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Air Fryer Whole Chicken Recipe

A tasty combination of herbs and spices give this air fryer whole chicken a ton of flavor.

air fryer whole chicken

The air fryer gives the outside a nice crispy texture while keeping the meat moist and juicy. This recipe covers one cornish hen, but can easily be doubled or tripled for larger gatherings. 

My grandmother used to make roast chicken almost every weekend. Back then, a decent sized roaster wasn’t too expensive and it would feed the grandkids without a lot of effort. Add some stuffing or mashed potatoes along with a couple of vegetables and you could even feed Grandpa. 

Grandma’s go-to way of cooking the chicken was in a roasting pan. She would brush melted butter on the outside to help the skin crisp up while imparting a rich flavor. My favorite piece was the leg, but I had to fight off my bigger cousins for that pleasure. 

Today, I still love roasted whole chicken. But, I don’t always have time to watch it properly as it cooks in the oven. That’s why I love this cornish hen recipe so much. It cooks in just a little over half an hour with no need to watch it closely. 

If you’ve followed my food blog for a while, you know I love air frying different types of meat such as salmon, beef, and pork. This cornish hen is perfect for air frying.

air fryer whole chicken recipe

What Makes A Good Whole Chicken Recipe 

Whole chickens are an excellent choice when it comes to creating an entree for a couple’s dinner or a family feast. Of course, cornish hens are on the smaller side at less than two pounds, but a typical whole roaster chicken can top out at seven pounds or more. Cooked right, a whole chicken can be a filling meal that works well with any number of flavor profiles and side dishes. 

Roasting or cooking on a rotisserie are the more traditional methods of cooking whole chickens. The heat sears the outside, giving it a crispy texture, while allowing the juices to marinate the meat inside. Seasonings rubbed on the outside, under the skin, and in the cavity help enhance the meat’s natural flavors. 

whole chicken in air fryer

Of course, a whole chicken can be cooked in other ways. Boiling the chicken renders a flavorful broth along with meat ready for any number of applications. Placing the chicken in a slow cooker leaves the meat fall apart tender. Braising makes the meat extremely tender and flavored with whatever liquid you use. Whole chickens also make the perfect starting point for soups and stews. 

A good whole chicken will have a yellowish skin, which is firmly attached to the meat. The meat should be firm to the touch and not mushy. A frozen chicken should be rock hard with no ice or freezer burn.

how to cook a whole chicken in an air fryer

Air Fryer Whole Chicken

Simple and delicious air fryer whole chicken recipe.

Course Main Course
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 1 Whole Cornish Hen
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Rosemary


  1. Mix the seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic powder, chopped rosemary) in a small bowl.

  2. Rub the seasoning mix onto all parts of the Cornish hen. Ensure there's a generous layer everywhere. 

  3. Place the air fryer's rotisserie shaft through the middle of the hen. Secure as recommended. 

    (I'm using the Power Air Fryer Oven. If you do not have a rotisserie feature, you will need to flip the chicken half way cooking time.)

  4. Use cooking twine to secure the wings and legs to the body of the Hen. This ensures even cooking.

  5. Place the hen into the air fryer and lock the rotisserie shaft into place.

  6. Press the rotisserie button to get started. You need to cook the hen at 400F for 35 minutes or until its internal temperature reaches 160F.

  7. Take the hen out of the air fryer and let it rest, with the rotisserie shaft still embedded, under foil for at least 10 minutes before serving. Remove the rotisserie shaft when it's time to serve.

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