This zesty, Southwest chicken sandwich is bursting with lots of bold flavor, perfect for when you're craving a sandwich with some kick. Chicken breast cutlets are marinated in lime and a touch of tequila before a trip to the grill pan, then layered with cheddar cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato and red onions, and doused in my jalapeno ranch sauce!
A Chicken Sandwich with Southwest Flair
Creating delicious and colorful sandwiches that I can imagine on the menu of a favorite restaurant are always a fun activity for me.
If I can see a recipe in my mind's eye described on a menu, and that description makes my mouth water, then I know I'm onto something really tasty, just like with this Southwest chicken sandwich recipe.
We're talking chicken breast cutlets marinated in garlic, lime, spices such as cumin and cayenne, plus a a little splash of tequila before being grilled to juicy, smoky perfection.
And then, of course, there are all of the flavorful toppings such as cheddar cheese, juicy slices of tomato, sweet red onions, fresh lettuce, crispy bacon, all of which are generously doused in my mildly spicy jalapeno ranch sauce.
So if just the thought of this scrumptious Southwest chicken sandwich is making your mouth water like it is mine, just imagine taking a big, juicy bite!
My Southwest Chicken Sandwich Recipe with Jalapeno Ranch Sauce
Preparing a truly delectable chicken sandwich recipe from scratch is an absolute treat, and quite easy.
It's really just about layering flavors and adding some little bells and whistles such as a few creative toppings and a zesty sauce to tie everything together!
Marinating chicken breasts imparts lots of added flavor to this sandwich, so I like to use a few ingredients such as garlic, lime zest, lime juice, cumin, cayenne (for kick), plus a drizzle of tequila, all of which pack a flavor punch in a fairly short time.
Then, of course, a mouthwatering sauce to drizzle over everything is a must, so I'm opting for a mildly spicy version of our favorite, ranch dressing, with this jalapeno ranch sauce...
Whirled up with sour cream, buttermilk, garlic, green onions and a couple of slices of fresh jalapeno, the leftovers of this yummy sauce are delicious enough to dip veggies into, or dress a salad with!
Here's a sneak peek at my southwest chicken sandwich recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I marinate my chicken breast cutlets in my marinade ingredients, and allow them to marinate for at least 20 minutes, or even overnight, if prepping ahead.
- Then, using my food processor, I whirl up the ingredients for my zesty jalapeno ranch sauce, and keep that cold until ready to use for my southwest chicken sandwich.
- Next, I grill my chicken breast cutlets until juicy and charred, then top each with a slice of cheddar cheese, and broil for just a few moments until the cheese is melted.
- To assemble my mouthwatering Southwest chicken sandwiches, I spoon over the bottom bun lots of my jalapeno ranch sauce, lay over some romaine lettuce, and then add a cheesy chicken breast over that. I top that with some bacon, red onion and tomato, then spread more jalapeno ranch sauce over the top bun, then cover and enjoy.
Southwest Chicken Sandwich
by Ingrid Beer
This zesty Southwest chicken sandwich is doused with a jalapeno ranch sauce, and layered with bacon, lettuce, tomato and red onion!
Yield: 4 sandwiches
Nutrition Info: 779 calories per sandwich (with 3 tablespoons jalapeno ranch sauce)
Prep Time: 25 minutes (not including marination)
Cook time: 12 minutes
Total time: 37 minutes
Southwest Chicken Sandwich Ingredients:
- 1 ¼ to 1 ½ pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 2 large), cut through length-wise to create 4 slightly thinner cutlets
- Olive or Avocado oil
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
- 1 teaspoon (heaping) lime zest
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon tequila
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 4 slices cheddar cheese
- 4 buns, toasted (I used honey wheat)
- Romaine leaves
- 4 strips crispy-cooked bacon, cut in half to make 8 smaller strips
- Red onion slices
- Tomato slices
Jalapeno Ranch Sauce Ingredients:
- 1 cup sour cream
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon buttermilk
- 1 large garlic clove
- 2 green onions, roughly chopped
- 1 jalapeno, seeds and membrane removed, and roughly chopped
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon granulated onion
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- To begin, gather and prep all of the ingredients beginning with the chicken breasts up to and including the cayenne pepper, in order to marinate your chicken.
- To marinate your chicken breasts, add the 4 chicken cutlets, about 1 tablespoon of the oil, plus the rest of the ingredients up to and including the cayenne pepper to a large bowl, and toss the chicken breasts with the marinade ingredients to coat them well. Allow for the chicken to marinate for at least 20 minutes, or even overnight, if making ahead.
- While the chicken marinates, gather and prep all of your jalapeno ranch sauce ingredients according to the ingredient list to have ready and organized for use.
- To prep you sauce, place all of the ingredients into a food processor, and process until completely smooth and creamy. Pour into a squeeze bottle or spoon into a covered container, and place into the fridge.
- To grill your chicken breasts, place a grill pan over medium-high to high heat, and drizzle in a little oil. Once the oil is hot, add in the chicken breasts and grill for about 3-4 minutes per side, or until golden-brown and cooked through. Set aside for a moment.
- Preheat your broiler.
- Place the grilled chicken breasts onto a small baking sheet, and place a slice of cheese onto each one. Place the chicken under the broiler for a minute or so, just until the cheese is melted.
- To assemble the Southwest chicken sandwiches, drizzle some of the jalapeno ranch sauce on the bottom bun, and place a couple of leaves of romaine. Then, place over a cheese-topped chicken breast, two of the bacon strip halves, some sliced red onion, and tomatoes. Drizzle some sauce onto the top bun, then cover and enjoy. Serve with some extra sauce, if desired.
Tips & Tidbits for my Southwest Chicken Sandwich recipe:
- Larger chicken breasts to create thinner cutlets out of: To keep this sandwich manageable to take a bite out of, I like to use larger chicken breasts that I can then slice in half lengthwise to create thinner cutlets out of. This allows for quicker marination as well as quicker grilling, and makes it easier to take a bite!
- Make your jalapeno ranch as spicy or mild as you like: Because we like a bit of extra kick in our food, I add a full jalapeno to the food processor when preparing this jalapeno ranch sauce. If you're not sure how spicy your jalapeno is, and you're wanting to keep things on the milder side, perhaps start with ¼ to ½ of a jalapeno, then add more as desired for extra kick.
- Turkey bacon in place of pork bacon for smoky flavor: Crispy bacon adds some savoriness and smokiness to this chicken sandwich. If you'd prefer to use a substitute for traditional pork bacon, opt for turkey bacon, which is leaner, yet will yield similar flavor results.
- Gettin' cheesy with this Southwest chicken sandwich: I love a nice, sharp cheddar cheese on this sammy, but you could substitute jalapeno Jack cheese for added kick, traditional Jack cheese, or even smoked gouda or mozzarella cheese.
Cook's Note: This recipe was originally published in 2015, and has been updated with even more love!