Wednesday, March 3, 2021

30+ Easy Leftover Chicken Recipes You'll Love

Wondering what to do with leftover cooked chicken? Here are 30+ easy recipes to inspire your next meal. Most are quick enough for weeknight dinners & use simple ingredients. And they work no matter the type of chicken you have (rotisserie, roasted, baked, boiled, pan-fried, grilled, etc.). Save this for when you need some new ideas! 

Wondering what to do with leftover cooked chicken? Here are 30+ easy recipes to inspire your next meal. Most are quick enough for weeknight dinners & use simple ingredients. And they work no matter the type of chicken you have (rotisserie, roasted, baked, boiled, pan-fried, grilled, etc.). Save this for when you need some new ideas!

One of my favorite frugal dishes is a whole, cooked chicken. Whether you roast it yourself, slow cook it in a crock-pot or opt for a rotisserie chicken from the store, it's a good deal. 

Not only do you get a hearty portion of shredded or chopped meat that works in a variety of recipes, but the leftover carcass (bones + skin) makes the best homemade chicken broth

A quart of chicken broth from the store typically costs $3-5 a carton (depending on the region), so you're saving $6-10 every time you repurpose the bones to make your own broth. You like free food, right? I sure do. Especially when I can use it for homemade soups

But, if you eat chicken enough, it's easy to end up in a recipe rut! It happens to all of us.

Even if you're cooking different cuts like breasts, cutlets, tenders, quarters, or thighs, instead of a whole chicken. 

At some point, you'll end up with a pile of leftover cooked chicken in your fridge, wondering how to transform it into a new lunch or dinner that tastes just as good (or even better) than the night before.

Or maybe your chicken got a little overcooked (whoops) and you want to mix it into other foods so it doesn't taste dry. This happens quite often with chicken breasts when they're not pounded flat to cook evenly.

That's where this list comes in to help! I've compiled a variety of creative (yet easy) ways to repurpose your leftover meat into a different meal, plus lots of tasty recipes to try out.

If you only need basic food ideas for using up chicken + what's on hand in your kitchen right now, check out my graphic below for inspiration.

Easy Ideas For Using Leftover Chicken In Recipes

Looking for specific chicken recipes to make? Keep scrolling for loads of good ones to try! No time to read now? Be sure to save it to Pinterest for later.

30+ Easy Recipes & Ideas For Using Up Leftover Cooked Chicken

Chicken Hummus Naan Wraps (Easy Recipe For Using Leftover Chicken)

Chicken Hummus Naan Wraps (pictured above) | Once folks try this, it usually ends up in their meal rotation. Spread some hummus over chewy naan bread, top it with chopped fresh veggies, crumbled cheese, leftover chicken & a homemade vinaigrette. You'll have an easy & healthy dinner in only 15 minutes! Want something with more herbs? Make chicken wraps with hummus & chimichurri sauce instead.

One-Pot Cajun Chicken Alfredo via No. 2 Pencil | Here's a creamy & comforting pasta dish you can fix all in one pot. I need to try this one soon! This one calls for sausage, so don't skip it if you want that extra smoky flavor.

Pesto Chicken Gnocchi Soup via The Kitchen Girl | This super fast soup relies on prepared ingredients like cooked chicken, pesto, spinach & broth to make a yummy meal in only 15 minutes. Keep this one in your back pocket for busy nights.

Skillet Chicken Pot Pie with Drop Biscuits (Easy Recipe For Using Leftover Chicken)

Skillet Chicken Pot Pie with Cheddar Garlic Drop Biscuits (pictured above) | For those times when you're craving chicken pot pie but you want a heartier filling and no crust to mess with. Use store-bought biscuits to save time, but I highly recommend the homemade drop biscuits (they're a Red Lobster copycat).

Cheesy Crustless Chicken Pot Pie Casserole via Healthy Christian Home | If you want no crust on your pot pie with all the creamy goodness, try this gluten-free version with cheese on top instead. 

Buffalo Chicken Flatbread with Bacon via Jersey Girl Cooks | This comes together super quick by using pre-cooked flatbread so all you have to do is pile on your toppings and pop it in the oven. I like to keep a package in my freezer for last-minute meals (to avoid takeout).

Chicken Avocado Sandwiches by Girl Heart Food (Easy Recipe For Using Leftover Chicken)

Chicken Avocado Salad Sandwich via Girl Heart Food (pictured above) | Looking for a spin on the classic chicken salad sandwich? Try this version with creamy avocado & chopped mango instead. It's savory with a bit of sweetness & sure to hit the spot for lunch or dinner.

Chunky Chicken Salad via An Alli Event | This simple chicken salad has a bit of sweetness & crunch from apples & walnuts and can be made ahead of time for meal prep or to feed a crowd. Serve it on croissants or your favorite bread for an easy no-cook meal.

