Italian Chicken Panini

This Italian Chicken Panini recipe is packed full of flavor! Whether you are making yourself a snack or making them for the family, everyone is bound to love this savory chicken panini sandwich!

Italian Chicken Panini Recipe is made up of crusty bread filled with gooey mozzarella cheese, roasted red pepper, shredded chicken and lots of garlicky pesto. #chickenpanini #paninirecipe #paninisandwich www.savoryexperiments.com


 

I love a good panini. Crusty bread that scrapes the roof of my mouth, gooey melted cheese and fresh vegetables. I like to make myself one on nights hubby isn’t home. He isn’t such a fan of “only” a sandwich as a meal.

I look at has the perfect meal: well rounded in one compact sandwich. One of my favorites is the Italian Chicken Panini. Mozzarella cheese, roasted red peppers, red onion and garlicky pesto. It is pure heaven!

Having a panini press will make this so much easier, but if you do not have a press you can use 2 hot skillets, one to put the panini sandwich in and the other to press down on the top.

Flip half way through cooking. It just won’t have those pretty grooves on the bread.

Panini sandwiches are really all about flavor, when it’s in the panini press all those delicious ingredients, onion, cheesy mozzarella, and pesto sauce are being fused together and taking on each others flavors.

It has everything that is needed for the perfect panini sandwich without being too much or being overwhelming.

Italian Chicken Panini Recipe - Crusty bread filled with gooey mozzarella cheese, roasted red pepper, shredded chicken and lots and lots of garlicky pesto. www.savoryexperiments.com

Why You’ll Love This Italian Chicken Panini

Soft bread, melty cheese and an herby pesto- what’s not to love!

  • Versatile – Don’t like the toppings I used in my recipe? Mix them up and use your own combination of ingredients!
  • Quick and easy – These sandwiches are perfect for lunch because you can have them ready in minutes from start to finish!
  • Family friendly – Similar to a grilled cheese, these sandwiches are loved by both kids and adults alike.

Italian Chicken Panini Ingredients

The best part of paninis are how versatile they are. Top with whatever you’d like! 

  • Chicken breast – This recipe is a great way to use up leftover chicken. If you don’t have the time to cook up chicken, you could use a rotisserie chicken or even a pre-cooked Tyson chicken breast. You could also use chicken cutlets. Whatever you use, make sure the chicken temp is right! And if you have leftovers, use it in Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Peppers!
  • Pesto – I like using my homemade pesto recipe, but you could very easily buy a jar of it at the grocery store. Basil pesto is my favorite.
  • Italian bread – Make sure the bread slices are decently thick. They will be pressed, after all, so you don’t want them to be completely flat after coming out of the press.
  • Red onion – I love the flavor that red onion adds to the sandwiches. You can use sweet onions if you’d like to though.
  • Roasted red peppers – Make sure these are thinly sliced and drained. If they’re still wet, they might make your sandwich soggy.
  • Mozzarella – I prefer to use fresh slices of mozzarella rather than the pre-shredded bagged version.
spoon in jar of basil pesto sauce

How to Make Italian Chicken Panini

You will be pleasantly surprised at how easy this italian panini recipe is to make.

  1. Spread pesto. Slather both slices of bread with pesto, lots of pesto.
  2. Add toppings. Top with chicken, onion, red peppers, slice of cheese, then second slice of bread.
  3. Coat grill press with cooking spray. Heat panini press and coat with cooking spray.
  4. Press sandwiches. Place sandwiches inside until golden brown. I do one at a time since my panini maker isn’t that large.
  5. Remove and serve. When sandwich is heated though and the cheese is melted, remove and serve immediately.

How to Serve

If this mouthwatering sandwich is not enough for you, I usually like to pair mine with a green salad with my homemade creamy Italian dressing.

This usually ties it all in and now you not only have the best sandwich but also an amazing salad to compliment it!

Creamy Italian Dressing a creamy, zesty Italian dressing that you will fall in love with. In 10 minutes or less you can have a homemade Italian dressing. #homemadeitaliandressing #creamyitaliandressing #italiandressingrecipe www.savoryexperiments.com

Variations

We like this Italian sandwich to be made exactly as the recipe is written, but there are plenty of ways you can make them your own.

