Air Fryer Grilled Cheese is the BEST grilled cheese! It’s so easy to make grilled cheese in the air fryer, and the result is a perfectly crisp, gooey, buttery sandwich you’ll want to eat every day of the week.
This post is sponsored by The American Dairy Association Mideast. As always, all opinions are my own.
Game Changing Air Fryer Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Well, the air fryer continues to earn its spot as a mainstay on my kitchen counter. We use it for dinner (hello, Air Fryer Chicken Thighs), breakfast (don’t mind if I do, Air Fryer Donuts), and now, with the introduction of Air Fryer Grilled Cheese, lunch as well.
We make a lot of grilled cheese around these parts. It’s one of those rare gems that is both easy to make AND a sure-fire win for the whole family.
I didn’t think anything could top a classic grilled cheese sandwich, browned to golden goodness on the stove top. Then, I tried making grilled cheese in the air fryer.
Holy moly. Rather than just browning the outside of the sandwich, the air fryer works its voodoo magic on every inch of the bread, transforming it into crisp, buttery perfection.
The edges have such a satisfying crunch, I couldn’t keep myself from stealing nibbles off the corners of my kids’ sandwiches. #notsorry
Needless to say, this Air Fryer Grilled Cheese is a game changer and so easy to make. Before we dive into the details, let’s go over the basics and build the best grilled cheese sandwich from the bottom up.
How to Build the Ultimate Air Fryer Grilled Cheese
The Best Bread for Grilled Cheese
You can’t go wrong with a classic Italian bread or crusty sourdough.
But when I’m craving the grilled cheese of my childhood, I reach for a fluffy white bread, like this Homemade Amish White Bread.
Picking the Best Cheese for a Grilled Cheese Sandwich
For grilled cheese, I recommend combining at least two cheeses–one that’s a great melter, and one that has lots of flavor. Grated cheese melts faster and more evenly than slices.
- Popular melting cheeses include American, Monterey Jack, colby, mozzarella, and muenster.
- For flavor, try adding an aged cheddar, Swiss, Gruyere, gouda, or spicy cheese, like Pepper Jack.
There are more than 300 different cheeses in the U.S., so whether you’re lactose intolerant, watching your sodium intake, or looking for high protein options, there’s a cheese for you. Find your perfect cheese match!
Butter Your Bread all the way to the Edges
I really cannot stress this enough. One time I was at a grilled cheese party (yes, it’s a thing!), and I watched someone quickly swipe butter across the center of the bread, leaving the outer edges completely dry.
Y’all. DO NOT DO THIS. If you want golden, crispy perfection in every bite, you MUST slather that butter over every nook and cranny of the bread.
Also, if possible use salted butter at room temperature. It spreads easily and tastes butterier than unsalted butter. I don’t know how that’s possible. It just does.
How to Air Fry Grilled Cheese
- Once your sandwich is fully buttered and assembled, place it in the air fryer.
- I use this Ninja Air Fryer, which can fit 1-2 sandwiches, depending on the bread size.
- Cook the sandwiches at 375 for 5 minutes, then flip and cook another 3-4 minutes or until golden brown.
Pull the sandwich out of the air fryer and permanently sear your fingerprints off.Allow the sandwich to cool slightly before diving in.
Tips for Making Grilled Cheese in the Air Fryer
- I’m a lazy air fryer and almost never preheat mine. I just don’t find it necessary, especially for something fast and simple like this.
- Lighter breads might flop around a bit in the air fryer. To avoid this, just stick a toothpick through the center, and you’re good!
- Different breads will brown at different rates, so definitely keep a close eye on the sandwiches and adjust the time as needed.
Make It a Gourmet Grilled Cheese with These Fun Fillings
Here are a few of our favorite grilled cheese toppings to take your Air Fryer Grilled Cheese to the next level.
- Fruit spreads, particularly ones that are less sweet, like fig or apricot. Try it in this Ham and Apple Butter Grilled Cheese or this Gruyere Grilled Cheese with Fig Jam.
- Apple slices– a tart, crisp apple is the perfect foil for cheddar, gouda, or brie grilled cheese.
- Caramelized onions + Sautéed Mushrooms– This Smoked Swiss and Mushroom Grilled Cheese is to die for!
- Pesto + Tomatoes– Just add mozzarella and homemade balsamic reduction to make a classic Caprese Grilled Cheese.
- Grainy mustard + Ham + Pickles + Swiss = An Amazing Cuban Style Grilled Cheese
- Use blistered fajita style peppers and onions to make a Mexican Grilled Cheese.
- Turn your favorite sub into a grilled cheese, like this Meatball Sub Grilled Cheese.
Tip: Grilled cheese is the perfect way to satisfy a sweet and salty craving. Consider pairing salty meats like ham or bacon with sweeter spreads or fruit. My favorite example of this is in this epic Strawberry, Bacon, and Goat Cheese Grilled Cheese.
What to Serve with Air Fryer Grilled Cheese:
Cheese is an excellent source of calcium, protein, and 9 essential nutrients. Serve grilled cheese with one of these sides for a complete meal!
First, the OG: Fresh Tomato Soup. Perfect for dunking.
For more information about dairy nutrition, to find delicious new recipes and to meet Ohio and West Virginia dairy farmers, visit www.Drink-Milk.com, and follow the American Dairy Association Mideast on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.
- 4 slices bread, such as Italian, sourdough, or white sandwich bread
- 3 Tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup shredded cheese, like cheddar, American, Swiss, or Muenster
- Butter one side of each of the 4 slices of bread.
- Divide the cheese into two equal portions. Sprinkle it evenly on the unbuttered side of two slices of bread.
- Sandwich the bread together than place in your air fryer. Secure with a toothpick (optional). Cook at 375 degrees for 5 minutes, then flip. Continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.
- Allow to cool slightly before serving.
For topping ideas and cheese recommendations, see the post above.
Your specific cook time will depend on the type of bread you use and your specific air fryer. Keep a close eye on the sandwiches the first time you make them to avoid overcooking.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 2
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 435