Leftover Chicken Recipes – 40 Recipes to Make with Chicken Leftovers
Got leftover chicken? Don’t toss it! Check out these 5 different ways to repurpose your chicken leftovers and 40 great chicken leftover recipes ideas to turn that leftover chicken into something completely new – and completely delicious!
Leftovers can often be a hot topic. Some people swear by them. Love them. Others can’t stand leftovers.
Most days I love them, but I fall in the camp of can’t stand them when leftovers last more than a day or two beyond the original night.
Leftovers have saved me on many a busy night, whether we have a lot going on after school, have had simply too much fun on a gorgeous summer afternoon to bother with cooking dinner, or when the chef in charge (me!) is under the weather.
What do you do when you’re on day 3 or 4 of leftovers and you are absolutely so over that original meal?
Don’t throw the food away!
The answer – instead of throwing away perfectly good food, repurpose your leftovers! Turn something old into something new.
Chicken is probably our most common dinner theme around here lately.
All of the kids eat it, chicken is easy to make, versatile, and inexpensive. But who wants to eat the same chicken 4 nights in a row?
Here are some great ways to repurpose leftover chicken to help you be more mindful about your leftovers and decrease your food waste.
One thing that is important to note: If you are unable to consume the leftovers within 3-4 days, you will need to freeze it for a later use, so it does not go to waste.
Make Soup or Chili with Leftover Chicken
Chop up leftover roasted chicken, grilled, or baked chicken and make a pot of soup. Since the chicken is already cooked, you’ll just have to stir that in towards the end and cook until it is heated through. If you’ve roasted a whole chicken, don’t forget to use the carcass to make a pot of homemade broth.
Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Chili
We've combined two of our recent dinner time favorites - Chicken Enchiladas and Chili - into this new recipe for Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Chili. Tender chunks of chicken, black beans, diced tomatoes, and corn simmer in a creamy, cheesy, enchilada flavored chili base for a creative take on a bowl of chili.
Chicken and White Bean Chile Verde with Cilantro-Lime Pesto
This White Bean Chicken Chile Verde is easily going to be one of our favorite soup recipes from this season. Served with a side of whole-grain with flax tortilla chips that I found at the grocery store and topped with some diced avocado it was a filling and satisfying meal.
Make a Pasta Dish with Leftover Chicken
Add chicken to your favorite vegetarian pasta dish for a new variation or swap out your favorite Italian sausage in favor of chicken.
Or try this easy pasta formula to create your own pasta dish based on what you’ve got in your fridge: 3-2-1 Pasta
Pasta Alfredo with Broccoli and Mushrooms
It’s not health food, but this Pasta Alfredo with Broccoli and Mushrooms is a lightened version of a favorite and with the added vegetables and whole wheat pasta it feels a little less indulgent. This Alfredo sauce is a tad lightened up thanks to a simple substitution but every bit as rich and creamy. We use whatever pasta we have on hand. The kids prefer penne. We love to add chicken to it!
Butternut Squash Sage Bacon Mac n Cheese
Butternut Squash Sage Bacon Mac n Cheese features penne covered in a creamy, rich sauce of pureed butternut squash, parmesan and sharp white cheddar with bacon and fresh sage. Leftover roasted chicken would taste great added to this for a one dish dinner!
Southwestern Black Bean Pasta
This recipe for Southwestern Black Bean pasta is a great pantry recipe for a 30 minute meatless meal! It features pasta with a smoky tomato sauce and plenty of black beans. This simple vegetarian black bean pasta dish only takes a few minutes to prepare and uses mostly pantry ingredients, but if you'd like you can throw in some leftover chicken!
Jalapeño Bacon Mac n Cheese
Jalapeño Bacon Mac n Cheese is loaded with poblano peppers, jalapeños, pepper jack cheese, and of course lots of bacon!
I love fancy mac and cheese and this Jalapeño Bacon Mac n Cheese is one of my favorites! Add some leftover chicken for an extra mix-in idea. Chicken will go great with this spicy, cheesy sauce.
