Cheese/ Chicken/ Lunch

MEGA Chicken Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich

May 15, 2018 (Last Updated: March 25, 2020) by Chris Collins

Chicken and Pesto makes the ULTIMATE grilled cheese sandwich combo. Juicy chicken wrapped in a homemade basil pesto, paired with sun dried tomatoes and stringy mozzarella – the perfect lunch ready and waiting! 

2 sandwiches stacked on each other garnished with arugula and pine nuts

The Ultimate Chicken Pesto Sandwich

I think one of the first food orders I ever made in Starbucks was a chicken pesto panini (or was it a chicken pesto toastie!?) who knows, you get the gist 🤣Any who, it was bloomin’ delish, BUT, I saw room for improvement! So, here’s my take on the classic pesto chicken sandwich. 

First things first, let’s see what you’ll need:

  • Chicken – Leftover Rotisserie chicken works perfectly here.
  • PestoHomemade Basil Pesto for the win! Can also sub your favourite store bought.
  • Cheese – Mozzarella works best here (discussed below).
  • Bread – Large thick white slices.
  • Sun Dried Tomatoes – Pesto and sun dried tomatoes are a match made in heaven!
  • Butter – A sandwich, without butter?! 😱

Grilled cheese open with cheese pull and sun dried tomatoes showing

You’re looking Mozzar-hella good over there!

When it come to the cheese, it totally has to be mozzarella. Besides the fact it gives the perfect ‘cheese pull effect’, it actually partners with pesto really neatly for a couple of different reasons.

Firstly, unlike many different cheeses, when it’s heated it doesn’t produce a huge amount of oil. Pesto itself is already incredibly oily, so to prevent the grilled cheese turning into a brick of oil, mozzarella was the most sensible choice.

Secondly, it has quite a subtle flavour. I really wanted the flavour of the pesto to shine through, so it was important not to overshadow it with a strong tasting cheese.

Chicken Pesto

Alrighty, chicken pesto, the star of the show. Easiest option is to shred up some leftover chicken, but you can use fresh chicken, cook and shred from there. Up to you!

You can absolutely make this part in advance and it’s as simple as combining pesto with the shredded chicken. Just tightly cover and store in the fridge until needed.

how to make shredded rotisserie chicken with pesto - 3 step by step photos

Chicken Pesto Grilled Cheese

The best way to serve/make this sandwich is in grilled cheese form. Fresh mozzarella is great, but when melted until ooey-gooey inside crispy and buttery slices of toast? Yeah, gotta be done.

Can I make this into a panini?

Absolutely! Same ingredients, just use ciabatta and a panini grill. Or, a griddle pan with another heavy pot of pan pushed down on top to mimic a panini grill.

How to make a Chicken Pesto Grilled Cheese (quick summary)

  1. Butter one side of each of your slices of bread and place butter side down on a pan, with the heat off.
  2. Top with mozzarella, followed by your chicken pesto, topped with sun dried tomatoes, followed by more mozzarella and finished with a second slice of bread. Butter the top and turn on to a medium heat.
  3. Fry until golden brown then flip. Cook until the cheese just begins to leak out the sides.

How to make a chicken pesto grilled cheese guidance photos

These are in are incredibly filling so just one sandwich is perfect for a hearty lunch. But if you’re looking to load up on some sides go ahead and add some Sweet Potato Fries, Avocado Fries or French Fries!

If you’re after more basil pesto recipes then have a ganders at my Pesto Pasta Salad and Cheesy Pesto Garlic Bread.

If you’re looking for more similar recipes check these beauties out!

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

But for now, let’s tuck into the full chicken pesto sandwich recipe shall we?!

3 sandwich halves stacked on each other on wooden board with mozzarella dripping down

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How to make a Chicken Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich (Full Recipe & Video)

2 sandwiches stacked on each other garnished with arugula and pine nuts

MEGA Chicken Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Chicken and Pesto makes the ULTIMATE grilled cheese sandwich combo. Juicy chicken wrapped in a homemade basil pesto, paired with sun dried tomatoes and stringy mozzarella - the perfect lunch ready and waiting!
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Brunch / Leftovers / Lunch
Cuisine: American / Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings (click & slide): 2
Calories: 726kcal
Cost per serving: ยฃ2.50 / $3

Equipment:

  • Large Frying Pan or Griddle & Turner
  • Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
  • Medium Sized Mixing Bowl & Spatula

Ingredients (check list):

