The Ultimate Grilled Chicken Sandwich

By Polly Conner
February 18, 2021

A flavor-packed marinade and the best toppings make this the Ultimate Grilled Chicken Sandwich recipe. After marinating for a few hours, your chicken breasts will pick up loads of flavor. Serve it on a toasted bun with your favorite toppings for a quick weeknight dinner. This is also a great recipe to serve to groups of people!

Grilled chicken sandwich with toppings

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What’s in the Grilled Chicken Sandwich Recipe?

Flavor. Lots of flavor.

OK, to be more specific, here is what you’ll need to make a delicious grilled chicken sandwich.

  • Olive oil
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt & pepper
  • Powdered ginger (Yep, unusual but trust us.)
  • Paprika
  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • Cheddar cheese slices
  • Bacon, cooked and broken in half (try our No Fail Way to Cook Bacon)
  • Whole wheat hamburger buns (or make your own Homemade Hamburger Buns)
  • Optional toppings: BBQ sauce, lettuce, tomato slices, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard
Ingredients for chicken marinade

Tips for Marinating Chicken

We are big fans of marinated chicken. In fact, one of our most popular posts is a round-up of our 7 Best Chicken Marinades. It’s a great way to liven up a pretty bland piece of meat. When marinating chicken, keep in mind a few things.

1. Save a dish by mixing the marinade up in the bag/container.

The less dishes the better, am-I-right? Don’t feel like you have to mix the marinade in a bowl before you add it to the bag. Simply add the chicken and marinade ingredients directly to the bag, seal it, and give it a good shake/massage to mix it up.

Chicken breast marinating

2. Marinate for hours.

Made sure that chicken sits in the marinade for at least 2 hours and up to about 24 hours. But, don’t leave it too much longer than the marinade (thawed, that is). That’s because, if the marinade has an acid in it, the chicken can start to break down and get mushy.

Use our Weekly Menu Plans to help you stay on top of meal prep. You can even freeze chicken in its marinade, which will get more flavor into the meat.

chicken marinade in freezer bags

3. Cut the chicken in half (lengthwise) before marinating

The more surface area the marinade can reach, the better. Since you will slice these chicken breasts in half (making thin chicken cutlets) to make a sandwich anyway, do it before marinating!

When we say slice in half lengthwise, many get confused. Look at the picture below, so you understand what we mean here. Make sure to use a sharp knife! (You can find one of our favorites here.) Place your hand firmly on top of the chicken and slice back and forth lengthwise using a sawing motion. This will create two thin chicken cutlets (and means you don’t have to pound out your chicken to be thinner…a messy endeavor!).

Slicing a chicken breast lengthwise

A Short Video on How to Make The Ultimate Grilled Chicken Sandwich

Grilled Chicken Sandwiches: Great for Groups of People!

Another perk of this recipe is it works well to serve to groups of people. Simply double or triple the recipe, grill or bake a large amount of chicken at once, and serve in a buffet style with the buns and all the toppings. Then, people can customize their own sandwiches.

Ingredients that go on a grilled chicken sandwich

Can I Freeze Grilled Chicken Sandwiches?

Not only are these Grilled Chicken Sandwiches great for a group, but they also work as a make ahead freezer meal or a meal to take to a friend in need. I like to pack mine up as little kit and freeze it all together. That way I have everything I need on a busy night!

Freeze For Later: Follow steps 1-3 in the recipe (do not marinate in refrigerator though). Package the bacon and cheese slices separately in small freezer bags. To make a freezer meal kit, freeze the chicken in marinade alongside the bacon, cheese, and buns.

Prepare From Frozen: You’ll need the sandwich toppings on hand to complete this meal. Thaw the meal kit in the refrigerator using one of our safe thawing methods for chicken. Follow the recipe beginning with Step 4.

Chicken Sandwiches as a meal kit

How to Serve this Grilled Chicken Sandwich Recipe

If you serve as a sandwich, here are some toppings you’ll want to have on hand:

Another idea is to serve this chicken on top of a salad. It would be delicious on a recipe like our Cobb Salad!

Grilled chicken sandwich with toppings

What to Serve with Grilled Chicken Sandwiches

Oh man, I have so many great ideas for you! Here are a few that would go great with this recipe:


Gourmet Grilled Chicken Sandwiches

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6 sandwiches 1x
  • Category: Sandwich
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American


Create the ultimate grilled chicken sandwiches for any weeknight by prepping and freezing all the components ahead of time. This well-seasoned, versatile grilled chicken also works to top pasta or salads.


  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ teaspoons powdered ginger
  • 1 ½ teaspoons paprika
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 6 slices cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 pound bacon, cooked and broken in half (try our No Fail Way to Cook Bacon)
  • 6 whole wheat hamburger buns (or make your own Homemade Hamburger Buns)
  • Optional toppings: BBQ sauce, lettuce, tomato slices, onion slices, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard

*Updated ingredient on 8/3/20: This used to be 1 Tablespoon salt, but we found the marinade to be too salty.


