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Straight on shot of a grilled chicken sandwich on focaccia bun with pesto aioli, lettuce, melted cheese, avocado and pickled onions.

Grilled Chicken Sandwich Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 3 reviews
  • Author: Erin Jensen
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Marinate Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 57 minutes
  • Yield: 4 sandwiches 1x
  • Category: Dinner/Entree
  • Method: Grill
  • Cuisine: American


Grilled Chicken Sandwich – the ultimate grilled chicken sandwich recipe with pesto aioli, pickled onions, cheese and avocado!



Chicken Sandwich

  • 4 small/medium chicken breast (Approx. 1 pound total)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (or avocado oil)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (or tamari or coconut aminos)
  • 2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, minced
  • 4 slices American cheese
  • 4 focaccia buns
  • 1 cup arugula 
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • quick pickled onions

Pesto Aioli

  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons pesto (store-bought or homemade)(more to taste)
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • pinch of salt


  1. Marinade Chicken: Place chicken breasts in reusable silicone bag or glass container. In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, garlic, kosher salt, pepper and lemon zest. Pour marinade over the chicken and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes (or overnight).
  2. Prep Pesto Aioli + Quick-Pickled Onions: In a small bowl combine the Pesto Aioli ingredients. Cover and place in the refrigerator until use. Prep the quick pickled onions and set aside until use. 
  3. Grill Chicken: Heat grill to medium-high heat (approximately 450 degrees F). Place chicken on direct heat (direct flame) and cook for 3-5 minutes per side. Move chicken away from the direct heat (direct flame) so that it is cooking on indirect heat (maintaining the same grill temp) and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes (you don’t need to flip during this point because the chicken will cook as if it is in an oven) or until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the chicken reads 157 degrees F. on your meat thermometer.
  4. Cheese + Rest: Add your cheese slices and close grill again to allow cheese to melt.  Remove from grill when the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F. and let rest at least 5 minutes so the juices can redistribute (the chicken will continue to cook during this time and the internal temp will continue to rise 5 additional degrees).
  5. Assemble Sandwiches: Feel free to toast your focaccia buns (or lightly butter and then grill them cut side down for a minute or two) – then place bottom bun on a plate followed by some arugula, then a healthy amount of Pesto Aioli, grilled chicken, avocado slices, pickled onions and then add some more Pesto Aioli to the cut-side of the top bun and place on top. Cut in half and enjoy! 


  • Gluten-Free: to make this gluten-free use a gluten-free bun.
  • Dairy-Free: to make this dairy-free use a dairy-free pesto in your Pesto Aioli and a dairy-free version of American cheese.
  • Grill Time: we are purposely trying to use smaller chicken breasts here so they fit on the buns a bit better and you aren’t eating 90% chicken with every bite of sandwich so the cook time is a bit less here than your typical chicken breast. Just use your internal meat thermometer to keep track of the temp!


  • Serving Size: 1 sandwich
  • Calories: 712
  • Sugar: 6.6 g
  • Sodium: 2104.5 mg
  • Fat: 46.8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 53.5 g
  • Protein: 23.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 37.2 mg