So you’ve made a beautiful roast chicken for Sunday supper, there’s a decent amount leftover and now the question is “what do I do with all of this cooked chicken?” Reinventing leftovers into a new dish might seem like a retro concept, but with the current grocery store prices, none of us want anything to go to waste. If I take the time and money to cook something, I better suck every last drop out of it! Budget-friendly menu planning is something we can all do to save a buck or two, and it does not have to be boring.
Using leftovers later in no way has to mean serving the same meal twice. There is so much you can do to transform those leftovers into something absolutely new and delicious, especially when it comes to extra chicken. Here are 55 of the best leftover chicken recipes that will have you cooking extra poultry just to make these new and inspired chicken dishes!
Related: 25 Summer Grilled Chicken Salads
What To Do With Leftover Chicken Recipes
When it comes to leftover chicken, there are literally countless ways to use it. Any recipe that calls for “cooked chicken” whether shredded or diced, is exactly what you are looking for when it comes to using up that extra bird. From casseroles and soups to salads and pizzas, the possibilities are endless. Sure, a creamy chicken salad is the obvious choice, but don’t stop there when you’re thinking about what to make later in the week.
Related: 35 Low-Carb Crock Pot Chicken Recipes
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What Can I Do With Dry Leftover Chicken?
So…you overcooked your chicken a little? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. Oven roasted, grilled or even fried chicken can all turn out a little on the dry side now and again. If you are worried that using it after sitting for a couple days will only make it even drier, fret not! Adding dry leftover chicken to recipes that include a sauce or fresh ingredients is a great way to mask the lack of moisture in it. Shredded chicken piled on top of pizza and then drizzled with barbecue sauce is never going to seem dry. Cooked cubed chicken hidden inside a big salad filled with summer produce and mixed with your favorite dressing will seem moist once again! Or, use some dry chicken in your next batch of soup and watch it come back to life as it simmers in a flavorful broth.
How Long Can Cooked Chicken Stay In The Fridge?
Once chicken is fully cooked, it can last in the fridge for around 3-4 days. After that, food safety might be an issue and it’s best to throw it out. If I know I want to use leftover chicken later in the week, but it might be longer than that time frame, I simply toss it in the freezer instead. Even better, when chicken goes on sale, you can always cook a big batch of it—roasted, grilled or boiled—then shred it up and freeze it to use in recipes for months! Cooked chicken can be kept in the freezer for 3-4 months, so you can always have some on hand when recipe inspiration strikes.
Rotisserie Chicken Leftover Recipes
When we talk about leftover chicken, I always think about rotisserie chicken. See, these convenient cooked whole chickens that have become a deli counter staple are perfect for recipes that call for leftover or cooked chicken. Grab one on the way home from work and safe yourself some time. Buy a couple when they are on sale, remove the skin, shred the meat and freeze for future use. Some of us only cook the amount of chicken we know our family can eat because we try to avoid waste, so leftovers aren’t always available. This is when a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken becomes our best friend. Any recipe that needs cooked chicken can be swapped out for rotisserie-style chicken. Read recipes closely too because some will simply begin with you pre-making chicken separate from the rest of the recipe and you can use rotisserie or leftovers for those too.
Best Leftover Chicken Recipes
This collection is overflowing with tasty dishes for those chicken leftovers you don’t know what to do with! The BBQ Chicken Quinoa Bowls would be perfect after your weekend grilling and are a fresh, healthy summer supper. Chicken Salad is the most common dish made with leftover chicken so I included my Copycat Arby’s Pecan Chicken Salad so you can have the drive-thru favorite any time you want. Mexican night just got super easy with that extra chicken being used up in Chicken Enchilada Pizza, Chicken Taco Cups or Mexican Chicken Casserole. And if someone comes down with the sniffles, my Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi Soup is a great choice to help cure what ails you.
Related: Best Shredded Chicken Recipes
Don’t ever let that extra cooked chicken go to waste because you think there is nothing creative to do with it. These easy chicken recipes are here to prove that shredded chicken sitting in your fridge is intended for dinner time greatness!