Forget the afterthought grilled chicken sandwiches you’ve seen on fast food menus. This juicy Grilled Chicken Sandwich is worthy in its own right!
As someone who strives to eat balanced meals, I often feel like I get cheated when we’re grabbing lunch on the go.
At many chains, the only healthy option is a grilled chicken sandwich.
You know as soon as you order it, it’s probably going to be bland and dry, a sacrifice to be made in the name of nutrition.
This grilled chicken sandwich is the redemption.
It is everything I wish the grilled chicken sandwiches at cookouts and restaurant pitstops could be!
No more bland, rubbery chicken.
- This grilled chicken is marinated in a blend of honey, garlic, lemon juice, and a touch of Dijon. It tastes yummy enough to enjoy on its own.
- It’s moist and juicy. Lightly pounding the chicken ensures it cooks evenly and the outsides don’t dry out before the center is finished. Thanks to the marinade, you don’t have to drown it in sauce later.
- It doesn’t neglect the details. A good quality bun and crisp toppings can make all the difference when it comes to making a stellar sammie.
As we enter the season of grilled dinners and backyard potlucks, keep this grilled chicken sandwich recipe in your back pocket.
- For a group, you can marinate as many chicken breasts as you need well in advance, fire them off just before serving, then let your guests assemble their own.
- For a fast dinner, this chicken requires just 30 minutes of marinating time. You can use that window to prep the side dishes, tidy the kitchen, or complete today’s Wordle.
How to Make the Best Grilled Chicken Sandwich
This recipe is simple, which means that, while it is easy, there are a few key points you need to nail.
- Do not overcook the chicken. This is juicy chicken sandwich rule #1.
- Marinating is not optional. The marinade (especially the salt in the marinade) both flavors the chicken and makes it more moist (see this Chicken Marinade for more information).
- Use ripe tomatoes. Don’t let a bland, out-of-season tomato bring your chicken sandwich down. Not tomato season? Swap in sun-dried tomatoes, which will make your sandwich delicious.
- Be picky about your bun. I have had many a restaurant sandwich (or Blue Cheese Burger) not live up to its potential, because the bun was lackluster (little flavor, too thick or too thin, flimsy, dry, etc.). It’s worth spending a few dollars more for a nicer bun. Brioche is always a good choice.
- Protect the bottom bun. You can assemble a chicken sandwich in any order, but personally, I prefer to start with a crisp lettuce leaf to make sure the bottom bun doesn’t become soggy while I am eating the sandwich.
- Chicken Breast. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts create a healthy, crowd-pleasing sandwich. They soak up the marinade, making them juicy and flavorful.
- Honey. Adds delicious sweetness to the chicken marinade and helps it caramelize as it cooks.
- Dijon. The tangy mustard flavor of Dijon gives depth to the marinade.
- Lemon Juice. Helps tenderize the chicken breasts.
- Spices. Smoked paprika and garlic powder add smoky, garlicky flavor to the marinade.
- Buns. We like to serve our grilled chicken sandwiches on seeded whole wheat hamburger buns or brioche buns. You could use any type of bun you prefer (just make sure it’s good quality!), or wrap your chicken sandwich in a lettuce leaf for a low-carb option.
- Lettuce + Tomato. Classic grilled chicken sandwich toppings. Make sure to use a ripe tomato, or try sun-dried tomatoes instead.
- Marinade the chicken breast for 30 minutes at room temperature or up to 6 hours in the refrigerator.
- Grill chicken breast at 375 degrees F for 8 to 12 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- Let rest for a few minutes. Toast the buns (if desired).
- Assemble the sandwiches, adding any desired toppings. ENJOY!
- To Store. Refrigerate the grilled chicken in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days. Store the buns at room temperature.
- To Reheat. Gently rewarm chicken on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the microwave. Toast buns in the oven as well if desired.
- To Freeze. Freeze the grilled chicken in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. Freeze buns in an airtight freezer-safe ziptop bag. Thaw at room temperature or toast from frozen.
Meal Prep Tip
For easy, grab-and-go sandwiches all week long, grill the chicken breasts as directed and refrigerate them in an airtight storage container. Prep any toppings you’d like to use and slice the buns (if needed).
What to Serve with Grilled Chicken Sandwich
Sweet Potato Wedges
Easy Baked Beans
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Tongs. Perfect for flipping the chicken breasts.
- Instant Read Thermometer. My #1 tip for knowing when chicken is done.
- Grill Pan. No outdoor grill? No problem! This grill pan will do the trick.
