How to use up leftover chicken

30 leftover chicken recipes

Buying good-quality poultry isn’t always cheap, but with a bit of canny cooking, it can keep adding flavour and substance to meals for days after the Sunday roast.

A crispy, succulent Sunday roast chicken is the stuff of dreams, but that doesn’t mean any leftovers should be forgotten about come Monday morning. Don’t leave your chicken to the bin bag, store it correctly and the humble roast can serve you well for days. Discover our top tips for getting the best out of your bird.

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Fresh ideas for leftover chicken

We have a whole host of soothing soups, speedy curries, tempting risottos and mouth-watering salads that mean you will never look at your leftovers in the same way again… 

1. Chicken, bacon & watercress baguettes

Top of the list has to be the classic chicken sandwich. We’ve given ours a lift with a zesty sauce of watercress, crème fraîche, lime and cracked black pepper, plus a portion of crispy bacon for extra flavour.

Chicken, bacon & watercress baguettes

2. Easy coronation chicken

We’ve served this coronation chicken in sandwiches, but it’s equally as delicious served atop fluffy jacket potatoes or spooned onto salads. It’s easy to throw together using storecupboard ingredients, too – you’ll just need some mayonnaise, mango chutney, curry powder, cinnamon and sultanas to create a flavour-packed chicken dish.

Easy coronation chicken

3. Mexican chicken & black bean wraps

That’s a wrap! Fill soft tortillas with a variety of tasty toppings to create this speedy supper – you could even serve it family-style and let everyone create their own. We’ve included classic fajita-inspired ingredients including onions, tomatoes and black beans. Finish with a drizzle of chipotle sauce, a dollop of guac and a sprinkle of cheese, and tuck in.

Mexican chicken & black bean wraps

4. Caesar pitta

Fans of chicken caesar salads will love this packed pitta, drizzled with a homemade caesar sauce. It’s super easy to make – simply whizz up lemon juice, garlic, yogurt, mayo, mustard powder, anchovy, parmesan and cracked black pepper, then assemble your sandwiches.

Caesar pitta

5. Leftover chicken soups

Nourishing soup is as much a part of autumn as conkers, crumbles and crunchy, fallen leaves. If you are feeling under the weather, not much comes close in terms of comfort either. Using leftover chicken as a base for your soup is a thrifty way of getting your bird to go further, and it means you can get experimental will all sorts of punchy flavours, from fresh rosemary, sage and thyme to sweet, roasted tomatoes and a spicy kick of chilli.

Herby chicken & butter bean soup

Fresh rosemary, sage and thyme really shine in this chunky soup, bulked out with butter beans and leftover roast chicken. Our top tip – make sure you have plenty of crusty bread to mop up the delicious herby sauce.

Herby chicken & butter bean soup

6. Spiced black bean & chicken soup with kale

This South-American style soup is a super-healthy way to use up leftover roast chicken – and it’s low in fat, freezable, and under 300 calories per portion too. Ramp up the flavour profile with garlic, coriander, lime, cumin and chilli, and crumble over creamy feta to finish.

Spiced black bean & chicken soup with kale

7. Chicken & sweetcorn soup

A chicken carcass from your roast makes for a tasty bone-broth base in this Chinese-inspired soup, served with eggs and cooked chicken. It’s healthy, low fat, low in calories and gluten-free, too.

Chicken & sweetcorn soup

8. Creamy curried chicken & rice soup

This Asian-inspired soup is made using risotto rice for a really creamy texture. We’ve used red Thai curry paste, coconut milk and chicken stock to pack in the flavour.

Creamy curried chicken & rice soup

9. Thai-style chicken soup

If you have soba or wholewheat noodles to hand, this soup is a real winner. The broth is made using any leftover chicken bones and meat from your Sunday roast, along with beansprouts, pak choi and spring onions for colour and texture. 

Thai-style chicken soup

10. Classic roast chicken soup

This rustic chicken and veg soup pairs perfectly with garlicky yogurt – swirl it through just before serving. You’ll want a crusty baguette or a seeded loaf to dunk.

Classic roast chicken soup

11. One-pot Chinese-style chicken noodle soup

What’s not to love about a one-pot? This one takes just over half an hour to make, and it’s low in calories and fat to boot. Use up any leftover roast chicken bones and meat to make the stock, then liven it up with storecupboard ingredients including soy sauce, honey and pickled ginger.

One-pot Chinese-style chicken noodle soup

Leftover chicken salads

Fresh herbs, light dressings and interesting ingredients are sure to add life to leftover chicken. Pack it up and save money on a work lunch, or simply enjoy as a light but filling supper. 

12. Roast chicken with sweet potato gremolata salad

This colourful salad is practically a whole rainbow on your plate! We’ve included instructions for how to roast a fresh chicken, but you can easily use up any leftover meat that you have to hand. Roast sweet potatoes and red onions with fennel seeds until caramelised, and serve with a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds for a final pop of colour. Beautiful!

Roast chicken with sweet potato gremolata salad

13. Asian chicken, mandarin & cashew salad

This salad is packed with contrasting textures and flavours, including juicy mandarins, crunchy salted cashews and tangy red onions. A fruity homemade dressing adds a delicious hit of flavour to the finished dish.

Asian chicken, mandarin & cashew salad

14. Chopped tarragon, bacon & chicken salad

Earthy, sweet tarragon complements chicken, bacon, avocado and peas perfectly in this simple salad. We’ve drizzled over an olive oil vinaigrette mixed with Dijon mustard for a touch of warming heat.

