Air Fryer Spatchcock chicken is an easy way to cook whole chicken while taking out the backbone and placing it in a butterfly position. This recipe will leave you with a crispy outside and perfectly moist and tender meat! It makes a great family dinner!
Make this whole chicken recipe with ease for a delicious family dinner or make it for a special occasion around the holidays. I love making this whole chicken and then using the leftover chicken as meal prep, or adding it to other meals throughout the week.
Air fryer recipes are some of our favorites to make. Be sure to check out some of our favorites like our Air Fryer Chicken Tacos, and our Air Fryer Zucchini Fritters and Air Fryer Garlic Bread. Pair it with a side of Roasted Sunchokes.
For more air fryer recipes and tips be sure to check out our How To Use an Air Fryer guide.
All you need is some simple spices and a whole chicken for this recipe. Don't be intimidated by a whole raw chicken. With this recipe, you'll have great tasty results.
- Whole chicken- Make sure you are getting the right-sized whole chicken for the size of your air fryer. If you get it too big it won't fit or it will take a long time to cook.
- Olive oil- This is used to help the spices stick and to help crisp the outside.
- Spices- We combined a nice blend of garlic powder, paprika, Italian seasoning, table salt, and black pepper giving it a great taste that isn't too strong.
- Lemon juice- Adds a slight tart taste to the spices complimenting the flavors.
See recipe card for quantities.
How To Make Spatchcock Chicken in the Air Fryer
Making this dish is simple but getting the cuts right can be tricky! Use these photos to help with the directions.
- Take the whole chicken and pat dry with a paper towel. With sharp cooking shears, remove the back bone of the chicken. Cut about ½ an inch from the backbone on either side.
2. Flip the chicken over so it lays flat, in a butterfly-looking position.
3. Squeeze lemon juice onto the chicken. Rub the chicken with olive oil. I like to use a silicone brush to do this. Then rub your spice mixture all over the chicken, including under the skin. This helps flavor the entire chicken.
4. Place the chicken in your air fryer basket in the same butterfly position and place the basket in the preheated air fryer.
The size of your chicken will determine how long you need to cook the chicken. For a larger bird, cooking for 50 minutes to 1 hour may be required. For a smaller bird, 40-45 minutes may be enough.
To make sure you're not overcooking the bird, check the internal temperature around 35 minutes with a meat thermometer. Add additional time as needed.
Hint: Once the whole chicken is done, let it rest for 15 minutes!
Don't have an air fryer? You can make this air fryer whole chicken recipe in the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 and place your spatchcock cut chicken on a baking sheet, and cook for 45-50 minutes. Check for doneness with a meat thermometer.
If you cook the chicken in the oven, it won't have the same crispy outside as if cooked in the air fryer. It will have the same tender meat!
A large air fryer is important to make this meal. We used the Ninja Foodi Smart XL to make this recipe. We love this air fryer! The air fryer you use needs to have a large enough basket to fit a whole chicken.
A good food thermometer is essential for this recipe! We love using this meat thermometer.
Storing Air Fryer Spatchcock Chicken
Once the chicken is cooked, pull the meat off the bone. Any extra meat you don't eat, store in an airtight container and refrigerate for 3-4 days.
Check out 4 easy ways to shred chicken, even whole on-bone chicken.
I like to freeze the extra cooked chicken to have on hand for salads and meals for later. You can freeze cooked chicken in an air tight container or freezer bag for 2-6 months.
Make sure to cook until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. The outside will look done early on but the center may not be!
Waiting until the internal temperature to be 165 will not overcook the outside. You will still have a crispy outside with tender and moist meat.
Air Fryer Spatchcock Chicken
- 1 whole chicken
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice or fresh squeezed lemon
- In a small bowl, combine garlic powder, paprika, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Preheat air fryer to 350 degrees.
- Place the whole chicken on a baking sheet. If your chicken has them, remove any giblets in the cavity of the bird.
- With sharp cooking shears, remove the back bone of the chicken. Cut about ½ an inch from the backbone on either side. See photos above for a visual on how to do this.
- Flip the chicken over so it lays flat, in a butterfly looking position.
- Pat dry with a paper towel. Squeeze lemon juice over the whole chicken. Rub the chicken with olive oil and then rub your spice mixture all over the chicken including under the skin.
- Place the chicken in your air fryer basket in the same butterfly position and place the basket in the preheated air fryer.
- Cook the chicken for 45-50 minutes. Depending on the size of the bird, you may need to cook it for more or less time. At about 35 minutes, check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer and adjust time as necessary. Cook the whole chicken until the internal temperature is 165 degrees.
- Let sit for 15 minutes before serving.
- Make sure to cook until the internal temperature is 165 degrees. The outside will look done early on but the center may not be!
- Rub the spices under the skin to increase the flavor.
- The olive oil and lemon juice will help give moisture to the chicken.
- Cook in the oven if you don't have an air fryer. Instead of putting in an air fryer basket place on a sheet pan. Cook for 40-50 minutes in the oven preheated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
Spatchcock is a cooking method where you remove the backbone of the chicken so the chicken can lay flat while cooking. This allows for it to cook faster and evenly.
When you spatchcock a chicken you are allowing the bird to cook faster and evenly. The breast and thigh meat cook at the same time without anything drying out.
Yes! Preheat the oven to 400 and cook for 45-50 minutes. The air fryer allows the outside to crisp while the oven does not have the same effect.
You will need a large air fryer that can fit a whole chicken. Around 5.8 quarts will do.