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I'm not much for specialty kitchen appliances, but I must admit that I've become obsessed with my Air Fryer. Don't let the name confuse you - there's no real frying involved here. Just a lot of air moving very quickly to make deliciously crisp and crunchy food. It's the perfect recipe for a crispy, gooey, stringy grilled cheese made in the Air Fryer! You'll never make this classic hot sandwich another way after trying it this way!
How to make a grilled cheese sandwich in the Air Fryer?
There are several things to keep in mind in order to make the best grilled cheese in the Air Fryer:
- Apply the crisping agent aka fat directly to the bread. My choice is mayonnaise. Yes, even if you don't like mayonnaise. Yes, even if you HATE mayonnaise. You won't taste it.
- Your Air Fryer swirls air around ... a LOT. Secure the bread with a toothpick ( my method ) or an air-fryer safe trivet or other weight to make sure the bread and cheese don't fly off during the cooking process
Keeping those two things in mind, all you've got to do next is pick a cheese ( or two! ), and cook your grilled cheese in the Air Fryer for 8-10 minutes, flipping once.
What cheese makes the best grilled cheese?
This is SO subjective, so I've made a list of what effect different cheeses will have on your grilled cheese to help you find what will be best for what YOU are looking for in your cheese.
- American Cheese - melty and gooey, salty
- Cheddar Cheese - mild flavor ( even when using sharp melted ), slightly stringy
- Mozzarella Cheese - very mild flavor, very stringy. Creates great "cheese pulls"
- Provolone Cheese - the most mild flavor, very stringy. Try smoked for more flavor.
- Swiss Cheese - tangy flavor, very stringy. Best to combine with other cheeses.
- Gruyere Cheese - rich, nutty flavor, medium stringy-ness. Best to combine with other cheeses.
- Pepper Jack Cheese - spicy. More gooey than stringy.
- Brie Cheese - mild to mushroomy, depending on the brie. Firm brie will become gooey in a grilled cheese, soft, spreadable brie will become liquidy.
- Goat Cheese / Chevre - fresh, tangy flavor. Soft, creamy texture, not stringy.
- Havarti Cheese - while delicious cold, I do not recommend it for grilled cheese. Some brands melt beautifully, but others create an oily mess. Unless you already know how your havarti melts, it's a risk to me!
What are some good cheese combos for grilled cheese?
First things first, there is a huge debate about what exactly constitutes a grilled cheese. Many people say it must ONLY have bread and cheese involved. Others claim some other fillings are alright. I'm going to take a little creative license here and include some options with other fillings, as this method of cooking them in the Air Fryer will still work, regardless of what you call the sandwich itself.
- plain ol' American Cheese. The Classic.
- Mozzarella and Cheddar - a perfect blend of stretch and flavor
- Pesto, Mozzarella, Spinach, Tomato - one of my favorite lunches. SO simple, yet packed with flavor
- Swiss or Gruyere and Ham with mustard - tangy, stringy, salty
- Brie plus fruit spread of your choice ( I like blackberry ) and arugula - sweet and salty. A melty version of one of my favorite sandwiches, the blackberry brie baguette.
- Goat cheese, thyme, and honey
What to serve with grilled cheese?
- tomato soup ( a classic combination! )
- marinara sauce, if you just want to dip without all that extra soup to consume
- fresh green salad, for a lighter meal
- french fries, for a comfort food twist
Air Fryer Grilled Cheese
- 2 slices Italian bread or whatever bread you love
- 1 slice cheddar cheese
- 1 slice mozzarella cheese
- 1 Tablespoon mayonnaise
- Spread the mayonnaise on one side of each slice of bread. Layer the cheeses on the side of the bread that does NOT have mayonnaise on it, and top with the other piece of bread.You should have a cheese sandwich with mayonnaise on the outside and NOT on the inside.
- Place the sandwich into the Air Fryer and secure the bread and cheese by placing two toothpicks into the sandwich - one on each side of the sandwich. You can also use an air fryer safe trivet placed on top of the sandwich to secure it, if your air fryer came with one.
- Set the Air Fryer to 380°F. Cook for 4 minutes. Open the Air Fryer. If the top of the sandwich has started to brown, carefully remove the toothpicks, if using, flip the sandwich, and cook for another 4 minutes. If the sandwich has not started to brown, cook for another 1 minute, before removing the toothpicks, flipping and then cooking for another 5 minutes.