Making cheese on toast in the air fryer could not be simpler! This is a classic UK style cheese on toast recipe with cheddar cheese, and cooks perfectly in the air fryer – easier than using a grill, with better results. I’ll show you how I make this, but it’s easy to adapt to your own family’s preferences!
Cheese on toast is a much loved snack or light meal in the UK, but cooking it under the grill (broiler) is the usual method and this can be tricky. There’s a knack to the temperature control, timing, etc. For the easily distracted, it can be a one way ticket to the smoke alarm going off when you miss the crucial moment.
I just… never ever made it. Until I tried air frying it.
The air fryer honestly gives you the most perfect and evenly cooked cheese on toast you will ever have, and it’s foolproof. The strong fan of the air fryer is more than up to the job of crisping the cheese and the bread, but the heat is being circulated so it cooks evenly and you don’t have to worry about burning the corners before the middle is done. Perfection.
As always, you can scroll straight to the recipe, but if you want to read through the post first I have a surprising amount to say about how to get this just right.
This is simple cheese on toast, not Welsh rarebit
Cheese on toast means something different to everyone, and every family will have its own opinions, but what my recipe is trying to achieve is the simplest version. Buttery toast with cheddar cheese melted to a slight crisp, with a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce (in my case, anchovy free vegan Worcestershire sauce please).
It is not rarebit style, which is puffy and creamy and mustardy. Rarebit is an absolute delight, and we may try it in the air fryer on another day, but this recipe is not it.
Lots of families will make it in a sort of hybrid way, where the cheese is mixed with milk or condiments before being added to the bread, and it’s fine to adapt the recipe in those ways. I did trial this a few different ways, and the cook time holds up. But once you’re straying too far from my recipe towards rarebit, then keep an eye on things as the cook time may change.
Ingredient Notes & Variations
- Bread can be white or brown, no worries, but my recipes uses plain sandwich bread. If you use something thicker, you may want a little extra pre-toasting time.
- I’ve only ever tried this with cheddar cheese. Though I am sure plenty of other cheeses will work, the cooking times will vary because all cheeses have different melting properties. So just keep checking in after the 4 minute mark.
- It’s best to use grated cheese, not sliced. And it’s best if you’re grating the cheese off the block yourself rather than pre-grated (which gets tossed in non-stick coating). If, however, you need to use sliced or pre grated cheese, just note that once again the cooking times will vary so keep checking in from the 4 minute mark.
- The classic flavor addition would be Worcestershire sauce. This is what is responsible for the darker patches on top of the cheeses. I don’t use the real deal because it contains anchovies, but vegan versions are fairly easy to source. Hot sauce is another great choice, unconventional as it may be. You can add this before or after cooking, depending on whether you’d prefer the flavor to be “baked in” or a contrasting topping.
- If you want a slightly creamier result, mix the cheese in a little bit of milk before adding it to the toast. But as I mentioned before, this isn’t rarebit, so if your topping becomes too wet and creamy, it may require a different cooking time. Just keep checking in.
Top tips – make perfect cheese on toast in the air fryer
- For the perfect texture, you have to pre-toast the bread. Otherwise, it just stays very bready under the cheese. Toasting it lightly first means the bread will have a slight crisp throughout which is much better, but skipping it isn’t the end of the world.
- You can make this in any air fryer though results may slightly vary. My smaller Philips air fryer has a basket with very thin grates, so lots of air comes around the bottom of the bread. It ended up all-round crunchier than when I made it in my larger Instant Vortex which has a more solid basket bottom with smaller holes. The Philips Viva toasts also curled up a little around the edges, so it didn’t look as nice, but that was not an issue.
- Sometimes air fryer fans can send loose cheese toppings flying all over the place if the fan is super strong and the cheese is close to the element. For this reason I’d advise you NOT to use a rack to double-stack these cheese toasts because the one higher up is likely to have a lot of flyaway cheese. As long as I’ve kept the bread to the bottom of the air fryer, I’ve never had an issue, but to be on the safe side, you may want to gently press the cheese onto the bread, just to compact it down a little, rather than leaving it as a loose pile.
Air Fryer Cheese on Toast
- 2 slices sandwich bread
- 1 slice butter
- 80 g (⅔ cup) cheddar cheese, grated
- Worcestershire sauce or hot sauce, to taste
- Preheat the air fryer to 180C. While you're waiting, spread butter on one side of the bread.
- Place the bread butter side down in the air fryer, and cook for 2-3 minutes, until it's lightly toasted and firm on the top.
- Add the cheese over the top of the bread and shake on the Worcestershire sauce, if using.
- Place back in the air fryer for 6-8 minutes, until it's browned to your liking.