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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
26. 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!
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.
29. 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.
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.
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:
Do you have any top tips or favourite recipes for using up leftover chicken? We would love to hear them…