Crispy, Tender, and Unbelievably Easy: Air Fryer Roasted Chicken Cooked Right

Half a chicken, cooked in the air fryer and seasoned with black pepper on a blue plate with gravy and garbanzo bean salad

Today, we’re diving into the world of air-fried delights with a staple in comfort food: roast chicken. But not just any roast chicken – we’re talking about a crispy, tender, and unbelievably easy air fryer roasted chicken that’ll have your family asking for seconds (and thirds!). Sometimes, traditional oven roasting feels time-consuming or messy. Enter the air fryer! This magical appliance can deliver amazing roasted chicken in a fraction of the time.

Overhead view of two plates of roasted chicken. Left plate has chicken roasted in air fryer, plate on right has chicken roasted in oven
Air Fryer vs Oven – Which is your favorite roasting method?

Baking vs Roasting – What’s the Difference?

First things first, let’s clear up a common kitchen query: the difference between baking and roasting.

  • Both involve cooking food in dry heat, but roasting typically refers to cooking at higher temperatures, giving food a deliciously crispy exterior.
  • Baking usually involves more liquid as you’ll cover your chicken or utilize a pan where your juices will collect.
  • Roasting is done on a rack or a rotisserie so that air and heat can circulate all surfaces of your chicken at the same time.

Why I Love Using Fresh Black Pepper for Roasted Chicken

Close up shot of Chef Samantha holding a half chicken seasoned with fresh black pepper to prepare for roasting in air fryer

When it comes to seasoning, nothing beats the classic combo of salt and fresh black pepper. Grinding black pepper fresh releases its aromatic oils, adding a depth of flavor that pre-ground just can’t match. You can explore different flavor combinations of seasonings, but the simplicity of the natural taste of the chicken and black pepper with salt brings out a flavour reminiscent of ancient country cooking. I personally love it more than any other seasoning combo I have tried. My second favorite would be five spiced chicken, Asian style, or Masala chicken.

What to Expect from Cooking a Whole Chicken in the Air Fryer

How the Air Fryer Creates Crispy Texture

The magic of the air fryer lies in its rapid air technology, circulating hot air to cook food evenly in a compressed and compact space. It creates that coveted crispy texture in record time, without the need for excessive oil. The air fryer is a game-changer, especially when doing air fryer roasted chicken.

Spatchcock vs Roasting Whole

Chef Samantha demonstrating how to cut whole chicken in half

To spatchcock or not? Spatchcocking (removing the backbone and flattening the chicken) can ensure even cooking and a quicker roast time. However, roasting whole is just as doable in the air fryer, if you have the correct air fryer. Most air fryers are too small to hold an entire chicken, but there are some which have the capacity for a whole chicken which I have recommended here in my comprehensive air fryer review post.

In the video below, you will see me demonstrate roasting chicken in halves. I recommend you air fry your roast chicken in halves if you do not have a large air fryer.

Getting the Roasting Time Right

The key to perfection? Roasting time. Not too long, or you’ll dry it out; not too short, or you’ll be calling for pizza. It’s about finding that sweet spot, which I’ll guide you through in the video below. However, a general rule is 10-12 minutes per pound of chicken.

How to Cook Roast Chicken in Air Fryer

Can You Roast a Chicken in an Air Fryer?

Absolutely, yes! And not just roast, but create a masterpiece that’s juicy inside and perfectly crispy outside.

Whole Chicken in Air Fryer Temperature

The ideal temperature for air frying a whole chicken is 375°F (190°C). This ensures thorough cooking while giving you that irresistible golden-brown skin.

Air Fryer Whole Chicken Time Per Pound

  • Spatchcocked Chicken: 10 minutes per pound.
  • Whole Chicken: 12 minutes per pound.

Keep in mind, all air fryers are a bit different, so adjustments may be necessary. Use a quick read digital thermometer! Or a wireless meat thermometer would be even better. Check out my recommendations here.

How Long Does It Take to Cook a Whole Chicken in the Air Fryer?

For an average-sized chicken cut in half (about 2 pounds), you’re looking at about 22 minutes of cooking time. Always use an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature (165°F in the thickest part of the thigh).

