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pesto chicken sandwiches

Slow Cooker Pesto Chicken Sandwiches

  • Author: Jessie
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 6 hours
  • Total Time: 6 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 4 Sandwiches 1x
  • Category: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Easy crockpot pesto chicken sandwiches with a few basic ingredients – full of summer flavor!


Scale

Ingredients

FOR THE CHICKEN:

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 23 large breasts)
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto
  • salt and pepper to taste

TO ASSEMBLE THE SANDWICHES:

  • 4 sandwich rolls, halved (we used crusty dinner rolls)
  • 4 Tablespoons mayonnaise or plain Greek yogurt
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 1 large tomato, sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh basil, chopped, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

FOR THE CHICKEN:

  1. Add chicken breasts, pesto, salt and pepper to your slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours.
  2. When chicken has cooked, turn off the slow cooker and shred chicken. We leave the chicken right in the slow cooker and shred with two large forks – as you shred, the chicken will soak up any extra pesto and moisture still in the slow cooker, so don’t worry about draining away any excess liquid.

TO ASSEMBLE THE SANDWICHES:

  1. Toast your sandwich rolls. We like to lay rolls cut-side up on a baking sheet and toast at 375 for 5-6 minutes, but you can also use a toaster oven or toast cut-side down on a lightly oiled cast iron pan over medium heat.
  2. Spread a light layer of plan Greek Yogurt or mayonnaise across each bottom half of your rolls. Top with a scoop of the pesto chicken, a few slices of fresh mozzarella, and a few tomato slices.
  3. Season the tomatoes with a pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper. Top with fresh basil (optional).
  4. Place the top halves of your rolls on the sandwiches and serve immediately.

Notes

Additions and Substitutions. Use boneless, skinless chicken thighs in place of breasts if you like. Keep in mind that you may need to adjust the cooking time for different cuts of chicken. Use pre-sliced or shredded mozzarella in place of fresh, or sub goat cheese, gruyere, white cheddar, or swiss. Add arugula or mixed greens for a larger sandwich. Add a drizzle of balsamic glaze for extra flavor.

In a hurry? Cook chicken on high heat for 3-4 hours.

To store, let shredded chicken cool completely and keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. This chicken freezes well – store in an airtight container in the freezer for 3-4 months without losing flavor. Defrost frozen chicken overnight in the fridge when you’re ready to use it.

Which pesto should I use? A well-balanced, well-seasoned pesto is the key to getting great flavor with this chicken. I use homemade basil, cilantro, pea, garlic scape, or arugula pesto. If the chicken needs a little more flavor than your pesto has on its own, add extra salt, pepper, or a squeeze of lemon juice to brighten it up. For store bought pestos, we tend to like DeLallo or Classico (but most store-bought or generic brands will work just fine!)

To make these chicken sandwiches for a crowd, scale up as needed and use 1/2 cup of pesto per pound of chicken. Save time by laying out ingredients individually for a make-your-own sandwich bar as opposed to assembling everything yourself.

Equipment. We used a 5 quart Crock Pot Slow Cooker in these photos, but the recipe has been tested with various slow cooker brands and sizes. If you have an especially large slow cooker, you may want to double the recipe to prevent the pesto from burning over a long cook time.

Make-Ahead Tips. These sandwiches are great with hot or cold chicken – use the chicken when it’s still hot from the crockpot, or make it in advance and keep it in the fridge to assemble a cold sandwich on the fly!

Keywords: crockpot, slow cooker, summer