Make It Now:

  1. Make the Marinade: In a gallon-sized freezer bag, combine the oil, vinegar, garlic powder, salt, pepper, ginger and paprika. Gently shake the bag to mix. Then set aside.
  2. Slice the Chicken: (Note: This step is essential for even cooking.) Carefully cut the chicken breasts lengthwise through the center to create two thin halves out of each breast. If needed, pound down the thicker parts to create cutlets that are the same thickness. (See instructions about how to do this in the blog post above.)
  3. Marinate (or Freeze) the Chicken: Place the 6 chicken cutlets in the bag with the marinade, seal the bag, and shake to ensure the breasts are coated. (Freezing instructions begin here.) Set in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours to marinate.
  4. Cook the Chicken: Preheat a grill over medium-high heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade using tongs and add to grill. Discard remaining marinade. Grill for about 4-5 minutes per side or until done. (Chicken is done when juices run clear or the internal temperature is 165° F.)
  5. Assemble the Sandwiches: On top of a bun, place 1 chicken breast, 1 slice cheese, some bacon, and optional toppings.

Freeze For Later: Follow steps 1-3 (do not marinate in refrigerator). Package the bacon and cheese slices separately in small freezer bags (or wrap tightly in plastic wrap and foil). To make a freezer meal kit, freeze the chicken in marinade alongside the bacon, cheese, and buns.

Prepare From Frozen: You’ll need the optional toppings on hand to complete this meal. Thaw the meal kit in the refrigerator. Follow the recipe beginning with Step 4.


We get our meat from ButcherBox*. The bacon is uncured, contains no sugar, and is absolutely delicious! The chicken is organic and curated from small, trusted farms. We highly recommend this service to source healthy meat and have used it for years ourselves. *affiliate link

You can bake the chicken in the oven, if you don’t want to grill it. Bake at 400°F on a rimmed sheet pan or in a casserole dish for about 15 minutes, or until it reaches 165°F internally or there is no more pink inside.

Want More Chicken Marinades?

Here is a 1 page cheat sheet of our 7 best chicken marinade recipes!

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16 replies
  1. Megan says:

    These are so flavorful! Can I marinate and throw this in the InstantPot then shred for sandwiches?

    • Rachel Tiemeyer says:

      Glad you like them, too! Yes, you can marinate and cook in the IP, but I’d suggest discarding the marinade before you do. We tested it in the IP with the marinade and the chicken comes out too greasy. So I would suggest either a) adding 1 cup of chicken broth in there with them, or b) place the chicken on the rack and add 1 cup of water below it. Cook for 7 minutes (until they are done) with quick release.

  2. Monica says:

    Our family has loved this recipe! I usually make it with 4-6 tenderloins and half the marinade recipe. I also found it too salty for our tastes and have reduced the salt to 1 tsp. I am curious because of the difference in size of chicken breasts, how many ounces of chicken breast meat would you suggest to marinate in this recipe?

  3. Janet says:

    This really was delicious and very simple, but I continue to have portion issues with boneless chicken breasts. The ones I buy at my local supermarkets are huge–close to 1 lb each (typically between .85-1.15 lbs), and this gave me approximately 8 oz portions for sandwiches that were both larger and thicker than your pictures–as directed, they would have needed more than 8 minutes to cook, and seriously exceeded the bun size for very generous sandwiches. Cooking larger pieces often requires lower heat so they don’t dry out. I usually consider 3-5 oz to be a single portion, and cut these breasts differently, into 3 portions, still at least 5 oz each–I cut the thin half off, pounded it a bit to be more uniform thickness for cooking, and sliced the remaining thick end in 2 cutlets lengthwise. Had anyone told me 20 years ago that a single breast could serve 3-4, I would have been shocked at such stinginess. The resulting pieces were still pretty thick, even after pounding a little. I wish that weight was part of any recipe for chicken breast when written. Since I purchased 3 boneless breasts, I had one whole marinated breast left over to slice on salads or chop for a casserole or enchiladas another day.

    • Rachel says:

      Thanks for the feedback, Janet. You’re right…chicken breasts can vary tremendously in size. It’s important to either slice in half lengthwise or pound them down to even thickness so they cook evenly and thoroughly. We will update the recipe to be clearer. Thank you!

  4. Alane says:

    Made these tonight…so flavorful! My husband, who never gets excited about chicken, even gave it two thumbs up!

    • Monica says:

      Loved this marinade! My daughter who doesn’t usually like meat much loved this! ?. I made it with chicken tenderloin pieces and also found it very salty, so will cut the salt in half next time. Thanks for a recipe we’ll re-use many times!