Grilled Chicken Sandwich

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A tender, juicy, and flavorful marinated grilled chicken breast is topped with sweet grilled onions and a sun dried tomato aioli that takes a classic grilled chicken sandwich to a delicious new level.

closeup shot of a grilled chicken sandwich in hand

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There’s something about a grilled chicken sandwich that just hits the spot. Maybe it’s the way the smoky flavor of the grill mingles with the juicy tenderness of the chicken.

Maybe it’s the satisfying crunch of the lettuce and the tangy zing of the sauce. Whatever it is, there’s just nothing quite like biting into a perfectly made grilled chicken sandwich.

And while I do also love a classic roast beef sandwich, I have been on a quest to find the perfect recipe for a grilled chicken sandwich that satisfies my cravings every single time.

For me, a good homemade grilled chicken sandwich recipe should get the basics right, which is the chicken and the marinade. Cooking chicken breasts that aren’t dry can be a bit tricky, but it isn’t hard!

A grilled chicken sandwich in a wooden cutting board with a bowl of grilled red onion in the background.

Why this is the Best Grilled Chicken Sandwich

One of the key factors that sets this grilled chicken sandwich apart from the rest is the marinade. It’s a simple combination of ingredients you may very well have on hand, but it packs a punch of flavor that really takes the chicken to the next level.

The grilled onions add just the perfect touch of sweetness, and the sun dried tomato aioli is definitely my new favorite sandwich spread. It may not be a traditional aioli, but it is delicious. In fact I have a whole post devoted to the sun dried tomato aioli!

That said, if you don’t love mayo but you do love sun dried tomatoes, this sun dried tomato pesto is a great alternative. I also plan to try this with my cilantro chimichurri some day soon!

I love a hearty, and chewy yet soft ciabatta bun with this sandwich, but any bread you like will work, from baguette to focaccia. Use burger buns to make a grilled chicken burger (or try these buffalo chicken breast burgers!)

I like to let the juicy chicken and sun dried tomato aioli shine in this sandwich so I don’t pile on a ton of toppings. Just the sweet grilled onions and a little tangle of peppery arugula is perfect.

A grilled chicken sandwich sliced in half to show the inside on a wooden cutting board.

Ingredient Notes

ingredients pictured and labelled for grilled chicken sandwich
Grilled Chicken Sandwich Ingredients

Chicken

I like to use small boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this recipe. You can also use boneless, skinless chicken thighs if you prefer. Check out this grilled chimichurri chicken thighs post for some tips on grilling chicken thighs.

Sun dried tomatoes

Sun dried tomatoes that are packed in oil work best for the aioli.

Sun Dried Tomato Aioli Ingredients

Baby arugula

I love the peppery flavor of arugula in this grilled chicken sandwich. You can substitute baby spinach, mixed greens, romaine, or any other leafy greens you like. Something with a little bit of crunch and texture is nice to contrast with the tender chicken and onions.

Onions

A sweet onion like red onion or Vidalia is perfect for grilling. Make sure to slice the onion into 1/4to 1/2 inch rings so they don’t fall apart when cooking.

Mayonnaise

Use your favorite brand of mayonnaise, or make your own if you prefer. You can also use a light or reduced-fat version if you like.

Ciabatta Rolls

I love using ciabatta rolls for this grilled chicken sandwich. If you can’t find ciabatta rolls, you can substitute with any type of crusty bread or even a soft burger bun and make it a grilled chicken burger.

Step by Step Instructions

1. In a large bowl or baking dish, mix together the marinade ingredients for the grilled chicken.

mixing the marinade ingredients for the grilled chicken sandwich in a bowl

2. Use a meat mallet to pound the chicken breasts until they are an even ½ inch thickness.

pounding the chicken breasts with a meat mallet

3. Add the chicken to the marinade mixture and turn to coat. Cover the dish and marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for 2 hours. (Ideally 2 hours but if you only have 20 minutes, that’ll do ;)).

chicken breast in the marinade bowl

4. Now make the sun-dried tomato aioli by combining all of the aioli ingredients in a food processor or using an immersion blender. Process until the mixture is smooth, and then refrigerate until ready to use.

sun dried tomato aioli ingredients in a food processor
sun dried tomato aioli in a food processor

5. Remove the chicken from the marinade and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.

marinated chicken breasts on a plate sprinkled with salt and pepper

6. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium heat. Cook the chicken for 3-4 minutes per side until it is cooked through. Set aside and cover to rest.

