Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Whole Chicken

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This Lemon Pepper Whole Chicken recipe is juicy and delicious. Skip the grocery store and cook your own at home.

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Chicken is such a versatile food. You can use it in soup, salad, the main dish or even on an appetizer. A whole chicken is great because you can break it up and reuse the chicken for many different things. You can even freeze it or meal prep for the week. 

I always buy a rotisserie chicken when I go to Sam’s Club, although that has been far and in between lately. They’re around $6 and already made, so it’s a no brainer. But most of the time the breast meat is very dry, especially if you reheat it, which nine times out of ten is what you do.

I have been more adventurous in my cooking since I purchased my air fryer. This weekend I decided to cook a whole chicken. Unfortunately it was over the 4lb limit so it couldn’t be cooked on my rotisserie, but that’s okay. There’s always next time! 

I was able to get a 2-pack of Perdue whole chickens, both around 5lbs, from Walmart for only $10. Perfect size for my family. 

Preparing the Chicken

The first step in preparing your chicken will be to remove the giblets and clean out the internal cavity as well as the outside of the chicken. Once you’ve cleaned it off (just with water), pat it dry. I prepare a baking sheet with paper towels so I can sit the chicken on it and contain the mess.

Next you need to separate the skin from the chicken, but leave it attached. All you need to do is lightly pull and the skin will come off. 

Use your butter and cover the chicken, both under and on top of the skin. I used approximately 4 TBS of butter; 1 TBS for each area. 

Combine your lemon pepper with additional salt and pepper, and rub on the chicken the same way you did with the butter.

Cut your onion into quarters and your lemon in half. Stuff the onion and lemon pieces inside your chicken. I was only able to fit three of the onion quarters with both of the lemon halves. 

Cut your twine, I used 36 inches worth, and tie up the legs and wings. This can be tricky your first time. The wings kept coming out like it was about to fly off of my counter.

Cooking the Chicken

Once the chicken is prepped and tied, place it on your tray, breast side down. If you have a basket style fryer, place it in the basket.

Preheat your air fryer to 380 degrees on the ROAST setting. Once it is preheated, add your chicken. I have the Vortex Plus oven style air fryer. I placed my drip pan in the very bottom and the chicken in the lowest position above the drip pan. 

Cook the chicken on Roast for 40 minutes. Remove the chicken and flip, and cook for an additional 20 minutes.

Once your time has ended, remove the chicken and check the internal temperature. Remember, chicken needs to reach an internal temp of 165 degrees. *the size and weight of the chicken will require adjustments to the cooking times. If the chicken has not reached the desired temp., add another 10 minutes to the cooking time. For a smaller chicken, you may want to check the temp sooner). 

Remove the onion and lemon from inside your chicken. Cut and plate the chicken and squeeze the lemon over the plated chicken.

That’s it! You’ve got yourself a delicious, juicy bird. 


*OPTIONAL* Put the onion pieces from the chicken into the air fryer. Cook on AIR FRY for 5 minutes at 375 degrees.

What to serve with your chicken?

We have some favorite side dishes here in our house that we eat almost every Sunday. The first time I made this chicken, I served it with Air Fried Potatoes, Air Fried Zucchini and corn on the cob. Another great option would be Air Fried Carrots or Instant Pot Red Mashed Potatoes. 

Have you tried this recipe? Tag me on Instagram @PigtailsAndPasta so I can see your delicious chicken!

Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Whole Chicken

This Lemon Pepper Whole Chicken recipe comes out moist and delicious. Skip the store and roast your own, fresh chicken at home.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: air fryer, chicken
Servings: 4 People
Calories: 464kcal


  • Air Fryer


  • Whole Young Chicken
  • 4 tbsp Butter Softened
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Pepper
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 Lemon Halved
  • 1 Yellow Onion Quartered
  • Twine Approx. 36 inches


  • Remove giblets, clean inner cavity and outside of chicken. Pat dry.
  • Stuff chicken with onion quarters and lemon halves. If it does not all fit, omit part of the onion.
  • Spread butter under and above skin on all sides of chicken.
  • Combine lemon pepper, salt and black pepper. Spread under and above skin, just as you did with the butter.
  • Tie up the chickens' legs and wings.
  • Preheat Air Fryer to 380 on ROAST setting.
  • Place chicken in Air Fryer, breast side DOWN.
  • ROAST for 40 minutes. Flip chicken so breast is facing up and ROAST an additional 20 minutes.
  • Remove chicken and check internal temperature to ensure it is cooked.
  • Cut and plate the chicken. Squeeze the lemon halves over the plated chicken.
  • Serve & enjoy!


  • If using an oven style Air Fryer, place the chicken on the bottom-most rack, above the drip pan.
  • If you prefer a crispier skin, put the chicken breast down, after cooking is complete, and change setting to BROIL for 5 minutes. 
  • Optional: Before serving, remove the onion from inside the chicken. AIR FRY for 5 minutes at 375 degrees. 
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