Frontega Chicken Panini Sandwiches

Juicy chicken sandwiches with gooey mozzarella cheese, fresh tomatoes, basil and red onion – these panini sandwiches are golden and crunchy on the outside and packed with so much flavor.

We have loved Panera’s Frontega Chicken Sandwiches for years so recreating them at home was obviously a great choice. These panini sandwiches are so delicious and satisfying.

In Panera, they use focaccia bread for the sandwiches, but I prefer using my homemade sliced Crunchy No Knead Bread, which makes it extra crunchy, like a really great grilled cheese sandwich. The cooked chicken pairs so well with fresh tomatoes, basil, red onion and mozzarella cheese. The chipotle mayonnaise gives is a smoky flavor with just a bit of heat.

What are Panini Sandwiches? Can You Make a Panini Without a Panini Press?

Panini sandwiches are hot sandwiches, cooked on a panini press, which presses the sandwich together, cooking them and giving the sandwiches a crunchy exterior and melting the cheese on the inside.

Of course, you can use a panini press for the sandwiches, but you can also cook them in a skillet too. I use my cast iron skillet and then add a lid on top, pressing the sandwich down to get the same effect as a panini press.

Ingredients:

Ingredients for the Frontega Chicken Sandwiches
  • bread – the original recipe from Panera uses focaccia bread, you can also use ciabatta bread. You can also use any sliced bread as the base. I really like using Crusty No Knead Bread for this recipe.
  • cooked chicken – any cooked chicken will work for this recipe. I usually use leftover chicken after making a roast chicken, you can use a rotisserie chicken or roast a chicken breast in the oven (400 degrees Fahrenheit) until it reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit in the center using an instant read thermometer.
  • Chipotle mayonnaise – you can use store-bought chipotle mayonnaise, but it’s really easy to make your own with mayonnaise and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.
  • tomatoes
  • basil
  • red onions – the sweetness and crunchiness of the red onion goes so well with the rest of the ingredients. I’m not usually a fan of raw onions, but I really like them here.
  • mozzarella cheese (of course, you can use any cheese that you like, such as provolone, gruyere, and any other cheese that melts well, but mozzarella cheese is so soft, gooey and perfect for this panini.
  • olive oil, to brush on top of the bread

How to Make Chipotle Mayonnaise:

Chipotle mayonnaise is simply a combination of mayonnaise and some canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. They are jalapeño peppers that have been smoked and then canned in adobo sauce, which is a slightly sweet and tangy red sauce. You can buy them in most grocery stores.

Take out 1 chipotle pepper and chop it up. I usually remove the seeds. Mix with the mayonnaise and add some of the adobo sauce.

I also like adding 1/2 Tablespoon of sour cream or Greek yogurt and a Tablespoon of balsamic vinegar to the mayonnaise. It gives it a bit more tanginess, creaminess and sweetness, but that is completely optional.

Don’t know what to do with the rest of the adobo sauce? Cook it with some chicken, pork or beef. Add it to barbecue sauce for an additional spicy and smoky flavor in meatballs, ribs, pulled chicken and more. Add a bit to salsa or hummus. There are so many possibilities. You can also freeze it to be used another day.

How to Make the Frontega Chicken Sandwiches:

Slice the bread, the chicken, mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, basil and red onion.

Take two slices of bread and spread chipotle mayonnaise on both slices. Top with cooked chicken, mozzarella cheese, making sure the chicken and cheese on closest to the bread, so they will heat through first. If you want the sandwiches to be extra cheesy, you can use extra cheese on the other slice of bread too.

Add the sliced tomatoes, basil and red onion. Put the sandwich together and brush the outside of the bread with olive oil.

Heat a skillet on medium heat until it’s hot, then add the sandwich(es). Top with a lid, pressing slightly. Cook until the sandwich is golden brown on both sides, all the ingredients are heated through in the center and the cheese is melted. If you have a panini press, you can use that, of course, to cook the panini.

Serving the Frontega Chicken Sandwiches:

Serve right away, while the sandwiches are hot.

These sandwiches are really satisfying to serve on their own but they also pair so well with a bowl of soup, such as Chicken Noodle Soup, Italian Wedding Soup, Broccoli Cheddar Soup, Creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup or Creamy Butternut Squash Soup.

Instead of soup, you can also serve them with a salad, such as the Lemon Vinaigrette salad or Crunchy Cabbage Cucumber Salad.

Print
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Frontega Chicken Panini Sandwiches

  • Author: Olga’s Flavor Factory
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 5-8 min
  • Total Time: 31 minute
  • Yield: 24 1x

Description

Juicy chicken sandwiches with gooey mozzarella cheese, fresh tomatoes, basil and red onion – these panini sandwiches are golden and crunchy on the outside and packed with so much flavor.


Scale

Ingredients

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 Tablespoon chipotle pepper in adobo sauce

4 slices of bread

1 – 1 1/2 lbs of cooked chicken

4-8 slices of mozzarella cheese

2 tomatoes, sliced

2 Tablespoons of sliced basil

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

olive oil, to brush on top of the bread


Instructions

Make the chipotle mayonnaise first. Chop or mince the chipotle pepper, removing the seeds. Mix with the mayonnaise along with an additional spoonful of the adobo sauce. 

Assemble the sandwiches. Spread some of the chipotle mayonnaise on two slices of bread, then place the chicken and the mozzarella cheese on top of the mayonnaise.

Place the sliced tomatoes, red onion, and basil in the center. Put the sandwich together and brush the outside of the bread with olive oil. 

Heat a skillet until it’s hot on medium heat, then add the sandwich(es). Top with a lid, pressing down slightly on the bread. Cook on medium heat until the bread is golden brown, turn it over and cook on the other side until it’s golden brown too.

Slice the sandwich in half and serve while hot. 

 


Keywords: panini, chicken panini sandwich, tomato mozzarella and basil chicken sandwich

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