Air Fryer Spatchcock Chicken is about to become your new go-to method for cooking chicken. A simple flattened chicken cooked to a crispy golden brown. Dress it up with any seasonings you like and pair it with your favorite veggies or side dish for a simple but delicious weeknight dinner.
Everything you need to know to make Air Fryer Spatchcock Chicken
- Tips and Recipe Notes
- About the Ingredients
- How to Make Air Fryer Spatchcock Chicken
- Easy Instructions for Spatchcocking a Chicken
- Make Ahead Instructions
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Get the Recipe
- Similar Recipes You Might Want to Try
Casandra’s Tips and Notes
Spatchcocked chicken in the air fryer might sound intimidating to home a cook but don’t let it deter you. I promise it’s simple and you can absolutely do it! Spatchcocked just means the whole bird is split open and pressed flat. This helps the chicken cook evenly and quickly (our #1 priority for weeknight cooking.)
Make sure you have a good set of poultry shears handy before you start. You’ll need to cut out the back bone of the chicken to flatten it so this will be key for getting through the bones easily. I’ll show you an easy how-to method for spatchcocking below.
The best part about this Air Fryer Spatchcock Chicken is that it’s versatile. Once you get the method down, which is just a few steps and VERY basic, you can adjust your recipe any way you like. Fancy cajun tonight? Spice up your bird! Want BBQ? Season the chicken with a homemade bbq rub! The possibilities are endless. So let’s perfect the spatchcock method and make this recipe your go-to chicken dinner.
About the Ingredients
Whole Chicken – You can use this method with any whole roaster chicken but I find a 3 lb chicken fits best in my air fryer. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may want to use a different size but just remember to adjust the cooking time in the recipe accordingly.
Seasonings – Seasoning the skin of the chicken well is so important. The skin will get nice and crispy (and debatably be the best part of the meal) so you want it to be generously salty and tasty. Salt, pepper, dried thyme and garlic powder is a great classic combination.
Cooking Spray – Chicken has an annoying tendency to stick to pans and wire racks while it cooks so be sure to spray your air fryer with cooking spray.
How To Make Air Fryer Spatchcock Chicken
Easy Step-by-step Method to Spatchcock a Chicken
Lay the chicken on a cutting board with the backbone facing up. Using sharp kitchen shears, cut along the back bone from the neck all the way down and through the other end. Repeat the cut on the other side of the spine. You should now be able to remove the backbone and discard it.
Flip the chicken over so the open side is on the cutting board. Place on hand on each breast a press firmly down. The chicken should easily flatten and be laying skin side up.
Season the Chicken
Pat the skin of the chicken dry with a paper towel. Removing the moisture will help the seasoning stick to the skin.
Seasoning the skin of the chicken well is so important. The skin will get nice and crispy (and debatably be the best part of the meal) so you want it to be generously salty and tasty. Mix together salt, pepper, dried thyme and garlic powder in a small dish. First sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of the seasoning mix on the skinless side of the chicken. Then flip it over and sprinkle the rest of it over the skin, gently pressing the seasonings into the skin with your finger tips to help it stick. Then spray the chicken with cooking oil (olive oil, avocado oil, vegetable oil… whatever you prefer) which will help the skin get that nice golden crispy color and texture.
Air-Fry the Chicken
Spray the baking rack of the air fryer with cooking spray. Place the chicken on the rack skin side up. Tuck the wing-tips in so the points of the wings aren’t visible. Those have a tendency to burn quickly so tucking them in will keep them safe.
Set the air fryer to 360°F and cook for 30-40 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F. You can check the temperature with an instant read thermometer.
Once the chicken is done cooking, remove it to a cutting board with a drip tray. Some juices will run out (the juice should be clear if the chicken is cooked through. If the juice is pink, the chicken needs to cook longer so pop it back in the air fryer.) so the drip tray will save you from a messy runny disaster. Let the chicken rest for 5-10 minutes so those juices get absorbed into the meat. Then carve up the bird and serve.
Make Ahead Instructions
This chicken is easy enough to make but sometimes you don’t have an hour to wait while dinner cooks. Luckily, making your air fryer roaster ahead of time is easy. Simply follow the recipe as written. Once your chicken is carved up, arrange the pieces in a single layer skin side up in a covered baking dish and refrigerate it until you’re ready.
To reheat air fried chicken simply transfer the baking dish with chicken to a 375°F oven uncovered for 20 minutes. Then turn on the broiler to high and let the chicken cook for another 3-5 minutes. Keep a close eye on it to make sure the skin isn’t burning but rather just crisping back up.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to cook a spatchcock chicken?
Cooking time depends on the size of the chicken. A 3 lb chicken will take about 30-40 minutes at 360°F in an air fryer.
How much to reduce cooking time for a spatchcock chicken?
A spatchcock chicken will cook in nearly half the amount of time as a whole chicken that is still intact.
How many minutes for a chicken to cook through in an air fryer?
If you flatten your chicken by spatchcocking it, a 3 lb chicken should cook in 30-40 minutes at 360°F. A whole chicken that is still intact will cook for about 60-75 minutes.
Why is my chicken not crisping in the air fryer?
There may be too much moisture on the skin. Try patting the skin dry with paper towel, increasing the temperature of the air fryer, or spraying the skin with a little cooking oil.
Should I coat chicken in oil before air frying?
Yes, the fat in the oil is what will give the chicken skin that golden crispy color and texture.
The Recipe for Air Fryer Spatchcock Chicken
The recipe is attached below for easy downloading and printing. If you test it out be sure to leave a note in the comments below. I’d love to hear what seasoning combination is your favorite. Enjoy!
Air Fryer Spatchcock Chicken
- 1 pair of poultry shears
- 1 air fryer
- 1 sheet of paper towel
- 3 lb whole chicken inards / gizzards removed
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- cooking spray
- Place a 3 lb whole chicken on a cutting board with the backbone facing up. Using sharp poultry shears, cut along the spine starting at the neck and cutting all the way through the bottom of the cavity. Repeat this along the other side of the spine.
- Remove the backbone and discard. Flip the chicken over so the opening is on the cutting board and the chicken is breast side up.
- Placing a hand on each breast, press down firmly. The chicken should easily flatten and you should hear some cracking of the bones. The chicken should now be flat and skin side up on the cutting board.
- Pat the skin dry using a paper towel.
- In a small bowl, mix together the 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 1 tsp garlic powder, and 1 tsp dried thyme.
- Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the seasoning mixture on the underside of the chicken (the skinless side.) Then turn the chicken back to skin side up and sprinkle the remaining seasoning on the skin, pressing it down with your fingertips to help it stick. Lightly spray the skin with cooking spray.
- Spray the rack of the air fryer with cooking spray. Place the chicken skin side up on the air fryer rack. Set the air fryer to 360°F and cook for 35 minutes or until an instant read thermometer reads 165°F when inserted into the breast.
- Remove the chicken to a cutting board and let rest for 5-10 minutes before carving and serving.