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Whole Chicken In Air Fryer: The Perfect Roast Chicken

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.

collage of four photos showing the step by step method for cooking a whole chicken in an air fryer. Text overlay with the words "Air Fryer Whole Chicken"

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. 

yellow silicone brush basting oil on a raw whole chicken

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.

herbs and spices basted over breast of whole raw chicken

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.

whole chicken in air fryer bresat side down in an air fryer basket

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?

raw chicken next to air fryer basket with probe from Ninja Dual
The Ninja Dual Air Fryer (With Probe)

I’ve used so many different air fryers over the years, starting with the original Philips Air Fryer, then a Power Air Fryer XL, the Ninja Foodi, a Proscenic Air Fryer and the Ninja Foodi Dual.

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!

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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.

cooked whole chicken in an air fryer basket

More Air Fryer Chicken Recipes

You can cook many different chicken recipes in an air fryer. Here are a few of my favourites;

whole chicken carved next to air fryer
whole chicken carved next to air fryer

Air Fryer Whole Roast Chicken

Yield: 4-6
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

Making this rotisserie style whole chicken in an air fryer is so much quicker than an oven - and with amazingly yummy results!


  • 1 whole chicken (up to 2kg, depending on the size of your air fryer)
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 1tsp smoked paprika
  • 1tsp dried mixed herbs
  • 1tsp garlic granules/salt


  1. Using a brush, coat the chicken in olive oil.
  2. Mix the seasoning together and paste it all over the chicken. Make up some more spice mix if there isn't enough to coat the whole chicken.
  3. Place the chicken in the air fryer basket, breast side down. Cook at 180°C for 45 minutes. Check on it once or twice to ensure it is cooking ok and not burning.
  4. At 45 minutes, turn the chicken over so that it is breast side up. Cook for a further 15 minutes.
  5. Check the chicken has cooked through. You can pierce it with a sharp knife to see if the juices run clear - or, my preferred way, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. If it isn't cooked through, return it to the air fryer and cook for some more time, checking on it every so often.


Serve with chips, potato wedges, rice, salad - anything goes with chicken.

Experiment with different seasoning rubs, and you can change up the taste each time.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 390Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 132mgSodium: 123mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 41g

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Thursday 4th of January 2024

Thank you for such a fantastic recipe! I am new to the world of air frying and had no idea I could cook a whole chicken in one. The chicken was fall off the bone with lovely crispy skin. The whole family loved it, will definitely make again soon


Sunday 26th of November 2023

Hi all just got a salter air fryer i have done some chicken breasts in it but going to do a whole chicken now so will see how it goes xx

Liana Green

Wednesday 20th of December 2023

How did the whole chicken go Richard? Hope it was tasty!


Friday 24th of November 2023

I crumbled a chicken stock cube into 2 x teaspoons of oil and added a little garlic salt and pepper then rubbed it all around the chicken. I cooked the chicken on top of my carrots and parsnips and cooked my roast potatoes in the second pot. Just under 10 minutes before the cooking time was up i put my pre baked Yorkshire puddings on top of my vegetables. Everything come out absolutely perfect, my kids even said it tasted better than when I cook a full Sunday roast in the conventional oven.

Liana Green

Wednesday 20th of December 2023

Yum, sounds delicious Mandy! I'm glad it got the kids seal of approval too :)

Alan Jones

Monday 9th of October 2023

Liana I spatchcock my chicken so it is lower in my Ninja Foodi max and it cooks quicker around 35-40 minutes. Loving your website and posts just bought the Ninja soup maker and I bought your book thank you. Alan

Liana Green

Friday 13th of October 2023

That's a great idea Alan! Thanks for your support too :)

Phillip Andrews

Friday 6th of October 2023

I have a ninja foodie max, I put chicken stock enough to keep it below the basket. I put a three pound chicken in breast side up. I then pressure cook for 20 minutes. As soon as the 20 minutes are up , release the pressure straight away. Leave the chicken in, leave the stock in, put your roast veg around the chicken brush the chicken with what you want. Air fry for 20 minutes. Check to make sure it’s cooked.

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