  • 4 Thick Slices of Bread
  • 2 cups / ~200g Shredded Chicken
  • 1/2 cup / 75g Basil Pesto or as needed
  • 1.5 cups / 150g Mozzarella, shredded (or rounds of fresh mozzarella)
  • 8-12 Sun Dried Tomatoes (patted dry if necessary)
  • 4 spreads of Butter

Instructions:

  • In a bowl, combine chicken and pesto. Place to one side.
  • Place two slices of bread in a pan with the heat OFF. Spread with butter then flip over so both are butter side down.
  • Spread half your mozzarella, top with chicken pesto, then with your sun dried tomatoes, followed by the other half of your mozzarella, finished with a slice of bread. Spread butter on top and turn on the heat to a medium.
  • Fry each side until golden and crispy. The centre should be hot and the mozzarella should just begin to leak out the sides.

Quick 1 min demo!

Notes:

a) Size and filling -ย These measurements are based on large thick slices of bread. Hence the 'mega' chicken pesto grilled cheese. Adjust accordingly if you are using regular sized bread or want a smaller portion.
b) Basil Pesto -ย Check out my homemade pesto recipe!
c) Mozzarella - Completely up to you whether to use fresh or pre-grated. I don't recommend using any other cheese, mozzarella has a nice subtle flavour with allows the chicken pesto to shine. It also goes perfectly with sun dried tomatoes.
d) Sun Dried Tomato Oil - If you are using sun dried tomatoes that have been marinated in oil, it's important to remove as much of the oil as possible. Pesto is already quite an oily ingredient, so you don't want any extra added! Having said that, I wouldn't recommend washing them, just pat them dry. You want to keep some of the flavour.

Nutrition:

Nutrition Facts
MEGA Chicken Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Amount Per Serving
Calories 726 Calories from Fat 401
% Daily Value*
Fat 44.5g68%
Saturated Fat 10.1g51%
Polyunsaturated Fat 7.7g
Monounsaturated Fat 23.8g
Cholesterol 90mg30%
Sodium 1432mg60%
Potassium 657mg19%
Carbohydrates 32g11%
Fiber 7.6g30%
Sugar 4.2g5%
Protein 51g102%
Vitamin A 2850IU57%
Vitamin C 12.1mg15%
Calcium 1150mg115%
Iron 5.4mg30%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition is based on the absence of salt unless stated as a measurement in the ingredients. Cost is worked out based on ingredients bought from UK supermarkets, then divided by the number of servings. In both instances these values are just for guidance. Please check out my FAQ Page for more info.
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15 Comments

  • Reply
    Stine Mari
    May 16, 2018 at 4:40 pm

    As I scrolled down I noticed my mouth watering. Would totally eat this one right now.

    • Reply
      Chris
      May 17, 2018 at 12:22 pm

      Haha! Literally the story of my life!!

  • Reply
    Karly
    May 16, 2018 at 3:24 pm

    This is a grown up grill cheese if I ever saw one! I need this in my life!

    • Reply
      Chris
      May 16, 2018 at 3:51 pm

      Totally a grown up grilled cheese! You gotta try it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Sandi
    May 16, 2018 at 4:05 am

    5 stars
    That sandwich looks crazy good with all of that melty cheese.

    • Reply
      Chris
      May 16, 2018 at 10:21 am

      Allllll about the melty cheese! Thanks, Sandi! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Jessica Robinson
    May 16, 2018 at 2:50 am

    5 stars
    Gotta LOVE a gooey and delicious grilled cheese like this one. OH my goodness, does this look so yummy!

    • Reply
      Chris
      May 16, 2018 at 10:20 am

      Thanks Jessica! So much yum!!

  • Reply
    camila hurst
    May 16, 2018 at 2:07 am

    5 stars
    Your photos are amazing! This sandwich looks delicious!! I also loved the recipe you included at the end of the page, the brie, bacon and cranberry melt!! Im gonna check it out right now!

    • Reply
      Chris
      May 16, 2018 at 10:20 am

      Ahh thank you Camila! The brie bacon cranberry one is pretty awesome too (am I allowed to say that!? )

  • Reply
    Kristine
    May 15, 2018 at 11:37 pm

    5 stars
    Dang! This sandwich looks freaking incredible. Stunning photos too! I’m a huge fan of pesto on grilled sandwiches, totally going to make this for dinner one night, haha! Pinned!

    • Reply
      Chris
      May 16, 2018 at 10:19 am

      Thank you so much, Kristine! Enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Ellen
    May 15, 2018 at 11:18 pm

    I always have shredded chicken in my fridge. This will be a perfect weekend lunch.

    • Reply
      Chris
      May 16, 2018 at 10:18 am

      Such a good way to use up leftover chicken! Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

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