The air fryer makes the absolute BEST grilled cheese, and this recipe makes the gooiest, crispiest, cheesiest version out there. Super quick and easy, you’ll never make grilled cheese in a skillet again.
What Makes Air Fryer Grilled Cheese So Good
- It’s so much easier than the skillet method. With a skillet, it’s super easy to overheat the pan and end up with a grilled cheese that’s burnt on at least one side. Trust me, it happens even to the pros. With the air fryer, your sandwich comes out perfectly toasty on both sides, every time.
- Using two pieces of cheese per sandwich gives you this incredibly gooey filling. If you’ve only been using one before now, you’ll never go back.
- If you need a quick lunch, this is perfect on its own. For a larger (but still light) meal, I like to have a grilled cheese with a cup of Instant Pot Tomato Soup on the side.
Key Ingredients for Air Fryer Grilled Cheese
Mayonnaise – Hear me out. A little mayo on the outside of the sandwich is the magic that gives you a perfectly-grilled grilled cheese. A lot of people opt for butter on the bread or in the skillet – BUT! Mayo has a higher smoke point than butter, which means your sandwich will withstand the heat better. You’ll get a nicer texture from the bread on the outside and a much gooier melt from the cheese on the inside.
Bread – So we kept things very simple in this recipe and used a classic white bread, though we did go with an organic brand. Just personal preference! You can use any bread you like. Honey wheat adds just the slightest sweetness that I really enjoy from time to time.
Cheese – Again, we opted for the classic-grilled-cheese cheese here – American. And again we used an organic version. Like with the bread, though, you can use any cheese you like. A gooey, melty pepper jack grilled cheese sandwich from the air fryer is so good if you like a little heat. Don’t hesitate to combine a few different cheeses, either.
- Air fryers are just like any other appliance – the cook time and temp will vary from one unit to another. Keep an eye on your air fryer grilled cheese the first time or two you make this recipe and make adjustments as needed to get the perfect sandwich.
- The whole principle behind an air fryer is that it uses circulating air to crisp your food. The downside to all this moving air is that lighter foods, like bread, can get blown around a little. If you run into any issues with the top piece of bread getting blown off the sandwich in the first 4 minutes, use a toothpick to hold everything together, or place a very small bowl or utensil on top of the sandwich to hold the bread down. You won’t need to use it again after you flip the sandwich over since everything should be melted enough to stay together by that point.
- The air needs to fully circulate around the sandwich to cook everything evenly and thoroughly, so you’ll probably need to cook one sandwich at a time, unless you’re making small sandwiches and/or have a large air fryer. If you’re doing two batches, keep in mind that the second sandwich probably won’t need to cook as long as the first since the air fryer is already good and hot.
More Air Fryer Recipes You Need to Try
- Air Fryer Cauliflower with Lemon-Garlic Aioli
- Air Fryer Fish Sticks
- Sausage in the Air Fryer
- Air Fryer Potato Wedges
- Air Fryer Hot Dogs
- Frozen Chicken Breast in Air Fryer
- Air Fryer Salmon with Brown Sugar Crust
- Air Fryer Frozen Chicken Nuggets
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Air Fryer Grilled Cheese
- Air fryer
- 4 teaspoons mayonnaise divided
- 4 slices bread of choice
- salt to taste
- 4 slices American cheese
- Spread one teaspoon mayonnaise on one side of each slice of bread (4 total). Sprinkle very small pinch of salt on top of mayo on each slice.
- Place 2 slices of bread mayo-side down. Layer 2 slices American cheese on top of each piece of bread. Top cheese with remaining bread, mayo-side up, creating 2 separate sandwiches, each with 2 slices of American cheese in middle. Mayonnaise-side of each slice of bread should face out.
- Preheat air fryer to 360° Fahrenheit.
- Remove basket from air fryer and place sandwiches in basket. Cook one sandwich at a time if basket is too small for both.Return basket to air fryer. Cook 4 minutes, then remove and flip sandwiches over. Return basket to air fryer. Cook additional 3 to 5 minutes until desired doneness is reached.
- Remove from air fryer and enjoy!
- During the first 4 minutes in the air fryer (before you flip the sandwich), if the top piece of bread blows off, you can hold it all together using a toothpick, or set a very small bowl or utensil on top of the bread to weigh it down. You won’t need to use the bowl/utensil after flipping the sandwich over, since everything should be melted enough to stay together by that point.
- If you’re using an air fryer with shelves instead of one with a basket, there’s no need to flip your sandwich over after the first 4 minutes.
- Make it Dairy Free: Use a vegan cheese. Look for one that melts well, because not all of them do.
- Make it Vegan: Use a vegan cheese (look for one that melts well) and vegan mayo.
- Make it Keto: Use a keto bread.
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Cheryl Malik is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind the healthy, flavorful, family friendly recipes at 40 Aprons. She’s been a blogger for 10+ years and is known for her delicious recipes and detailed recipe instructions. Cheryl is a mom of three who lives in Memphis, TN.