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Air Fryer Cheese Frenchee Recipe

I am originally from Lincoln, Nebraska, home of the Cheese Frenchee, which is an amazingly delicious deep fried cheese sandwich.  Having just bought an Instant Pot Vortex Plus air fryer, I decided to try my hand at an air fryer cheese frenchee version. The result was great!  By the way, you can read my Instant Pot Vortex Review for more info on the air fryer. See that yummy fried cheese below? The Instant Pot Vortex cheese frenchee recipe was a major hit! 

Cheese frenchees are also sometimes known or spelled as cheese frenchies or cheese frenchys.

Air Fryer Cheese Frenchee

About the Cheese Frenchee

deep fried cheese sandwich

When I moved to Illinois I was surprised to find that nobody had ever heard of a cheese frenchee. Apparently it really is just a Nebraska thing. The Cheese Frenchee originated from a drive in restaurant called Kings’ Food Host in Lincoln, Nebraska.   King’s was my favorite as a child, and they made not just great deep fried cheese sandwiches, but also wonderful burgers and onion rings. King’s was eventually closed, but later reborn in part by a local fast food brand, Amigos/Kings, so the cheese frenchee made its return. A restaurant called Don and Millies in Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska also  makes cheese frenchees.

If you are looking for a more standard grilled cheese, try this Air fryer grilled cheese recipe from Katykicker. It is a bit simpler to make than the cheese frenchee here. 

Air Fryer Cheese Frenchee Recipe  

Normally, a cheese frenchee is deep fried at about 375 degrees. Using the air fryer makes it quicker and simpler. But, it still is a messy proposition as it involves dipping in a thick batter and rolling in corn flakes.  Don’t expect a super clean kitchen with these! But I find the messy dipping kind of fun.

My original deep fried sandwich recipe called for using crushed corn flakes, so I stuck with that, but you can use Ritz crackers, panko, or other break crumbs. You can also make variations of the frenchee such as a ham and cheese frenchee or tuna frencheee.

Start off by mixing up a batter of egg, milk, flour, and salt. Then crush corn flakes by putting them in a baggie and running a rolling pin over them. 

crushed corn flakes

For the sandwiches, typically the crust is cut from the bread, although you can leave it on if desired. Add mayo or Miracle Whip (another Midwestern thing it seems) to the bread and two slices of American cheese. You want all of the cheese under the bread, so fold it in half or cut it as needed. Then slice the sandwiches into triangles.

cheese sandwhich triangles

Now comes the messy part!  Coat the triangles with the batter and then roll them in the crushed cornflakes. It is messy, messy, messy! But sort of fun too! I find that using a spoon to help coat them makes it a bit easier, but ultimately you will have batter all over your hands.

batter and corn flakes

Lay the cheese frenchees onto an air fryer tray  and air fry for 6 minutes, turning half way. I preheated the Vortex to 375 for the recipe.

Instant Pot Vortex cheese frenchee

When done, remove and eat while the fried cheese sandwiches are still warm. Air frying makes them healthier because no oil is involved. Although let’s not kid ourselves here, these are still pretty decadent sandwiches. Not diet food by any means!

air fryer cheese frenchee sandwiches

I was quite happy with the results of my air fryer cheese frenchee experiment.  If you want to make these the regular way, deep fry them at 375 until golden brown.

air fryer cheese sandwiches

Air Fryer Cheese Frenchees

Air Fryer Cheese Frenchee

Yield: 3
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Air Fryer Cheese Frenchee recipe. These deep fried cheese sandwiches originated in Lincoln, Nebraska. They are a fun take on the classic grilled cheese by being coated and fried! The Air Fryer makes them easier and a bit more healthy.


