of those, especially for whole chickens, are the Ninja Foodi, the Ninja Foodi Dual and some of the Cosori air fryers.
Does The Chicken Fit?
It seems obvious, but make sure the chicken can fit in the air fryer’s basket. It’s fine if it fills the whole basket, but you want to ensure a little space for the air to circulate.
What To Serve With Air Fryer Chicken
There are so many choices – so much works well with chicken!
Once the chicken has finished cooking, you can take it out and leave it to rest before carving. While it is resting, you can cook a side dish.
Slow Cooker Whole Chicken Vs Air Fryer Whole Chicken
First up, both ways taste delicious. But each method produces quite different results.
Slow cooker chicken can be left in all day and left to its own devices. You can literally just put it in the slow cooker, put the lid on, set it off on low and leave it all day.
When you return, the chicken will be soft and tender. It will fall off the bone, and let me tell you, none of that chicken will be wasted!
You can even use the cooking juices to make your own stock and gravy. I love to get the last of the chicken and stock to make chicken soup.
Air fryer chicken only takes about 1 hour to cook. But you do need to be about to check on it, flip it, etc.
However, air fryer chicken is so amazingly crisp on the outside, and the flavour is like a rotisserie chicken.
And the inside is so soft and juicy that it doesn’t dry out. In comparison, a whole chicken cooked in a slow cooker will be soft and anaemic looking; if you want the same crispy exterior finish as an air fryer chicken, you will need to pop it in the oven for a while to crisp it up.
So, cooking a whole chicken either way produces great results, although quite different ones.
What they do both have in common is that with no oven on, the energy costs are much lower.