grilling chicken breasts
chicken breats cooking on the grill

7. Now prepare the onions by drizzling them with a little olive oil and seasoning with salt and pepper. Add the onions to the grill or pan in a single layer and cook for about 4-5 minutes, turning once, until they are soft and charred.

grilling onions on the grill

8. If desired, place the ciabatta rolls sliced side down on the grill for a few minutes until they are lightly charred and warm.

warming up the ciabatta rolls on the grill

9. To assemble the sandwiches, spread some sun-dried tomato aioli to taste on each half of the ciabatta rolls. Place a piece of chicken on the bottom half, then top with the onions and arugula. Add the top half of the bun to complete the sandwich.

placing grilled chicken on the ciabatta roll
placing the rest of the toppings on the grilled chicken to complete the sandwich

Your grilled chicken sandwich is ready to serve!

Tips for Grilled Chicken Sandwich Success

  • Don’t overcook the chicken: I find 3-4 minutes per side is perfect to ensure it’s cooked through to avoid drying it out is perfect, but this will depend on the heat of your grill and the thickness of the chicken. To be safe, you can use a meat thermometer to make sure it reaches 165F without going over too much.
  • Use a meat mallet: Pounding the chicken breasts to an even thickness helps them cook more evenly and quickly.
  • Let the chicken rest: Covering the chicken with foil after grilling and letting it rest for a few minutes allows the juices to redistribute, making it juicier and more flavorful.
  • Use fresh ingredients: Both your bread and vegetables should be fresh. Trust me, it makes all the difference!
How long should I marinate the chicken before grilling it for the grilled chicken sandwich?

I recommend marinating the chicken for at least 30 minutes, but you can marinate it for up to 2 hours for maximum flavor.

Can I use boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts for this recipe?

Yes, you can use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts. Just adjust the cooking time as needed.

Do I need a grill to make this sandwich, or can I use a stovetop grill pan or broiler?

You can use a stovetop grill pan, a cast iron pan, and indoor grill, or broiler to cook the chicken if you don’t have a grill.

Can I add additional toppings to the sandwich, like avocado or bacon?

Absolutely! Feel free to customize this grilled chicken sandwich with your favorite toppings.

Closeup side view of a grilled chicken sandwich topped with grilled red onions and arugula on a wooden board.

Grilled Chicken Sandwich

A tender, juicy, and flavorful marinated grilled chicken breast is topped with sweet grilled onions and a sun dried tomato aioli that takes a classic grilled chicken sandwich to a delicious new level.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate Save
Course: dinner, Lunch, Main Dish, sandwich
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
marinating time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 4 sandwiches
Calories: 823kcal
Author: Ann Otis

Ingredients

Marinade

  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup olive oil

Sun dried Tomato Aioli

  • ¼ cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 3-4 large fresh basil leaves

Sandwiches

  • 4 small boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 red onion sliced into ¼ inch rings
  • 2 cups baby arugula
  • 4 ciabatta rolls sliced in half

Instructions

  • In a large bowl or baking dish, combine the marinade ingredients.
  • Using a meat mallet, pound chicken breasts to an even ½ inch thickness.
  • Add the chicken to the dish with the marinade and turn to coat. Marinate 2 hours in the refrigerator.
  • While the chicken is marinating, make the sun dried tomato aioli. Place all aioli ingredients in a food processor (or use an immersion blender), and process until combined and smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Remove the chicken from the marinade and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a grill or grill pan over medium heat. Cook the chicken 3-4 minutes per side until cooked through. Set aside, covered, to rest.
  • While the chicken is resting, drizzle the onions slices with a little olive oil on both sides and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add onions to the grill or pan in a single layer and cook about 4-5 minutes until soft and charred, turning once. If you are cooking on an outdoor grill and worried about the onions falling through the grates, slice them thicker (about ¾ inch) and they will stay together better, however they will need a couple of extra minutes to cook.
  • Optionally, place the ciabbatta rolls, sliced side down on the grill for a couple of minutes until lightly charred and heated.
  • To assemble the sandwiches, spread some sun dried tomato aioli to taste on each half of the ciabatta rolls, place a piece of chicken on the bottom half. Top with onions and arugula, and add the top half of the bun on top.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 823kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 57g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 17g | Monounsaturated Fat: 28g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 121mg | Sodium: 994mg | Potassium: 985mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 377IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 2mg
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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Making this now! Following mostly as written, just adding larger amounts of herbs for personal preference. I’m also stacking on crispy bacon slices and avocado because I had them on hand and I think it will go well! I’m serving steamed broccoli & potato chips on the side.Thanks for a healthy and easy dinner idea!

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