  • Bread – I like to use a crusty Italian bread, but you can certainly use regular white bread, or your favorite bakery bread instead.
  • Spreads – If you’re not a fan of pesto, you could substitute it with a tomato sauce like marinara sauce, even oven roasted tomatoes.
  • Cheese – Instead of using a slice of mozzarella cheese, try using provolone cheese or even a spread of creamy ricotta cheese instead.
  • Vegetables – Feel free to mix up the veggies as you see fit. Tomato slices, red bell peppers, banana peppers or fresh baby spinach.
  • Meat – Instead of using chicken strips, you could use deli meats instead. I would stick to some that have Italian flavors like genoa salami or pepperoni.
Italian Chicken Panini Recipe - Crusty bread filled with gooey mozzarella cheese, roasted red pepper, shredded chicken and lots and lots of garlicky pesto. www.savoryexperiments.com

Storage and Freezing

Storage: As you can make these sandwiches one at a time, there are rarely any leftovers. If there are, you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge.

Freezing: I do not recommend freezing these chicken pesto panini sandwiches.

Frequently Asked Questions

My sandwich was a little runny, why?

Make sure you drain your roasted red peppers and also pat them dry.
Also, try to strain out some of the olive oil from your pesto. Lastly, use a low moisture mozzarella cheese.

How do I make a panini without a panini press?

Simply make it like you would a grilled sandwich. They are, in fact, basically the Italian version of a grilled cheese.

What is the best bread for a panini?

In Italy, Italian bread is used, but these are my other favorites. Make sure it is a hearty bread.
Ciabatta Bread
Focaccia Bread
Sourdough Bread
Hearty Whole Wheat Bread

Italian Chicken Panini Recipe is made up of crusty bread filled with gooey mozzarella cheese, roasted red pepper, shredded chicken and lots of garlicky pesto. #chickenpanini #paninirecipe #paninisandwich www.savoryexperiments.com

Great Sandwich Recipes

three pizza sliders on a plate

Pizza Sliders

4.52 from 54 votes
Cheesy Pizza Sliders are easy to make with just 4 ingredients and the best for parties. Loved by kids and adults!
See The Recipe!
Insane Steak Sandwiches are gourmet sandwiches, seasoned to perfection with zesty Italian herbs and toppings. The best steak sandwich recipe ever! #steaksandwiches #gourmetsandwiches www.savoryexperiments.com

Insane Steak Sandwiches

5 from 3 votes
Insane Steak Sandwiches use seasoned sirloin steak thinly sliced on toasty bread with provolone, sun dried tomato, arugula and zesty garlic aioli. The best steak sandwiches you’ve ever eaten!
See The Recipe!
Italian Chicken Panini Recipe is made up of crusty bread filled with gooey mozzarella cheese, roasted red pepper, shredded chicken and lots of garlicky pesto. #chickenpanini #paninirecipe #paninisandwich www.savoryexperiments.com
Italian Chicken Panini Recipe - Crusty bread filled with gooey mozzarella cheese, roasted red pepper, shredded chicken and lots and lots of garlicky pesto. www.savoryexperiments.com

Italian Chicken Panini Recipe

4.30 from 27 votes
Italian Chicken Panini Recipe – Crusty bread filled with gooey mozzarella cheese, roasted red pepper, shredded chicken and lots and lots of garlicky pesto.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Slather both sides of ciabatta rolls with pesto, lots of pesto.
  • Top with chicken through mozzarella cheese.
  • Heat panini press and coat with cooking spray.
  • Place sandwiches inside. I do one at a time since my panini press isn’t that large.
  • When sandwich is heated though and the cheese is melted, remove and serve immediately.
  • If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was! 

Nutrition

Calories: 586 kcal, Carbohydrates: 24 g, Protein: 40 g, Fat: 35 g, Saturated Fat: 16 g, Cholesterol: 118 mg, Sodium: 1254 mg, Potassium: 599 mg, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 13 g, Vitamin A: 900 IU, Vitamin C: 17.7 mg, Calcium: 331 mg, Iron: 1.8 mg
Author: Jessica Formicola
Calories: 586
Course: Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: chicken panini, italian panini
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and food lover behind Savory Experiments. She is obsessed with butter, salt and bacon and spends all her time in the kitchen and behind a camera. Jessica is a contributor to PopKitchen by Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal Food + Travel and more!

Read More About Jessica

Join The Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




Questions and Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    Delicious and easy recipe! Perfect for a quick lunch or dinner. 10 minute start to finish is the best!

  2. 5 stars
    I love this recipe so much. It’s super simple to make and full of great flavor. It’s a perfect panini

  3. What a delicious looking panini! I would love to have this in front of me right now. Pinning your recipe for later.

  4. 4 stars
    My Husband loved it! He thinks it is better than Panera’s Frontega Chicken. I think it is just 2nd after that which is my favorite.