If you're looking for versions of cold chicken salad with slightly different ingredients, try this Greek Chicken Salad from The Pinning Mama (it's so good - I've made it loads of times) and this Cranberry Crunch Chicken Salad (with Greek yogurt & sunflower seeds) from A Toasted Crumb.

Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup (with Tortilla Chips) | This easy soup only takes 15 minutes to prep and 30 minutes to cook on the stovetop. It uses shredded rotisserie chicken to save time and store-bought tortilla chips as a topper so no need to fry up fresh ones for topping. It also freezes well for leftovers. 

Creamy White Chicken Chili (Easy Recipe For Using Leftover Chicken)

Creamy White Chicken Chili (pictured above) | Tired of beef chili? Try this cozy white chicken chili instead. It's packed with hearty ingredients like white beans, carrots, sweet bell pepper & green chiles in a savory broth. Add cubed cream cheese at the end to make it creamy or leave it out to save some calories.

Harvest White Bean Chicken Chili | If you're craving white chicken chili but want something lighter & healthier (i.e. not creamy), try this version packed with late summer & early fall veggies. Pair it with tortilla chips or cornbread for a hearty meal that'll keep you warm.

 Chicken Nachos with Mango Avocado Salsa | Baked nachos are one of my favorite quick & easy dinners when I have leftover protein on hand + some shredded cheese & salsa. This uses homemade mango avocado salsa (so good) but you can easily sub your favorite jar of red or green salsa (fire-roasted is my favorite). 

Cajun Chicken Spaghetti Squash Boats via The Jam Jar Kitchen | This is a low-carb spin on The Pioneer Woman's Cajun Chicken Pasta, so you know it's going to be good! It's saucy, cheesy & packed with flavor, yet is keto since the "noodles" come from vitamin-packed spaghetti squash instead.

Creamy White Chicken Enchiladas by Play Party Plan (Easy Recipe For Using Leftover Cooked Chicken)

Creamy White Chicken Enchiladas via Play Party Plan (pictured above) | If you love cheesy baked enchiladas but have picky eaters in your family, try this version with a creamy white sauce instead. 

If you can handle some spice (the more the merrier for me), fix these Easy Chicken Enchiladas with Red Sauce from Muy Bueno Cookbook. Need a low-carb version? Try these Keto Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas from Eat Beautiful instead.

Easy Chicken Biryani via Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy | Love chicken & rice dishes? Try this easy biryani with onion, ginger, garlic, chili powder, turmeric, garam masala, and basmati rice + a few other simple ingredients.

Mediterranean Salad with Chicken (Easy Recipe Idea For Using Leftover Chicken)

Mediterranean Salad with Chicken (pictured above) | If you're looking for something fresh & healthy but packed with flavor, prep this salad in about 15 minutes with leafy greens, crumbled feta, canned chickpeas, briny olives, fresh chopped veggies, and cooked chicken + a quick homemade red wine vinaigrette.

Buffalo Chicken Cobb Salad | Craving a hearty salad that's packed with protein? Fix this quick & easy buffalo chicken cobb salad. It's layered with crisp lettuce, tender chicken, tangy buffalo sauce, crumbled blue cheese, creamy avocado, juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumber, salty bacon, and more!

Shredded Buffalo Chicken Sandwich via Slow The Cook Down | Make these quick & easy sandwiches when you're craving all the spicy + cool flavors of buffalo wings without all the work.

Greek Spring Soup by What a Girl Eats (Easy Recipe Idea For Leftover Cooked Chicken)

Greek Spring Soup via What a Girl Eats (pictured above) | This is a heartier version of Greek avgolemono soup (chicken soup with egg & lemon) with tender spring-time vegetables added to stretch it further. Fix it when you want something warm, comforting & healthy. Prefer the traditional version? Try this Greek Lemon Chicken Soup from The Mediterranean Dish

Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Peppers via Kinda Healthy Recipes | Make this if you're craving buffalo sandwiches but want a low-carb version with more veggies. You can prep it in about 5 minutes then pop it in the oven to bake.

Chicken Tetrazzini by Aimee Mars (Easy Recipe Idea For Leftover Chicken)

Cheesy Chicken Tetrazzini Casserole via Aimee Mars Living (pictured above) | A cozy baked casserole with chicken, egg noodles, mushroom, white cheddar cheese, and a breadcrumb topping. The creamy sauce comes from a simple mixture of butter, flour, broth, sour cream & milk (no canned cream of soups). Need a gluten-free version? Fix this Easy Gluten-Free Chicken Tetrazzini from Fearless Dining instead. 

10-Minute Gluten-Free Chicken Fried Rice via The Helpful GF | This fast & easy meal is a good way to use up leftover veggies and protein in your fridge. To make it go even faster, use pre-cooked rice (or those parboiled microwavable packages) and frozen mixed veggies.