This perfect grilled chicken sandwich hits the spot when I’m craving a simple, satisfying meal on a warm night.
Pick it up with your hands, serve it with a side of Sweet Potato Fries, and enjoy every bite!
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re unable to grill your chicken (or prefer it baked), you can use the marinade from this recipe and follow the times and temperature listed in my Baked Chicken Breast post.
While I haven’t made this sandwich with boneless, skinless chicken thighs, you could certainly try it. The thighs usually cook for about 4-6 minutes on each side (depending on the type of grill and its temperature), but be sure to use an instant read meat thermometer to check them for doneness.
This is a healthy grilled chicken sandwich. It uses simple, nutritious ingredients to build bold flavor, and the chicken breasts are lean and packed with protein. Of course, choosing healthy toppings (like omitting bacon) and buns can make a big difference in the nutritional value of your sandwich too.
Grilled Chicken Sandwich
FOR THE CHICKEN & MARINADE:
- 4 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 seeded whole wheat hamburger buns
- non-fat plain Greek yogurt or mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, or a mix
- sliced cheddar cheese or Swiss or aged cheddar cheese
- sliced RIPE tomatoes or swap sun-dried tomatoes
- lettuce, spinach, or arugula
- thinly sliced red onions or Pickled Onions or dill pickles, optional
- Marinate the chicken: Lightly pound the chicken into an even, 1/2-inch thickness (I place a sheet of plastic over the top first for easy clean up). Place in a large ziptop bag or a shallow dish for marinating.
- Add the oil, lemon juice, honey, Dijon, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Toss to evenly coat the chicken. Let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes, or place in the refrigerator for up to 6 hours. (If marinating for more than 30 minutes, rotate the chicken once or twice throughout.)
- When ready to cook, heat an outdoor gas or charcoal grill (or an indoor grill pan) to medium-high, about 375 degrees F. Grill the chicken for 8 to 12 minutes, flipping halfway through. When the chicken is nearing the end of its cooking time, place a slice of cheese on top to melt it. The chicken is done when it reaches 155 to 160 degrees F on an instant read thermometer (chicken is considered safe to eat at 165 degrees F, but its temperature will rise as it rests. DO NOT overcook or the chicken will be dry).
- Let rest for 5 minutes.
- If desired, place the buns cut-sides down on the grill to toast (or toast them briefly under the oven’s broiler, cut-sides up).
- Assemble the sandwiches: spread the cut side of the bottom bun with Greek yogurt and/or Dijon mustard and/or mayo. Top with lettuce and tomato. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, then add the chicken and onion (or place the chicken on first; just know the bottom bun will get a little soggy). Add the top bun and onions if desired. Enjoy immediately.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate the grilled chicken in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days. Store the buns at room temperature.
- TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm chicken on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the microwave. Toast buns in the oven as well if desired.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze the grilled chicken in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. Freeze buns in an airtight freezer-safe ziptop bag. Thaw at room temperature or toast from frozen.
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Pulled Chicken Sandwich
These sound delicious! AND I only need to run to the store for Gruyere. Making these tonight at home and they are definitely on the list the next camping trip !
Holy yummy goodness on a bun! Love these (and love that you’re on the good ol’ Tablespoon! ;)).
Oh yum! I looove french onion soup so I know I’ll love this. Pinned!
I love anything cheesy and French onion so I’m sure I will love this! It looks so delicious!
LOOK at all those onions. Swoon! Perfection on a bun.
This sounds amazing, Erin! A sandwich doesn’t get much better than melted cheese and caramelized onions! I bet that even the French would love this :)
Very impressed with this ‘recipe makeover’, Erin. Nothing wrong with a bit of ‘framerican’ fusion food! :-)
I am a BIG fan onions–especially caramelized onions. I will find an excuse to eat them…on their own or as part of a meal! So, this is definitely my kind of sandwich :)
This looks great but the link is broken!
Hi Chris! I sincerely apologize. I went ahead and updated the post with the recipe, so you can see it easily right here now. Thanks for your patience!
Can we air fry the chicken? If yes what would be the temperature and the cooking time?
Hi Diane! Yes, you can air fry chicken breast! Here you go: https://www.wellplated.com/air-fryer-chicken-breast/
I just found this site and love it so far! Made these delicious grilled chicken sandwiches tonight and my picky 7 year olds (and hubby and I) gave it 2 thumbs up–a first! I used chicken tenders which I discovered I had instead of breasts but they still came out great and did not have to pound them. Because of the small size I put the kids’ chicken on Hawaiian rolls as sliders.
Hi Janet! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!