  • 6 pieces of white or wheat bread, crusts removed
  • Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip to taste
  • 6 slices of American cheese.
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup crushed corn flakes


  1. Preheat the air fryer to 375
  2. Spread Mayo or Miracle Whip on the bread
  3. Add two slices of cheese folded in half to each sandwich
  4. Cut the sandwiches into triangles
  5. Mix egg, milk, flour, and salt to form a thick batter
  6. Finely crush corn flakes and place in a separate bowl
  7. Dip the triangles into the batter, coating all sides
  8. Roll or dip the triangles in the corn flakes until fully coated
  9. Air fry on a vented tray for 6 minutes or until golden brown, turning halfway though.
  10. Serve warm


This is a rather messy recipe! Be prepared for gooey hands. But it is worth it!

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 3 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 378Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 99mgSodium: 1462mgCarbohydrates: 43gFiber: 2gSugar: 5gProtein: 15g
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Friday 3rd of June 2022

I just went to the Amigos site from your link. They now have a jalepeno popper frenchie I make try to reproduce. Thanks for the recipe. Dave's input was great as well. I don't think I've had a frenchie in 40 years. Time to change that.


Friday 3rd of June 2022

I just got back from Nebraska and saw that they had the jalapeño version! It looked good, but I didn't try it.


Friday 1st of January 2021

Wow, thanks for this post and the memories. Definitely not just a Nebraska thing. We had a King's Food Host in Norman, OK when I was in college there in the early 70s. I ate there often because my husband worked there so food was discounted. Haven't thought about the frenchees for years, and now I can't wait to try this recipe!


Friday 1st of January 2021

I had no idea that Kings had made it clear to OK! They are still around in Nebraska, but paired with Amigos Mexican, which is an interesting combo!

Dan klaub

Monday 23rd of September 2019

I used to eat cheese frenchees all the time as a kid and have been making them myself in an air fryer. I do things a little Differently and I think mine are very close to the original. I use 3 slices of cheese-I know they used to use only 2 but the slices are thinner now than they used to be. I also make sure the corn flakes are smashed really fine-they stick better that way and I spray the whole thing with butter flavored Pam spray before I put it in the air fryer-this way it comes out beautifully brown and taste more like the original which was deep fried. The last thing I do is make the cheese frenchees ahead of time and then freeze them before cooking. I thought about this and I’m sure this must be how King’s used to do it since you know they wouldn’t make them as ordered. When I froze them I discovered they tasted better and I spay the Pam on just before placing them in the air fryer. The outside is crispy and brown and the cheese is completely melted and this is as close as I can come to the original without going to Nebraska. In fact, I’d have to say Mine actually may taste better-I like that they aren’t as greasy but still crispy and brown. This is NOT a healthy food but a nice indulgence and a nice trip down memory lane for us who grew up eating these.


Tuesday 24th of September 2019

I like the idea of freezing them! I'm going to give that a try next time that I make them!


Monday 5th of August 2019

Hi, My husband is a Western Nebraska guy. His big food (Neb-Thing) miss is a Runza or Cabbage Burger. I very occasionally will make them for him (they freeze well) if you’re familiar with them? I’d love to get your thoughts on making a smaller batch i.e., a Non Cooking Event. Using commercial frozen dough (bread/rolls?) and baking in the Instant Vortex? Would be an easy treat for him. You Cheese Frenchy looks tasty and Using what’s on hand I’ll likey use Thin sliced cheddar and Panko, but I’m tempted to try crushed Cheez-itz. It’ll be really good or really not good. Thanks for all the I-Vortex information. I’m sure I’m not the only one feeling like I’m flying blind.

Kristi Thomas

Thursday 22nd of October 2020

I’m from Scottsbluff and grew up eating cheese frenchees (not just a Lincoln thing) from Kings as a kid in the early ‘70s. I miss them! My mom makes what we called cabbage burgers (runzas, which we never called them). They are the best.


Monday 5th of August 2019

Hi! I Have made Runzas before in the regular oven using frozen bread dough. I keep meaning to write that up for my other food blog. They certainly could be done in the vortex as well, but what I would recommend is doing them in a big batch in the oven and then freezing them. Then use the Vortex for easy reheating. They reheat wonderfully from frozen! But you could also use frozen rolls for a small batch. I think trying crushed cheez-itz for the frenchee would be really interesting! I don't see why isn't wouldn't be good! If you try it let me know how it goes!

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