As you all know I absolutely LOVE Panera. Their sandwiches, soups, drinks - all of it. SO GOOD. So I knew I had to recreate their Chipotle Chicken Avocado Melt for you all.
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Toasty focaccia, melty gouda, and smoked chicken all slathered with a homemade chipotle mayo sauce and zingy piquante peppers. It's truly a flavor explosion.
What's In Panera's Chipotle Chicken Avocado Melt?
Panera lists their ingredients to each sandwich on their website, so that wasn't too tricky to find...
- black pepper foccaccia
- smoked chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken)
- chipotle in adobo
- Peppadew peppers
Sounds simple, right? However, Panera chipotle sauce and those peppers are truly what make this sandwich. & I have the low down for you!
I swapped in garlic herb focaccia bread for black pepper, so find any spiced or herbed focaccia you can get your hands on!
For the Peppadew peppers, if you don't like spice AT ALL though, you could sub in some roasted red peppers.
You could also forgo making your own chipotle mayo sauce by finding a premade one in the condiment section of the store.
What Are Peppadew Peppers?
Their special, zingy peppers that are on the sandwich are called Peppadew peppers. This is a BRAND of peppers. They are slightly pickled, slightly spicy piquante peppers.
They look, and honestly taste really similar, to cherry peppers.
You can buy Peppadew peppers at retailers online or even at Walmart! However, if you can't find them at the store near you, I have some delicious alternatives...
I actually even found some cheese stuffed peppers at Aldi that I've used and they were amazing. So basically you need to find a sweet/hot cherry pepper.
In addition to the piquante peppers, you'll need to find some chipotle chilies. I buy my chipotle chilies at almost any grocery store, you'll want the ones in adobo sauce because that adds extra flavor.
Is This Sandwich Spicy?
So between the smoky chipotle mayo and the peppers, it can get a little spicy depending on the brand of each pepper you find.
Chipotle chilies in adobo typically aren't "spicy." But they do have a smoky kick.
Peppadew peppers, on the other hand, are slightly pickled and a little spicy.
How To Make It
One other way that this sandwich is different than many Panera panini sandwiches is that this slightly crispy sammie is a melt, not a pressed panini.
What you'll need to make this sandwich is simply a skillet! I used a Caraway saute pan (LOVE these for everyday use) or you could even use a greased cast iron pan.
To make a proper chipotle chicken avocado melt, follow these steps.
- In a small bowl combine 3 chopped chipotle peppers in adobo with mayo.
- On your foccaccia halves spread the chipolte mayo on each piece.
- Place cheese, avocado slices, shredded pulled chicken, cilantro, and Peppadew peppers. Top the sandwich with the other slice of focccacia.
- Over medium high heat in a skillet, crisp up the sandwich for 2-3 minutes on each side.
- Tilt the pan slightly to the side so you don't soak the bread & pour in a splash of water (about 2 tablespoons or less) & cover the pan.
- Let this steam for 1 minute or so then remove the cover.
This will leave the bread crispy, steam the whole sandwich so the cheese is melted and the end result is incredible.
Chipotle Chicken Avocado Melt (Panera Copycat!)
- 1 non-stick skillet or cast iron skillet
- 2 flat loaves of foccacia bread I used garlic herb
- 6 oz shredded rotisserie chicken
- 1 avocado sliced
- 1/4 cup mayo
- 6 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
- 1/4 cup Peppadew peppers chopped (or sweet & hot cherry peppers)
- 4 oz sliced gouda
- 2 tbsp water
- In a small bowl combine the chopped chipotle peppers in adobo with mayo. Stir well & set aside.
- Slice the flat loaves of focaccia into 4 pieces each. You will have 8 square pieces in total.
- Spread the chipotle mayo on each slice.
- Add cheese, avocado slices, shredded chicken, cilantro, and peppers to 1/2 of the slices of bread.
- Top with the remaining slices.
- Over medium high heat in a skillet, carefully place the sandwiches in the skillet.
- Cook for 2-3 minutes then carefully flip them with a spatula and cook 2 more minutes.
- Gently tilt the pan to the side and pour in the water, cover and let them steam for 1 minute until the water has evaporated.
- Remove the cover and enjoy!