Jacqui Wedewer/The Daily Meal

Recipe of the Day: Copycat Panera Frontega Chicken Panini

Warning: you'll crave this panini on the daily
Jacqui Wedewer/The Daily Meal

Few restaurants have an entire menu dedicated to comfort foods, but Panera Bread is one of those rare gems that knows what Americans are craving. With sandwich and soup options galore, the place is pure heaven on a day when you just need some carby foods. But what if we told you that you didn't have to venture out of the house to get your Panera fix? That's right. This cheesy, copycat frontega chicken panini can be assembled at home and it tastes just like the real thing. 

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If you've ever tried to recreate your favorite sandwich or salad at home and it was an epic fail, it's because the secret is in the sauce. Nailing the sauce or dressing is one of the easiest ways to replicate your favorite dine-out dishes from your very own kitchen. For this recipe, you'll need chipotle mayo. To make it really shine, skip the storebought stuff and make it from scratch. You'll need one or two chipotle peppers (depending on your spice tolerance) and mayonnaise. Just mix those two ingredients together and you'll already be on the right track for replicating the sandwich. 

The second most important thing to keep in mind is the bread. Two slices of whole wheat, multigrain or plain ol' white bread just won't cut it for a sandwich of this caliber. You'll need to break out the big guns and get a loaf of focaccia. Once you've got your sauce and bread ready to go, the next step is assembly. This sandwich is essentially just a caprese salad with rotisserie chicken. Make sure you're generous with the chicken and load on as much as you can (while making sure your sandwich remains intact). 

Once the sandwich is assembled, place it in your panini press or skillet and cook until the bread's crispy and a little bit of melted cheese is peeking out of the sides. Cut that baby in half and enjoy it with some copycat Panera black bean soup or broccoli cheddar soup. The best part about this recipe is that you're almost guaranteed to have some ingredients leftover, which means you can make this delicious concoction all week long. If you'd rather mix it up though, take a look at more of our best copycat recipes you can make at home

Copycat Panera Frontega Chicken Panini

Ingredients 

  • 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 grocery store rotisserie chicken
  • 1 loaf focaccia bread, cut in half and lengthwise
  • 12-14 basil leaves
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Step 1: Make the chipotle mayo by mixing 1 minced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce with 1 cup mayo. Taste to check spiciness and add a second minced pepper if it isn't spicy enough for your taste.

Step 2: Shred the rotisserie chicken and discard the skin and bones (or save them to make stock!).

Step 3: Build the sandwiches. Spread 1/4 of the chipotle mayo on each slice of focaccia. On the bottom two slices, layer on 6-7 basil leaves, rotisserie chicken, mozzarella, onions and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper before topping with the top slice of bread.

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Step 4: Press the sandwich in a panini press. If you don't have a panini press, place sandwich on a hot skillet over medium-high heat and press down with a stock pot lid or the bottom of a smaller pan. When bread starts to crisp up on the bottom, flip. Grill until bread is crispy and cheese has melted, about 5 minutes on each side.