Best Air Fryer for Whole Chicken

Choosing the right air fryer can make all the difference. Look for models with at least a 5 to 6-quart capacity to comfortably fit a whole chicken, and preferably one with multiple functions to get the most bang for your buck.

View my comprehensive list of air fryers which will go into the pros and cons of each, and give recommendations based on the size of your family.

Corsori Smart Air Fryer

Air Fryer for Family of 6 Suitable for Whole Chicken

Air Fryer Roast Chicken Ingredients and Directions

Crispy, Tender, and Unbelievably Easy: Air Fryer Roasted Chicken Cooked Right

Recipe by Chef Samantha GeorgeCourse: dinner, lunchDifficulty: Easy
Prep time


Cooking time



Gathering essential ingredients of high quality salt and fresh black pepper, of course, your whole chicken, I’ll walk you through each step of prepping and air frying your bird to perfection. No need to take notes; I’ve got you covered. Make sure not to overcrowd the air fryer basket to allow for ample air circulation, which is key to achieving that perfect roast.


  • 1 whole chicken (about 5-6 pounds)

  • 1½ tsp Kosher salt (or salt to your taste)

  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

  • 1-2 tbsp of coconut or olive oil


  • Cut your chicken in half, down the backbone
  • Pat the chicken dry thoroughly with paper towels. Removing excess moisture is crucial for achieving a crispy skin.
  • Drizzle and rub the chicken all over with 1-2 tablespoons of coconut or olive oil. The oil not only enhances the skin’s crispiness but also helps to lock in the moisture, ensuring the meat stays juicy during cooking.
  • Generously season both sides of the chicken half with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. If using additional herbs and spices, mix them with the salt and pepper before seasoning the chicken.
  • Preheat your air fryer to 375°F (190°C). Adjust this temperature if needed based on your air fryer model’s recommendations.
  • Place the seasoned and oiled chicken half in the air fryer basket, skin-side up, to ensure air circulates around the chicken for even cooking.
  • Cook for about 20-23 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) at the thickest part. Check the doneness with a meat thermometer.
  • After cooking, carefully remove the chicken from the air fryer and let it rest for about 5 minutes. This resting period allows the juices to redistribute within the meat, ensuring your chicken is moist and flavorful when carved.


  • Feel free to add any of your favorite herbs and spices (e.g., garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, thyme, rosemary) for extra flavor.
  • The oil not only contributes to a crispy skin but also adds a layer of flavor. Coconut oil can add a subtle sweetness, while olive oil offers a cleaner, but slightly pungent flavor.

Chef Samantha’s Professional Roasting Chicken Tips Simplified

Tips for Cooking Raw Chicken in Air Fryer

Chef Samantha patting uncooked chicken with paper towel to remove excess moisture
Use a non toxic paper towel to pat dry your chicken before roasting
  • Pat the chicken dry thoroughly. This helps ensure crispy skin.
  • Oil your chicken before seasoning as this will enhance your browning process and helps seal in moisture.
  • Season generously with your favorite spices. Don’t skimp on the flavor!
  • Flip the chicken halfway through cooking for even browning (not necessary for spatchcocked chicken or halved chicken).

Using Instant Read Thermometers

Investing in an instant-read thermometer is a game-changer for perfectly cooked chicken every time. Aim for an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) in the thighs. You can try these wireless meat thermometers so that you can connect to your phone and monitor without ever needing to open your air fryer and test.

Challenges with Roasting Frozen Chicken

I don’t recommend it. Frozen chicken releases more moisture, which can lead to soggy skin. You can also end up with the middle being uncooked while outside is burnt or too crispy. Thaw completely before air frying.

List of Other Air Fryer Recipes You Can Try:

Air fryer roasted chicken is a game-changer for busy weeknight meals. It’s delicious, healthy, and so much faster than traditional oven roasting. But the air fryer can do so much more. Here’s some of my favorite recipes:

Air Fryer Recommendations:

Consider factors like size, capacity, and desired features when choosing an air fryer. Look for models with good online reviews and warranties.

So ditch the doubts and embrace the air fryer! You’ll be enjoying perfectly roasted chicken in no time.

A Few Air Fryers I Recommend to Purchase:


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About The Chef
Chef Samantha

A formally trained chef, Observer Food Awards scholar, graduate of The University of Technology in Hospitality & Food Service management, young wife and mom of two.

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