As a grilled cheese expert, I can assure you that making an air fryer grilled cheese just might be the perfect way to cook this classic comfort food. The bread gets crispy, the cheese gets perfect melty, and it's almost impossible to burn it. I highly recommend using this method because it's essentially fail-proof!
Before I begin, I should start by asking if you realized that this grilled cheese blog will turn 10 years old next month?! How wild is that!?
What started as a hobby in grad school is now my full time job! It's so wild to think that I've won two Food Network shows and even wrote a cookbook because of my love for lactose.
What's even more exciting is discovering that an air fryer is maybe the most perfect way to cook a grilled cheese!
It's so easy that it's almost fail-proof!
Once you build the sandwich, put it in the air fryer basket and set the temp and timer, you don't even have to think twice!
The bread comes out perfectly crispy, the cheese is the perfect melting temperature, and the cleanup is painless.
Trust me, after making a grilled cheese in here, you'll probably never go back to the old pan or panini press method!
Ingredients - What you need
- Air Fryer - one that's big enough to fit a sandwich
- Thick Cut White Bread
- Meltable Semi-Firm Cheese - Such as Fontina (What I used!), Cheddar, Gouda, Muenster, etc
- Room Temperature Salty Butter
How to cook an air fryer grilled cheese
Making an air fryer grilled cheese is even easier than making it on the stovetop!
All you need to do is to add the cheese to one slice of bread then put the other slice on top.
Butter both sides of the sandwich and put it in the air fryer.
Set the air fryer at 370F degrees for 4 minutes and press start.
When the timer goes off, flip it and put it in for 3 more minutes at 370F degrees.
After that, remove the grilled cheese from the air fryer, slice it and serve it immediately.
Tips and tricks for upgrading
Tip 1: One concern that I've heard about is that the air fryer makes the top piece of bread fly off because of the intense air circulation that goes on inside the appliance. To avoid this, you can simply stab the grilled cheese with a tooth-pic and voila - problem solved!
Tip 2: Don't use any metal utensils to flip your grilled cheese. The nonstick is super important for the air fryer basket so you don't want to use anything that might damage it.
Tip 3: Over the last 10 years, I've probably shared thousands of ways to upgrade a grilled cheese sandwich. Some of my most basic easy additions include adding bacon, avocado, spicy mayo, a fried egg, pickles, and the like.
For some of my more insane creations, you can click this grilled cheese archive link to view all of my grilled cheese recipes that I've shared on this blog for the last 10 years.
But if you want even more tasty options, you should check out my first grilled cheese cookbook which features 60 different tasty ways to make a grilled cheese sandwich. I cover everything from breakfast and lunch to dinner and dessert!
Which air fryer do I use?
After doing extensive air fryer research, I decided on this GoWise 5.8 quart Air Fryer. (After receiving a lot of questions about its size, I put a box of crackers next to it for reference!)
I should also say that this isn't sponsored but if you order from Amazon using any of these links or images, I get a small kickback!
Why? After weighing a bunch of pros and cons (I'll get into that below) I saw that this one is it the best seller on amazon, it was affordable, and it also fit my needs and aesthetic perfectly.
I went with the 5.8 quart because it's the perfect size for me and my family. It is large enough to cook two sandwiches in, a whole chicken, or a big batch of fries without things getting too crowded.
Anything smaller would have been kind of pointless to me. It also has more temperature controls and more cooking options than a lot of the other air fryers on the market do. I also loved that it came with a whole entire cookbook and temperature manual for various foods.
What about the instant pot lid?
I read a ton about this because I love my instant pot and though it would be great to just buy an extra attachment. But since I have the larger 8 quart instant pot, the lid was not only out of stock but also super expensive compared to the air fryer I got.
I also read that the instant pot air fryer lid takes more time than a traditional air fryer which was also something I wanted to avoid. However, if you have the smaller 6 quart or 3 quart instant pot, it might be worth your while! And I should say that yes, sure, it could have saved some counter space, but I didn't want to wait and buy something that wasn't as quick and recommended.
Best option if you don't have an instant pot or air fryer
BUT If I didn't have an instant pot already, I would have gotten the Ninja Foodi XL. This piece of equipment is probably the most recommended air fryer because it's also a pressure cooker, slow cooker, dehydrator, steamer, sear/sauteer, broiler and bake/roasting device.
Since I LOVE my instant pot and spent a lot of money and time with it, I didn't want to double up and get the Ninja Foodi because it would have been kind of redundant. However, if I didn't have one already, you bet your booty that I would have gotten this in a heartbeat!
Pros and cons of air fryers
- Healthier because you can use less oil to fry/bake/roast things
- Easier Cleanup
- Quicker Cooking Times
- No Deep Fryer Smells
- House Doesn't Get Hot From Having the Oven Heated
- Another appliance to buy and deal with
What to pair it with
To be quite honest, a grilled cheese is great on its own! ...But even better when paired with something tasty!
I recommend pairing this crispy crunchy grilled cheese with roasted brussel sprouts and asparagus, some sweet and sour red cabbage soup, or some crunchy chinese cabbage salad! Or maybe even these air fryer breakfast potatoes!
Save the recipe for later
Don't want to forget how to make this? Feel free to use one of these pretty images to save to your pinterest for later!
Recipe: Air Fryer Grilled Cheese
Air Fryer Grilled Cheese
- 2 slices bread
- ½ cup shredded cheese such as fontina, cheddar, gouda, muenster
- 1 tablespoon room temperature salted butter divided
- Stack cheese between two slices of bread then butter the exterior of the sandwich.
- Place buttered grilled cheese in air fryer basket and set the temperature for 370F degrees for 4 minutes.
- When the timer has gone off, flip it and put it back in for 3 more minutes at 370F degrees.
- Carefully remove from air fryer basket, slice in half and serve immediately.