Italian Chicken Pesto Sandwich

An Italian chicken pesto sandwich is a bistro-inspired, gourmet treat. Toasty bread pairs with juicy chicken and creamy pesto sauce in this recipe which makes an easy and quick dinner or lunch. This Italian sandwich, which is one of my favourites, can be made on ciabatta rolls or focaccia bread. The tender grilled chicken, creamy pesto sauce, fresh mozzarella, fresh tomato, and more, make this a deliciously satisfying meal.

Three Italian chicken pesto sandwiches on a platter.

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Loaded with succulent chicken, fresh mozzarella cheese, and zesty pesto sauce, these chicken pesto sandwiches are a true winner for lunch or dinner. It’s quick and easy to make, and with every bite, you’ll be transported to the heart of Italy.

A homemade chicken pesto sandwiches on a plate.

Why You’ll Love This

  • Authentic:  If you’ve been lucky enough to enjoy an authentic chicken pesto sandwich recipe in Italy, you will definitely find this hot sandwich reminiscent of that.
  • Crowd-pleasing:  There are sandwich recipes for all occasions and sometimes you just want to slap a filling between two pieces of bread. Because this Italian chicken pesto sandwich is so impressive though, it’s worth making enough for a crowd because everyone will want at least one serving!
  • Straightforward:  Sandwiches are one of the simplest snacks you can make, even when you’re making hot ones. You shouldn’t have any issues following this simple toasted chicken pesto sandwich recipe.
Close view of a grilled chicken sandwich with tomatoes, pesto, basil and melty cheese.

Chicken Pesto Sandwich Ingredients

Chicken breasts work perfectly in this recipe, and you will season it with garlic, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. You will need some kind of fresh bread, and anything from toasted sourdough to ciabatta bread or buns will work. You can find great Italian bread at local bakeries.

The ingredients to make an authentic Italian pesto chicken sandwich on a wood table.

The recipe also calls for homemade basil pesto, butter, garlic, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, shallot, extra virgin olive oil and red pepper flakes. If you can’t find fresh mozzarella at the grocery store, you can use regular mozzarella or even provolone slices. However, I recommend finding fresh mozzarella, because the melty cheese makes all the difference in this Italian sandwich!

Close view of a grilled chicken sandwich with tomatoes, pesto, basil and melty cheese.

Basil Pesto

Store bought pesto is also an option but I prefer homemade pesto using my basil pesto recipe made with basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil and parmesan cheese. You may even find some fresh pesto at your local farmers market. It is a great way to use leftover pesto.

Putting pesto on the grilled chicken breasts in the grilling pan. The buns for the chicken sandwiches are beside.

How to Make this Grilled Chicken Sandwich

For more detailed instructions, with weights and measurements, jump to the printable recipe card.

  • Season the chicken:  Combine the seasonings and press on to the chicken breast.
  • Cook the chicken:  Give it a few minutes per side in a grill pan or even on your outdoor grill.
  • Cook the other ingredients:  Sauté the tomatoes, shallots, garlic, and some other seasonings.
  • Add pesto and cheese:  Spread pesto over the chicken and add mozzarella then toast to melt.
  • Prepare the bread:  Spread garlic butter over the bread and toast it.
  • Assemble the sandwiches:  Add the fresh pesto, tomato mixture, chicken, and some fresh basil leaves to the toasted bread and serve warm.
Overhead view of a pesto chicken sandwich being made on a cutting board.

Substitutions and Variations

Feel free to use chicken thighs in this hot sandwich if you prefer those, or use another kind of cheese. These tasty sandwiches would also be good with Swiss cheese, although I love gooey mozzarella in mine!

Close view of an Italian pesto chicken sandwich cut in half to see all the toppings.

Storage Directions

Store:  This pesto chicken sandwich recipe is best served as soon as made, but if you have leftovers, keep the sandwiches wrapped or in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Enjoy within a day or so. You can warm the sandwich back up in the microwave.

Close view of a pesto chicken sandwich on a platter.

Chicken Pesto Sandwich Recipes FAQs

Can you use a panini press to make these panini sandwich style?

You can make this toasted Italian sandwich with or without a panini maker to compress the sandwiches. But if you don’t have one, you can still make these fresh, easy homemade sandwiches.

Is there a low carb version of this delicious sandwich?

Rather than sandwiching the ingredients between golden brown toasted ciabatta roll halves, you can serve it over salad leaves in a bowl. It technically won’t be a sandwich but the delicious and tender chicken, tomatoes, mozzarella, and rest of the ingredients will still make a very tasty meal.

Can you make this sandwich gluten free?

