Ooh, a grilled cheese sandwich—everyone makes them, and everyone loves them! It’s the kind of recipe that doesn’t really need a recipe. Take a couple of slices of bread, any kind of cheese, a little butter (or a lot!), and a hot skillet, and you’re on your way to an easy dinner. But after testing this favorite sandwich in The Pioneer Woman air fryer, we’ve got a few tips and tricks to share on how to make a truly excellent, gooey, crispy, air fryer grilled cheese sandwich. (It might be one of our best air fryer recipes ever!)
What kind of bread is best for air fryer grilled cheese?
A sturdy bread, like sourdough or rustic Italian, cut at least 1/2-inch thick stands up well to the circulating heat of the air fryer. Depending on the size of your air fryer basket, shape matters as well. If using square shaped slices, it may be tricky to cook more than one sandwich at a time. Slices from a round, boule-shaped loaf were just the right size for two sandwiches to snuggly fit in the basket. This helps when trying to feed a crowd!
What kind of cheese is best for grilled cheese?
Two things to consider here: texture and flavor. Freshly grated cheese works best for the creamiest melt, while slices come in a close second. Pre-grated cheese absolutely works, but sometimes has an anti-clumping agent mixed in, which can get in the way of the smoothest melt. A sharper, slightly aged cheese, like cheddar, pairs well with a more mild, creamy cheese like havarti or monterey jack. For this recipe, smoked gouda lends a super soft, melty texture as well as a hint of smoky flavor. If you’re working with slices, plan on 3 to 4 slices per sandwich (depending on the thickness.)
What can I add?
Spreading the inside of the bread with a little mayo and mustard makes this grilled cheese sandwich extra creamy, while giving a sharp, horseradish like bite. If you like a savory sandwich, add a few pickles or a scoop of sauerkraut, slices of bacon or ham, or even sautéed mushrooms or onions. Candied jalapeños (aka cowboy candy) can give the sandwich a little kick, while a smear of jam keeps a sweet and savory fan satisfied.