Making grilled cheese in an air fryer is the best way to get a perfectly crispy exterior with gooey, melty cheese inside!

What is an Air Fryer?

An air fryer works similarly to a convection style oven. It circulates hot air around a metal basket, which creates a crispy outer layer. You can get browned, crispy crusts without having to truly “fry” anything. An air fryer can mimic the texture with just a tiny bit of oil. There are many different types of air fryers. I used to have this Chefman air fryer but now I use the Ninja Foodi Grill Air Fryer, which has a large fryer basket.

Air Fryer Grilled Cheese Ingredients

  • Bread– I recommend a hearty sandwich bread, as noted below.
  • Butter– Be sure the butter is soft so it’s easy to spread.
  • Cheese– Buy a block of cheese and shred it by hand to get the best texture possible.

The Best Bread for an Air Fryer Grilled Cheese

You can use any bread you like, but I prefer to use sandwich bread or sourdough bread that is around 1-inch thick. You don’t want it to be too thick or too thin, so 1-inch is just right. This will allow you to get a crispy exterior, but the bread will still have a nice chew to it.

The Best Cheese for a Grilled Cheese

I like using cheddar, gouda or provolone for my grilled cheese sandwiches. You can also do a blend for even more flavor. For firmer cheeses, such as cheddar or gouda, I recommend buying a block of cheese and shredding it just before making your grilled cheese. Pre-shredded cheese typically contains anti-caking agents which can make it harder to get a melty, gooey texture.

How to Make a Grilled Cheese in an Air Fryer

Start by buttering one side of each piece of bread. If your bread is very soft, you may need to soften the butter slightly before spreading. To soften the butter, microwave a tablespoon of butter on 30% power for 30 seconds or until softened. Spread the butter generously over the bread.

Preheat the air fryer to 390 degrees. Place one slice of bread, butter side down, in the preheated air fryer basket.

Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of cheese, then top with a second slice of bread, butter side facing out.

Toast the sandwich in the air fryer for 4-5 minutes until golden brown. With an air fryer, there is no need to flip the sandwich, since the air fryer cooks on both sides at the same time.

Slice the sandwich in half and enjoy immediately! If you want to take things to the next level, try adding a little tomato jam into your sandwich!

Grilled Cheese Variations

  • Adding sweet potato, kale, and aioli can take your grilled cheese to the next level. Get this sweet potato grilled cheese recipe and try it in your air fryer!
  • For crispy bread without the butter, try spreading mayonaise on the bread before toasting. It sounds crazy but it creates a deliciously crispy crust!

Grilled Cheese Add-Ins

Looking to switch up your grilled cheese? Try adding one of these toppings:

  • Tomato slices
  • Avocado slices
  • Kale (be sure it’s destemmed)
  • Spinach
  • Aioli
  • Caramelized onions
  • Tomato jam
  • Thinly sliced apple

Can You Reheat a Grilled Cheese?

While you probably won’t have leftovers after making a grilled cheese, it is possible to reheat a grilled cheese sandwich. If you made your sandwich but it cooled before you got to enjoy it, reheat it in the air fryer at 300 degrees until it’s warm! I recommend reheating on a low setting so that the cheese can warm in the middle without the bread getting too toasted. Obviously, grilled cheese sandwiches are best served fresh but this trick can help warm a cold sandwich.

What to Serve with Grilled Cheese

The most classic pairing would be this creamy tomato soup! Or you can make your tomato soup in an Instant Pot for an even faster side dish. You could also serve this grilled cheese with a chopped salad or even kale chips for a unique way to enjoy your greens.

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air fryer grilled cheese

Air Fryer Grilled Cheese

  • Author: Liz Thomson
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 2 sandwiches 1x
  • Category: Sandwich
  • Method: Air Fryer
  • Cuisine: Sandwich

Description

Making grilled cheese in an air fryer is the best way to get a perfectly crispy exterior with gooey, melty cheese inside!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 slices sandwich bread
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, gouda, provolone or a blend)

Instructions

  1. Preheat air fryer to 390 degrees.
  2. Spread 1/2 tablespoon of butter onto each slice of bread.
  3. Place one slice of bread butter side down into the air fryer basket.
  4. Top with 1/2 cup shredded cheese, then top with the second slice of bread, butter side facing up.
  5. Toast in the air fryer for 4-5 minutes until golden brown.
  6. Repeat steps for the second sandwich.

Keywords: air fryer grilled cheese

More Air Fryer Recipe Ideas

Looking for more ways to use your air fryer? Here are some of my other favorite air fryer recipes!

Air Fryer Eggplant Pizzas

eggplant pizza

Air Fryer Broccoli

air fryer broccoli

Air Fryer Chickpeas

air fryer chickpeas