Air fryer grilled cheese are the best grilled cheese sandwiches ever! No question about it, you’ll be convinced after the first bite.
Why you’ll love it: Because it’s the perfect grilled cheese, that’s why!
How long it takes: 15 minutes
Equipment you’ll need: air fryer, spatula
Love grilled cheese sandwiches? Try using your air fryer for the best grilled cheese sandwiches imaginable! Super crispy, never soggy or squished, with cheese that just melts perfectly right into the bread. Using an air fryer to make grilled cheese sandwiches is a watershed event. You’ll never go back to a skillet sandwich.
I am a self-proclaimed grilled cheese queen.That’s a nicer way to say I’m a grilled cheese junkie. In college, I was known for my nearly constant diet of grilled cheese sandwiches. Who doesn’t love melty cheese and toasty bread?! I just wish I would have had an air fryer back then.
And don’t you just love dressing up grilled cheese sandwiches? Different kinds of cheese, whole grain bread, mustard, deli meats, spinach (yes, spinach on grilled cheese is so good!), with tomato, with bacon, avocado, tuna, the list is endless.
You’ll also love this Parmesan crusted pepperoni pizza grilled cheese. And sliders are basically a grilled cheese done en masse, aren’t they? Try ham and cheese sliders or turkey sliders, they’re real crowd pleasers.
About this recipe
Bread, cheese, butter. It’s so simple, I almost hesitate to call this a recipe. However, in this post and in the recipe card, you’ll see directions for a classic grilled cheese and few delicious variations that you’re going to love.
What you need
Choose your favorite kind of sliced bread. Whole grain bread is amazing but white bread is pretty awesome, too. Try raisin bread, cinnamon swirl bread, or rye for a more unique treat.
Ciabbata and sourdough make ultra-crunchy grilled cheese sandwiches. A bread with a lot of seeds and grains will also get super crunchy, and those seeds and nuts in the bread will toast up a little and become ultra-flavorful.
Both thin bread and thicker slices will work, but your cooking time might change slightly, so keep an eye on it.
Choose your favorite kind of cheese. I’m beginning to sound like a broken record.
Cheddar is tops: white, mild, sharp, extra sharp, Vermont, New York, farmhouse, Wisconsin, there are so many varieties of cheddar cheese.
Provolone, mozzarella, and muenster are melting queens and will give you the most irresistible cheese pulls when you go to bite into your sandwich.
If you’re feeling a more adventurous try brie, gouda, asiago, feta, monterey jack, blue cheese, or a combination of cheeses. These possibilities are endless!
You’ll want softened or spreadable butter so you don’t tear the bread when you’re spreading the butter.
Butter the outside of the bread, or if you like, butter the inside, too. Some people like to “butter” the bread with mayonnaise instead of butter because mayo has a higher smoke point and leads to a super crunchy grilled cheese.
What kind of cheese is best for a grilled cheese sandwich?
Use any kind of cheese you like, as long as it’s cheese that melts well. Sharp cheddar cheese is a favorite because it’s so flavorful but there are so many kinds of cheese that work: Havarti, Swiss, munster, provolone, pepper Jack, Monterey Jack, soft cheeses like goat cheese or blue cheese, vegan cheese, the list is endless. Choose any type of cheese that melts well. If you really love American cheese slices, go for it. It’s a classic combination!
Slice the cheese from a block or use pre-sliced cheese. Shredded cheese works, too, it’s just a little messier.
How to make grilled cheese in the air fryer
- Preheat your air fryer to 400°F.
- Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread.
- Place the cheese on the unbuttered side, and top with another slice of buttered bread, butter side out.
- Place on the rack in your air fryer. Cook for 4-5 minutes, flip, and continue cook for 4-5 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Enjoy! Serve your grilled cheese sandwiches with homemade Instant Pot tomato soup or smoky roasted tomato soup for a classic meal. Grilled cheese sandwiches are perfect with homemade vegetable soup, too. Keep things simple and serve your sandwiches with refrigerator dill pickles or homemade sweet potato chips that you make in a microwave oven.
Variations of Air Fryer Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Blue Cheese and Pear Grilled Cheese
This is a seriously classy grilled cheese sandwich. Ripe, juicy pear combined with blue cheese crumbles will make you feel like you’re at a fancy sandwich shop. A touch of dijon mustard takes the flavor off the charts!
Bacon Avocado Grilled Cheese
What’s better than bacon and avocado? The creamy ripe avocado is the perfect complement to the salty, crisp bacon. Try this grilled cheese with sharp cheddar, or pepper jack for a spicy twist.
Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich
Sometimes the classics can’t be beat! A slice or two of salty thin sliced deli ham (or leftover ham!) is the perfect complement to a cheesy sandwich. Try this one with Swiss or cheddar cheese.
Tomato & Cheddar Grilled Cheese
My favorite summertime treat when the tomatoes are at their prime! I like the make the grilled cheese with extra sharp cheddar and then pry it open and put a big juicy tomato slice in the middle of all that melty cheese. If you like the tomato warm, you could put it in right from the beginning, but be warned your bread might get slightly soggy this way.
Caprese Grilled Cheese
The perfect summer bite! Try big slices of mozzarella cheese with lots of fresh tomato and basil. Level up by drizzling your bread with balsamic reduction before adding the fillings.
Storage And Reheating Tips
I doubt you’ll have leftover grilled cheese but if you do, wrap the sandwiches well and refrigerate for up to two days. For best results, you’ll want to use your air fryer to re-crisp the sandwiches. A brief stint in your toaster oven or in a skillet on the stove works okay, too.
Air Fryer magic – more recipes
If these air fryer grilled cheese sandwiches convince you that you’re not using your air fryer nearly often enough, try:
- Air Fryer Apple Fritters with Apple Cider Glaze
- Air Fryer Sweet Potato Hash with candied bacon!
- Air Fryer French Fries
- Air Fryer French Toast Sticks
- Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts
- Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks — best method!
- Air Fryer Salmon — easy and delicious!
- Air Fryer Grilled Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich by Fork To Spoon
- Oil Free Roasted Nuts in your air fryer by Simmer to Slimmer.
- 2 slices bread of choice
- 3-4 slices sharp cheddar cheese (or any cheese you like!)
- 1 tablespoon butter, softened
- Preheat air fryer to 400ºF.
- Spread one side of each slice of bread with butter. Place cheese on unbuttered side of bread and top with other slice of bread, buttered side facing out.
- Place in air fryer and cook for 4-5 minutes. Flip, and continue to cook for 4-5 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Blue Cheese and Pear: 2 ounces blue cheese; 1/2 ripe pear, thinly sliced; 2 teaspoons grainy Dijon mustard.
- Bacon Avocado with Cheddar on whole grain bread: 2 slices cooked bacon; 1/4 ripe but firm avocado, cut into thin slices; 3-4 slices sharp white cheddar cheese.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.