Stouffer’s Southwest-Style Chicken Panini Review

Stouffer's Southwest-Style Chicken Panini

When you think of frozen food, paninis are probably one of the last things to come to mind. A panini seems like it was designed from the ground up to create problems for the freezing process. Of course, clever companies like Lean Cuisine and Stouffer’s are working hard to create paninis that survive the microwave without coming out as soggy messes. Stouffer’s Southwest-Style Chicken Panini is a bold attempt at a microwavable panini, but it’s certainly not perfect.

This panini comes with a fold-out box and a crisping tray, both of which are recommended for heating in the microwave. The box folds out easily enough and the crisping tray is a separate item that can be set on top the box, so this first step is actually pretty easy.

Stouffer's Southwest-Style Chicken Panini

Simply stick this whole contraption into the microwave and heat for two minutes and 45 seconds. After it’s done cooking, you’ll have two halves of panini waiting for you.

Stouffer's Southwest-Style Chicken Panini

These panini halves tend to stick to the crisping tray, and we had to work ours apart with a fork before they came free. Once they’re detached from the crisping tray, simply stick them together and you’ve got yourself  a panini.

We found the cooking time to actually be a little short. While this is convenient, the sandwich doesn’t warm as much as it should. We’d recommend bumping that cook time to three minutes, or even three minutes and 15 seconds. Of course, this creates the risk of additional sogginess.

Stouffer's Southwest-Style Chicken Panini

And sogginess is a bit of a factor here. While the crisping tray does work to mitigate this, the bread still does come out with the consistency of microwaved toast. It’s chewie, and it has a ghost of a crisp around the edges that suggest this was crispy at one point but those days are long gone. Plus, the corners will get a little hard as it cools.

If you can forgive the consistency, the flavor is actually spot-on. The chicken tastes fine, but it’s the monterey jack cheese that really completes the picture. It’s melty and it tastes great. There are also a few bacon bits scattered amongst the chicken and cheese, but to be honest, we forgot they were even there. They certainly don’t stand out.

This won’t be the most diet-friendly meal you’ve ever eaten, of course. It contains 400 calories (140 from fat) and 700 mg of sodium. While we’ve seen healthier frozen food options, those numbers actually aren’t all that bad compared to some of the guilty pleasure foods we’ve tasted here at Freezer Meal Frenzy.

As we mentioned before, Stouffer’s Southwestern-Style Chicken Panini is certainly not perfect. In fact, we prefer Lean Cuisine’s Chicken Club Panini to this one. That said, this Stouffer’s panini still tastes alright.

If you want to learn more about the nutrition and ingredients in this frozen panini, check out our package scans below.

Stouffer's Southwest-Style Chicken Panini

Stouffer's Southwest-Style Chicken Panini