Chipotle Grilled Chicken with Avocado Sandwich

We were, until recently, a family of non-grillers. While other Americans are happily firing away during the hot summer, filling up their neighborhoods with juicy aromas, we would tend to stay inside and think of what we could make for dinner that didn’t use the stove or oven. The problem is that Sacramento summers start early and go on forever, and cold food just gets tiring after a month or two. Which is why I brought home a grill a few weeks ago. Today’s grill experiment was this chipotle grilled chicken with Monterey Jack cheese and avocados on hamburger buns. I loved it, as did my guinea pig recipe testers Molly and David. By the way, I know there are probably some mayo haters out there. I tried it without mayo, and it was too dry. If you don’t like mayo, then mash up the avocados into a guacamole. You need the creaminess of either the avocado or the mayo to balance the spiciness of the chile and the roughness of the grilled bun.

Chipotle Grilled Chicken with Avocado Sandwich Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbps olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder (less or more depending on how much heat you want)
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2 breast halves)
  • 4 small slices of Monterey Jack cheese
  • 4 sets of hamburger buns
  • 1 avocado, peeled, seeded and sliced
  • Iceberg or lettuce of preference
  • Mayonnaise

Method

1 In a shallow bowl, stir together the olive oil, lime juice, and chipotle chile powder.

2 Place the chicken breasts between two sheets of wax paper. Use a meat pounder to pound the breasts to an even thickness of about 1/2 inch. Cut off excess fat. If you are starting with 2 half-pound chicken breast halves, cut each one in half so that you have 4 pieces (to better fit the buns). Place the chicken breasts in the marinade, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap. Let marinate for at least 15 minutes, preferably an hour.

3 Heat your grill on high heat if you are using a gas grill, or prepare coals for direct heat if you are using charcoal. You can also use a cast-iron grill pan on your stove if you do not have a grill. Grill the chicken pieces a couple minutes on each side, until cooked through. Once you have cooked the chicken pieces on one side and flipped them, add a slice of cheese to the chicken. Cover the grill for half a minute to melt the cheese. Toast the buns on the grill as well.

4 Assemble the sandwiches - bun bottom, chicken with melted cheese, avocado and lettuce, mayonnaise on the top bun.

43 Comments

  1. lydia

    Do you marinate at room temperature or in the refrigerator?

  2. teebopop

    The inside looks good … but, I want to know what type of bun that is. Whole Wheat? And crusty?

    Is the bun a type you can buy in a regular grocery store or a specialty shop (bakery)?

    Thanks.

  3. ksklein

    Wow. Looks delicious!

  4. Kaya

    The chicken marinade sounds really good. I tend to like good old fashioned ketchup on grilled chicken. Not sure how it would work with the marinade, but I’d probably have to take the avacadoes off. Not a mayonnaise fan.

  5. Michael

    I love this recipe, I make a similar one myself. I like to use canned chipotle peppers (split, seeds scraped out and minced) instead of powder. I also use a pinch of cumin in the marinade. If you are feeling a little crazy, whisk some honey in there as well…gives it a nice carmelization and that touch of sweetness :)

  6. Mary

    This recipe looks delicious. The bun looks perfect, is it something special or just a grocery store brand?

  7. Gary in Massena

    Congrats on your grill purchase and welcome to the world of outdoor cooking!

    Good looking recipe. I do something similar, but use a dry rub instead of a marinade. It is my quicky dinner when I don’t have time (or the inclination) for anything else.

    What I usually top with is chipotle mayo. I simply mix some mayo with Tabasco Chipotle sauce. Mo Hotta, Mo Betta!

  8. dew

    This looks so good! I’m going to try it soon. Thank you.

  9. Abby

    Oh, my. That looks really great! This Southerner loves mayo, and avocadoes are a true gift from God … Fabulous!

  10. C

    Looks fantastic, and I agree that the bun looks perfect. I’m not a mayo fan, but I think Gary has a great suggestion. I find that a flavored mayo can take away the “ugh” factor for those of us who don’t like mayo.

