This cheesy chipotle chicken melt recipe uses easy-to-find ingredients and homemade chipotle mayo for a deliciously warm and comforting lunch!Jump to Recipe
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Ever since we crafted our very own chipotle mayo recipe, we’ve been searching high and low for new ways to use it! Taking inspiration from our favorite chain lunch spot, Panera (again), we thought we could recreate their chipotle chicken avocado melt. It’s a delicious sandwich, but it’s definitely not the easiest to replicate since it uses some specialty ingredients. So instead, we created an approachable Chipotle Chicken Melt recipe that uses only a few basic ingredients and tastes just as incredible!
This chipotle chicken melt is gooey, creamy, crunchy, and a little spicy all at the same time – making it the perfect decadent lunch when you’re craving something comforting and warm. The recipe makes one sandwich, but can easily be scaled to feed a family! Each of the ingredients are easy to find at the grocery store and won’t break the bank – especially if you make our homemade chipotle mayo. Keep reading to find out what goes into a cheesy chipotle chicken melt and learn how to make it for the best at-home Panera style lunch.
Cheesy Chipotle Chicken Sandwich Ingredients
There are only 6 main ingredients in our chipotle chicken melt:
- Chipotle chicken – Easily make your own chipotle chicken with a few spice rack staples. We use chipotle powder, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt for simple chipotle-forward flavor.
- Chipotle mayo – Spread a thick layer of our easy homemade chipotle mayo inside this chicken melt for the best creamy, smoky chipotle flavor.
- Red bell pepper – Slightly spicy red bell pepper adds some kick to this sandwich.
- Red onion – Tangy red onion complements the bell pepper and chipotle flavors.
- Pepper jack cheese – Spicy pepper jack cheese is the perfect pairing for chipotle chicken and is so deliciously gooey when it melts.
- Sourdough bread – Fresh sourdough makes the best sandwich bread, especially for crispy toasted sandwiches like this chipotle chicken melt!
How To Make A Chipotle Chicken Melt
Our chipotle chicken sandwich is fairly simple to make at home – all you’ll need is about 25 minutes, a frying pan, and a griddle. Here are our best tips for how to make this cheesy chicken melt:
- Cook the chipotle chicken: We start with thinly sliced, small pieces of raw chicken and season it with chipotle powder, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt. Fry it over medium-high heat until it’s cooked through, tossing occasionally.
- Cook the peppers and onions: Next, we take the chicken out of the pan and set it off to the side in a small bowl. Using the same pan, soften thinly sliced bell pepper and onion in a little bit of vegetable oil over medium heat.
- Assemble the sandwich: If you’re using a cast iron griddle to cook your chipotle chicken melt, get it preheated while you build the sandwich. (If not, you can build your sandwich right on a frying pan or nonstick griddle, then place it over medium-low heat). Spread butter on the outsides of two slices of sourdough, and chipotle mayo on the insides. Put the bottom slice of bread butter side down on a plate and top with one slice of pepper jack cheese. Then top with chipotle chicken and peppers and onions. Finish off with another slice of cheese, then the remaining slice of bread (chipotle mayo side down).
- Cook: Cook the chipotle chicken melt over medium-low heat until the bottom is golden brown and crispy, and the cheese is melty. Carefully flip and cook until the other side is golden brown and crisped. Optionally, use a cast iron grill press to cook the sandwich from both sides at once so you don’t have to flip it.
- Slice and serve: Transfer the crispy chipotle chicken melt to a cutting board, slice in half, and enjoy!
Notes On Sandwich Prep & Helpful Tips
It can feel like a lot of work to cook multiple components for just one sandwich – that’s why we made it easy to scale this recipe and prep the sandwich ingredients ahead of time! Here are some suggestions for approaching this recipe two different ways:
- Use pre-cooked chicken: Rotisserie chicken or plain, leftover grilled chicken are a great starting point for the chipotle chicken in this sandwich. Instead of starting with raw chicken, shred or chop plain cooked chicken and simply reheat in a frying pan along with the chipotle seasonings. This will cut down on cook time and simplify preparation.
- Make a larger batch of chicken, peppers, and onions: Even if you’re only making one sandwich for lunch, you can cook up a larger batch of the chicken and veggies to use throughout the week. They’ll stay fresh in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Then you can enjoy easier chipotle chicken melts every day! Tip: These cooked chicken and veggies also taste great in a wrap, over a salad, or in a Southwest-style burrito bowl.
It’s that easy to make a delicious, hot sandwich melt for lunch! A little bit of gooey cheese, creamy chipotle mayo, smoky chicken and tangy peppers and onions make the perfect combination for a comfort food lunch at home. Try our easy chipotle chicken melt recipe below and don’t forget to rate, comment, and share if you like it! We’d love to know what you think.
Love this recipe? You may enjoy these recipes, too:
- Sourdough Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese
- BLT with Roasted Garlic Aioli
- Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Sandwiches
Chipotle Chicken Melt
- 3 oz raw chicken tenderloins sliced thin and into 1.5-inch long pieces
- ½ tsp chipotle powder
- ¼ tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp onion powder
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp red bell pepper thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp red onion thinly sliced
- 2 slices sourdough bread
- 2 tsp butter
- 2 tsp chipotle mayo
- 2 slices pepper jack cheese
- First, make the chipotle chicken. Add sliced chicken to a small frying pan and season with chipotle powder, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt. Cook over medium-high heat until cooked through, about 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Transfer cooked chicken to a small bowl and set aside. Add vegetable oil to the frying pan, lower heat to medium, and add sliced bell pepper and onion. Sauté until vegetables are slightly softened, about 2 to 3 minutes, then remove from heat.
- Preheat a cast iron griddle over medium-low heat. Spread 1 tsp butter on the outside of each slice of sourdough bread, then spread 1 tsp chipotle mayo on the inside of each slice of bread.
- Assemble the chipotle chicken melt. Place one slice of bread butter side down (chipotle mayo side up) on the griddle. Top with one slice of pepper jack cheese, then add the cooked chipotle chicken, then the peppers and onions. Top with remaining slice of cheese and close the sandwich with the other slice of bread, chipotle mayo side down.
- Cook until the bottom turns golden brown and the cheese is melted, about 3 to 4 minutes, then carefully flip the sandwich and cook until the bottom is golden brown, another 3 to 4 minutes. Optionally, you can use a preheated cast iron grill press on top of the sandwich to cook from both sides at the same time and avoid flipping the sandwich.
- Transfer chipotle chicken melt to a cutting board, slice in half, and serve immediately.