Green Chile Turkey Tetrazzini
Green Chile Turkey Tetrazzini takes this traditional Thanksgiving turkey leftover recipe to the next level, but it isn't just great for using up leftover turkey - it works with chicken, too! This recipe is loaded with flavor thanks to the addition of green chiles, poblano peppers, and spicy pepper jack cheese. No one will be bored with leftover chicken!
Easy One Skillet Baked Ziti
Easy One Skillet Baked Ziti is the perfect, easy comforting pasta dish - and baking it in a single skillet makes for quick preparation and very minimal clean up. Perfect for a weeknight dinner! Prepare the recipe according to the original instructions, adding in the leftover chicken. Easy One Skillet Baked Ziti becomes a quick cheater version of a chicken parmesan casserole.
Make a Salad with Leftover Chicken
Salads are a great way to use up leftover chicken. I especially love salads for dinner during the summer months when I’m busier with the kids and too busy spending my afternoon with them at the pool. And because it is so hot, who really wants to turn on the stove anyway? Salads also work great for healthy lunch options.
Here are a few recipes that include chicken or would be great with it added, but sometimes it is great to keep things simple and just make a loaded green salad with some chicken on top.
Winter Spinach Chicken Salad Quinoa Bowl with Creamy Almond White Balsamic Dressing
Fuel up and support heart health with this Winter Spinach Chicken Salad Quinoa Bowl with Creamy Almond White Balsamic Dressing. It is the perfect loaded salad to enjoy this time of year with all the seasonal produce added in!
Chicken, Beet, and Arugula Quinoa Bowl with Walnut Sherry Molasses Vinaigrette
Fuel up and support heart health with this Chicken, Beet, and Arugula Quinoa Bowl with Walnut Sherry Molasses Vinaigrette.
This recipe features lots of delicious produce, hearty quinoa, protein rich chicken, salty goat cheese, and nutty heart-healthy walnuts for a filling, satisfying meal.
Pineapple Chicken Quinoa Salad
This salad is easy to make, especially if you have rotisserie or canned chicken on hand. It’s also hearty enough to keep the hunger pangs at bay for the rest of the day. Best of all, it is a really healthy, nutrition packed meal. You could also easily serve it as a side dish with dinner or even a light main course. It combines all the best flavors and textures with crunchy nuts, sweet dried pineapple, and fluffy quinoa, for a unique one dish meal.
Quinoa Taco Salad
Quinoa “Taco” Salad has all the flavor and protein of a regular taco salad, but is so much healthier. It tastes clean and rich with flavor instead of laden with greasy, over-salted chips and low nutrient lettuce. This version uses a mixture of baby spinach and cilantro as a substitute for iceberg lettuce, a common taco salad ingredient. Instead of corn tortilla chips, you have the nutty flavor and slightly crunchy texture of quinoa. Add in some leftover chicken for a fun way to use up leftovers!
Rainbow Winter Quinoa Bowls with Maple Dijon Balsamic Dressing
Rainbow Winter Quinoa Bowls with Maple Dijon Balsamic Dressing features lots of delicious winter produce and hearty Tricolor Quinoa for a filling, satisfying meal to support your healthy eating goals. This recipe is vegetarian as is, but chicken would pair really well with all of the flavors going on.
Layered Ground Chicken Taco Salad in a Jar
This Ground Chicken Taco Salad in a Jar can be customized however you like, including using leftover chicken in place of the ground chicken. Just sprinkle in some extra taco seasoning onto the chicken. The recipe contains ingredient suggestions, but feel free to mix things up if you like different add ins to your salad – or make up something else entirely!
Grilled Mediterranean Vegetable Salad with Tomato Balsamic Vinaigrette
Smokey, grilled vegetables, sweet balsamic vinegar and a little bit of saltiness from the capers, plus an incredible dressing (using the oil from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes adds an extra level of flavor). Add in some leftover chicken and you'll be good to go!
Turn a Side Dish Into a Main Dish with Leftover Chicken
Here are a few side dishes that you can change up a little with the addition of some chicken and turn them into a main dish instead.
Just serve with a green salad or other favorite vegetable if the dish doesn’t include much produce.
