Buffalo Chicken Panini

This Buffalo Chicken Panini combines grilled chicken, bleu cheese spread, caramelized onions, and homemade buffalo sauce, between sliced sourdough bread… It’s a great way to use rotisserie chicken or meal prep grilled chicken, and it’s sure to please your favorite sandwich lover!

Buffalo Chicken Panini on a wood cutting board with celery.

Can I share with you my worldview? All of humankind has one thing in common: the sandwich. I believe that all anyone really wants in this life it to sit in peace and eat a sandwich

~~ Liz Lemon, 30 Rock.

👩🏻‍🍳 Tamara Talks – Recipe Inspiration

Sandwiches, once the oft-maligned “main dish” in a brown bag lunch, have been promoted to the dinner table – at least they have at Andersen casa. 🙂 My husband is an amazing keyboard player,  and he sometimes rehearses and has gigs several nights a week. We have found that keeping up with a food blog can be a challenge when dinner time is compressed by his need to be out the door by 6:45.

My panini press is one of my favorite and most-used appliances on busy weeknights when I don’t have much time but still want to cook. A few good quality ingredients, a little creativity, and a panini press seldom disappoint.

This panini recipe comes together in short order, even if you have to grill the chicken. However, it is also a great way to use leftover grilled chicken, or a rotisserie chicken, and both will save a step and get dinner on the table even faster. Skip the drive-thru, and make a panini!

Three ingredients – sriracha, butter, and garlic – provide the “zing” that complements the bleu cheese spread, chicken, and caramelized onions. I chose a San Francisco Wheat Sourdough to hold these delicious ingredients together, and served the panini with fresh seasonal strawberries drizzled with spicy mango balsamic vinegar and garnished with fresh mint.

📋 Ingredients Notes

Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.

Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.

  • butter
  • garlic
  • sriracha sauce – I love craft sriracha sauce like this Fix Sriracha. However, any brand is fine in this recipe.
  • chicken – You have several options for the chicken in this recipe. If you plan to grill chicken breasts, you can boost the flavor with a simple rub of smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt. Conversely, this sandwich is a great way to use a rotisserie chicken or meal prep chicken (already prepared)
  • onions – Red, white, yellow, and sweet are all fine.
  • olive oil
  • bleu cheese – If you hate “stinky feet” bleu cheese, feta is a decent substitute, but you’ll lose the “buffalo” flavors!
  • Greek yogurt – I use nonfat plain Greek yogurt because I keep it on hand, and it reduces fat and calories. Any plain yogurt is fine. If you’re not using Greek style yogurt, reduce the amount a bit. You want a pretty stiff spread.
  • mustard – My preference is stone ground mustard. Dijon mustard is another good option.
  • bread – I like whole wheat sourdough for this sandwich. Keep in mind this is a big sandwich. The bigger the bread, the bigger the sandwich!😳

🔪 Instructions

  1. Prepare the chicken – As mentioned in the ingredients, you have options. If you’re grilling chicken, prepare the rub (if using). Pound chicken breasts to even thickness (about ½” is fine). Rub spice mix all over the chicken breasts. Grill until no pink remains – about 6 to 8 minutes on a side. Slice in strips to fit your bread.. If using meal prep chicken, slice it. If using rotisserie chicken, the breast meat is easiest; slice it.
  2. Caramelize the onions – In a small saute pan, drizzle olive oil. Bring to medium-high heat. Add sliced onions. Stir frequently, and reduce heat if necessary to keep them from browning too quickly. When onions are very soft, and nicely caramelized, turn off heat, and set aside. Depending on heat level, this can take 15 to 30 minutes.
  3. Bleu cheese spread – In a small prep bowl, add bleu cheese, yogurt, and mustard. Using a fork, smash bleu cheese and combine with the yogurt and mustard until well-mixed.
  4. Grill the sandwiches – Smear the insides of the bread with bleu cheese spread. Arrange slices of chicken on one slice, and onions on the other. Drizzle with buffalo sauce. Carefully bring the two halves together. Lightly brush the outside of the sandwich with buffalo sauce. Place in the panini press. Cook about 5 minutes until crust is well-toasted. Enjoy!

💭 Tips

We often grill a large quantity of chicken breasts for meal prep. The spice rub in this recipe is pretty straightforward, so the grilled chicken can work in just about any recipe that requires cooked chicken. It’s great in this chicken club salad. Grill enough chicken for this sandwich recipe, and a couple meals in the future!

The bleu cheese spread is fantastic. Consider making enough for leftovers. It’s great on a charcuterie and cheese board, or spread on these fig jam and bleu cheese flatbread appetizers.

Can I make this sandwich without a panini press? YES! Cook it on a flat pan over medium heat until gold brown on both sides.

So, next time you think you have no time to cook, consider making a panini… A Buffalo Chicken Panini, or any panini. “Sit in peace and eat a sandwich.” It does a body good. 😉

Signature in red and green with chiles and limes. Healthyish Latin cuisine.
Yield: 4 sandwiches

Buffalo Chicken Panini

Buffalo Chicken Panini

Grilled chicken, bleu cheese spread, and caramelized onions finished with homemade buffalo sauce, and held together by sourdough bread... Yum!

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

Buffalo Sauce

  • 4 tbsp. butter (half stick)
  • 1 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup sriracha sauce

Chicken Breasts

  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika*
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • several grinds pepper
  • 4 small chicken breasts (16-24 ounces)

Caramelized Onions

  • 2 medium onions, sliced thin
  • drizzle of olive oil (to caramelize)

Bleu Cheese Spread

  • 2 oz. bleu cheese (softened if you have time)
  • 2 tbsp. plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. stone ground mustard

To Finish

  • 8 slices sourdough bread

Instructions

    1. Prepare the chicken - As mentioned in the ingredients, you have options. If you're grilling chicken, prepare the rub (if using). Pound chicken breasts to even thickness (about ½" is fine). Rub spice mix all over the chicken breasts. Grill until no pink remains - about 6 to 8 minutes on a side. Slice in strips to fit your bread.. If using meal prep chicken, slice it. If using rotisserie chicken, the breast meat is easiest; slice it.
    2. Caramelize the onions - In a small saute pan, drizzle olive oil. Bring to medium-high heat. Add sliced onions. Stir frequently, and reduce heat if necessary to keep them from browning too quickly. When onions are very soft, and nicely caramelized, turn off heat, and set aside. Depending on heat level, this can take 15 to 30 minutes.
    3. Bleu cheese spread - In a small prep bowl, add bleu cheese, yogurt, and mustard. Using a fork, smash bleu cheese and combine with the yogurt and mustard until well-mixed.
    4. Grill the sandwiches - Smear the insides of the bread with bleu cheese spread. Arrange slices of chicken on one slice, and onions on the other. Drizzle with buffalo sauce. Carefully bring the two halves together. Lightly brush the outside of the sandwich with buffalo sauce. Place in the panini press. Cook about 5 minutes until crust is well-toasted. Enjoy!

    Notes

    * Smoked paprika is my favorite for this rub, but chipotle powder, paprika, or ancho powder are great substitutes.

    ** I specified Greek yogurt, but I sometimes use softened neufchatel cheese in its place. Either one will work!

    This is a really filling sandwich. I really can't eat the whole thing. You might want to look for smaller loaves to keep the size of the sandwich reasonable.

    Nutrition Information:


    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 499Total Fat: 20g

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