Can You Put Frozen Chicken In An Air Fryer? (breast, wings, mini fillets etc)

The short answer is yes, you can put frozen chicken in an air fryer and in many ways it’s the safest way to cook frozen chicken.

Keep reading to find out why it’s safer to cook frozen chicken in an air fryer and our top ways to cook frozen chicken using an air fryer.

Can You Air Fry Frozen Chicken?

You can air fry frozen chicken and it’s not just chicken pieces that can be cooked in an air fryer from frozen. 

There are many joints and types of chicken pieces that can successfully be cooked from frozen in an air fryer.

Let’s start with the largest and then work through the other pieces of chicken that can all be cooked from frozen in an air fryer.

What Temperature Does Frozen Chicken Need To Reach To Be Safe?

Frozen chicken needs to reach a temperature of 70 C (158 F) for at least 2 minutes to kill any harmful bacteria. 

Fortunately due to the way air fryers cook food, as the chicken thaws it will achieve the desired temperature for safety very quickly.

This means air frying is one of the safest ways to cook frozen chicken.

Can You Cook A Whole Chicken From Frozen In An Air Fryer?

You most definitely can cook a whole frozen chicken in an air fryer. This is great because frozen chickens are often offered in supermarkets at ridiculously low prices.

Which means you can stock up your freezer when they’re cheap and cook them at your leisure. The problem is, we lead such busy lives and often forget to defrost a whole chicken the night before we intend to cook it.

Or the family turns up unexpectedly and you need to cook a large meal quickly. Which leaves little to no time to defrost that chicken.

How Do You Cook A Frozen Chicken In An Air Fryer?

If you want to cook a whole frozen chicken in the air fryer, it’s best to buy frozen chickens with their giblets removed. If not, you face a difficult task trying to remove them while the bird is still frozen.

If you do need to remove the giblets, you’ll need to defrost the chicken to remove them, which is a subject for a different article.

What Size Air Fryer Will I Need To Cook A Whole Frozen Chicken?

The best size air fryer to cook a whole frozen chicken in is something like the HYSapientia 24L Air Fryer Oven XXL as this is large enough to fit a whole chicken with room to spare.

Obviously, if your air fryer isn’t large enough to fit a whole chicken, you’ll need to find a different way to cook it.

How Long Will It Take To Cook A Whole Frozen Chicken In An Air Fryer?

Cooking a medium whole frozen chicken in an air fryer will take approximately just over an hour (depending on the size of the chicken).

The timing breaks down like this;

ProcessTime
Defrost20 Minutes
Cooking Time45 Minutes
Total Time65 Minutes

How Do You Cook A Frozen Chicken In An Air Fryer?

To successfully cook a whole frozen chicken in your air fryer you will need;

  • A Whole Frozen Chicken
    A medium sized frozen chicken with the giblets removed (before freezing).
  • Oil
    Use something like extra virgin olive oil in a spray bottle.
  • Seasoning
    At the very least you’ll need salt and pepper to use as seasoning but you can use any of your favourite seasonings (or see our recipe below).

Method

For best results when cooking a whole chicken, it’s best to defrost the chicken first. This will prevent the chicken from drying out as it cooks. So the first step is;

  1. Defrost The Chicken; Place the frozen chicken in the air fryer with the breast side down and air fry for 20 minutes at 80 C (160 F).
  2. Season; Once defrosted, spray all of the visible skin with oil and apply seasoning.
  3. Air Fry; Once the visible skin has been seasoned, air fry for 25 minutes at 180 C (360 F).
  4. Turn The Chicken Over; Using a fork, turn the chicken over and apply more oil and seasoning.
  5. Air Fry; air fry for 20 minutes at 180 C (360 F).
  6. Check Temperature; Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature of the chicken at its thickest, most plump part. The internal temperature needs to be 74 C (165 F). 

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If the internal temperature of the chicken is lower than 74 C (165 F), air fry for a couple more minutes and then recheck. For example a temperature of 62 C (145 F) will usually increase to the desired temperature within 2 minutes of extra air frying.

Seasoning Mix

There are various seasoning mixes available for seasoning your chicken but if you don’t have one here’s our favourite. Simply mix the following;

  • ¼ Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • ¼ Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • ½ Teaspoon Soft Brown Sugar
  • ½ Teaspoon Paprika

Mix all of the above ingredients in a bowl and after spraying the visible chicken skin with extra virgin olive oil rub the seasoning mixture into the chicken.

Can You Cook A Frozen Chicken Breast In An Air Fryer?

Chicken Breast

You can cook a frozen chicken breast in an air fryer, in fact it will take less time to cook in the air fryer than it would to defrost it and then cook it in a conventional oven.

How Do You Cook A Frozen Chicken Breast In An Air Fryer?