Chopped tarragon, bacon & chicken salad

15. Herbed chicken, peach & feta salad

Bulgur wheat is a brilliant base in this filling, summery salad piled high with chicken and flavoured with herbs. Sweet peaches and salty feta create a lovely balance of flavours.

Herbed chicken, peach & feta salad

16. Red rice & chicken salad with pomegranate & feta

Topped with jewel-like pomegranate seeds and crumbled feta, this grain bowl is a really satisfying option for lunch or supper. The vibrant red Camargue rice makes it special enough to serve at a picnic or al fresco gathering, too.

Red rice & chicken salad with pomegranate & feta

17. Asian pulled chicken salad

Finely shredded red cabbage, carrots and spring onions form the base of this vibrant salad, drizzled with a punchy hoisin and sesame dressing. It’s a healthy and low-calorie way to use up your leftover chicken, and the best part is that it takes only 20 minutes to make.

Asian pulled chicken salad

18. Cold chicken noodle salad

Cooked, cooled noodles are a wonderful addition to Asian-inspired salads, and this wasabi-flavoured dish is no exception. Scatter over spring onions and coriander leaves for a final pop of colour.

Cold chicken noodle salad

19. Winter cobb salad

Salads aren’t just for summer – this chunky chopped salad is perfect for the winter months. Serve your leftover chicken with chunks of blue cheese, crispy bacon and hard-boiled eggs along with a honey mustard dressing.

Winter cobb salad

Leftover chicken dinners

Sometimes only a hot and hearty supper will do, so turn your leftovers into a comforting family meal with filling and flavour-packed enchiladas, bakes, hot pots and pies.

20. Leftover roast chicken pad Thai

Add some pizzazz to your leftover chicken with this recipe inspired by pad Thai. It’s easy to make your own sauce using storecupboard ingredients that are often used in Thai cooking such as fish sauce, tamarind paste and sriracha.

Leftover roast chicken pad Thai

21. Chicken & mushroom hot-pot

Potato-topped hotpots are the ultimate comfort food, and this recipe is a great way to use up both leftover chicken and any stray mixed vegetables from the freezer. It’s a great way to get kids involved in the kitchen, too, and build up their cooking confidence.

Chicken & mushroom hot-pot

22. Chicken & leek filo pie

Transform your leftovers into a truly deluxe pie with leeks, mushrooms and a creamy, mustardy sauce. We’ve topped it off with a crisp filo crust, brushed with olive oil and scattered with nigella seeds.

Chicken & leek filo pie

23. Spanish-style chicken pie

Onions, tomatoes and peppers add tons of flavour to the filling for this pie, which is finished with a layer of paprika-spiked mashed potatoes. It’s dairy-free and low-salt, plus it’s ideal for making ahead – simply pop in the freezer for another evening.

Spanish chicken pie

24. Roast chicken & pea risotto

This indulgent risotto is made even more rich with the addition of crème fraîche, plus a generous dusting of parmesan. It’s an ideal way to serve leftover chicken breast, but you can use darker meat if that’s what you have to hand.

Roast chicken & pea risotto

25. Chicken with tomato & olives

We love a one-pot, and this summery option is particularly speedy and fuss-free. Make a simple stew using chopped tomatoes and olives, add your leftover chicken, then serve with plenty of crusty bread on the side.

Chicken with tomato & olives

26. Easy chicken & bean enchiladas

Bulk out leftover meat from your chicken legs with kidney beans and sweetcorn, then wrap into tortillas to create these family-friendly enchiladas. Serve alongside salsa and a Mexican-style salad.

Easy chicken & bean enchiladas

27. Italian chicken bake

This tasty tomato and onion bake is topped with torn mozzarella and crunchy breadcrumbs for a really flavourful upgrade on your roast chicken leftovers. Serve alongside your choice of mash, jacket potatoes, rice or pasta. Bellissimo!

Italian chicken bake

28. Chicken & mushroom risotto

Comforting and creamy, a perfectly cooked risotto is difficult to beat. Luckily this easy step-by-step recipe walks you through the process to create that rich risotto texture, with plump rice grains and a silky, starchy sauce. We’ve paired cooked chicken chunks with bacon lardons for an extra dose of flavour.

Chicken & mushroom risotto

29. Chicken & egg-fried rice

Chicken & egg-fried rice

If you always order egg-fried rice from your local Chinese takeaway, you have to try this homemade version. It’s a perfect way to introduce children to some mild spice, and as an added bonus it’s all cooked in one pan, saving you time and effort on the washing-up.

Chicken & egg-fried rice

30. Nacho chicken bake

Finally, this tortilla-topped bake makes for a satisfying snack or a light lunch for two, complete with a layer of bubbling, gooey cheese to dig those nachos into. Serve alongside an avocado salad to really make a meal of it.

Nacho chicken bake

How to store leftover chicken

Cooked chicken should be fine to keep in the fridge for two to three days. With any hot food that you want to store, you need to cool it down as quickly as possible, then refrigerate it. The easiest way to cool chicken quickly is to portion it out, or better still, cut it into pieces, lay it out on a tray or a plate in one layer and as soon as it’s cold, place it in a bowl, covered, or put in a lidded container in the fridge, making sure all the steam has evaporated, first. To store your chicken for longer, you can place your cooked chicken in the freezer, but you should never remove uncooked chicken from the freezer and then re-freeze without cooking it. If you want to heat leftover chicken, make sure it’s piping hot and only reheated once. 

If you want to portion out your bird before it’s cooked, our video guide on how to joint a raw chicken is perfect for ensuring there’s little wastage:

Try more of our leftover chicken recipes and see our pick of the best leftover chicken recipes.

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Do you have any top tips or favourite recipes for using up leftover chicken? We would love to hear them…