Air fryers have become an increasingly popular kitchen appliance in recent years. Their ability to make “fried” foods like chicken with little to no oil is very appealing to health-conscious cooks. But with different models on the market, it can be tricky to know just how much food you can cook at one time in your particular air fryer.
One of the most popular mid-sized models is the Vortex air fryer. With its 5.7 quart basket size, many wonder just how big of a whole chicken can be cooked in this appliance. Here we’ll look at the size limits, best practices, and recommendations for getting perfect crispy chicken every time in the Vortex air fryer.
Vortex Air Fryer Basket Size and Capacity
The Vortex air fryer has a square-shaped cooking basket that measures approximately 9 inches wide, 9 inches deep, and 5 inches high. This gives it an overall capacity of 5.7 quarts or 20 liters.
As far as chicken sizes, the manufacturer recommends going no larger than a 3.5 pound chicken. This allows enough room for the hot air to properly circulate around the food for even cooking. While you may be able to fit a slightly larger chicken, keeping it under 3.5 pounds ensures you won’t run into any issues.
How to Choose the Right Sized Chicken
When selecting a whole chicken to cook in your Vortex air fryer, there are a couple quick ways to estimate the size:
- Opt for a broiler/fryer chicken, which typically ranges from 2.5 to 4 pounds
- Look for chickens labeled “3 pounds and under”
- Check the tare weight on the packaging – this lists the weight of just the chicken without giblets
You’ll want to stay on the smaller side, even if the chicken technically fits inside the basket. This prevents it from being crowded which can lead to uneven cooking.
Tips for Cooking Larger Chickens
If you need to cook a chicken that’s slightly over the recommended 3.5 pounds, it can be done with a little extra prep:
- Cut the chicken into 8 pieces (breasts, thighs, legs, wings). Arrange in a single layer, skin-side up.
- Cook at a lower temperature, around 300°F, and increase cook time as needed until chicken is fully cooked and crispy.
- Roast the chicken upright on a vertical chicken roaster stand. This allows air to move freely around the chicken.
Keep in mind that cooking whole chickens larger than 5 pounds is not recommended in the Vortex, as it will be very difficult for the hot air to penetrate and cook the innermost areas properly.
Ideal Chicken Sizes for the Vortex
Here is a quick reference for the best chicken sizes to cook in the 5.7 quart Vortex air fryer:
|Chicken Type||Weight Range|
|Whole chicken||2.5 – 3.5 lbs|
|Chicken breasts (bone-in)||1.5 lbs (6 pieces)|
|Chicken breasts (boneless)||1.5 lbs (6 pieces)|
|Chicken thighs (bone-in)||1.5 lbs (5-6 pieces)|
|Chicken drumsticks||1.5 lbs (6-8 pieces)|
Seasoning and Cooking Chicken in the Vortex
To get the best results when cooking chicken in your Vortex air fryer, follow these tips:
- Pat the chicken dry and coat evenly with oil or dry seasoning rub
- Use a meat thermometer to ensure chicken reaches an internal temp of 165°F
- Brush wings and legs with oil or nonstick spray for extra crispy skin
- Spray the basket with oil before cooking for easy release
- Flip or turn chicken halfway during cook time
- Allow thinner cuts like breasts and wings to rest 5 minutes before serving
Refer to the manufacturer’s guide for exact temperature and timing, but in general whole chickens take 40-50 minutes at 350°F in the Vortex. Chicken parts take 15-30 minutes depending on thickness.
Common Chicken Cooking Questions
Can you cook a frozen chicken in the Vortex?
It’s best not to cook frozen chicken directly in the Vortex. Thaw it first by placing the sealed chicken in the refrigerator for 24-36 hours before cooking. This ensures it will cook through properly.
What setting should I use to cook a whole chicken?
350°F is the ideal temperature for crispy chicken skin and an evenly cooked interior. Some recipes also have you start at a higher temp like 390°F for 10-15 minutes then reduce to 350°F for remainder of cook time.
How long does it take to cook chicken pieces?
Boneless breasts take 12-15 minutes, bone-in breasts 15-20 minutes, thighs 18-22 minutes, and drumsticks 20-25 minutes at 350°F. Check temperature and adjust time as needed. Smaller pieces like wings take just 10-12 minutes.
Should I flip chicken during cooking?
Yes, flipping chicken halfway during the air fryer cook time ensures even browning and cooking. The hot air circulates best when food is stirred or flipped periodically.
Can I air fry chicken that’s too big?
Chickens larger than the recommended 3.5 pounds for the Vortex should be avoided. You can either cut up the chicken or cook it whole using a lower temperature like 300°F and extending cook time.
Troubleshooting Common Vortex Chicken Problems
Chicken skin isn’t crispy:
- Brush skin with oil before cooking
- Make sure basket is not overfilled
- Cook at slightly higher temp like 375°F
Chicken is undercooked:
- Use meat thermometer to check doneness
- Increase cook time as needed
- Do not pack chicken too tightly in basket
Chicken is dried out:
- Do not overcook – use thermometer
- Brine chicken before cooking to add moisture
- Spritz with chicken broth during cooking
Chicken sticks to basket:
- Lightly oil basket before cooking
- Avoid overfilling basket
- Let chicken rest 5 minutes before removing
The Vortex air fryer can accommodate a whole chicken up to around 3.5 pounds. For best results, select a broiler/fryer chicken or one labeled “3 pounds and under”. Season the chicken well, set temperature to 350°F, and allow 40-50 minutes for crisp, juicy air fried chicken. Smaller chicken parts take less time. Avoid overfilling the 5.7 quart basket and flip chicken halfway during cooking for even browning and doneness. With the right sized chicken and a few simple tips, you can enjoy tender, delicious air fried chicken from the Vortex.