Dec 4, 2023

Review: Panera - Chicken Cordon Bleu Melt Stacked Toasted Baguette

Side-view of Panera's Chicken Cordon Bleu Melt.

Panera's Chicken Cordon Bleu Melt Stacked Toasted Baguette offers smoked pulled chicken, Black Forest ham, smoked gouda, mixed greens, and country mustard on a toasted French baguette.

The sandwich measures at slightly less than 11 inches and comes with a side (your choice of chips, baguette, or apple). I paid $14.49 for the Chicken Cordon Bleu Melt.

Oddly enough, this sandwich was chosen by readers in November Reader's Choice poll. It's odd because I already reviewed the Black Forest Ham & Gouda Melt, which is basically same sandwich minus the chicken. Regardless, here we are so here we go:

Top-down view of Panera's Chicken Cordon Bleu Melt.

For a sandwich of its size, the Chicken Cordon Bleu Melt didn't have as much heft as I thought it would. I'm not saying it was light, but I seem to remember that a similarly-sized sandwich from say, Jersey Mike's or even Subway, had some more weight to it.

The mixed greens were a green and red leaf lettuce blend. Beyond a little bit of nutritional value, I don't know why they're in the sandwich as they didn't provide any crunch as they wilted from the heat of the sandwich and they didn't add any flavor.

The smoked gouda was nicely melted but wasn't plentiful enough for any sort of cheese pull to be had. The flavor also got lost in the shuffle, which was a shame as I do enjoy smoked gouda.

Cross-section of Panera's Chicken Cordon Bleu Melt.

The ham was a bit too smooth but offered the requisite salty pork flavor. It came in an even, overlapping layer of folded slices. The chicken turned out really well texture-wise. It was tender and juicy with a meaty chew to it. I believe they cook it sous vide somewhere in the process as the texture turned out really well. There was a pretty good amount of chicken in the sandwich and it had a fairly neutral chicken-y flavor. I didn't pick up much in the way of smoky notes.

Opened-up interior of Panera's Chicken Cordon Bleu Melt.

The bread was nicely toasted for a crispy, crackly crust. Inside, it was somewhat dense, moist, and soft with some chew to it. My particular loaf was oddly segmented.

The country mustard seems to be mostly a blend of mayo and brown mustard. For the most part, it provided a creamy, savory mustard flavor and a slightly caramelized sweetness.

For those unfamiliar, chicken cordon bleu ("blue ribbon chicken") is typically a flattened chicken breast layered with ham and cheese, rolled up into a log, and then breaded and fried (or baked). Here, you have chicken, ham, and cheese but no crispy breading. One of the hallmarks of eating chicken cordon blue is when you cut into it and the cheese oozes out. Here, there was nary a cheese pull or ooze to be found. Additionally, the strongest flavor throughout was actually the country mustard so I would say that the chicken cordon bleu aspect of the sandwich was marginal.

Close-up of interior of Panera's Chicken Cordon Bleu Melt.

Overall, Panera's Chicken Cordon Bleu Melt Stacked Toasted Baguette was enjoyable enough as a reasonably meaty, fairly large sandwich with a tasty sauce and crispy bread but didn't quite live up to the name "Chicken Cordon Bleu Melt" due in a large part to not having enough cheese. That being said, fast food "melts" in general tend to whiff on the actual melt aspect so I'm not surprised. For all the smoky elements (namely the ham, chicken, and cheese), the sandwich was pretty light on smoky notes.

Nutritional Info - Chicken Cordon Bleu Melt Stacked Toasted Baguette
Calories - 1060 (from Fat - 290)
Fat - 32g (Saturated Fat - 17g)
Sodium - 3440mg
Carbs - 119g (Sugar - 8g)
Protein - 73g

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