featured image close up of whole roast chicken
Meats, Supper Time

Easy Air Fryer Whole Roast Chicken In Ninja Foodi

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Today, we are making delicious roast chicken with our Ninja Foodi Air Fryer.  We are discussing how to get crispy roast skin and delectable juicy chicken inside with our air fryer. We will also discuss the best way to use the whole chicken afterward and how to avoid burning the heck out of it and our machine. 

​As a working mother, I love having the convenience of the Ninja air fryer to quickly prepare dinner for my family. I have even retired my slow cooker in favor of this speedy tool. I love that everything is so delicious and perfectly cooked. I also love how easy clean-up generally is. But that’s not to say we don’t have to deep clean the machine occasionally. In fact, if you have looked, you may not have noticed that there are actually heating coil elements inside above the air fryer baskets. That air will need special cleaning, just like a regular oven does. 

The heating element
Circled where anything touches the element it can burn. And there is grime like in a oven that needs to be deep cleaned.

But right now, let’s focus on the chicken. For apparent reasons, I am not cooking a larger chicken in the air fryer. Instead, we will be making small fryer chickens—or rotisserie-sized whole chickens, if you prefer. They are the perfect size to plop right into the air fryer basket and using the air fryer is a great way to make roasting chicken easier. I stock up whenever I see them go on sale at the local grocer. Meal prepping is easy when you have fresh, home-cooked succulent chicken to work with. 

This whole chicken recipe is so simple that I do not even include a recipe card. Some people will argue that you should wash a chicken before cooking. It’s not necessary and, in fact, can spread bacteria. The CIFA (Canada Food Inspection Agency) inspects meats and processing facilities in Canada. So, your chicken has passed the Safe Food for Canadians regulations and is safe to prepare. 

The first thing you will want to do is open the air fryer basket on the Ninja Foodi and place the chicken breast side up in the air fryer basket. We are leaving the cavity of the chicken empty for best results. The basket is non-stick, so there is no need to grease it. Next, you add some spice to the chicken before cooking. I like to start with poultry seasoning. This spice blend can lose its potency over time, so it’s best to keep it fresh by replacing it every six months. Sprinkle the whole bird lightly with the spice, being careful not to overdo it as it has a relatively strong flavor. 

paprika added to whole chicken in air fryer basket

Next, I like sprinkling a little black pepper with lovely red paprika. This spice combination tastes great while not taking away from the delicate flavor of the chicken.

image showing burned area on chicken leg that touched heating element in air fryer

Once you’ve spiced the whole chicken with your preferred spices you can close the drawer on the Foodi, or can you? If you notice the legs hitting the top of the drawer frame, you will want to tie them together to get them lower in the basket. Otherwise, the legs will touch the heating element in the cooking process, leading to burning and even possible fire. 

You can see in the image here that I discovered this the hard way. Although the chicken is still consumable, I was reminded that being more careful in the future will prevent accidents from happening, which is why I am sharing this with you. 

Some spices that work well on roasted chicken:

  1. Garlic Powder: Offering a savory, pungent taste, garlic powder is a versatile spice that enhances the overall flavor profile of the chicken without overpowering it.
  2. Onion Powder: Providing a mild, slightly sweet onion flavor, onion powder enhances the savory taste of the chicken and blends well with other spices, making it a staple in many seasoning blends.
  3. Thyme: Is known for its robust earthy and slightly minty flavor. Thyme pairs well with roast chicken, providing a subtle herbal note commonly used in Mediterranean dishes.
  4. Rosemary: This aromatic herb has a piney, slightly peppery taste that infuses the chicken with a fragrant, savory depth. It is often used in French and Italian cooking.
  5. Oregano: With its robust and slightly bitter taste, oregano complements the chicken well, especially in Greek and Mexican recipes.
  6. Cumin: Adding a warm, earthy flavor with a hint of citrus, cumin is a staple in Middle Eastern, Indian, and Latin American cuisines, enhancing the savory taste of the chicken.
  7. Turmeric: This bright yellow spice has a mild, slightly bitter flavor and provides a warm, earthy taste and vibrant color. 
  8. Coriander: Offering a subtle, sweet, and citrusy flavor, coriander seeds ground into a spice work well with chicken, especially in Asian and Latin American dishes.
  9. Chili Powder: A blend of spices including dried chilies, cumin, and garlic, chili powder provides a complex heat and robust flavor, ideal for Tex-Mex and Mexican dishes.
  10. Smoked Paprika: Similar to regular paprika but with a smoky twist, this spice gives the chicken a deep, rich flavor reminiscent of outdoor grilling.
  11. Sage: This herb has a slightly peppery flavor with hints of mint, eucalyptus, and lemon, making it a great addition to roast chicken, especially in traditional American and European dishes.
  12. Cinnamon: Often used in Middle Eastern and North African cooking, cinnamon adds a warm, sweet undertone that pairs surprisingly well with the savory taste of roast chicken.
  13. Sumac: This Middle Eastern spice has a tangy, lemony flavor that adds a refreshing tartness to chicken, brightening its overall flavor profile.
  14. Chinese Five-Spice: This blend of star anise, cloves, Chinese cinnamon, Sichuan peppercorns, and fennel seeds, this spice mix offers a complex, sweet-savory taste perfect for adding depth to chicken dishes.
  15. Harissa: A North African spice blend made from hot chili peppers, garlic, and various spices, harissa adds a fiery, aromatic flavor to roast chicken, ideal for those who enjoy a bit of heat.
  16. Za’atar: A Middle Eastern blend of dried thyme, sumac, sesame seeds, and other spices, za’atar imparts a herby, nutty, and slightly tangy flavor to the chicken.
  17. Fennel Seeds: These seeds have a sweet, licorice-like flavor that goes together with the savory taste of chicken. They are commonly used in Mediterranean and Italian recipes.