    I also like to use salsa as a sandwich topper, and I think it would go well with this sandwich. For those who like heat, Desert Pepper Salsa Diablo is by far the best salsa-in-a-jar that I have found (except for farmers markets in VT in the summer, mmm). It packs quite a punch!

  11. Jamie

    Thank you for posting this recipe. It looks easy and very tasty. I am very excited to make this tonight. All we’ve been doing is grilling and trying to find mexican-style food to make, so this is perfect!

    Elise, do you have a grilled corn recipe where you slather on mayo and cayenne and roll it in cotija cheese? I’m not sure what Mexicans call this style of corn, but I was hoping you had a recipe or something.

  12. Kalyn

    Very fun to see that you are going to become a grilling family (or so I predict.) Look forward to seeing what you are cooking on the grill.

  13. speltbaker

    i am too familliar with sacramento summers, having lived through them for many years of my life. even standing in front of the grill is too hot for me! next time you bring home a new cooking toy, think about a solar cooker. they can be purchased or made (great way to recycle some cardboard), the sun costs nothing, the kitchen stays cool, and they are SO MUCH FUN to cook with! In sacramento, you can use it for an extended season as well – there is sun so many days a year. think abut a whole new way to experiment OUT of the kitchen. there is even a solar cooking group that is based somewhere in sac… check it out!

  14. Charlotte

    That looks like Most Excellent summer food. The chicken and avocado combo *is* first rate.

    Have fun exploring the grill! Grilled burgers, with a side of corn on the cob (which you can do on the grill too) and sliced fresh tomatoes says “summer in the Valley” to me.

    (N.B. if you have a crockpot, it doesn’t heat up the kitchen.)

  15. Denise

    My mouth is watering already! YUM Elise! Another Winner!!! Can’t wait to try it!

    p.s. Mayo & Avocado are a fantastic combo that I’ve always liked on sandwiches.

  16. Madeline Miller

    I think that burger is sticking its tongue out at me!

  17. Amy

    Mmm that looks fantastic! I think I’ll mix in some adobo sauce into the mayo for some smokey mayo.

  18. Mar

    Where do you find chipotle powder? I haven’t seen it before, or maybe because I haven’t been looking.

    I think I’ll probably be trying it for dinner tomorrow though since my stove doesn’t work and the weather should be clear. Thanks!

  19. Thomas

    One word for this: Yummy!

  20. Deborah Dowd

    This sounds and looks delicious… and great for your first foray into grilling! But I had no idea there were any people who did not like mayo (sacrilege!) or avocado. What a shame!

  21. Rosalind

    About mayo: It’s not that we “hate” mayo, it’s the fact that mayo hates us! For some reason our gall bladders will not allow us to eonsume over 1/2 teaspoonful of any brand of mayo.

  22. Mike B

    Chipotle Powder can be hard to locate, but one chain that I know has it is Cost Plus Market. I use it alot, it is especially good mixed with ketchup for a spicy burger.

  23. jonathan

    This is for Jamie, looking for the Mexican-style grilled corn-on-the-cob recipe. It’s called “Elote”, and it’s very good. This one doesn’t call for cayenne, but who says you can’t add it? I’ve been on a Mexican kick lately also. Here’s the link to the recipe http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Mexican-Corn-on-the-Cob-Elote/Detail.aspx

    Yup. It’s good….:)

  24. Scott D.

    Mar, I found chipotle powder at World Market, in their “cheap spices” (packaged in plastic bags) section.

  25. Linda in the Evergreen State

    Hi Elise,

    You can send some of that hot sunshine up here okay? Congraulations on your new grill! Your grilled chicken sandwich is easy and tasty! I love spicy food. This year I replaced our gas grill that we well used for 6 years. The grate had been replaced several times, the burner unit was dying.
    Another alternative to a plain bun is a burger made with an English Muffin but don’t count the calories is to
    Toast the muffin on grill or in a toaster and cook the meat patty to desired doneness then
    Top the cooked meat patty while on the grill with the following ingredients in order to below.
    1 slice of onion
    1 slice of tomato
    1 slice of cooked bacon cut in half
    1 slice of Swiss cheese- let the cheese melt a bit
    Remove from grill and place between the muffin

    Linda in Washington State

  26. Lora

    This is so delicious! Yummy to the max! It is also good without the bun at all – and it smells great, too! Just the right level of spicy, too.

