Grilled Chicken Panini Sandwich With Pesto

Grilled chicken panini sandwich recipe

The Spruce / Victoria Heydt

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 6 mins
Total: 16 mins
Servings: 2 servings
Yield: 2 sandwiches
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
650 Calories
37g Fat
32g Carbs
47g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 650
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 37g 48%
Saturated Fat 15g 73%
Cholesterol 187mg 62%
Sodium 1270mg 55%
Total Carbohydrate 32g 12%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 47g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 345mg 27%
Iron 4mg 20%
Potassium 513mg 11%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

A chicken panini sandwich has become a standard lunch menu item and favored by both children and adults. This version uses pre-grilled chicken, prepared pesto, cheese, and precooked bacon, all of which are layered in between bread and grilled until crispy.

You can use rotisserie chicken or even deli chicken breast instead of grilled if you like. To switch things up, try different cheeses like mozzarella or goat cheese, or use kale pesto in place of the basil in this panini. To serve, you can simply toss some chips on the plate, or accompany this hot sandwich with a salad of mixed greens, pasta salad, or french fries.

"This sandwich made for a delicious lunch and was a good way to use leftover cooked chicken. You honestly can’t go wrong with the combination of ingredients. I opted to grill the sandwich instead of using a panini maker and this method worked perfectly." —Young Sun Huh

Grilled Chicken Panini Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened, more if desired

  • 4 slices bread

  • 1 tablespoon homemade or store-bought pesto, more for serving, if desired

  • 2 slices cooked bacon

  • 1 cup shredded rotisserie chicken, or 2 grilled chicken breasts

  • 2 slices provolone cheese

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Heat a grill or panini maker according to manufacturer's instructions.

    Ingredients for grilled chicken panini sandwich
    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
  2. Spread the butter on one side of each piece of bread.

    Butter in bread
    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
  3. Flip 2 pieces of the bread over and spread 1/2 tablespoon pesto onto each.

    Add pesto
    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
  4. Top the pesto with the bacon, chicken, and then cheese.

    Top with cheese
    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
  5. Top with the remaining two bread slices, buttered sides up.

    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
  6. Place in the panini maker and cook for 4 to 6 minutes. If using a grill, cook the panini sandwiches until golden on one side, 2 to 3 minutes.

    Put on grill
    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
  7. Then flip and grill the other side for another 2 to 3 minutes.

    Grilled cheese
    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt
  8. Cut the sandwiches in half. Serve immediately with extra pesto, if desired.

    Grilled chicken panini sandwich on a plate

    The Spruce / Victoria Heydt


  • Precooked bacon is available in the grocery store, but if you'd like to cook your own, you can fry, bake, or microwave the slices until crispy, and then drain on paper towels.
  • Almost any type of bread can be used in this recipe, but make sure the slices are thick enough to handle the grill or panini maker. Heftier breads like baguette and ciabatta are great choices.
  • If you're so inclined, you can make homemade pesto and freeze the rest for later use.

Recipe Variations

  • Add a few slices of tomato to the sandwich, or some pieces of sundried tomato.
  • Eliminate the bacon and swap out the provolone for thick slices of fresh mozzarella.
  • Nestle in some fresh spinach to add a bit of nutrition to the panini.

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