With juicy chicken and tangy pickled veggies sandwiched between two slices of baguette, this recipe inspired by Vietnamese bánh mì is sure to take your lunch game from good to great. It’s a medley of flavors that will have your taste buds singing!
Bánh mì is one of my favorite dishes from Vietnamese cuisine. It’s so fresh and flavorful but still hearty and filling! If you’re not lucky enough to have a banh mi restaurant nearby, this recipe is a great substitute. Try it out for lunch with some spring rolls or egg rolls!
Chicken Banh Mi Recipe
Growing up, we were surrounded by a lot of delicious Vietnamese restaurants, so things like phở and bún bò huế were common dinners at our house. (Just thinking of a spicy bowl of bún bò huế makes my mouth water!) My older brother was always taking us to try out local pho spots. I’m so happy I was introduced to such an amazing cuisine! Surprisingly enough, it wasn’t until later on in my life that I tried banh mi for the first time, and holy cow was it a game-changer.
Banh mi sandwiches actually have a pretty interesting history. In the early 1900’s, Vietnam was a French colony, so it only makes sense that there would be Vietnamese dishes with some French influence. Hence, the baguette! Besides the baguette, banh mi is chock full of all of those classic Vietnamese flavors you know and love; tangy pickled veggies, tender, savory meat, and of course some fresh cilantro! Banh mi comes in all different flavors and is made with all kinds of protein, but for my version today I’m using grilled chicken breast! The great thing about making sandwiches at home is that you can customize them however you’d like, so feel free to swap out the chicken for pork, steak, or tofu instead!
Ingredients for Chicken Banh Mi
From juicy chicken breast to pickled veggies, this sandwich is a flavor explosion waiting to happen. And the best part? You can customize it to your heart’s content – extra jalapenos, hold the cilantro, add some sriracha mayo – the possibilities are endless! Check out the recipe card below for the exact measurements I used.
- Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast: It’s tender and juicy when cooked correctly and makes for a great source of protein in your sandwich.
- Garlic Powder: Adds savory, garlicky goodness to the chicken breast. You can also use fresh minced garlic if you prefer!
- Salt and Black Pepper: The salt and pepper work together to enhance the flavor of the chicken. Add to taste!
- Olive Oil: Used for searing the chicken in.
- Yellow Onion: The sweet and tangy flavor of yellow onion pairs perfectly with the savory chicken and gives the sandwich a bit of crunch.
- Italian Bread or Baguette: Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, this is the ideal bread for a banh mi sandwich.
- Mayonnaise: This creamy spread gives the sandwich a bit of richness and tang, adding a delicious layer of flavor.
- Pickled Carrots and Daikon: These tangy and slightly sweet pickled vegetables are a staple in a traditional banh mi sandwich. They add a bit of crunch and a ton of flavor.
- Cucumber: Cucumbers add a delicious texture and also help to balance out the heat of the jalapenos.
- Jalapeno: Adds a delicious kick of heat to the sandwich!
- Cilantro: An essential part of Vietnamese cuisine. This herb adds a fresh and bright flavor to the banh mi sandwich.
How to Make Chicken Banh Mi
All it takes is a few steps of searing your chicken, sautéing your onions, and then piling your delicious toppings on a soft, sliced baguette! I’m sure this easy take on the traditional banh mi sandwich will become one of your new favorite lunch recipes.
- Cook Chicken and Onions: Prepare your chicken by rubbing it with the garlic, salt, and pepper. Then set aside. In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat and sauté your onions until soft and browned. Remove your onions from the skillet and add in your chicken. Then cook for about 8 minutes on each side. The internal temperature should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Slice: Remove the chicken and onions from the skillet and then slice the chicken into about ½ inch thick pieces.
- Cut Baguette, Add Toppings: While your chicken is cooking, slice your loaf lengthwise and open it to prepare it to fill. Spread the mayonnaise onto each side of the loaf, place your cooked and cut chicken inside the bread, then add the sautéed onions on top of the chicken.
- Layer With Veggies and Cilantro: Spread your pickled carrots and daikon over the chicken and onions, and the cucumber and jalapenos on top of the carrots. Lastly add your cilantro and salt and pepper to taste.
- Enjoy: Close the sandwich and then cut in half. Enjoy fresh.
Here are a few more fun ways to switch up your chicken banh mi. From extra sauces to veggies, customize your sandwich to your liking!
- More Spice: Love a bit of heat? Add extra jalapenos or sriracha sauce to your banh mi for a spicy kick.
- Different Veggies: Load up on fresh veggies like lettuce, sliced bell peppers, or even some bean sprouts to make your banh mi more colorful and nutritious.
- Make it Saucy: Swap out the classic mayo for some spicy mayo, hoisin sauce, sweet chili sauce, or even peanut sauce to switch up the flavor profile.
- Add a Fried Egg: For an extra indulgent twist on your banh mi, top your sandwich with a fried egg for an extra protein boost and a delicious runny yolk.
- Toast Your Bread: Toast your bread or baguette before assembling your banh mi for a crunchy and satisfying sandwich.
How Long Will My Sandwich Last?
Banh mi is best served fresh. If you need to, you can wrap your sandwich in plastic wrap and store it in the fridge for a day or two, but keep in mind the bread may become soggy as it sits.
Banh Mi Sandwich
- 1 boneless skinless chicken breast
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- ½ cup thinly sliced yellow onion
- 1 12 inch loaf italian bread or baguette
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
- ½ cup pickled carrots and daikon
- ½ cucumber cut into thin slices
- 1 jalapeno seeded and sliced thin
- ¼ cup cilantro
- Salt and pepper to taste
Prepare your chicken by rubbing it with the garlic, salt, and pepper. Set aside. In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat and saute your onions until soft and browned. Remove your onions from the skillet and add in your chicken and cook for about 8 minutes on each side. The internal temperature should be 165 degrees fahrenheit. Remove the chicken and onions from the skillet and slice the chicken into about ½ inch thick pieces.
While your chicken is cooking. Slice your loaf lengthwise and open it to prepare it to fill. Spread the mayonnaise onto each side of the loaf, place your cooked and cut chicken inside the bread, add the sauteed onions on top of the chicken.
Spread your pickled carrots and daikon over the chicken and onions, and the cucumber and jalapenos on top of the carrots. Lastly add your cilantro and salt and pepper to taste.
Close the sandwich and cut in half. Enjoy fresh.