These spices can be used individually or combined for a flavorful rub for your air fryer roast chicken, bringing a taste of various culinary traditions to your dish.

Once the drawer is closed on the air fryer is closed correctly and nothing touches the heating element directly, you can set the temperature and cooking time. Set the air fryer function to the roast air fryer setting. This Ninja Foodi whole chicken recipe was cooked at 390F for 60 Minutes. Set the air fryer function to roast, not air fry, for the recipe. The back of your air fryer should be exposed without anything blocking it, which can keep it from running properly and safely. 

Keep your nose open for signs of burning or other dangers when using an appliance like this. 

When you’ve got ten minutes left of cook time, you can pause to check the internal temperature of the chicken. As chickens vary in size, they also vary in cook length. The meat thermometer should read 165F for a fully cooked chicken, and the chicken skin should be crisp. Having worked as a manager of a hot foods department in our local grocery store, I had that stick in mind like no one’s business, and now I get regularly asked by people what it’s supposed to be. 

crispy roasted in air fryer chicken

The chicken will exude its juices and look like a crispy rotisserie chicken. The quick-release tray in the basket will allow you to easily lift the whole bird right out. Insert a tong or other tool into the open cavity of the bird, which should be facing you. Place it on a cutting board to let the chicken rest for a minimum of ten minutes before attempting to carve. The time will allow the meat to cool down, making it more manageable to cut while also allowing the juices to be reabsorbed, keeping the meat succulent and flavorful. 

It’s easy to wait when you are meal prepping, but not so much when preparing dinner for hungry mouths. Your chicken will still be tasty; your family won’t notice if you must cut it up before the ten-minute lapse. 

poorly carved whole roast chicken
This was poorly carved as my knife was dull. My family didn’t mind as it was still tasty. Because life is like that and its okay.

Let’s take a quick look at carving a whole roast chicken. If this is your first time doing so, please see the image. I have added lines where you should cut the bird. The legs and wings are removed at the joints. The breast meat is easily removed by cutting once on either side of the breastbone. This way, you will be left with just a carcass, which you can discard or use for soup stock. 

This chicken is ideal as a fresh roasted meat entree for your next dinner or weekly meal prep. In fact, because the Ninja Foodi dual zone has two baskets, why not make two and use the leftover chicken to make something delicious the next day? 

Some great leftover roast chicken ideas are:

  1. Chicken Salad: This versatile dish combines shredded or chopped roast chicken with mayonnaise, celery, onions, and various seasonings. It is excellent for sandwiches or as a standalone salad.
  2. Chicken Soup: A comforting and hearty dish made by simmering roast chicken with vegetables, noodles or rice, and broth. Perfect for a warm meal on a cold day.
  3. Chicken Tacos: Shredded roast chicken is a delicious filling for tacos, topped with fresh ingredients like lettuce, cheese, salsa, and avocado.
  4. Chicken Alfredo: Combine roast chicken with a creamy Alfredo sauce and pasta for a rich and satisfying meal. Add some steamed broccoli or spinach for extra nutrition.
  5. Chicken Fried Rice: A quick and flavorful dish where diced roast chicken is stir-fried with rice, vegetables, soy sauce, and scrambled eggs.
  6. Chicken Pot Pie: A classic comfort food where roast chicken is mixed with vegetables and a creamy sauce, then baked under a flaky pastry crust.
  7. Chicken Quesadillas: Roast chicken and cheese are sandwiched between tortillas and grilled until crispy and melted. Serve with sour cream and salsa.
  8. Chicken Caesar Salad: Toss chopped roast chicken with romaine lettuce, Caesar dressing, croutons, and Parmesan cheese for a light yet filling meal.
  9. Chicken Pasta Bake: Combine roast chicken with pasta, marinara or Alfredo sauce, and cheese, then bake until bubbly and golden. It’s a great make-ahead dish.
  10. Chicken Sandwiches: Slices of roast chicken can be used to make various sandwiches, from classic chicken and mayo to more elaborate creations with avocado, bacon, and tomato.

These dishes make good use of roast chicken, allowing you to enjoy its versatility and flavor in many ways. Whatever way you’ve decided to use your roast chicken, I hope this article has helped you and sparked your inner culinary genius! 

I hope you enjoyed the roast chicken in the air fryer as much as we do. If you have any favorite recipes or unique spice blends you like to use roast chicken, please share them in the comments below. I’d love to hear your tips and experiences!

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