We have found this to be the best way to cook a frozen breast of chicken in our air fryer. It is easy to do and once you’ve done it a few times, you’ll wonder why everyone isn’t using an air fryer.

To cook your frozen chicken breast in your air fryer simply;

  1. Preheat Your Air Fryer
    For best results, preheat your air fryer to 180 C (360 F) before adding the chicken.
  2. Season The Chicken
    While the air fryer is preheating, spray your frozen chicken breasts with oil and work your seasoning (see above) into the chicken.You’ll need to press the seasoning pretty hard to ensure it sticks to the frozen chicken.
  3. Put The Chicken In The Air Fryer Basket
    The chicken breasts should be placed in the basket in a single layer. Be sure to arrange them so that they are not touching each other as this can cause some pieces to not cook properly.
  4. Air Fry Your Frozen Chicken Breasts
    You will need to air fry your chicken breasts for 10 minutes .
  5. Turn The Chicken Breasts Over
    Turn the chicken breasts over and air fry for a further 5 minutes.
  6. Check The Internal Temperature
    After the 5 minutes air frying is finished, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken. It needs to be at least 74 C (165 F) to ensure it is cooked and any harmful bacteria has been destroyed.

As all air fryers are different, it is advisable to check the temperature of your chicken breasts a few minutes before you expect them to be cooked.

As a rough guide chicken breast cooking times from frozen are;

Chicken Breast ThicknessCooking Time (approximate)
1.2 cm (½ inch) Thick10 Minutes
2.5 cm (1 inch) Thick15 Minutes
4 cm (1 ½ inches) Thick20 Minutes
5 cm (2 inches) Thick 30 Minutes

If you intend to cook more than one chicken breast at a time, choose pieces of roughly the same size and thickness. As they will then cook at the same time. Otherwise you could be left with either one under done, or one that’s over cooked.

Can You Cook Frozen Chicken Wings In An Air Fryer?

Not only can you cook frozen chicken wings in an air fryer, but they cook so crispy that you’d think they were deep fried or barbecued to perfection.

The best part is, it’s so simple and healthy to cook frozen chicken wings in an air fryer.

All you need to do is;

  1. Place Around 10 to 12 Frozen Chicken Wings In The Basket
  2. Air Fry For 12 minutes at 180 C (360 F)
  3. Serve

As with everything you cook in an air fryer, the chicken wings shouldn’t be touching during the cooking process. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you should be able to fit anywhere between 10 to 15 chicken wings in at a time.

You have the option of cooking already coated chicken wings or plain chicken wings from frozen. They will both take the same amount of time and heat setting.

There’s no need to preheat your air fryer before cooking your frozen chicken wings, if you do preheat you might have to reduce cooking time by a couple of minutes.

Can You Cook Frozen Chicken Strips In An Air Fryer?

To cook frozen chicken strips in the air fryer is a great way to ensure your family eats healthy, tasty meals. All you need to do is;

  1. Preheat The Air Fryer To 180 C (360 F)
    Use the preheat setting on your air fryer to ensure the temperature is set at 180 C (360 F).
  2. Place The Chicken Strips In The Basket
    Arrange the chicken strips so that they are not touching at all and are in a single layer.
  3. Air Fry For 10 to 12 Minutes
    In most cases the chicken strips should be cooked after 10 minutes. But this is dependent on the size and thickness of the strips.
  4. Check The Internal Temperature
    Using a meat thermometer, check that the internal temperature of the chicken is at least 74 C (165 F).

Then serve and enjoy.

Can You Cook Frozen Chicken Nuggets In An Air Fryer?

You can cook chicken nuggets from frozen in an air fryer and they’re so quick to cook. All you need to do is;

  1. Place The Chicken Nuggets In The Basket
    Ensure there is a gap around each nugget.
  2. Air Fry for 8 minutes at 180 C (360 F)
    There’s no need to preheat the air fryer.
  3. Serve and enjoy

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to cook chicken from frozen?

It is perfectly safe to cook chicken from frozen as long as you cook it thoroughly and the internal temperature is at least 74 C (165 F).

Does cooking chicken in the air fryer dry it out?

As long as you cook it correctly, cooking chicken in the air fryer results in the juiciest tastiest chicken ever.

Can you cook chicken from frozen in the air fryer?

You can cook chicken from frozen in the air fryer. It will take less time than cooking it in a conventional oven and taste better too.

Is it better to air fry frozen or thawed chicken?

It makes no difference whether the chicken is frozen or not when cooking it in an air fryer apart from the length of time needed to cook it thoroughly. Frozen chicken will take longer to cook than thawed chicken. Whether you cook frozen or thawed chicken in your air fryer you should always check the internal temperature using a meat thermometer. It needs to be at least 74 C (165 F).

Do I have to defrost to air fry?

It is not necessary to defrost your food before air frying it. Just remember that frozen food will take longer to cook than thawed food.

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