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Buttermilk Marinated Air Fryer Whole Chicken

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This Buttermilk-Marinated Air Fryer Whole Chicken comes out unbelievably juicy and delicious, and it’s so easy to make, just 3 ingredients!

This Buttermilk-Marinated Air Fryer Whole Roasted Chicken comes out unbelievably juicy and delicious, and it's so easy to make, just 3 ingredients!
Air Fryer Whole Chicken

This easy weeknight whole chicken air fryer recipe has crispy skin and is delicious and family-friendly! So good, you’ll want to make it again and again! Out of all my air fryer recipes, this one has become a weekly staple. If you don’t have an air fryer, you can bake this in the oven too, or try this Oven Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Rosemary. More air fryer chicken recipes you must make, this juicy air fryer chicken breast, these kid friendly air fryer chicken tenders, and these delicious air fryer chicken thighs.

This Buttermilk-Marinated Air Fryer Whole Roasted Chicken comes out unbelievably juicy and delicious, and it's so easy to make, just 3 ingredients!

This Air Fryer Whole Roasted Chicken recipe was adapted from Samin Nosrat’s Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. This recipe is so good that I’ve been making it weekly on nights when I don’t feel like cooking. It’s as easy as buying a rotisserie chicken. The recipe, which is inspired by Southern fried chicken, involves marinating the entire chicken in buttermilk overnight before cooking. Instead of deep frying, the chicken is baked in the oven. However, using an air fryer is much faster and doesn’t heat up the kitchen. The buttermilk and salt tenderize the meat, making the chicken juicy with beautifully browned skin. Serve it alongside a simple summer tomato salad, chopped Feta salad or quick cabbage slaw.

How to Cook an Air Fryer Whole Chicken

To cook a whole chicken in an air fryer, you will need:

1 whole chicken, about 3 lbs, an air fryer large enough to fir a whole chicken – at least a 6 quart basket and your preferred seasoning (salt, pepper, herbs, etc.) and buttermilk.

  1. Rub the chicken with the salt, making sure to coat it evenly.
  2. Marinate a few hours or as long as overnight in buttermilk in the refrigerator, flipping halfway.
  3. When ready to air fryer, remove from buttermilk, pat dry and let it rest to room temp, 1 hour before.
  4. Place the chicken in the bottom of the air fryer basket, and start the chicken breast side down.
  5. Cook the chicken 350F for 25 minutes on each side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
  6. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving and serving.

How long should you cook chicken in air fryer?

For a 3 pound chicken, it will take about 25 minutes to cook on each side at 350F. Cooking times may vary depending on the size of your chicken and the power of your air fryer. It is recommended to use a meat thermometer to ensure that the chicken is cooked to the correct temperature.

Buttermilk as a Marinade for Chicken

Buttermilk is often used as a marinade for chicken because it contains lactic acid, which helps to tenderize the meat. This makes the chicken more tender and flavorful. The acid in the buttermilk also helps to break down the proteins in the chicken, which helps the marinade to penetrate the meat more effectively. This results in a more flavorful and juicy final dish.

In addition to its tenderizing properties, buttermilk also adds moisture and richness to the chicken, which helps to prevent it from drying out during cooking. It also has a slightly tangy flavor that can help to enhance the flavor of the chicken.

To use buttermilk as a marinade, simply soak the chicken in a mixture of buttermilk and your preferred seasonings for several hours or overnight. The longer you marinate the chicken, the more tender and flavorful it will be. When you are ready to cook the chicken, remove it from the marinade and cook as desired.

Variations:

  • This recipe is simple, with just 3 ingredients but if you want to add more spices, you can add garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, thyme, and/or oregano.
  • Leftover chicken can be kept in the fridge in an airtight container and is perfect in salads the next day.
  • Use the leftover carcass to make chicken stock.

This Buttermilk-Marinated Air Fryer Whole Roasted Chicken comes out unbelievably juicy and delicious. It's so easy to make, just 3 ingredients!This Buttermilk-Marinated Air Fryer Whole Roasted Chicken comes out unbelievably juicy and delicious. It's so easy to make, just 3 ingredients!This Buttermilk-Marinated Air Fryer Whole Roasted Chicken comes out unbelievably juicy and delicious, and it's so easy to make, just 3 ingredients!

More Air Fryer Chicken Recipes

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Buttermilk-Marinated Air Fryer Whole Roasted Chicken

4.86 from 63 votes
7
Cals:329
Protein:50
Carbs:1
Fat:12.5
This Buttermilk-Marinated Air Fryer Whole Roasted Chicken comes out unbelievably juicy and delicious. It's so easy to make, just 3 ingredients!
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
This Buttermilk-Marinated Air Fryer Whole Roasted Chicken comes out unbelievably juicy and delicious, and it's so easy to make, just 3 ingredients!
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 50 mins
Marinate Time: 1 d
Total: 1 d 55 mins
Yield: 4
Serving Size: 1 /4 chicken

Ingredients

  • 3 pound trimmed whole chicken
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pint 1% buttermilk

