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close up of completed carls jr copycat santa fe chicken sandwich.

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

A marinated, grilled chicken breast on a soft whole wheat bun with spicy mayonnaise, American cheese, lettuce and a pepper. Fast food rarely gets better. And the homemade version of this Copycat Carl's Jr. Santa Fe Chicken Sandwich is PERFECTION.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Marinating Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Sandwiches
Cuisine American, Barbecue, BBQ
Servings 4 sandwiches
Calories 376 kcal


Marinated Chicken

  • 2 Chicken Breasts pounded to half inch thickness
  • Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste
  • ½ C Garlic Hot Sauce see notes

Adobo Mayonnaise

To Assemble


  • Pound chicken breasts to ½ inch thickness. Sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Place in a shallow marinating dish and cover with hot sauce. Let marinate at least 1 hour.
  • Cook marinated chicken on grill over medium heat. Cook until internal temperature reaches 165, about 4 minutes per side. Remove from heat and add a slice of American cheese to melt while you prepare other ingredients.
  • Mix together all ingredients for adobo mayonnaise and set aside.
  • Lightly coat inside of burger buns with plain mayonnaise. Place mayo side down in a skillet heated to medium heat. Cook until inside of buns is toasted golden brown.
  • Assemble the sandwiches. On bottom bun, stack a single piece of iceberg lettuce, a green chili (cut open for more surface area), a cooked chicken breast, and a tablespoon of adobo mayonnaise, then top with other half of bun. Enjoy!


  • For a more traditional Carl's Jr. flavor, you can substitute Teriyaki Sauce for the Garlic Hot Sauce.
  • Pound to even thickness. Chicken breasts are notoriously finicky for getting dry on the grill. Give yourself the best odds of a juicy chicken dinner by pounding it out to equal thickness; this will ensure the chicken cooks evenly.
  • Toast the buns. Yes, you'll have to dirty a pan to do it properly, but the minimal effort is 100% worth it.
  • Marinate chicken for at least an hour and up to overnight for optimal flavor.
  • But, don't over-marinate. Marination is great for adding a tasty surface for caramelization, but the acidity can cause proteins to unravel, which results in mushiness. Nobody wants that.


Calories: 376kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 33gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 96mgSodium: 1240mgPotassium: 581mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 612IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 313mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Cheap, Chicken, Easy, Fast, Grilled, Grilling
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