Air Fryer Grilled Cheese with Broccoli

Air Fryer Grilled Cheese made with sharp cheddar, finely chopped broccoli, and a pinch of chili flakes to bring some heat. This Broccoli grilled cheese is crisp, buttery, and the perfect quick and easy vegetarian sandwich. No Air Fryer? No problem – you can of course make it stove top, too.

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A broccoli grilled cheese sandwich stacked up on a white plate

Here is a scientific fact: there are few things as comforting and delicious as a crispy grilled cheese sandwich. 

Sure, you could have a pizza or a bowl of soup, and those are very comforting too, but you just can’t beat the crisp, buttery surface, and oozing, molten center of a grilled cheese sandwich.

Except that, if you have an Air Fryer, you can. If you have an Air Fryer and you’re not using it to make grilled cheese sandwiches, let me tell you, you’re doing it wrong. 

Why? Because that hot air circulating around your buttered bread is going to give you the crispest exterior you’ve ever had. Because you don’t need to fuss around with flipping the sandwich, which means you can stuff it full and it’s going to come out perfectly with out losing your filling. And because it’s going to be done in just about five minutes.

If you *don’t* have an Air Fryer, don’t worry – you can totally make this recipe on the stove top, too.

Today we’re making Broccoli Grilled Cheese, which is one of my favourite combos. And before you go thinking I’m pulling a Nutrition Lady fast one on you by packing your grilled cheese sandwich full of vegetables, let me tell you this is one of my favourite things to eat, healthier or not.

Are you ready for this?

A loaf of sourdough bread, steamed broccoli, shredded cheese, red pepper flakes, and a small pot of yogurt on a grey background

Ingredients:

Here’s what you need to make this Air Fryer Grilled Cheese recipe:

  • Bread –> I used four thick slices of my favourite local sourdough rye. You use whatever you like. 
  • Cheese –> I prefer a nice, sharp cheddar. 
  • Broccoli –> We’re chopping up steamed broccoli to make broccoli grilled cheese.
  • Yogurt –> This helps bind the filling together, and adds a bit of tang.
  • Chili flakes –> To bring a little heat!
  • Butter –> For the bread.

Equipment needed:

If you’re making Air Fryer Grilled Cheese, you’re going to need an Air Fryer. This is the model that I have, which works great. 

If you don’t have an Air Fryer, I recommend you use a nice heavy pan for making your grilled cheese, like a cast iron skillet

photo collage with broccoli, cheese, and yogurt being mixed in a small bowl

How do you make Air Fryer Grilled Cheese?

Fire up your Air Fryers and let’s get started! First up, the filling. 

Step 1: Finely chop the steamed broccoli so that it’s somewhere between the size of rice and peas.

Step 2: Add the grated cheese, yogurt, and chili flakes to the broccoli. 

Step 3: Mix well. 

four slices of sourdough bread with broccoli cheese mixture spread on two of them

Step 4: Spread half of the broccoli cheese mixture onto two slices of bread. 

Step 5: Add the other slice of bread to make a sandwich. 

Step 6: Lightly butter the outsides of the sandwich.

Step 7: Place your broccoli sandwiches into the basket of your Air Fryer. 

Step 8: Air Fry your grilled cheese sandwich for 5-10 minutes. The results will vary from model to model, but in my Air Fryer it was done at around the 6-minute mark, with no flipping required. 

Once your grilled cheese is perfectly crisp and golden, you’re done!

photo collage of an air fryer grilled cheese sandwich in the basket of an air fryer

Pro tips / Recipe notes:

  • I make big batches of steamed broccoli each week as part of my batch cooking (related: Batch Cooking for Beginners), so usually have some on hand in the fridge. If you need to freshly steam some broccoli to make this recipe, be sure to wring it out in a clean kitchen towel so that it’s very dry. 
  • Some Air Fryers have very powerful motors, and I’ve heard that some are even so powerful that they’ll blow the top slice of bread off your sandwich. This wasn’t an issue at all with mine, but if yours is very noisy or you know it to have a very powerful motor, you may want to put a grill rack on top of your sandwiches to keep the bread down. 
  • This recipe was created to make two broccoli grilled cheese sandwiches on large slices of bread. Depending on the size of your bread, you may need to scale the filling up or down. 

overhead photo of an air fryer grilled cheese sandwich on a white plate with a small bowl of broccoli to the side

Can this recipe be made in advance?