Cheesy Spiced Cauliflower Gratin
This Cauliflower Gratin is so easy to prepare and makes a quick, no fuss side dish. I will also admit to eating it for lunch from time to time – it is a good dose of veggies after all!
Cheesy Spiced Cauliflower Gratin has Gruyere, Parmesan, and a hint of Dijon mustard, it is sophisticated enough to add to your dinner menu too.
Butternut Squash and Kale Quinoa Stuffing
Butternut Squash and Kale Quinoa Stuffing is a fantastic vegetarian stuffing recipe loaded with tons of veggies and flavors. This is a popular Thanksgiving side dish, but it is in season all fall and winter, so don't hesitate to add it to your dinner menu. Add some of that leftover chicken for a main dish.
Roasted Poblano Cilantro Quinoa
I like to think of this Roasted Poblano Cilantro Quinoa as a healthier alternative to cilantro rice. It is a great side dish for any Mexican meal but also works well as the base of a main dish. Add chicken and all your favorite taco toppings for a fun Mexican Quinoa Bowl! Try 5 Minute Guacamole, Cilantro Lime Kale Slaw, and Black Bean Salad as topping ideas!
Make Sandwiches, Quesadillas, Tacos, and Wraps with Leftover Chicken
Sandwiches, Quesadillas, Tacos, and Wraps are another great way to use up chicken.
Think outside the box, too, when it comes to flavors. Tacos don’t have to be made with Mexican flavored chicken. Try, for example, these lemon pepper chicken tacos. They are so fresh and light tasting with the lemon pepper chicken and the slaw instead of the usual taco fillings.
Roasted Pork Sandwich with Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms
This recipe calls for Pork, but you can definitely substitute chicken in it with great results for a creative and totally different way to use up chicken leftovers! Crusty sandwich rolls are layered with savory steakhouse mushroom marinated roasted pork loin, caramelized onions and mushrooms, melted provolone cheese, and a hint of baby arugula.
Garlic Chicken, Black Bean, and Spinach Quesadillas
We usually have all of the ingredients on hand for a simple tortilla and cheese quesadilla but I love to make stuff them with all sorts of delicious ingredients, depending on what we have on hand, to round them out into a more nutritious and satisfying meal. This recipe is stuffed with chicken and spinach!
Black Bean, Sweet Potato and Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Black Bean, Sweet Potato and Chicken Lettuce Wraps are perfect for satisfying your next Taco Tuesday craving. Use leftover grilled chicken, roasted chicken, or rotisserie chicken in place of the ground chicken. Just toss it with some Mexican spices for extra flavor!
Balsamic Berry Salad Lettuce Cups
These Balsamic Berry Salad Lettuce Cups are the perfect light salad for warmer months. They would also be great served as a healthy a snack or appetizer. If you’d like a light dinner or lunch, try adding a few strips of grilled chicken to the berry mixture.
Chicken Caesar Salad Lettuce Wraps
This Chicken Caesar Salad Lettuce Wrap could not be easier to whip up, especially when you already have the chicken prepared! Toss the chicken in your favorite Caesar dressing and stuff it in a large romaine lettuce leaf with tomatoes, fresh parmesan, and croutons for crunch!
Grilled Chicken Greek Pita Pockets
Grilled Chicken Greek Pita Pockets take almost no time to prepare, especially if you grill the chicken ahead of time. Then, stuff the chicken along with artichoke hearts, baby spinach, cucumber, kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, and feta cheese. Then, drizzle with your favorite Greek dressing!
Honey Pecan BBQ Sauce Chicken Sliders
Honey Pecan BBQ Sauce Chicken Sliders features a slider bun piled high with chopped BBQ chicken, coleslaw and chopped pecans. This is a great use for rotisserie chicken, because you can toss the chicken with the sauce to give it a huge flavor boost!
More Chicken Recipe Ideas
Still looking for more recipes to make with your chicken leftovers? Check out the Recipe Index or Ingredient Index and browse all of the chicken recipe archives! There are chicken recipes, chicken tenderloin recipes, and chicken thigh recipes that you can use for inspiration when it comes to dealing with leftover chicken.
How do you handle leftovers in your house so you don’t waste perfectly good food?
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