Chicken Cordon Bleu Panini {My New Favorite Sandwich}

Chicken cordon bleu panini sandwich. All the flavors of chicken cordon bleu wrapped up in bread with a secret (3-ingredient) super simple sauce that’ll make you cry. YUM!

Two chicken cordon bleu panini sandwiches stacked on top of each other.

Longtime readers already know that I have a thing for sandwiches. They are one of a very few foods I actually crave in a way that demands the craving be filled as soon as possible. I always, always look at the sandwich section on a menu first, and finding a sandwich that really wows me is reason for celebration. Spoiler alert: I’m kind of a sandwich snob.

I’ve posted some seriously killer sandwiches over the years but only called out a few as favorites, like this banh mi meatball sub (oh my). 

Today, I’m adding to my narrow “favorite sandwiches” list with this amazing chicken cordon bleu panini. It’s exactly what it sounds like: chicken cordon bleu in sandwich form. What makes it special, other than those classic flavors, is the 3-ingredient secret sauce and seasonings that go on the outside and inside of the sandwich. It’ll take you 15 minutes to make…and you guys, it is so, so good.

Bite taken out of one chicken cordon bleu panini.

Admittedly, I’m already a huge fan of the cordon bleu ingredient lineup: Swiss cheese + chicken + ham. When I set out to create a perfect chicken cordon bleu sandwich, I knew it had to be more than throwing those three ingredients in between bread. 

I needed a sauce. A spread. A delicious concoction that could add flavor and a little panini glue. Come to find out, it only took three ingredients to get where I wanted to be. The result is chicken cordon bleu perfection. 

Assembling the chicken cordon bleu sandwich

This is certainly not rocket science. The key is to spread the special sauce on both sides of each slice of bread. Then, sprinkle the outside pieces of bread with a little garlic/herb action.

I’ve given some notes in the recipe for a homemade seasoning lineup, but if you don’t have those, you can just use a bit of salt and pepper. Don’t skip it! Our favorite sandwich/garlic bread seasoning in the history of ever is the Sandwich Sprinkle from Penzey’s (I order online – unsponsored, we just love it). It’s worth getting your hands on some if you can. 

Photo collage of assembling chicken cordon bleu panini with breead, sauce, cheese, chicken, and ham.

To Panini or not to Panini

We are panini fanatics and have them on the dinner menu at least once a month, if not more, usually to the tune of: grab whatever you can reach in the refrigerator and come up with your own panini creation. I even put together a nerdy panini spreadsheet years ago (look! it has a chicken cordon bleu sandwich on there already, but it’s much more boring than this version :)). 

If you don’t have a panini press, you can cook the sandwich in a skillet on the stove or on a griddle. The point is you just need to cook the sandwich so the bread gets toasty golden brown and the insides get hot and the cheese gets super melty. If using a griddle or skillet, you can just cook the sandwich grilled-cheese-style and flip halfway through OR you can use a heavy pan or cast iron skillet and press down the sandwiches while cooking to give them a panini effect (you’ll still want to flip partway through cooking). 

We have two panini presses; it helps speed up the process with a family of seven hungry sandwich lovers. This old Cuisinart one is still going strong after 5+ years (newer model here), and we also have this Breville model {aff links}. Use both. Love both. 

Chicken cordon bleu panini getting cooked on panini press.

Using the secret sauce on the outside of the bread instead of butter lends a delicious flavor and crunchiness that is so yummy with the gooey melted Swiss and tender chicken and ham. 

I’m glad I first made this sandwich in the quiet of my own home on a Tuesday afternoon at 12:13 p.m. when everyone else was gone, because it was embarrassing the way I reacted over it. I mean, I already talk to myself a lot throughout the day. That’s normal. But I usually don’t make bold exclamations and animated fist pumps when I’m all alone. I stopped myself from doing a bad cartwheel over this sandwich, but I really wanted to. 

The point is, this sandwich is spectacular. Not just good. Not just ok. Not just choke-downable. It’s incredible and something I would gladly eat day in and day out.

Two chicken cordon bleu panini sandwiches stacked on top of each other.  

I sometimes play this little game with myself where I categorize recipes into whether they would be appropriate for my future restaurant or future cookbook (hypothetically, I really don’t have plans for either…it’s just a fun game, please tell me you sometimes do this too??). Because recipes that would make the cut for either of those would have to be next level good. 

And that was one of the first thoughts after I ate this sandwich: this is restaurant-worthy and something I would totally make if I owned an eating establishment (or food truck). 

Considering it takes less than 20 minutes to make, this means you and I can both be enjoying chicken cordon bleu panini sandwiches whenever we darn well want. 

Three stacked chicken cordon bleu sandwiches. 

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Chicken Cordon Bleu Panini Sandwich

Yield: 2 sandwiches
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Chicken Cordon Bleu Panini Sandwich

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, light or regular, softened
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise or sour cream
  • 4 slices French bread (see note)
  • 4 slices Swiss cheese
  • 1 cup shredded, cooked chicken (see note)
  • 4-6 thinly sliced deli ham
  • Salt and pepper (or garlic/herb seasoning - see note)

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the cream cheese, Dijon mustard and mayo (or sour cream) until smooth.
  2. For each sandwich: spread sauce on both sides of the bread (I spread a light coating on the outside of the bread and a more generous dollop on the inside of both pieces). Sprinkle the outside of each piece of bread with a bit of salt and pepper or a garlic/herb seasoning blend and place the pieces of bread seasoning side down.
  3. Continue layering one slice of bread with a slice of Swiss cheese, cooked chicken, a couple slices of deli ham, and a final slice of Swiss cheese. Top with the other slice of bread (seasonings on the outside).
  4. Cook the sandwich on a preheated panini press or on a hot griddle or skillet on the stove until golden and the cheese is melted. If using a skillet or griddle, flip as needed to cook through - you can also weigh the sandwich down with a heavy pan or skillet for a panini-like effect. Serve warm.

Notes

Bread: the options for bread are endless here. You can use homemade or storebought French bread, a sourdough loaf, whole grain bread, etc. I like a moderately soft crust so we aren't tearing our mouths up eating the sandwich.

Chicken: a rotisserie chicken works great here; or this stovetop cooked chicken is a great, quick option. I think this would also be delicious with cooked, breaded chicken strips (maybe cut a little thinner).

Seasonings: the light sprinkle of seasonings on the outside of this sandwich is really tasty and sets this sandwich apart. Salt and pepper will work in a pinch but if you have a garlic/herb seasoning blend that you would use for, say, garlic bread, that would be amazing. We love the sandwich sprinkle seasoning from Penzeys. A homemade option could be a little bit of each of these crushed or stirred together: salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, basil.

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Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

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