This Buttermilk-Marinated Air Fryer Whole 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 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.
- Rub the chicken with the salt, making sure to coat it evenly.
- Marinate a few hours or as long as overnight in buttermilk in the refrigerator, flipping halfway.
- When ready to air fryer, remove from buttermilk, pat dry and let it rest to room temp, 1 hour before.
- Place the chicken in the bottom of the air fryer basket, and start the chicken breast side down.
- Cook the chicken 350F for 25 minutes on each side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
- 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.
- 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.
More Air Fryer Chicken Recipes
- Crispy Asian Chicken Thighs
- Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets
- Air Fryer Chicken Parmesan
- Chicken Chimichangas in the Air Fryer
- Kid Friendly Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
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Buttermilk-Marinated Air Fryer Whole Roasted Chicken
- 3 pound trimmed whole chicken
- Kosher salt
- 1 pint 1% buttermilk
- 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.
- 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.