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Santa fe chicken sandwich on a wooden table with a black background

This flavorful chicken sandwich brings back a lot of memories for me. I was 9 years old when my little sister was born. I remember going into the hospital room to see her for the first time. My mom was starving and sent us out to get her what she craved…a Santa Fe Chicken Sandwich from Carl’s Jr. My mom, as starved as she was, still let me have a bite. As far as fast food goes, it is a great chicken sandwich. We try to avoid the whole fast food thing though. Making food at home gives us complete control over the ingredients and the quality. This sandwich is totally easy to make at home. It’s full of flavors and has lots of different spicing combinations in it. You’ve got basically a teriyaki chicken combined with a spicy curry mayo, with the southwest flavors of the green chili and pepper jack cheese. It totally works! It’s a great summer grilling alternative to the plain old burger. Give it a try at your next barbecue!

Santa Fe Grilled Chicken Sandwich (Carl's Jr. Copycat)

Close up partial view of a santa fe chicken sandwich on a wooden table with a black background

Chicken Marinade

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic

Mayo Spread

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Chicken Sandwiches

  • 4 hamburger buns
  • 4 slices pepper jack cheese
  • 4 whole green chile peppers from can, patted dry
  • Lettuce
  • Pound out each of the chicken breasts so that they are a fairly even thickness throughout. Marinate the chicken by combining the rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, ground ginger, and crushed garlic in a resealable plastic bag with the chicken breasts. Marinade for 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Preheat a gas grill to medium-high heat.
  • Make the sauce by combining the mayo, paprika, cayenne, curry powder, and salt in a bowl and mixing it up.
  • Grill the chicken for about 5-8 minutes each side. Actual time will depend on the thickness of your meat. The chicken is done when it is firm to the touch. Place the pepper jack slices on each piece of chicken during the last minute or so of cooking so it can melt.
  • Grill the buns face-side down for just a minute or two so that they are toasted. Spread the mayo mixture on the face of each bun. Top with cheese smothered chicken, green chili, and lettuce.

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This looks amazing! Love it!

I am so excited about this recipe! Why? Because it is literally the only fast food sandwich I ever eat – it is delicious! It never occurred to me to make it at home (duh!). Thank you so much!!

It really is the best fast food sandwich isn't it? And to think that making it at home is even better!

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