This Air Fryer Grilled Cheese is the most perfectly toasted bread around slices of stretchy, melted cheese! No more using American cheese for that gooey, cheesy center as the air fryer melts everything evenly!
Delightfully cheesy and filling sandwiches cooked to perfection!
This is another one of my air fryer recipes that is arguably just as good, or better than, the classic method of cooking! I truly love the perfectly toasted sandwich with melted cheesy goodness!
While I do enjoy the smooth melted texture of American cheese as much as any kid, I really do prefer to use sliced cheese like cheddar, colby, or colby-jack. You know, a more grown-up version of this sandwich!
With the skillet fried method, you can easily get a nicely toasted sandwich with cheese that isn't completely melted in the center. When air frying, your grilled cheese sandwich turns out beautifully toasted and completely melted and it's practically effortless!
An air fryer grilled cheese is a classic sandwich assembled and heated to perfection in an air fryer. The bread is buttered on the side facing outward, then layered with sliced or shredded cheese, and topped with the second slice of buttered bread.
This simple 3 ingredient sandwich is loved by kids of all ages! To make these air fryer sandwiches, you will need the following:
- Bread - Your favorite sandwich bread will work fabulously in these grilled cheese sandwiches. You can upgrade your sandwich quality by using sliced artisan bread, French bread slices, rich challah bread, or tangy sourdough!
- Cheese - So many cheeses to choose from! Of course, the iconic cheese of grilled cheese sandwiches is American cheese. It's already pre-sliced and is available as both yellow and white American cheese. Cheddar cheese is the second most popular, followed by Colby cheese which will look like Cheddar but melts a bit better. Other great cheeses to raise your grilled cheese game are Colby-Jack, Provolone, Gruyere, Monterey Jack, Blue Cheese, Muenster, Brie, Havarti, Gouda, Mozzarella, Swiss, or Manchego cheese.
- Butter - Everything is better with butter! The butter helps your sandwich toast to golden deliciousness! You can use either salted or unsalted butter that has been softened to room temperature for ease of spreading. You don't need much when buttering the bread, a thin layer will do and my 1 tablespoon per sandwich is a generous amount. If you are looking to lighten up the calories, you can also use a spray butter-substitute like I Can't Believe It's Butter or Molly McButter.
I typically use some garlic salt on my buttered bread slices. This adds another bit of flavor to my wonderful toasted sandwiches!
💭 Tips & Recipe Notes
Preheating - Don't skip this step! Most air fryers require a preheating time and it is recommended for best results when cooking your food.
Variable cooking times - Since not all air fryers are the same, you may need to watch your food closely toward the end of the cooking cycle. Your sandwiches may cook quickly, or need a minute or two extra depending on your air fryer model.
Plenty of space - Don't overcrowd your air fryer basket or racks. The air fryers need room to circulate air around your sandwiches to get them melted and toasty.
🔪 Step-by-Step Instructions
In addition to the three basic ingredients for this sandwich, you will need an air fryer. I am using an Instant Pot Vortex Plus, which is a convection oven style air fryer. I also have a basket style air fryer, that works wonderfully as well, but does not hold the same quantity of sandwiches.
Both air fryer styles in their assorted models will need to preheat while you assemble the sandwiches. Then toast and serve for the easiest lunch or super quick dinner ever!!
Once you have everything ready to go, follow these steps to make the perfect air fryer grilled cheese:
- Preheat your air fryer to 370ºF ( 188ºC ). Select 'AIR FRY' on a convection style air fryer and set the timer 8 minutes.
- Butter the bread slices. If using a convection style air fryer, place half the buttered bread slices onto your air fryer racks with the buttered side facing down.
- Add the cheese slices or shredded cheese portions. You can trim overhanging edges of the cheese, if desired, to prevent a melted mess.
- Place the top piece of buttered bread onto the cheese layer. Top with garlic salt, if desired. If using a basket style air fryer, place the assembled sandwich or sandwiches into the basket. *For air fryers that are not convection oven style, you may need to use a toothpick to hold the top piece of bread in place.
- For convection style air fryers: When the indicator says to 'ADD FOOD' place the racks with assembled sandwiches into your air fryer and close the door to start the cooking process. Flip your sandwiches and move the top rack to the bottom, and bottom rack to the top, when the indicator says to 'TURN FOOD.' Close the door and finish the cooking cycle.
For basket style air fryers: Place the basket with sandwiches into the air fryer and set the timer for 5 minutes. Flip the sandwiches after 5 minutes, and cook for an additional 3 minutes to finish. Cook in batches, if needed.
Serve your air fryer grilled cheese sandwiches with a few pickles, a side salad, coleslaw, tomato soup, or crispy air fryer french fries!
If you love ridiculously cheesy recipes, try my smoked mac and cheese or southern baked mac n cheese, or the delicious mac n cheese bites from leftovers! Plus these fantastic sausage cream cheese balls or perfectly crispy cream cheese wontons!
Air Fryer Grilled Cheese
- 8 slices bread
- 8 slices cheese (or roughly ½ cup shredded cheese per sandwich)
- 4 Tbsp butter (softened, at room temperature)
- Preheat your air fryer to 370 degrees F (188 degrees C). For a convection style air fryer, select 'AIR FRY' and set the timer to 8 minutes.
- Butter the slices of bread. For a convection style oven, place half the buttered bread slices onto the air fryer racks facing down.
- Add sliced or shredded cheese portions. Trim excess cheese from edges, if desired.
- Top the sandwich the second buttered slice of bread facing upward. Add garlic salt, if desired.
- For a convection style air fryer: Add the racks with sandwiches when the indicator says to 'ADD FOOD'. Flip the sandwiches when the indicator says to 'TURN FOOD' and move the bottom rack to the top, and the top rack to the bottom for even cooking.For a basket style air fryer: Place the basket with sandwich(es) into the air fryer and set for 5 minutes. When the 5 minute cook cycle is done, flip the sandwich or sandwiches and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!