40+ Ideas for Leftover Chicken

Never again will you run out of dinner ideas. All you need is leftover chicken, a little imagination and you will have a feast for the whole family!

40+ Ideas for Leftover Chicken by FamilySpice.com

We all lead busy lives and sometimes it seems just plain impossible to get dinner on the table. Grabbing some take-out is the easy route, but you are typically left feeling icky and guilty. One of my favorite quick dinners is The Roast Chicken (recipe below). I like to roast my own, but many times I simply pick one up at the grocery store or Costco. But the versatility of  the roasted chicken is what I really want to talk about. Whether you are going to eat it right away or save for later, here are my tips on what to do with leftover chicken:

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup with Lemon by FamilySpice.com

  1. Eat it straight up with the typical sides.
  2. Make chicken noodle soup, my Middle-Child’s favorite option.
  3. Top a green salad like this gorgeous one from Valentina of Cooking on the Weekends.
  4. Make a chicken chili.
  5. Make chicken chowder like this one from Simone of Junglefrog Cooking.
  6. Use for chicken pot pie as Lindsay from Pinch of Yum did.
  7. Mix with quinoa and balsamic vegetables.
  8. Make a chicken casserole.
  9. Shred and mix with BBQ sauce for pulled chicken sandwiches.
  10. Mix it up with mayo and goodies for chicken salad like Dorothy from Shockingly Delicious.
  11. Make a savory pie.
  12. Add to another hearty soup like this Chicken Borscht from Liz the Chef.
  13. Top a baked potato.
  14. Mix with sausage and shrimp for gumbo.
  15. Use in jambalaya.
  16. Make a hearty stew, like Brunswick stew.
  17. Make grilled cheese sandies with chicken.
  18. Make fancy schmancy sandwiches using baguettes or lavash with caesar or pesto schmears.
  19. Make a pasta salad.
  20. Top a homemade pizza.
  21. Stir into your minestrone.
  22. Stuff in a lasagna or make lasagna rolls like Dara of Cookin’ Canuck.
  23. Enjoy with pasta and marinara.
  24. Enjoy with pasta and pesto like In Erika’s Kitchen’s Kale Pesto.
  25. Enjoy with pasta with alfredo sauce.
  26. Enjoy in a calzone.
  27. Top a ramen soup like Sylvia from Feasting at Home.
  28. Mix with brown rice and veggies for a salad like Ingrid from The Cozy Apron.
  29. Mix in a cabbage slaw for an Asian chicken salad.
  30. Roll into egg rolls or spring rolls like Nancy from Spicie Foodie.
  31. Make homemade chicken pot stickers like Amy from U Try It.
  32. Mix it in with your stir fry.
  33. Top your taco salad or tostada.
  34. Stir into your tortilla soup.
  35. Make nachos.
  36. Make quesadillas.
  37. Enjoy with tacos or lettuce wraps.
  38. Stuff it into a burrito or enchilada like this version by Lori from Recipe Girl.
  39. Make these gorgeous empanadas from Deeba of Passionate About Baking.
  40. Steam with basmati rice with lentils, cherries, cabbage or other goodies.
  41. Cut into chunks and mix it with pomegranate concentrate and walnuts (fesenjoon).
  42. Shred and make cutlets.
  43. Mix in a cucumber-tomato salad.
  44. Mix it with rice or quinoa and stuff into bell peppers or grape leaves.
  45. Mix chunks of chicken with potato salad.

Chicken Caesar Club Sandwich by FamilySpice.com

I have linked to some of my favorite recipes and some from other terrific bloggers. Need more inspiration? Follow my pinterest board with even MORE chicken recipes!

But remember, the details and recipes are within you. Make traditional basil pesto or choose cilantro or arugula. Add some walnuts to your chicken salad or sprouts to your wraps. Use brown rice instead of white, ciabatta instead of toast, gouda instead of cheddar. Mix it up! Get creative in the kitchen with whatever you have on hand. But most importantly, let your meal take you to new and exotic places!

Easy Roast Chicken

Don't go store-bought! This classic roast chicken is easy to put together for your family and more cost effective, too!


  • 3 1/2 lb whole roasting chicken
  • 2 TBS unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 5 sprigs of parsley, American


  1. About 30 minutes before roasting, remove from the refrigerator:
    • 3 1/2 lb whole roasting chicken
  2. If the giblets and neck are in the chicken cavity, remove them and reserve or discard.
  3. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
  4. Run hands under chicken skin to loosen and rub breast and thigh with most of:
    • 2 TBS unsalted butter, room temperature
  5. Rub remaining butter over the outside of the chicken.
  6. Season cavity and outside of chicken with:
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  7. Place in lightly oiled small roasting pan with a rack and stuff cavity with:
    • 1 lemon, quartered
    • 1 onion, quartered
    • 5 sprigs of parsley, American
  8. Using kitchen twine, tie legs together and tuck wing tips under the chicken.
  9. Roast chicken for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350ºF.
  10. Roast chicken until meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 170ºF, approximately 1 hour.
  11. Tilt chicken to allow juices from cavity to run into roasting pan.
  12. Transfer chicken to platter, cover with foil and let stand for 10 minutes, allowing internal temperature to rise.
  13. Spoon and discard fat from surface of pan juices.
  14. Serve chicken with pan juices on the side.


Cooking suggestions: You can also use other herbs like rosemary, thyme and oregano.

Prep Time:

Yield: 1 roast chicken for 4

Cook Time:

Total Time:

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15 Responses to 40+ Ideas for Leftover Chicken

  1. What a gorgeous chicken in that first photo! And a great round up of chicken ideas.

  2. What a fantastic post! I often have leftover chicken in the fridge and now I know where to come for ideas. Thanks so much for including my lasagne rolls.

  3. Ellen at #

    That’s a great round-up of ideas. But then don’t throw away the carcass! Those roast chickens make fantastic chicken broth. We also like creamed chicken on rice (or toast). Pure comfort food. And King Ranch casserole is my youngest’s favorite thing to do with cooked chicken.

  4. Great tips, Laura!

  5. Eha at #

    Oh Laura: we’ll never need another list again!! We all have left over chicken in the fridge!!!! Just print this out, pin it on the back of the kitchen door and go eeny-meeney-mani-mo 🙂 ! Absolutely fantastic, and do hope you are doing great 🙂 !

    • Ha! Ha! Eha, you are always so sweet! I just finished making soup (again) with my leftover chicken last night!

  6. mjskit at #

    What a great list!! Mine definitely ends up in soups, tacos, burritos, pastas, and on sandwiches. Great looking chicken you started with!

  7. Kim at #

    Excellent roundup! My husband made #34 in your list for dinner, using shredded chicken from another purpose. 🙂

    And I’m making #15 to serve 200 people on Wednesday night.


  8. Wow – I think I’m going to have to cook some chicken now, just so I’ll have some left over! Great list!

  9. Thanks so much for the link — and this is a fantastic post! 🙂

  10. Winnie at #

    This was a great piece. I love chicken and am grateful for all the ideas and fun links. I am not familiar with these bloggers. Very cool! I have a rotisserie at home and this is inspiration to break it out again!

  11. Beautiful photos! And I would have to agree that roasted chicken is a very versatile ingredient, just look at this roundup!

  12. What a super delicious post! Thank you for sharing my grape chicken salad. I want all of these!

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