The Best Way to Make a Roasted Chicken Is Not in the Oven

If you’re like me, you probably love a good roasted chicken but dread the long cooking times and extensive cleanup associated with traditional oven roasting. That’s why I was thrilled to discover that you can cook a whole chicken in an air fryer, and it comes out perfect every time.

This method is a game-changer, cutting down cooking time by 25% and simplifying the entire process. Here’s why air fryer chicken has become my new go-to recipe for a delicious, hassle-free meal.

The Perks of Air Fryer Chicken

High Heat for Perfect Texture

One of the biggest advantages of using an air fryer for roasting chicken is the high, consistent heat it provides. This ensures that the skin becomes wonderfully crispy while the meat inside stays juicy and tender.

The compact cooking chamber of an air fryer means the heat is more concentrated and evenly distributed compared to a traditional convection oven, which can have hot spots and varying temperatures.

Efficient and Consistent Cooking

Air fryers are typically smaller than wall ovens, but they are perfect for cooking whole chickens. I’ve comfortably cooked a 4-pound roaster in my 6-quart Dreo ChefMaker air fryer without any issues.

Even more basic models, like the $60 Gourmia air fryer, can handle a whole chicken just as effectively. The smaller size of the air fryer not only means faster cooking times but also more consistent results, as the heat envelops the chicken from all sides.

Simple and Quick Prep

Cooking a whole chicken in an air fryer isn’t just efficient; it’s also incredibly easy. Here’s what you need:


  • 4-pound chicken (giblets removed)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons grain mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: seasoning blend, lemon or orange, fresh herbs


1. Preheat the Air Fryer: Set your air fryer to 360°F and let it preheat for a few minutes.

2. Prepare the Marinade: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, mustard, salt, pepper, and any additional seasoning you like. This blend will infuse the chicken with a rich, flavorful crust.

3. Marinate the Chicken: Rub the marinade all over the chicken, making sure to cover it thoroughly.

4. Cook the Chicken: Place the chicken breast-side down on the wire rack inside the air fryer basket. Cook for 25 minutes.

5. Flip the Chicken: Carefully flip the chicken so it is breast-side up and cook for another 25 minutes.

6. Check for Doneness: Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. The chicken is ready when it reaches 160°F in the thickest part of the breast, or when the juices run clear.

7. Rest the Chicken: Let the chicken rest for about 5 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute, ensuring every bite is moist and flavorful.

Serving Suggestions

One of the great things about air fryer chicken is its versatility. I often serve it with a side of rice cooked in my rice cooker for a quick and easy meal. Alternatively, you can roast some root vegetables alongside the chicken in the air fryer, creating a complete dinner that feeds four to five people—all with minimal effort and cleanup.

Tips to Avoid Overcooking

While the air fryer is incredibly efficient, it’s important to keep an eye on your chicken, especially as it nears the end of its cooking time.

The intense heat can sometimes cause the skin to brown too quickly. If you notice this happening, reduce the temperature slightly to avoid burning. Remember, you can always increase the heat briefly at the end to crisp up the skin if needed.

A meat probe is a handy tool to ensure your chicken is perfectly cooked. Insert it into the thickest part of the breast; once it reads 160°F, your chicken is done. If the skin isn’t as crispy as you’d like, you can crank up the heat for a few minutes to achieve that golden-brown perfection.

Why You Should Try It

Switching to air fryer chicken has transformed my cooking routine. Not only does it save time, but it also produces consistently delicious results with minimal fuss. The air fryer method ensures a beautifully roasted chicken with a crispy exterior and juicy interior, making it a hit for any meal.

Whether you’re looking for a quick weeknight dinner or a show-stopping centerpiece for Sunday lunch, air fryer chicken is a convenient, efficient, and delectable option. Give it a try and enjoy the simplicity and deliciousness of this modern cooking method.

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