Updated: Dec 9, 2021
I'm calling this a grilled cheese but it's hearty like a panini. It's stocked full of chicken, spinach, spicy flavors and of course, cheese. I prefer to go lighter on the cheese here and heavy on the chicken mixture but then I also find myself dipping it into tomato soup so it could really go both ways!
Is your mouth watering just looking at this stack or is that just me?
By adding greens into my buffalo chicken grilled cheese, not only does it punch up the fiber and sneak in some vegetables but the spinach literally soaks up the buffalo and buttery flavors and keeps the chicken nice and moist. I'm not kidding I wouldn't make the sandwich without it because it really does add so much delicious flavor!
Are you team celery sticks and bleu cheese or team ketchup and fries? Swipe to see!
Do you dip your grilled cheese in ketchup?
Personally I prefer tomato soup with mine and save the ketchup for that side of roasted sweet potatoes but, on more than one occasion in college, ketchup was a decent stand in.
But if you have the time and the means to whip up a bowl of every grilled cheeses' favorite counterpart, I have just the recipe. For a sweet yet savory tomato soup, check out our Pumpkin Tomato Soup! This fun twist on a classic is the perfect companion for dipping a thick buffalo chicken grilled cheese.
#brainsandbalance tip: always make a big batch of soup at a time and store perfectly portioned out leftovers in freezer safe bags.
Label the contents, date and quantity of the freezer bags using a sharpie (ie. Pumpkin Tomato Soup April 1, 2020 1 serving). This way, when that grilled cheese and soup craving hits, you can just reach into the freezer, defrost and enjoy!
Whether you're eating it with soup or without, this grilled cheese is sure to become a staple. I love mixing things up too. Sometimes I will get really crazy and add tomatoes into the chicken mixture once the spinach has wilted, like the stack above. I like the freshness tomatoes bring to the sandwich but they are definitely not necessary as it is seriously amazing either way!
Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese
1 serving | Cook time (for chicken): 20 minutes | Assembly time: 5 minutes
3 oz chicken breast or 1/2 cup shredded rotisserie chicken
1/2 tbsp hot sauce (I use #Franks Red Hot)
1/4 cup water
1 tsp butter
1/4 tsp buffalo seasoning, optional (I use #Franks Red Hot)
1 cup spinach, chopped (fresh or frozen and thawed)
1-2 oz cheese (mozzarella, Colby jack, gruyere, cheddar, can be shredded or block)
2 slices of bread of choice (sourdough, country bread, ciabatta and sprouted bread are some of my classics)
Prepare the Chicken:
Instant pot: if using an instant pot, my preferred method, place chicken, water, buffalo seasoning and hot sauce to the instant pot. Close the lid and cook for 15 minutes. Allow pot to release naturally for an additional 5 minutes. (Note: if starting with frozen chicken, up the cook time to 20 minutes)
Pan or oven: Season the chicken with buffalo seasoning prior to cooking. Grill or bake until cooked through.
Boil: Fill a pot of water with enough water to submerge chicken. Boil chicken in water for 15 minutes or until cooked through.
Rotisserie chicken: no cooking required
Prepare the Filling:
Once your chicken is cooked, remove it and, use two forks or an electric mixer to shred the chicken.
If using an instant pot, return the chicken to the instant pot and turn onto sauté. For all other methods, place chicken in a sauté pan over med-low. Add remaining ingredients (will vary depending on method) to the pot/sauté pan with the exception of the cheese and bread (chicken, hot sauce, buffalo seasoning, butter, chopped spinach and water should all be in the pan/pot now).
Sauté all of the ingredients until the spinach has wilted and the water has evaporated, tossing often.
Assemble the Grilled Cheese:
Place the bottom slice of bread on a cutting board and top with 1/3 cheese mixture.
Top with 1/2 the chicken filling and another 1/3 of the cheese mixture.
Top with remaining chicken filling and remaining cheese mixture.
Secure it with a top slice of bread.
Heat a saute pan or skillet over medium heat.
Spray both the pan and the top slice of bread with nonstick olive oil spray.
Flip the grilled cheese into the pan (olive oil sprayed side down onto the heat). Option to use a lid or light weight to press on the top of the sandwich.
Allow the sandwich to cook until the bottom side is brown and the cheese has begun to melt (2-3 minutes).
Spray the top slice with olive oil spray and flip the sandwich over. Brown the remaining side for another 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is fully melted and the outside is crispy.
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Nutrition facts are based off using 3 oz raw chicken breast, 2 slices of sourdough bread (totally about 27g of Carbohydrates) and 1.5 oz of full fat Colby Jack cheese. Nutrition facts may vary depending on brand, variety and quantity.