Easy Baked Chicken Tacos (Recipe Idea For Using Up Leftover Chicken)

Baked Chicken Tacos via Little Sunny Kitchen (pictured above) | Skip the Taco Bell line and make these crispy chicken tacos in under 30 minutes. They're loaded with refried beans, rotisserie chicken, cheese, salsa & all the toppings your taco-loving heart desires. 

Quick Rotisserie Chicken Tacos with Smashed Avocado via Two Healthy Kitchens | These easy tacos use soft corn tortillas & rotisserie chicken as the main ingredients but pile on simple, flavorful toppings like mashed avocado, pickled red onions, salsa verde, and cotija cheese. Yummmm!

Chicken & Bacon Pasta Bake by Super Golden Bakes (Easy Dinner Idea For Leftover Chicken)

Chicken and Bacon Pasta Bake via Supergolden Bakes (pictured above) | A hearty baked casserole packed with chicken, bacon, sweet corn, and pasta all mixed into a creamy cheese sauce. This has "family-friendly" & "potluck dinner" written all over it. 

Leftover Chicken Taco Soup via Mashup Mom | This is one of those cheap & easy soups that everyone loves. Even better, it uses several pantry ingredients (beans, tomatoes, corn, broth, etc,) so you can make it on the fly. Save even more money by mixing together your own homemade taco seasoning from dry spices in your kitchen.

Spicy Chicken Ramen by Went There 8 This (Easy Dinner Recipe Using Leftover Chicken)

Spicy Chicken Ramen via Went Here 8 This (pictured above) | For those times when you have leftover chicken + a package of ramen noodles and want to turn it into a heartier meal in about 20 minutes. Keep the toppings minimal or make it a bit fancier by including cooked eggs (ramen, soft, hard, poached, fried).

Strawberry Chicken Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette | Fix this quick & easy salad when fresh strawberries are in season for a light, yet satisfying lunch or dinner. It's topped with an addicting maple balsamic vinaigrette that you'll want to make on repeat.

Homemade Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup (Recipe Idea Using Leftover Cooked or Rotisserie Chicken)

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup (pictured above) | I like to buy a whole rotisserie chicken just for this recipe, but you can use any shredded or cooked chicken you have on hand. Make this when you want a hearty, stick to your ribs soup to satisfying a comfort food craving.  

Chicken Pasta Bake via Beyond The Chicken Coop | Here's another comforting baked pasta your whole family will love. This one uses penne pasta, canned tomatoes, and a cheese sauce made from oil, flour, & milk, some simple spices, and a good helping of Monterey Jack + Parmesan cheese. Mmmmm. 

Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup with Rice by My Sequined Life (Recipe Idea For Leftover Chicken)

Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup with Rice via My Sequined Life (pictured above) | If you enjoy brothy, tomato-based soups with plenty of flavor from spices like chili powder, cumin & oregano, this recipe is for you. This one has long-grain brown rice & baked tortilla strips to make it heartier. 

Thai Red Curry Chicken Soup via The Food Blog | This cozy & flavor-packed soup comes together quickly by using jarred Thai red curry paste (easy to find in most grocery stores), cooked chicken, fresh ginger + garlic, lime juice, canned coconut milk & rice noodles. Make this to save money on takeout!

Sweet & Spicy Chicken Sliders by Belly Full (Easy Dinner Idea Using Leftover Chicken)

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Sliders via Belly Full (pictured above) | These chicken sliders are made with simple sweet & spicy ingredients piled onto soft Hawaiian rolls for a low effort (but yummy) appetizer, lunch, or dinner.

5-Ingredient Chicken Tortilla Casserole via Mighty Mrs | Here's an easy casserole you can fix with simple ingredients that mimic chicken tortilla soup (although there are no actual tortillas involved). Use par-boiled microwavable rice (or one mixed with beans or other grains) to save time on prep.

Cold Chicken Pasta Salad by Carmy - Run Eat Travel (Easy Recipe For Leftover Cooked Chicken)

Cold Chicken Pasta Salad via Carmy - Run Eat Travel (pictured above) | If you want to use your leftover chicken to meal prep meals for later in the week, fix this pasta salad today and pop it in the fridge for later. I love a good no-cook meal, don't you? Especially once the weather starts to warm up.

Chicken and Cheese Stuffed Poblano Peppers via Butter Your Biscuit | If you enjoy stuffed bell peppers, chile Rellenos, or jalapeno poppers, give these chicken & cheese stuffed poblano peppers a try. This is my favorite chile to use in many recipes. It has a lovely flavor, which is milder than a jalapeno.

Did I miss any of your favorites? Leave a comment below with your go-to meals for using leftover cooked chicken.

Click Here To Save This To Pinterest For Later!

Wondering what to do with leftover cooked chicken? Here are 30+ easy recipes to inspire your next meal. Most are quick enough for weeknight dinners & use simple ingredients. And they work no matter the type of chicken you have (rotisserie, roasted, baked, boiled, pan-fried, grilled, etc.). Save this for when you need some new ideas!

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