3 Grilled Chicken Sandwich Recipes That Steal the Show

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I feel like grilled chicken sandwiches don’t get enough credit. They’re often overshadowed by their more popular relative — the burger — and it’s time we change that narrative.

This time around, we’re turning grilled chicken sandwiches into main characters by showcasing what they’re truly capable of.

1. Cowboy-Style Grilled Chicken Sandwich

When it comes to food, the main character steals the show through taste, presentation, and overall impact. 

So, let’s shine the spotlight on a recipe that checks all the boxes: it’s the cowboy-style grilled chicken sandwich.

It has tender grilled chicken, crispy onion rings, crunchy bacon, a zesty BBQ sauce, and gooey cheddar cheese. Not only that. All the ingredients are sandwiched between nicely toasted buns.

Tell me, how does it get better than that? 

If you’re ready to get this party on the road, let’s dive into this recipe. 

Start by grabbing your ingredients. These include six sandwich buns, six boneless, skinless chicken breasts, six slices of medium or sharp cheddar, and two cups of BBQ sauce.

On top of those, get a quarter cup of pickled jalapeños, three tablespoons of sweet BBQ rub, four butter lettuce leaves, 12 slices of maple-flavored bacon, and buttermilk breaded onion rings.

Technically, you can buy ready-made onion rings from the store, but if you want to build this sandwich from start to finish, you’ve got to make this ingredient from scratch.

That said, to make buttermilk breaded onion rings, get six cups of vegetable oil, two whole sweet onions (cut into ½” rings), two cups of flour and buttermilk, and two teaspoons of seasoned salt and paprika.

After getting all the ingredients, the next step is to prep your chicken breasts. 

Dab them with some sweet BBQ rub and cook them on the grill using indirect heat for around five to 10 minutes. Then, do the same on the other side until the meat becomes nice and juicy. 

Grill the chicken breasts a bit more by moving them onto direct heat for an additional two to three minutes per side. While they’re cooking, baste the meat with BBQ sauce.

During the last two to three minutes, add your cheddar cheese slices on top and let them melt slightly.

When they’re done, take your meat off the heat and place your bacon slices on the grill. Cook for another six minutes, flipping halfway through, before setting your bacon aside. 

Grab your bun, and toast them on direct heat for about a minute or two. 

At this point, you’re almost ready to assemble your cowboy sandwich. The only component left is your onion rings. And here’s how to make them. 

Pour your flour, seasoned salt, and paprika into one large zip-top bag. Shake it around to combine the ingredients. After that, pour your buttermilk into a separate zip-top bag and set it aside. 

While working in batches, toss your sliced onions in the dry-mix bag before transferring them to your buttermilk bag. 

Repeat the sequence one more time before frying them for three to four minutes or until they turn a nice golden brown. 

When that happens, remove them from the fryer and pat them dry with a paper towel before adding them to your sandwich.

Now that every element is accounted for, let’s put your sandwich together. Some folks believe the order doesn’t make a difference, but I know that there’s a correct way to do it.

For this sandwich, this is what you need to do.

Place the bottom bun flat on a surface, and put a lettuce leaf on top. Next, add the grilled chicken, two slices of bacon, two to three onion rings, and a few pickled jalapeños. 

Pour some BBQ sauce over everything, and then finish it all off with your top bun. That’s how you make a cowboy-style grilled chicken sandwich!

This recipe gets a lot of its influence from Texan and Southwestern culinary traditions. So, you best believe that this is going to taste amazing. 

2. Santa Fe Grilled Chicken Sandwich

Do you know another recipe that draws inspiration from Southwestern flavors? It’s this Santa Fe grilled chicken sandwich. So, hold on to your hat because it’s going to be one wild ride!

For the ingredients, you’ll need a pound of sliced chicken breast, one bell pepper, a small onion, and an avocado (each sliced thinly), four slices of pepper jack cheese, and four slices of sourdough bread. 

Since we don’t do anything half-baked here, you’ll also make your chili-herb mayo from scratch.

As such, grab two tablespoons of minced basil and cilantro, a tablespoon of minced chives, a cup of mayo, a teaspoon of chili powder, and some salt and pepper to taste. 

Now that you have everything you need, the first step is to make your homemade condiment — which is essentially just mixing the chili-herb mayo ingredients together.

Next, prep your chicken breast and bell pepper slices by brushing them with some olive oil and seasoning them with salt and pepper. Place them both on the hot grill and cook until they char.

After about four minutes, take your bell peppers out and turn your chicken breast around to cook the other side for the same amount of time. Then, let both ingredients sit. 

