How to use up leftover chicken

Buying a good-quality bird isn’t always the cheapest option, but with a bit of canny cooking it can keep adding flavour and substance to meals, long after your traditional roast is over...

How to use up leftover chicken

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...

How to store it

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 and 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 with cling film or in a lidded container in the fridge, making  sure all the steam has evaporated. 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. 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:

Fresh ideas for leftovers

Chicken, bacon and lettuce baguettes on a tray with sauce

We all love a roast chicken sandwich but there are far more exciting ways of using up your Sunday roast. 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… 

Leftover chicken soups 

Two bowls of chicken and butterbean soup, served with crusty bread and seasoning

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. 

Try our favourites...

Leftover chicken salads

Chicken, sweet potato, pomegranate and onion salad on a plate

Eat a rainbow with a dazzling Asian chicken, mandarin & cashew salad, roast chicken & sweet potato gremolata salad or a herbed chicken, peach & feta salad. 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. 

Leftover chicken dinners 

Chicken & mushroom hot pot topped with sliced potatoes in a rectangular baking tray

Sometimes only a hot and hearty supper will do, turn your leftovers into a comforting family meal with filling and flavour-packed chicken & bean enchiladas, tomato & mozzarella Italian chicken bake, or get the kids involved in whipping up a scrumptious chicken & mushroom hot pot.

Try our favourites...

Still left wanting? Try more of our leftover chicken recipes and see our pick of the best leftover chicken recipes.

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

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