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The air fryer craze happened a while ago, and I was slow to join. I just didn’t see the point in having another big kitchen gadget, no matter how awesome it was. Especially something that produced “fried” food, as we don’t eat fried food very much.
Then, last Christmas, my dad let me pick my present and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try it out! I chose the ZenChef Pro XXL Air Fryer, which is only $70.
Friends, it’s AWESOME. We love love our air fryer. Yes, we make amazing air fryer potatoes, reheat leftovers, and it cooks frozen food like nobody’s business, but the absolute best thing we do with our air fryer is make this crispy, juicy Whole Chicken in the Air Fryer.
Whole Chicken in the Air Fryer
What you see in the picture was a particularly large, 5lb organic chicken. This is the preferred size for my family, but you can absolutely make a whole chicken in the air fryer at any size.
Step 1 – Make your spice mix
I like to season my Whole Chicken in the Air Fryer simply, for a classic rotisserie chicken flavor. What you see below is pink Himalayan salt, black pepper and garlic powder. This combo is so simple, but it never fails to produce the most flavorful chicken!
Step 2 – Prepare the chicken
I know some people still think you need to wash raw chicken, but that is not best practice for the kitchen anymore! Word from the CDC and very experienced chefs say that you are not benefiting from washing raw chicken at all. In fact, washing raw chicken only spreads harmful bacteria to your counters, sink and hands, and increases your risk of food poisoning! Any harmful bacteria on the chicken is killed during the cooking process.
Pic one: Remove the chicken from the package and lay it out on a large sheet of parchment paper or a large cutting board (the parchment paper makes clean-up easier!)
Pic two: Dry the chicken with a paper towel as thoroughly as possible. (Less liquid means crispier skin!)
Pic three: Drizzle all over with oil (olive, grape seed, avocado, peanut….) and then spread the oil over the entire bird with your hands.
Pic four: Sprinkle the spice mixture everywhere. Make sure to get under the wings and in the thigh creases! (If there’s extra, just pour it into the bird’s cavity to provide maximum flavor.)
Pic five: Rub the spices into the bird, distributing evenly and making sure the spices cover every inch.
Pic six: Place the chicken into the air fryer basket breast side down. (This picture is showing breast side up, but you want to start breast side down!)
Step 3 – Cook the chicken
The cooking time will depend on the size of your chicken, and even then you should test the internal temperature of the chicken before you finish. You want to make sure the thickest part of the bird registers 165 degrees Fahrenheit (75 degrees Celsius.) You can find helpful information on how to test the temperature of your chicken with a food thermometer HERE.
I was working with a 5lb chicken here, so I set my Air Fryer to 360 degrees for 30 minutes, then flipped it and cooked for another 35 minutes to reach the correct temperature. For a smaller chicken, say 3.5 lbs, I’d start with 25 minutes per side and then check the temperature.
I’ve seen other recipes for Whole Chicken in the Air Fryer, and they always call for a temperature of 350, but that temperature never gives me a really crispy skin. I always cook my whole chicken at 360 degrees, and then if the skin still isn’t as crispy as I like, I blast it at 380 for 3-5 minutes right at the end.
Step 3 – Let it rest
After the chicken has finished cooking, you want to remove the basket from the air fryer, cover loosely with foil, and let the chicken rest for 10 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute so they all don’t run out of the meat when you cut it.
That’s it! If you’re prepping for the week, then just let it cool and store in the fridge for later. If you’re eating right then, cut into pieces LIKE THIS and enjoy!
Wondering what to do with your whole chicken? Here are some great ideas! With any of these recipes, you can just skip cooking the chicken and sub in shredded Whole Chicken in the Air Fryer!
- Chicken Noodle Soup
- Enchiladas with homemade enchilada sauce (use shredded chicken instead of veggies!)
- Chicken Taco Baked Sweet Potatoes (this recipe is made easier if you sub shredded chicken tossed with the Mexican spices!)
- Healthy Chicken Tortilla Soup
- One Pan Pesto Chicken and Veggies (just cook the veggies and toss with shredded chicken and pesto!)
- Spanish Chicken and Rice (add shredded chicken at the end)
- Paleo Keto Low Carb Chicken Soup
- Low Carb Greek Chicken Meal Prep Bowls
- Classic Chicken and Dumplings
- Cold Sesame Noodles Chicken Salad
YOU’ll NEED A BIG AIR FRYER TO COOK A WHOLE CHICKEN, SO HERE ARE SOME GREAT OPTIONS!! I PERSONALLY HAVE THE SECOND ONE.