You can for sure make the filling in advance, and even fill the sandwiches and keep them on reserve in the fridge until you’re ready to make them. But grilled cheese is really best eaten hot off the press (or hot out of the air fryer, as it were) so I recommend you make your sandwiches when you’re ready to eat.

Having said that, I made a LOT of Air Fryer Grilled Cheese sandwiches when I was testing this recipe, and often in multiples. I ate them for lunches throughout the week, sometimes cold out of the fridge, sometimes gently re-heated (either in the microwave or the Air Fryer), and frankly, they weren’t bad. 

Can I put other stuff in my sandwich?

Of course. You do you. If you’re not into Broccoli Grilled Cheese, try mixing it up! I love (LOVE!) making kimchi grilled cheese sandwiches. I’ve also tried it with sauerkraut, sliced tomatoes, finely chopped spinach, etc. 

Kellie from Food to Glow has a Saag Paneer Grilled Cheese that’s to die for, if you’re looking for more ways to mix things up!

What goes well with Broccoli Grilled Cheese?

I mean, it doesn’t get much better than dunking your griller in a bowl of soup. I particularly love this Tomato Fennel Quinoa Soup with grilled cheese. 

You can also go with the classic sandwich and salad combo, like for example with a Vegetarian Caesar Salad with Kale. Yum, yum, yum. And speaking of kale, heck, why not have your Air Fryer Grilled Cheese with some Air Fryer Kale Chips

Two sliced broccoli grilled cheese sandwiches stacked on a wooden cutting board

Other recipes you might enjoy:

Naan Pizza Margherita 
Vegetarian Quesadillas with Pumpkin and Black Beans
Pan-Fried Broccoli with Sesame Egg Ribbons
Vegan Sloppy Joes with Lentils
Orecchiette with Broccoli and Lemon

three broccoli grilled cheese sandwiches stacked up on a white plate
Print Pin
5 from 3 votes

Air Fryer Grilled Cheese with Broccoli

Air Fryer Grilled Cheese made with sharp cheddar, finely chopped broccoli, and a pinch of chili flakes to bring some heat. This Broccoli grilled cheese is crisp, buttery, and the perfect quick and easy vegetarian sandwich.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Air Fryer Grilled Cheese, Broccoli Grilled Cheese
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 281kcal
Author Katie Trant

Equipment

  • Air Fryer

Ingredients

  • 4 slices bread I used large slices of rustic bread
  • 4 medium broccoli florets streamed and cooled
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese grated
  • 2 Tbsp Greek yogurt
  • pinch red pepper flakes

Instructions

  • Finely chop the broccoli florets to somewhere between the size of rice and peas.
  • Place broccoli rubble into a bowl, and add the shredded cheese, yogurt, and chili flakes. Mix well.
  • Spread half of the broccoli cheese mixture onto two slices of bread. Top with the remaining bread.
  • Lightly butter the outsides of the sandwich.
  • Heat your air fryer to 350°F / 180°C.
  • Place the sandwiches into the basket, and air fry for 5-6 minutes.
  • Check to see whether the sandwiches are crisp and golden. You may need to air fry for an additional 3-4 minutes to reach desired crispness.
  • Remove from the air fryer, slice in half, and serve!

Notes

  • Nutrition values are an estimate only.
  • If you need to freshly steam some broccoli to make this recipe, be sure to wring it out in a clean kitchen towel so that it's very dry. 
  • Some Air Fryers have very powerful motors, and I've heard that some are even so powerful that they'll blow the top slice of bread off your sandwich. This wasn't an issue at all with mine, but if yours is very noisy or you know it to have a very powerful motor, you may want to put a grill rack on top of your sandwiches to keep the bread down. 
  • This recipe was created to make two broccoli grilled cheese sandwiches on large slices of bread. Depending on the size of your bread, you may need to scale the filling up or down. 

Nutrition

Calories: 281kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 479mg | Potassium: 220mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 420IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 308mg | Iron: 2mg

 

 

Comments

  1. Tessa says

    I wish I was aware of this combo sooner! Adding broccoli to a grilled cheese is such a game changer. I don’t have an air fryer but the recipe still turned out great! Can’t wait to make this again.

  2. Kellie Anderson says

    Love the idea of this, Katie! I don’t have an air fryer as I thought initially it would be just for foods you might fry. As it is something I don’t do anyway I didn’t see the attraction. But they seem to be so versatile. The first time I’ve seen a toastie in it!

  3. Sandra lea says

    Why did it never occur to me to add broccoli to a grilled cheese sandwich? Sounds delicious, will definitely try it this week. Also, I love your new haircut.

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