This juicy and flavorful air fryer whole chicken with Mexican-inspired seasonings and crispy skin is the perfect weeknight dinner for the whole family.
Cooking with an air fryer has been a huge time-saver for me when it comes to preparing dinner, so I thought of sharing some easy and quick recipes with you that you can also make at home.
This air fryer whole chicken recipe is perfect for dinner or for preparing chicken ahead of time for other recipes during the week. It has all the flavor and convenience of a store-bought rotisserie chicken, but with crispy skin and made with pantry staple spices.
- Whole chicken: I used a 4-pound whole chicken from my local grocery store. 3 1/2 to 4 pounds is a pretty standard size, but if you can only find bigger or smaller chickens, you’ll need to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
- Olive oil: Coating the chicken with oil is important so that the seasonings can stick to the chicken skin. I used extra virgin olive oil to give it a light taste, but you can use any oil of your preference. However, I do not recommend using an oil cooking spray.
- Seasonings: I used a combination of kosher salt, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, dried oregano, dried thyme, and cumin.
How to Make Air Fryer Whole Chicken
Prepare seasonings. In a small bowl, mix together kosher salt, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, dried oregano, dried thyme, and cumin until fully combined.
Prepare the chicken. Start preparing the chicken by removing the giblets from the internal cavity. Once removed, pat the chicken dry on all sides using a paper towel, ensuring to get all the nooks and crannies.
Oil the chicken. Pour olive oil on top of the chicken and rub evenly with your hands, making sure to coat all sides of the chicken.
Add seasoning. Rub spice blend all over chicken, making sure to coat it evenly on both sides.
Cook chicken. Place the chicken breast-side down into your airfryer after removing the cooking rack. Air fry at 350℉ for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, carefully flip the chicken over and and continue to air fry for an additional 25-30 minutes, until the juices run clear and the internal temperature of the largest section of the leg and thigh reaches 165℉.
Let it rest. Once the chicken is fully cooked, allow it to rest for 10 minutes to seal in all the juices.
Serve. Once rested, carve the chicken and serve as tacos, burritos, nachos, or by itself!
I also like using this chicken as a base for recipes that require shredded chicken like:
- Choose the right size chicken. Ensure the chicken fits comfortably in your air fryer basket. A smaller bird, around 3 to 4 pounds, typically works best.
- Remove the giblets before cooking. Depending on the brand of chicken you buy, it may already come wrapped and easy to remove.
- Check for doneness. When checking the temperature for doneness, make sure to insert the thermometer in the thickest part of the chicken. Temperature should read at least 165°F in the breast and in the thigh.
Air fryer. I love this 5.5 qt air fryer and use it almost daily for cooking or reheating. It’s a great size and super versatile!
Instant read thermometer. This instant-read thermometer is great to use for steak, chicken, and even in baking. It’s very accurate and long-lasting.
Non-slip plastic cutting board. This is a must when carving chicken or meat. The non-slip is great for cutting large quantities and won’t wobble around your countertops.
Storing and Reheating
To store, place the cooked chicken in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.
To reheat, microwave the chicken in 1-minute increments until warmed.
- In a small bowl, mix together the kosher salt, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, dried oregano, dried thyme, and ground cumin. Set aside.
- Empty the cavity of the chicken and pat it dry using paper towels.
- Rub olive oil all over the chicken, then coat it with the spice blend.
- Place the chicken in the air fryer basket breast-side down. Depending on the size of your air fryer and your chicken, you may need to tie and adjust the legs with kitchen twine. Take out the cooking rack in your air fryer if necessary.
- Air fry the chicken at 350℉ for 30 minutes, until the top of the chicken is browned. After 30 minutes, carefully flip the chicken over and continue to air fry for an additional 30 minutes until the juices run clear and the internal temperature in the thickest part of the breast and thigh reaches 165℉.
- Once cooked through, remove the chicken from the air fryer and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
- Carve and serve.
Photos by Erin Jensen of The Wooden Skillet.