One place I could eat at non-stop is Panera. I love their soups, salads, breakfast, heck even their coffee. The one sandwich I get on repeat is Panera's Frontega Chicken Panini.
A pressed, pulled chicken sandwich with melty mozzarella, tomato, and an addicting chipotle may spread all smooshed between crusty, ciabatta bread.
What's In The Frontega Chicken Panini?
The best part of the Frontega Chicken Panini are the delicious and fresh components inside!
The panini consists of...
- pulled chicken or sliced chicken
- chipotle mayo
- Roma tomato
- red onion
All smooshed together in a hot panini press to form a melty, hearty, yet light chicken panini sandwich.
Making Chipolte Mayo
So one of the stars of the Panera Frontega Chicken Panini is that creamy chipolte mayo.
You simply need chipotle in adobo sauce, mayo (I'm actually using a combo of mayo and Greek yogurt), and a food processor!
It blends together seamlessly and now you have delicious homemade chipotle mayo sauce for any of your needs! This would make a delicious sauce for my Chicken Sliders, Loaded Burger Bowl, or even dip veggies in!
What Bread To Use For a Panini?
For this specific panini we are using ciabatta. It's the perfect sandwich panini bread because that's what's in Panera's original Frontega Chicken Panini!
Ciabatta bread crisps up great while still maintaining a soft bite, it won't destroy the roof of your mouth.
Another delicious panini bread option is sourdough. I loveeeee the way sourdough toasts up in a panini press and you can get pre-sliced loaves at the store, perfect for paninis like my Leftover Turkey Sandwich.
However if you don't have access to either of these, just grab an artisan loaf from the deli section of your grocery store. Almost anything other than plain white bread will work!
How To Press A Sandwich?
Ok this might sound silly - how to press a panini sandwich? But I've made enough panini's and cleaned enough panini presses to find the best way to do it.
- First, you want to grease the press so that anything falling out of this sandwich has a very slim chance of sticking.
- Spray it with cooking spray first. This will also ensure the outside of your panini is crispy.
- Carefully build your sandwich then transfer it to the press. Lower the top press onto the sandwich and slowly add more pressure.
- You might start to hear a sizzle, stop pressing and just wait. For this sandwich we will wait about 3-5 minutes until the cheese is melted and everything is warmed through.
After the sandwich is warm, remove it and immediately wipe your press down. If you let things get stuck on there you will be very angry with yourself when you go to wash it later.
What If I Don't Have a Panini Press?
You have a couple of options, you could use a griddle and simply cook both sides of the panini and mash it down with a spatula.
You could also use a nonstick skillet and place the panini on it to begin warming, flip it over and set a cast-iron skillet on top to press.
Serving and Storing Panera Frontega Chicken Panini
Ok since this is a hot sandwich we probably want to eat it immediately for best results!
However, if you absolutely need to store it, or have leftovers, put it in an airtight container in the fridge. The bread may get soggy if left too long but simply place in a toaster oven to reheat.
Panera Frontega Chicken Panini
- panini press
- 4 ciabatta buns
- 12 oz chicken 2 sliced chicken breasts or 1/2 a shredded rotisserie chicken
- 8 slices of mozzarella cheese
- 2 Roma tomatoes sliced
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 8 oz jar of chili in adobo, diced
- 1/2 a red onion sliced
- In a small bowl combine the diced chilis in adobo and the mayo. Whisk together until combined.
- Smear on 1 side of each of the ciabatta buns.
- Layer the chicken, tomato, basil, red onion, mozzarella, and the other bun.
- Place the sandwiches 2 at a time on the panini press and press for about 5-6 minutes.
- Slice and serve!