  27. Dan

    You can add a little (maybe a Tbsp) of tequila to the marinade to make a chipotle magarita chicken, I’ve made such a thing before, and the tequila gives it another dimension of flavor (and then you have an excuse to have magaritas while you grill). You can also add a little ancho chile powder to turn up the heat.

  28. Elise

    Hi Lydia – Great question! If you are only marinating a few minutes then I would probably do it at room temp. If half an hour or longer, I would probably put the chicken in the fridge.

    Hi Teebopop – These are just regular hamburger buns that we get from the grocery store. Not whole wheat, not particularly crusty. Though they do get a bit crusty once they’ve been toasted on the grill.

    Hi Michael – Love the idea of the honey. I too would use the canned chipotle chiles if I happened to have some around and was making a big batch. The good thing about the powder is that if you are only grilling one chicken breast, you don’t have to open a whole can of chiles.

    Hi Gary – I love that Tabasco chipotle sauce. Best invention ever.

    Hi Speltbaker – great reminder on the solar cookers. I agree, they are ideal for Sacramento summers.

    Hi Jonathan – thanks for the link about Elote, looks great! I love Cotija cheese.

    Hi Jeff – When it is 115°F outside and your AC is running full blast and it is still 85°F inside, you definitely don’t want to use the stove. We had that weather for a couple of weeks last summer. Yikes!

    Hi Linda -love the burger muffin idea, thanks!

    Dan – Doh! Now why didn’t I think of that? Adding tequila to the marinade. Perfect.

  29. Kaya

    Also for Jamie, your recipe sounded so interesting I had to look it up. Wow! Thanks for turning me on to something very new (to me).

    http://www.chow.com/recipes/10922

  30. dksbook

    Great picture Elise! Glad to see another griller born, too.

    Re: the mayo. Try putting a little of that lime and chipotle in the mayo. Here in San Antonio, we can buy Knorr chipotle cubes, like bouillon cubes. Can you get those? I squeeze some fresh lime juice on a cube, let it set a minute, then mash it up and put it in a 1/4 C mayo. Yum.

    Re: the Elote (grilled corn) recipe. It calls for cotija cheese, but if you live in an area that doesn’t have it readily available, you can substitute well-crumbled feta. They are very similar, so much so that Mexican restaurants here in San Antonio will make the substitution readily.

    Happy summer y’all.

  31. Jane O'Connor

    Hi,

    We had the chipolte chicken sandwiches for a meal tonight. We found it not flavorful enough so next time I will try the suggestions from the other commentators. One thing I wonder about – I could only find Chipolte Chile Pepper at the store. Is that the same you refer to as Chipolte Powder? If not, that could explain the lack of flavor we experienced. [I did marinate for an hour in the fridge.]

  32. Naim

    I made this last night with the slight variation of using canned chipotle peppers as well as adding cilantro to the coating. Too lazy to go to the grill, we simply used a lightly oiled pan on medium high heat to cook the chicken till it was just slightly blackened. It was phenomenal. I can also testify that (homemade) guacamole also works fine if you don’t have avocado available.

  33. Warrick

    Wow!!!

    I just made this for Sunday Dinner and it is simply “Smack your Mother Good”!!!

    Phenomenal, simply magnificent.

    Very easy to do.

    I extended it by putting sliced Vidalia Onions and lettuce on the bun and it simply rocked.

    I really hit the chipotle and laid a dollop of the Perfect Guacamole (its also on this site) on top and the two flavors (i.e. super spicy Chipotle Chicken and the cool Guacomole) simply fell into each other. Hey – don’t be lazy and skip the toasted bun that crunchyness is a very significant element to the texture of the sandwich.