While they’re resting, grab a small pan, pour in a third cup of olive oil, and warm it over a medium or low flame. 

Drop your onion slices in and stir them often until they soften and turn a nice golden-brown color. This should only take about 10 minutes, more or less.

Once all your ingredients are cooked and ready to go, put them all together. 

Again, we’re following an order here.

So, you’ll want to (1) lay down your bottom bread, (2) spread your herb mayo on top, and (3) add your toppings in this sequence: onions, bell peppers, avocado, chicken, and cheese. 

Cover them up with your top bread, brush both ends with olive oil, and finally, place them on your still-warm grill to toast. 

Flip them over after five to seven minutes, and you’ve got yourself a homemade sandwich that’s oozing with chili-herb mayo, and stuffed with juicy grilled chicken, creamy avocado, and melty cheese. 

It’s basically a fully loaded sandwich, perfect for satisfying your savory cravings. 

3. Alabama BBQ Chicken Sandwich

I think one of the reasons why a grilled chicken sandwich is not yet up to par with a good ol’ American burger is that people don’t know what toppings to include.

Truth be told, if we battle it out between a plain burger and a plain grilled chicken sandwich with no toppings and condiments, the burger would probably win in terms of flavor and texture.

That’s why we need to make grilled chicken sandwiches just as exciting and fun to eat as a burger.

And this Alabama BBQ chicken sandwich recipe might just do the trick. It’s crunchy, juicy, tangy, and peppery all at the same time.

If you want to recreate this dish at home, you’ll need a pound of boneless and skinless chicken breast, a pinch of cayenne pepper, a tablespoon of tangy white BBQ sauce, and of course, salt and pepper. 

What’s more, you’ll need two Kaiser rolls, half a cup of sliced pickle rounds or chips, and one and a half cups of homemade or store-bought coleslaw. 

Start by making a spice rub to flavor your chicken. This involves blending your salt, pepper, and cayenne in a bowl before slathering the mixture on all sides of your chicken. 

Then, grill your seasoned meat for about five to six minutes per side. 

There are several ways to check if the meat is cooked through. Besides the exterior colors, you can also use a meat thermometer. Your chicken is good to go if the internal temperature reads 165°F.

But before you take your chicken off the heat, baste it with a tablespoon of tangy white BBQ sauce during the last few minutes. This will help add more flavor to your meat.

After that, remove your chicken from the grill and transfer it to a cutting board. Let it cool down for about 10 minutes before slicing it into half-inch pieces. 

If you want to toast your rolls, now’s the time to do that while your grill is still hot. 

OK, you’re almost done with this dish, there’s only one teensy component left: your coleslaw. Are you going to buy it from the store or are you making it yourself?

If you decide to make it at home, here is an incredible recipe you have to try.

First, grab your ingredients, which include a quarter cup each of green and red cabbage, two large carrots, a cup of mayo, three tablespoons of Dijon mustard, and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.

For your spices, you’ll need a teaspoon of celery salt, a quarter teaspoon of kosher salt, a pinch of freshly ground black pepper, and half a cup of chopped flat-leaf parsley. 

After getting your ingredients, remove the cores from your cabbage and slice them into thin pieces. You can do this step manually or enlist the help of your handy food processor. 

Then, peel your carrots and shred them into small pieces, about the same size as your cabbage. Add both veggies to a large bowl and set aside.

Now, grab a second bowl and whisk together your mayo, mustard, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper. This will be your coleslaw dressing. 

Pour about half of your liquid mixture over your veggies and stir them to combine. Depending on how wet you want your coleslaw to be, you can add more dressing later on.

Top it off with your parsley, and refrigerate for at least four hours. 

Four hours is a long time, and you probably don’t want to wait that long (I know I don’t). But you have to be a little bit more patient if you want the flavors of the coleslaw to meld together.

That’s why, if you’re making this Alabama BBQ chicken sandwich, I suggest making the coleslaw ahead of time.

Once your coleslaw is ready, lay a Kaiser roll flat on a plate, spread BBQ sauce on top, add the chicken, pickles, and of course, the coleslaw. Close it off with your second Kaiser roll, and you’re ready to take a bite!

Unlock the Awesome Flavors of Grilled Chicken Sandwiches

I’ll be honest with you: Grilled chicken sandwiches usually don’t take this long. Most recipes just call for some fresh tomatoes, lettuce, and condiments, and you’re good to go.

However, I’m all about pushing the limits. I believe grilled chicken sandwiches have so much to offer, and these recipes prove just that.

Yes, they might take some time, and sure, there are a lot of components you have to make from scratch, but trust me, every minute will be worth it. 

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