Chicken pesto panini

Chicken pesto panini | Photo by BNF

This one goes out to the people who like good food but don’t have the time or desire to spend a lot of time hovered over a hot stove.

According to the Kitchen Boss, paninis are quite popular in parts of Italy. I like to imagine that it’s similar to the crepe carts in the touristy part of Paris: all over the place.

This sandwich is really flavorful and tastes like it would take forever to make. And, if you’re really hard core, you can make the basil pesto yourself.

Has anyone noticed how crazy-bright green freshly made pesto is?

(The color reminds me of this anti-nuclear waste coloring book my mom and step-dad gave me once. The family in the book moves next door to a nuclear power plant and slowly, creepily mutates and wastes away into nothing. Hmmm … hopefully I was older than I remember when I got this thing. But, I guess you’re never too young to learn about the horror that is nuclear waste. Am I right?)

But, once again, I digress.

Here’s a simpler version of this recipe from, but, for the love of god, do not use ready-made chicken. I mean, we have to set the bar somewhere.

Try these cheesy, crispy paninis and tell me that you don’t love them. I dare you.

What you’ll need: 

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts or 4 think cutlets cut from one whole chicken breast
  • olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • salt
  • 4 tablespoons basil pesto
  • 4 tablespoons sundried tomato pesto (optional)
  • 8 thin slices provolone cheese (or mozzarella)
  • 8 slices from artisanal sourdough bread (though I like Publix’s deli “Italian” bread)


  1. Salt the chicken and rub with the smashed clove of garlic. Drizzle with a little olive oil and turn to coat. Let rest 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat a grill or cast iron pan medium-high. Grill the chicken cutlets until done. Let rest while preparing the sandwiches.
  3. Preheat a panini grill (or George Foreman grill). Spread 1 tablespoon basil pesto on four slices of bread. Top pesto with two slices provolone. Slice each chicken breast on the bias, and lay pieces from one breast each over the cheese. Optional: Spread one tablespoon sundried tomato pesto over the remaining four slices of bread and top the sandwiches, sundried side down. Brush tops of sandwiches with oil. Place on the panini pan, oiled side down, brush oil over the tops and grill until brown, crisp and the cheese is oozing.


[Source: TLC’s The Kitchen Boss.]

10 Responses to Chicken pesto panini

  1. Who makes nuclear waste coloring books???

  2. Christina says:

    Oh I love panini’s! This one looks super easy and delicious..I need to give it a try! :D

    • aren’t they tasty? sure beats a cold turkey sandwich. :) thanks for checking out the post, and I totally flagged your orange glazed strawberry scones (and butterfinger blondies) – they look delish!

  3. spicegirlfla says:

    I love paninis! And this one looks delish – chicken, provolone, sundried tomatoes, yum! I must admit now tho that you have made me think of Pesto in a whole new way!!

    • Oh, me too! So much better than regular old sandwiches. This panini’s great with mozzarella, too. And thanks! I love pesto like I love heavy cream: on everything. Pesto’s great with penne, heavy cream and grilled chicken, as well. Will have to post that recipe soon. :) PS) Your linguine with clam sauce looks so tasty!

  4. gelamilano says:

    Hi!I’m an italian girl from Milan..I’ve just seen your great blog;It seems to me that your ability to cook are great!really, I’m going to read your post every time you’ll write. But…I should tall you that “Chicken pesto panini” is more famous in the other country than in Italy…(even if I found it really good!)
    p.s=I beg your pardon for my awful english…

    • Hi there! Thanks so much for checking out the blog – I’m truly honored. I would really love to go to Italy on my next trip to Europe. (I’ve only been to France and Germany.) So nice to hear from you! :)

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