    Whoever recommended this dish – good call!!!!!

    Warrick

  34. Lauren

    Served it to my fiance for an early dinner- thoroughly enjoyed! The marinade was delicious. As for rolls, we bought individual rolls from the deli instead of a packet, and the cehddar jalepeno complimented it well. Thanks for the recipe!

  35. Erin

    This was fantastic. I made it last night. Though I too used canned chipotles in adobo in the marinade instead of chipotle powder. When I open a can, I use what I want then freeze the rest in a zip bag. Also, I chopped up the avocado and mixed with lime juice. This made the avocado get all creamy and we didn’t need the mayo. Super recipe, thanks.

  36. Warrick Lacey

    Finding ground chipotle – at least in Ohio – is tough.

    Skip trying to buy it and buy the dried chiles and grind them yourself. A food processer works just great (be sure to clean it well afterwards) or if you’re really serious, get a mortar and pestal and mash your own.

  37. Allison

    I had a similar sandwich from a bakery/lunch place a couple of weeks ago. It was on bakery bread, minus the cheese and plus slices of jicama — delicious!

  38. Stacia

    I made this tonight and it was fantastic! We found ground chipotle powder (McCormick) in the spice aisle, and I’ve already got 2 more recipes I plan to use it with.

    We did add tomato to the sandwiches, but we’re big tomato fans, and put it on anything. This is definitely going in our sandwich recipe rotation.

  39. Maurice

    For those of you who read this, and are true non-grillers, I’d say get a Forman grill. The boxer made a pretty decent piece of equipment. They have a variety, so choose your options.

    As for the sandwich, I make one that’s pretty similar. I think the only difference is that I use deli meat, but when I get fancy I use spicy chicken. I’m a health nut as well, so keep that in mind. I start but de-skinning the avocado, and heat in the microwave for about 2 min of medium heat. Then i spread it out, this replaces the mayo, and if it is still too dry add some cream cheese or goat cheese, if you like (i avoid mayo at all costs). Add about 2 tablespoon cheese per hand sized avocado, then reheat. If you choose the deli route vs. the chicken add the chile powder to the guac.

    As for the cheese, you can use the jack, but sharp cheddar goes very well with avocado and chicken. As for the bread, choose what you like, toasted or grilled.

    Spread the guac on the bread, one side is fine. Add the chicken or deli slices, place about 5 large leaves of spinach on the sandwich instead of lettuce, it has more vitamins and more flavor, with a little more moisture. Stick your cheese of choice on, with or without a couple slices of tomato and you have a pretty fast healthy sandwich. Also this recipe didn’t use oil, 1 tablespoon of olive oil has about 120 Cal, not all the oil in the recipe is used, but think about it, that’s a lot.

  40. Linda

    I was looking for something a little different from the blackened chicken sandwich I usually make, and this was perfect. I threw in the 1 T of tequila someone suggested and doubled the chipotle so it would be hot enough for us, and the flavors blended well. I forgot to put the cheese on, and my family all agreed we didn’t miss the cheese at all; in fact we thought the cheese would overwhelm the other flavors.

  41. Jennifer Ford

    I brought this to a BBQ last night and it was delicious! I’ll be bookmarking this one for sure…

  42. Nancy

    Maybe you can try a little of Russian Dresssing and it well give you a great taste instead of mayo.

  43. Ryan Tipton

    Made it last night and it was a hit! Also made some homemade mayo for the first time with grilled onion in it. Wow was it tasty with the chili powder and lime! Thanks for the recipe Elise!

Post a comment

Your comment may need to be approved before it will appear on the site. Thanks for waiting. First time commenting? Please review the Comment Policy.

Some HTML is OK. URLs are automatically converted to links. Line breaks are automatically converted to paragraphs. The following HTML tags are allowed: a, abbr, acronym, b, blockquote, cite, code, del, em, i, q, strike, strong