Not only have the past few days brought the beginning of a new year, but they've also marked the debut of two never-before-seen options to choose from at Panera Bread.
This week, the bakery-café chain announced the launch of two brand-new Sourdough Melts: a Bacon Avocado Melt and Southwest Chicken Melt. While each sandwich features its own unique fillings, both use Panera's classic County Rustic Sourdough as their bread base.
The Bacon Avocado Melt comes with Applewood-smoked bacon, fresh avocado, smoked gouda, everything bagel seasoning, and chipotle aioli. Meanwhile, the Southwest Chicken Melt features smoked, pulled chicken, smoked gouda, red onion, cilantro, and chipotle aioli.
Like all the other sandwiches on the Panera menu, both new Sourdough Melts can be ordered on their own or paired with other menu items as part of the chain's You Pick Two meals. Panera is charging $9.79 for full-sized Sourdough Melts and $6.79 for half-sizes at a location near me in central New Jersey right now. But as always, prices may vary by location.
The two Sourdough Melts are the first new items to debut at the chain in 2024 and represent rare additions to the Panera menu. In fact, only a limited number of new and returning items hit Panera's menu throughout all of last year.
Panera kicked off 2023 by debuting a new collection of Toasted Baguette sandwiches last January. The line initially only featured three options—a Green Goddess Caprese Melt, Pepperoni Mozzarella Melt, and Smoky Buffalo Chicken Melt.
The chain expanded the line in June with a new Black Forest Ham & Gouda Melt, which was the first Panera menu item to feature ham in years. The same day that Panera launched the Black Forest Ham & Gouda Melt, it also started offering a new Deli Ham sandwich made with the same ham, emerald greens, sliced tomatoes, red onions, and country mustard on Country Rustic Sourdough.
Panera expanded the Toasted Baguette line again in October 2023 with three extra-large Stacked Toasted Baguettes loaded with smoked pulled chicken and other accoutrements: a Chicken & Pepperoni Mozzarella Melt, Chicken Green Goddess Caprese Melt, and Chicken Cordon Bleu Melt.
The only other items that hit the Panera menu in 2023 were the new Southwest Caesar Salad with Chicken and the returning Strawberry Poppyseed Salad, both of which debuted in March. The Southwest Caesar Salad can still be purchased now, but the Strawberry Poppyseed Salad—a seasonal item—is not currently available.