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Published July 21, 2023. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
This tasty diner-style Chicken Melt Recipe is loaded with marinated chicken, balsamic onions, cheese, and sun-dried tomato mayo, on toasty bread. My family is obsessed with this sandwich and constantly asks me to make it. It’s that good.
Chicken melt is a sandwich cooked on a griddle or in a cast-iron skillet consisting of chicken, cheese, toppings, and sauce on thick sliced white bread. There can be many variations to this sandwich depending on where in the US you are eating it. This chicken melt recipe is a sandwich I served at a restaurant that I worked at over 20 years ago. We sold an incredible amount of these sandwiches every day, all day.
This is a typical diner-style melt where the meat can be interchanged with a hamburger or turkey patty as well. You can certainly get creative with the toppings and sauce, but the flavor profiles, as is, perfectly complement one another. While there are several components to this sandwich, it is well worth your time and will be a crowd-pleaser.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Chicken – You must make my Italian marinated chicken breast recipe for this. However, If you do not have that kind of time, my Perfectly cooked chicken breast recipe will work.
- Bread – I prefer to use a good thick sliced white bread recipe.
- Mayonnaise – You must make my Sun-Dried Tomato Mayonnaise for this chicken melt.
- Cheese – Shredded or sliced mozzarella will work for this.
- Bacon – Regular-cut crisp cooked bacon is what you’ll need.
- Ham – You can use sliced deli-ham for this or any leftover glazed ham you need to use up.
- Onions – My balsamic onions will take this sandwich to the next level.
- Butter – I always use unsalted butter in my cooking and baking to control the salt content instead of a butter company.
How to Make a Chicken Melt
Marinate the chicken for 12 to 48 hours in the Italian Marinade.
Cook the bacon until crisp and set it to the side.
Make the sun-dried tomato mayonnaise and keep it covered and cool until it is ready to be used.
Heat a giant frying pan over medium-high heat and add in the chicken breasts. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until golden brown. Adjust the heat and turn it down if you feel the chicken is browning too quickly.
Flip the chicken over and cook for a further 5 to 7 minutes or until browned on both sides and cooked throughout.
Rest for 2 to 3 minutes on a cutting board before thinly slicing it on a bias.
Heat a griddle or large cast-iron pan to medium heat and add the unsalted butter just to coat the bottom of the pan once it’s melted.
Add the slices of bread to the pan or griddle and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or just until browned. Flip over the bread and add cheese to each slice. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until the cheese starts to melt.
Spread the sun-dried tomato mayonnaise on top of the cheese on each slice of toasted bread.
Layer on one slice of the browned bread with cheese as followed: bacon, ham, sliced chicken breasts, and balsamic onions.
Place on the other slice of toasted cheese melted bread and cook the sandwich for another 1 to 2 minutes per side until it is golden brown all around. You may need to add another 1 to 2 teaspoons of unsalted butter to the pan or griddle to ensure the sandwich is well-browned.
Slice and serve the chicken melt with an additional side of sun-dried tomato mayo.
Make-Ahead and Storage
Make-Ahead: This chicken melt is meant to be eaten as soon as it’s done cooking. If you keep the mayonnaise, cooked bacon, ham, chicken, cheese, and balsamic onions separate, you can make this up to 2 days ahead of time.
How to Store: It’s best to cover the mayonnaise, cooked bacon, ham, chicken, cheese, and balsamic onions separately. If it’s already assembled, cover it with plastic and keep it in the refrigerator for 3 days. This recipe will not freeze well.
How to Reheat: Place the desired number of chicken melts on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper and bake them in the oven at 350° for 8 to 10 minutes or until warm. If you kept the main components of the dish separate, follow the procedures of the recipe for reheating.
Chef Notes + Tips
- Texas toast is a great bread to use if you are not making it yourself.
- Feel free to use a non-stick skillet for making the sandwich as well.
- You may need to move the bread a little in the pan or the griddle to brown it evenly.
- If you want to keep this recipe very simple, just cook the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, then just use regular mayonnaise.
More Chicken Recipes
Chicken Melt Recipe
- Heat a griddle or large cast-iron pan to medium heat and add 1 teaspoon of unsalted butter just to coat the bottom of the pan once it’s melted.
- Add 2 slices of bread to the pan or griddle and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or just until browned.
- Before flipping over the bread, add 1 more teaspoon of butter, then flip over the bread onto the melted butter and add a ¼ cup of cheese to each slice. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until the cheese starts to melt.
- Spread 1 to 2 tablespoons of the sun-dried tomato mayonnaise on the top of each slice of bread with melted cheese.
- Layer on one slice of the browned bread with cheese with mayo as follows: bacon, sliced chicken breasts, ham, and balsamic onions.
- Next, place on the other slice of toasted cheese melted bread.
- Cook the sandwich for another 1 to 2 minutes per side until it is golden brown all around. You may need to add another 1 to 2 teaspoons of unsalted butter to the pan or griddle to ensure the sandwich is well-browned.
- Slice and serve the chicken melt with an additional side of sun-dried tomato mayo.