Yes, simply use a gluten free bun to make these chicken sandwiches!

Close view of an Italian pesto chicken sandwich.

Chicken Pesto Sandwich Recipe

Italian Chicken Pesto Sandwich

5 from 48 votes
Course: Lunch, Main Course, Meals
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: chicken, Sandwich
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 5
Calories: 534kcal
Author: Bella Bucchiotti
An Italian chicken pesto sandwich is a bistro-inspired, gourmet treat. Toasty bread pairs with juicy chicken and creamy pesto sauce in this recipe which makes an easy and quick dinner or lunch. This Italian sandwich, which is one of my favourites.
Print Save

Ingredients

  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut in half
  • ½ Teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ Teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ Teaspoon salt
  • ½ Teaspoon oregano dried
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 Cup pesto divided
  • 6 buns Italian bread
  • 3 Tablespoon salted butter
  • 1 Teaspoon garlic minced
  • 6 Slices fresh mozzarella or large bocconcini
  • 1 Cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 shallot thinly sliced
  • 2 Cloves garlic minced
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • ½ Teaspoon black pepper coarse
  • ½ Teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

  • Heat a grill pan over high heat.
  • Combine garlic powder, basil, pepper, salt, and oregano in a small bowl or ramekin.
  • Pat chicken dry, then season both sides with seasoning.
  • Brush the grill pan with olive oil. Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes per side.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Heat a frying pan over medium high heat. Combine olive oil, cherry tomatoes, shallot, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and sea salt in a mixing bowl and mix well. Add to the pan. Sauté for 5 minutes, or until cherry tomatoes start to blister.
  • Add a dollop of pesto to the top of each chicken and spread. Next, top with mozzarella. Lower heat to low and cover the pan. Cook until the cheese is melted and blanketing the chicken.
  • Combine melted butter and minced garlic. Brush bread with butter and place onto a baking sheet cut side up for 3 to 5 minutes to lightly toast.
  • Remove bread. Spread remaining pesto over the bread. Add tomato relish to the bottom slice of bread, then the chicken, and top with a couple leaves of fresh basil. Secure with a sandwich pick.

Nutrition

Calories: 534kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 89mg | Sodium: 1282mg | Potassium: 379mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 861IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 220mg | Iron: 14mg
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The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.

This pesto chicken sandwich recipe makes a great lunch or dinner. Use homemade pesto or a store-bought version as well as fresh mozzarella and juicy chicken for the ultimate Italian sandwiches. The combination of juicy chicken, fresh mozzarella cheese, and tangy pesto sauce is sure to get rave reviews from the whole family.

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Bella Bucchiotti

Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella is a storyteller, food lover, dog mom and adventure seeker living on the Pacific coast. She shares her passion for recipes, dogs, sustainability, adventures, travel and philanthropy, in hopes of encouraging followers to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places and stand for a cause. Bella lives with Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease.

Bella Bucchiotti is a freelance food, travel, and lifestyle writer for MSN and the Associated Press Wire.

Welcome to xoxoBella! I am Bella Bucchiotti and I am a recipe developer, content creator and writer. Here you will find delicious recipes, travel inspiration, crafts, pet tips and more.

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Recipe Rating




  1. Shelley Saunders wrote:

    5 stars
    My favorite sandwich! We loved these

    Posted 3.1.23 Reply
  2. Gina wrote:

    5 stars
    The melted mozzarella is my favorite part of this sandwich. Keeps the chicken nice and moist!

    Posted 3.2.23 Reply
  3. Sharina wrote:

    5 stars
    One of the best sandwiches I’ve tried! The chicken was cooked perfectly and the pesto sauce was remarkable! So tasty and pleasing! We enjoyed it!

    Posted 3.2.23 Reply
  4. Liz wrote:

    5 stars
    This sandwich was so good!! My husband and I both love it. We’ll make it again soon!

    Posted 3.2.23 Reply
  5. Shruthi wrote:

    5 stars
    Hosted a friend’s bridal shower and made this and it was such a hit! Great flavors, and turned out perfect.

    Posted 3.2.23 Reply
  6. Vladka wrote:

    5 stars
    This sandwich is just awesome, I made it already three times for my boys and they can’t get enough.

    Posted 3.2.23 Reply
  7. Jemima Jones wrote:

    5 stars
    These were so good. I loved the pesto chicken combo.

    Posted 10.24.23 Reply
  8. Crystal wrote:

    5 stars
    Everyone loved these

    Posted 10.24.23 Reply
  9. Lauren C wrote:

    5 stars
    Whipped up this recipe and it was a total success with the family. Will be making regularly!

    Posted 2.8.24 Reply