Air Fryer Grilled Cheese

If a decent grilled cheese is a work of art (and trust me friends, it is), then Air Fryer Grilled Cheese is a masterpiece!

The bread must be golden and deeply toasted, but not charred. Strong enough to hold up to the gooey contents but still soft enough to dig your teeth into with enjoyment.

The cheese must be properly melted. It seems straightforward, but if you’ve ever tasted a grilled cheese that’s scorched outside with chunks of solid, room temperature cheese within, you know it’s more subtle than it looks.

It should be buttery but not greasy, ooey-gooey but not soggy.

In short, a grilled cheese should be flawless.

While you can achieve grilled cheese excellence on the stovetop (I share the secrets in my cookbook—also available for order here—which has three creative, delightful Grown-Up Grilled Cheeses), using an air fryer (this is the model I purchased and recommend) to make grilled cheese streamlines the process and is much more handsfree.

An air fryer is simply a stovetop convection oven.

It is a brilliant appliance when it comes to making your favourite meals crispy with very little extra oil or fat, like these Air Fryer French Fries and Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts.

The air fryer is also excellent for toasting sandwiches, like grilled cheese (and even these Air Fryer Hamburgers) (and even these Air Fryer Hamburgers).

Following, I’m offering you my go-to way to prepare grilled cheese in the air fryer.

I also have a critical air fryer toasted sandwich tip to make sure your grilled cheese doesn’t break apart in the air fryer.

How to Prepare Grilled Cheese in an Air Fryer
Like any seemingly easy recipes, you need to pay close attention to the components in your grilled cheese. As there are few, each has a huge influence on results.

Tip! \sEvery air fryer is cooks food a bit differently. I tested air fryer grilled cheese in a Ninja air fryer oven.

Make sure to inspect your grilled cheese periodically to measure its development.

The Ingredients \sBread. Don’t skimp here. I like to use a good-quality sourdough or whole grain artisan-style bread. While you can create air fryer grilled cheese with normal sandwich bread, going up a higher-end loaf is 100% worth it here.
Ingredient note \sWhile I love to pick up a loaf of bread at a bakery, don’t feel like you need to make a special excursion. You can purchase superb quality bread at most supermarket stores these days. Check the baking section.
If you don’t go through a lot of bread and hence are more hesitant to pick up a slightly pricier loaf, consider freezing it in parts, then only defrost what you need.
Cheese. Grate it yourself directly from the block or use deli slices. I do not advocate packaged, pre-shredded cheeses. They are frequently covered with a powder to protect them from clumping together, and hence won’t melt properly.
The Best Cheese for Grilled Cheese
The best cheeses for grilled cheese melt readily and have a substantial taste of their own.

Sharp cheddar, gruyere, swiss, gouda, and fontina are all terrific alternatives for grilled cheese.
Avoid pre-shredded cheeses, which do not melt well, or hard, aged cheeses that don’t melt as easily (such as Parmesan), unless you are mixing an aged with a different, melty cheese.
Make a combination. For a distinctive twist, try a mix of two or more cheeses. My preference is to use a nutty cheese like gruyere and a typical sharp cheddar.
Butter. A small brush of melted butter (or a buttery spread) is important to make sure your grilled cheese crisps well and doesn’t taste dry.
Using Mayo \sAir fryer grilled cheese with mayo is an old-fashioned technique. Several believe it performs a better job toasting. To give it a try, blend 2 tablespoons of mayo with 1 tablespoon of unsoftened butter. Spread it on the outside of the bread.

Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sauce. While optional, I like coating the interior of my grilled cheese sandwiches with a mix of Greek yoghurt and Dijon mustard. It makes the sandwich taste more luscious.
The Directions
Prepare the yoghurt Dijon spread (if using) (if using). Spread on one side of each slice of bread. Butter the opposite side of each slice of bread.
Put the cheeses on the Dijon side of a slice of bread, then place the other slice of bread on top (butter side up) (butter side up).
Pierce two opposing edges of the sandwich with toothpicks.
Fry the air fryer grilled cheese at 360 degrees F for 4 to 6 minutes.
Turn the sandwich over, and cook for 3 to 4 more minutes. Slice and DIG IN!
To keep your grilled cheese sandwich from coming apart, bind it with toothpicks while toasting on the first side.

