I Tried Panera’s 2 New Chicken Sandwiches, And The Spicy Option Brings The Heat
The pickle chips make the sandwich, TBH.
You may have thought the chicken sandwich wars were over, but Panera is set to launch some new offerings that might just shake things up. Starting March 30, you can score not one, but two (!) brand new chicken sandwiches from Panera, with a twist. The sandwiches come in two options — Signature Take or Spicy Take — but they’re not breaded like the chicken sandwich you might be used to. This review of Panera’s new Chef’s Chicken Sandwiches will fill you in on all the details, from the garlic aioli to the crispy parmesan pieces and pickle chips.
Panera announced the new Chef’s Chicken Sandwiches on March 22. Both the Spicy and Signature Takes start with chicken breast filets that are marinated in a savory chicken broth, seasoned with Panera’s signature spice blend, and seared and cooked with a sous-vide method (again, no breading here). On the Signature Take, there are crispy parmesan chips and lettuce for added texture. Meanwhile, the Spicy Take gets its name from the spicy pickle chips, which are fried pickle chips that are covered in hot spices, and Panera’s Spicy Buffalo Sauce made with red cayenne pepper, roasted garlic, sweet honey, and molasses. Each sandwich is served on a buttery brioche bun and is topped with a layer of Panera’s new garlic aioli sauce.
The Spicy Take and Signature Take Chef’s Chicken Sandwiches are permanent additions to the Panera menu, and they’ll be available nationwide in-stores, online, and on the Panera app beginning March 30. Pricing starts at $10.99 per sandwich and may vary by location.
Before you change your go-to Panera order, you probably want to know if the new chicken sandwiches are worth it. I got an early taste to give you a preview of what’s to come.
Panera Chef’s Chicken Sandwich Signature Take Review:
I could immediately smell the blend of spices and seasonings, but I also got a whiff of that sweet bakery smell from the brioche bun. The biggest takeaway on my first bite was how the sear and sous-vide method makes the chicken taste light and tender, and the lettuce adds a refreshing touch.
As crunchy and flavorful as the parmesan crisps are on their own, they get lost in the mix of the sandwich. My favorite part of the Signature Take is the garlic aioli. Even though it has a subtle flavor, it adds a little something.
Panera Chef’s Chicken Sandwich Spicy Take Review
While I could still smell the sweetness of the bun, the Spicy Take’s strongest scents come from the pickle chips and the Spicy Buffalo Sauce. At first, the Spicy Take Chicken Sandwich tastes similar to the Signature Take, but I appreciate how the seasonings don’t overpower the Spicy Buffalo Sauce, which packs its own red cayenne pepper punch.
Once I got my first taste of the pickle chips, their spicy-sour blend and crunchy texture really came through. (They are really spicy, y’all.) I tried to get a taste of the garlic aioli, but it doesn’t come through as much as it does in the Signature Take, probably because there are already so many other flavors at play.
As a chicken sandwich connoisseur, I can say the new chicken sandwiches from Panera definitely pass the vibe check. They’re not heavy like a fried chicken sandwich, but they still have all the flavor and crunch as well as unique touches like the spicy pickle chips and garlic aioli.
Both Panera Chef’s Chicken Sandwiches launch March 30, and you can get a free drink when you buy one and use the the code “FREEDRINK” from April 4 to April 10 online or on the app. Believe me — you’ll need it with the Spicy Take.
Before you run out to your local Panera to do a taste test of your own, make sure to check the CDC guidelines for the most updated health rules.