Instructions

  • The day before you want to cook the chicken, season the chicken generously with 2 teaspoons kosher salt and let it sit for 30 minutes. Optional: tightly tie together the legs of the chicken with a piece of butcher’s twine.
  • Place the chicken in a large mixing bowl (large enough to hold the chicken) and pour in the buttermilk. Cover tight and refrigerate overnight rotating the chicken half way so both sides gets marinated.
  • Remove the chicken from the fridge an hour before you plan to cook it, then remove the chicken from the buttermilk shaking excess and discarding the buttermilk.
  • When ready to cook, transfer the chicken to the air fryer basket (at least 6 quart) belly side down. Season the top of the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  • Air fry 350F about 25 minutes, until the top of the chicken is browned, then flip over, season the other side with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook 25 minutes, until golden and crisp and brown all over and the juices run clear when you insert a knife down to the bone between the leg and the thigh.
  • When the chicken’s done, remove it to a platter and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving and serving.

Oven Version

  • To bake in the oven, bake 400F until golden and crisp and brown all over and the juices run clear when you insert a knife down to the bone between the leg and the thigh, about 1 hour or longer if needed.

Last Step:

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Video

Equipment

Notes

Nutritional values are based on the whole chicken divided by 4 with no skin. Values will differ depending on what part of the chicken you eat, and if you eat the skin or not. Points will also vary with and without the skin, and which part of the chicken is consumed.
Nutrition Values per serving with skin: Calories: 426 · Protein: 46g · Carbohydrate: 1g · Dietary Fiber: 0g · Total Sugars: 1g · Total Fat: 25.5g · Saturated Fat: 7g · Cholesterol: 144mg · Sodium: 153mg
 
Note: Cooking times may vary depending on the size of your chicken and the power of your air fryer. It is recommended to use a meat thermometer to ensure that the chicken is cooked to the correct temperature.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 /4 chicken, Calories: 329 kcal, Carbohydrates: 1 g, Protein: 50 g, Fat: 12.5 g, Saturated Fat: 3.5 g, Cholesterol: 153 mg, Sodium: 162 mg, Sugar: 1 g

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188 comments on “Buttermilk Marinated Air Fryer Whole Chicken”

  1. I had a 6 pound roaster and after cooking it for the time suggested, it was still undercooked. Took forever to get it done.   Next time I’ll hike the temp to 400.  Once it was done it was VERY tender!  

  2. Can you also do a half chicken?   What temp and how long would I cook it?   Just got my Ninja so I’m trying different things. 

  3. Winner winner chicken dinner!! I was somewhat intimidated by making a whole chicken. This was really easy and turned out so good. Thanks Gina!

  4. This is the best and easiest recipe. The chicken comes out perfectly cooked and is so moist. Better than a Costco chicken! Ha. Healthier too as only a couple of ingredients. I’ve made with a 3 pound and up to a 5 1/4 pound chicken (and just adjust time for larger bird). . Great flavorful easy do-over recipe. 

  5. I have the Ninja Flip so a chicken is too big.  I followed steps using fresh wings.  I air fried 400 for 30 minutes flipping half way through … check temperature if adjustments need to be made.   Really good! 

  6. Made this tonight and it was awesome. I just bought an air fryer so am still experimenting. Our electricity went out halfway through cooking time so I had to adjust and ended up cooking it about 6 minutes less than the recipe calls for. Could have been a miscalculation on my part or maybe my fryer cooks hotter than yours  but I would recommend checking on your chicken as I think mine would have burned. Thanks for all of your great recipes. Because of you, my family thinks I am an excellent cook. 

  7. Made this tonight and it was AMAZING!!! I forgot to marinate last night so started it this morning. Skin was crispy, inside was delish and juicy! 

  8. Avatar photo
    Anna Olazabal

    Can I replace the whole  chicken with a turkey breast?  If yes, how long do I cook in the air fryer or the oven?  I would love to make it for thanksgiving. 

  9. I made this chicken was so surprised how well it was loved it. also mad the zucchini soup was so easy and all who tried it loved it these are the best recipes I have found on facebook.

  10. Divine. Only had a half pint of buttermilk but poured it in a gallon ziplock with my 5.5lb bird, cinched the air out, and turned it over a few times. This was so moist and juicy and pretty! I always fry brine the turkey at Thanksgiving – now thinking we should figure out how to do this buttermilk bath, too!

  11. Gina, I’ve been a fan of yours for years. I’ve had an air fryer for a while and have made a rotisserie chicken before, but decided to try your version. Delicious! Even my husband commented that he can’t wait for leftovers. We buy organic chickens from Costco, and it’s time to go up and get lots more. Easy and healthy. Thank you. The bones and skin will be saved and used for bone broth.

  12. Avatar photo
    Connie M Lassiter

    So good. I used Greek yogurt and lemon. It was perfect, brown, juicy. Better than any whole chicken I’ve ever baked 😀

      1. You can make a buttermilk by using what ever milk you choose and lemon juice but if you are just lactose intolerant you can use lactose free kefir.

  13. This is just an incredible recipe. I usually don’t eat chicken skin unless it’s fried and this skin was really good. Crispy and favorable! Chicken was so very tender. Thank you for sharing this!!!