It is safe to place a toothpick in the air fryer at lower temperatures, such as 360 degrees F, the optimal temperature for cooking air fryer grilled cheese.
When you are ready to flip, just remove the toothpicks, turn, and start cooking.
This approach is especially critical if you are using thinner, softer bread, which is more prone to coming apart.

Grilled Cheese Variations
You may toast a variety of sandwiches in the air fryer. These are a few of my favourite ways to liven up your grilled cheese.

Air Fryer Grilled Cheese with Bacon. Add a couple pieces of crisp, fried bacon (recommended: simple Oven Baked Bacon or Air Fryer Bacon) (recommended: easy Oven Baked Bacon or Air Fryer Bacon).
Air Fryer Grilled Cheese and Ham. Put your own touch on croque monsieur by stacking on thinly sliced ham (especially wonderful paired with a fried egg on top!).
Air Fryer Grilled Cheese with Tomato. Thinly slice tomatoes, or use these Roasted Tomatoes, then put them on a paper towel and wipe dry (this will protect the grilled cheese from turning wet) (this will keep the grilled cheese from becoming watery). Add to the grilled cheese and air fry as indicated.
Pesto Air Fryer Grilled Cheese. Instead of the grilled cheese “sauce”, fill the insides of your bread with pesto (my favourite is the Creamy Basil Pesto in my cookbook) (my favourite is the Creamy Basil Pesto in my cookbook). Use any mix of fontina, provolone, or gouda.
Storage Tips \sTo Reheat. Grilled cheese is best consumed straight away, but it may be re-toasted in the air fryer at 350 degrees F.
Recommended Equipment to Prepare this Recipe \sAir Fryer. The air fryer I own and enjoy! It’s excellent for this dish and these Air Fryer Pork Chops.
Mixing Bowls. This set is a fantastic complement to any kitchen.
Non-Slip Cutting Board. This cutting board won’t slip away from you while you’re slicing.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Servings: 1 sandwich
Ingredients \sFOR THE SANDWICH:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter softened (or butter spread) (or butter spread)
2 slices excellent grade whole grain bread
1 ounce shredded strong cheddar cheese roughly 1 heaping tablespoon or 1 deli slice
1 ounce shredded gruyere fontina, gouda or similar melty, nutty white cheese (approximately 1 heaping tablespoon) or 1 deli slice


1 tablespoon nonfat plain Greek yoghurt or 1 tablespoon mayo if you insist
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Pinch kosher salt
Preheat the air fryer to 360 degrees F.
In a small dish, whisk together the spread ingredients: Greek yoghurt, Dijon, and salt. Spread a thin coating over one side of each of the two slices of bread.
Put the bread on a platter, and butter the opposite side of each slice, ensuring sure the butter goes all the way to the edges.
Assemble the sandwiches: Arrange the cheeses in an equal layer on top of the Dijon side of the bread slice (it will appear like a lot of cheese, but go with it) (it will look like a lot of cheese, but go with it). Put the second piece of the bread on top of the cheese, Dijon-side down. If you are using cheese slices (vs. shredded cheese) and any of the cheese pokes out around the outsides of the bread, clip the additional cheese away (to save waste, stack the trimmings in the middle of the sandwich) (to avoid waste, stack the trimmings in the centre of the sandwich).
Fasten the sandwich by putting a toothpick into two of the opposing corners of the bread.
Slide out the basket and lay it on a stable, heat-proof surface. Gently lower the sandwich into it, then slip the basket back into the air fryer.
Put in the air fryer and cook on the first side for 4 to 6 minutes, until toasted and deep brown on top (the length of time you require may vary dependent on your air fryer model) (the amount of time you need will vary based on your air fryer model).
Slide out the basket and set it on a solid surface once more. Remove the toothpicks and with a spatula or tongs, delicately turn the sandwich over. Return the basket to the air fryer and continue cooking for 3 to 4 more minutes, until the bread is toasted and the cheese is hot and melted.
Move to a plate or cutting board. Let cool a few minutes, then slice and enjoy.
Notes \sTO REHEAT: Grilled cheese is best consumed straight away, but it may be re-toasted in the air fryer at 350 degrees F.


Serving: 1sandwich
Calories: 457kcal
Carbohydrates: 25g
Protein: 25g
Fat: 29g
Saturated Fat: 17g
Trans Fat: 1g
Cholesterol: 83mg
Potassium: 227mg
Fiber: 4g
Sugar: 4g
Vitamin A: 812IU
Vitamin C: 1mg
Calcium: 576mg
Iron: 2mg