What’s cooking today: Air fryer roast chicken with tarragon-garlic butter

What’s cooking today: Air fryer roast chicken with tarragon-garlic butter
Tony Jackman’s air fryer roast chicken, served on a platter by Mervyn Gers Ceramics. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

My double-drawer air fryer sure is surprising me at every turn. I was convinced I wouldn’t be able to fit a whole chicken into one of its drawers to roast it whole. I was wrong.

It wasn’t the world’s largest chicken. It fit in the basket snugly, with space at either end for the air flow that is essential to air fryer cooking. And that is key to this trendy new beast: hot air moves around for every second that it is cooking, just like a conventional convection oven, so we should not fill the basket so tightly that it cannot do its work. Most air fryer baskets are more than big enough for the average whole chicken.

But there are only two of us in the house, so one small chicken was more than enough. Having said that, given that my particular model has two drawers (i.e. two baskets), I could of course roast two small chickens at the same time, using both drawers. I could even flavour them differently. I’m really starting to like this critter now. (Though my sceptical connoisseur of a friend calls it my Satansboks.)

Tarragon, which is profuse in my garden right now, was the chief aromatic, along with fresh garlic, lemon, salt and black pepper.

(Serves 2)


1 smallish chicken, about 1.2kg

2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

2 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon

3 Tbsp salted butter

Black pepper

Coarse sea salt

½ a lemon, cut in two


Mix the tarragon, garlic and butter together with a little black pepper and salt to taste.

Season the inside of the bird with salt and black pepper.

Squeeze lemon into the cavity. Put one piece of the squeezed lemon in the cavity, add half the tarragon butter, then push the other piece in.

Smear the remaining tarragon butter all over both sides of the chicken.

Preheat the air fryer at 190℃ for 10 minutes.

Put the chicken in, breast side down, and cook for 30 minutes.

Carefully turn the bird over using two wooden spoons.

Cook for another 30 minutes.

Test for doneness by inserting a skewer. If it comes out clean it’s done. If pink, cook for a few more minutes and test again. DM/TGIFood

Tony Jackman is regional Vodacom Journalist of the Year (Lifestyle) Eastern Cape for 2022 and Galliova Food Champion 2021.

Mervyn Gers Ceramics supplies dinnerware for the styling of some TGIFood shoots.

Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks. Share your versions of his recipes with him on Instagram and he’ll see them and respond.

SUBSCRIBE to TGIFood here. Also visit the TGIFood platform, a repository of all of our food writing.


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