What can you do with leftover chicken?
Whether you boiled, baked, or sauteed chicken… or picked up a rotisserie chicken on the way home, do you need ideas for using up what remains? Are there leftover chicken recipes that your family will love?
Each time I make a big pot of homemade chicken stock, I end up with two cooked chickens and no ideas for how to use the boiled chicken meat.
Typically, I remove the cooked chicken from the bones and bag the meat from each chicken in a separate gallon freezer bag.
The bones go into a different freezer bag to save for making homemade chicken stock in the slow cooker.
Then, everything gets dumped into my deep freezer alongside the frozen chicken stock.
A few weeks later, I will plunder through the freezer and find the frozen, cooked chicken only to wonder how I should use it. I can’t just let it sit in the freezer. I am totally against food waste and use grocery list and pantry apps to help me stay aware of what needs to be gobbled up before it’s too far gone.
Great Ideas for Leftover Chicken
Are you staring at a pile of cooked chicken or have leftover chicken after a meal? What can you do to save money (and effort) and avoid food waste?
Make chicken salad
I always look forward to when my mother has a chicken breast leftover because I know that her chicken salad is coming soon.
All you need to do it chop the chicken and toss it into a bowl with sweet pickle relish, chopped celery and maybe some pecans, grapes, and apple. It’s okay to make it different each time. Then, stir it up with a little mayo or plain Greek yogurt until it gets to the consistency you like.
Put the chicken salad in an air-tight container overnight or for several hours to let the flavors mingle and then serve it on croissants or crackers. Amazing!
Have a cooked chicken bag
If you don’t have enough chicken to make another meal or even enough for a casserole, place the chicken in small zip-top freezer bag. Then, place it in a gallon-sized freezer bag labeled “cooked chicken.”
Each time you have some chicken leftover, add it to a new (small) freezer bag and put it in the freezer. Once frozen, add it to your “cooked chicken” bag.
NOTE: You do not want to add warm chicken to frozen chicken as this could invite food poisoning if the frozen chicken changes temperature too often.
Once your bag is full enough, you are ready to make a meal.
Plan a leftover night
Once every three or four days, pull all the leftovers from the refrigerator – including your leftover chicken – as well as any vegetables (that can be served with ranch dip), cheese sticks, crackers, and rolls. Call it a “smorgasbord” and let the family fix their own plates.
These nights are always favorites for my kids as they get to pick and choose what to eat.
Add a green salad
While it might not be a revolutionary idea, topping a green salad with leftover chicken is a simple, healthy, and hearty dinner solution.
We keep various salad toppings in the pantry including fried onions, pepitas, and sliced almonds. I use up any leftover bread to make croutons and dinner is served.
Make a barbecue sandwich
Have barbecue sauce? Shred up your leftover chicken and stir in your favorite barbecue sauce. Done! Put your barbecue chicken on a bun and top with cole slaw.
If your spouse loves barbecue, this is a winner!
Try something new
If you have enough leftover for another meal, find a new recipe and try it. There is a huge list of recipes using leftover chicken below, but here are my favorites:
This recipe is a stunner when you add amazing topping to the bowl. No one will ever know that you used leftover chicken. Plus, you can make this in the slow cooker. Total win!
My go-to recipe when someone isn’t feeling great (emotionally or physically) because this Chicken and Rice dish is a bowl full of comfort. You can skip the cream of can and mix it up with a homemade white sauce. Delicious!
My husband laughs because this is one of the recipes where I had no idea what to cook and just started pulling stuff from the freezer. But guess what? It’s amazing!
It’s not that I am opposed to Velvetta… okay? However, I am totally opposed to fake cheese. So this recipe uses a homemade sauce but you don’t miss the florescent cheese loaf. I promise.
My mouth waters thinking about it… Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya is a staple when the Saints are playing football. And, since I don’t like seafood, it’s a happy compromise the entire family can enjoy.
More Leftover Chicken Recipes
Need more yum? Check out these recipes using leftover chicken from around the blogosphere:
- Chicken Pot Pie with Casserole from Cincy Shopper
- Baked Chicken Taquitos from Living Sweet Moments
- Pesto Chicken Bake With Cauliflower from Wholesome Yum
- Asian Sesame Chicken Salad from Cooking with Curls
- No-Boil Pasta Casserole Chicken from Savory Tooth
- Spinach Artichoke Pull-Apart Bread from The Baking Fairy
- Easy Salva Verde Chicken Enchiladas from Living Sweet Moments
- Low Carb Chicken Soup from Wholesome Yum
- Chicken Enchilada Pasta from Cooking with Curls
- Mexican Chicken Pot Pie from Frugal Family Favorites
- Spicy Peanut Noodles with Shredded Chicken from Savory Tooth
- Chicken Pesto Quiche from The Baking Fairy
- Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili from Penny Pincher Jenny
- Cheater Chicken Enchiladas from Twitchetts
- Cheater Chicken Fried Rice from Twitchetts
- Healthy Barbecue Chicken Pizza with Sweet Potato Crust from The Soccer Mom Blog
- Cook 1 Chicken, Make 3 Meals from Little Sprouts Learning
- White Chicken Pizza from Meet Penny
- Crock Pot Chicken and Veggies from One Crazy House
- Chicken Taco Salad in a Jar from Creative Homemaking
- Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Dip from Sugar Spice and Family Life
- Mesquite Chicken Salad Recipe from Wanna Bite
- Creamy Chicken and Almond Enchiladas from Meet Penny
- Chicken Tetrazzini Recipe from Organized Island
- Chicken and Zucchini Casserole from Low Carb Yum
- Lean Green Chicken Salad from My 3 Little Kittens
- Buffalo Chicken Pizza from Jonesin’ For Taste
- Southern Chicken Salad from Noshtatic
- Barbecue Chicken Cobb Salad from Small Town Woman
- Almost Scratch Chicken and Dumplings from Frugal Family Favorites
- Chicken Parmesan Cheese Bake from Penny Pincher Jenny
- BBQ Chicken Pizza from Jonesin’ for Taste
- Easy 8 Ingredient BBQ Chicken Burrito Bowl from The Professional Mom Project
- Sweet Dill Chicken Cabbage Slaw from Small Town Woman
- Chicken Chili Soup from Organized Island
- Sweet and Spicy Chicken Salad from Wanna Bite
- Spiralized Butternut Squash Sweet Chilli Chicken from Eats Amazing
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Quesadilla from Small Town Woman
How do you use leftover chicken?
Have any favorite leftover chicken recipes or ideas to share? Drop a comment! I am always looking for new ways to use boiled, baked, and rotisserie chicken.
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