33 Outstanding Leftover Chicken Breast Recipes

1 Comment
18 minutes
November 29, 2022
Carole Jones

So, you’ve found yourself with some leftover rotisserie chicken or cooked chicken breasts sitting in your fridge. Your family is hungry but you have zero clue how to turn it into for dinner tonight. My friend, just scroll on down for 33 of the best leftover chicken breast recipes on the internet! Everything from healthy, low-carb recipes all the way to the other end of the dietary spectrum with recipes with rice and pasta.

33 outstanding leftover chicken breast recipes

Why I Love Leftover Chicken Breast Recipes

On almost a daily basis, I get requests for more chicken recipes! I know we all love our chicken meat and that we often have some cooked chicken sitting in our fridge. So, I decided it was time to compile an amazing list of easy leftover chicken recipes as a great all-in-one resource! We all have enough food waste going on in our kitchens and with crazy high food prices, it’s time to use every bit of that leftover chicken!

In fact, my first cookbook was based on the whole concept of cooking 5 pounds of chicken at the beginning of the week, then transforming it into a different dinner every night. It’s such a time-saving method for cooking dinner and chicken is always a kid-friendly protein option.

Leftover chicken breast recipes are a bit of my specialty! It’s how I’ve been cooking for my big family for a very long time. Basically over on Instagram and TikTok, I’m well known for being a chicken master so let’s get the leftover chicken ideas rolling!

How to Make Leftover Chicken Breast Recipes

Almost all chicken recipes can be transformed into leftover chicken breast recipes if you know a few basic steps.

Time needed: 10 minutes

How to Make Leftover Chicken Breast Recipes

  1. Chop up the leftover chicken in bite-sized pieces.

    Doing this before the chicken goes into an airtight container in the fridge allows the chicken to be ready-to-go for any recipe you use it in.

  2. Keep the leftover chicken safe in the fridge or freezer.

    Chicken can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for 5 days, or in the freezer for three months.

  3. Determine the best time to add the chicken to the recipe

    Since the leftover chicken is already cooked, it is important to keep it from drying out as you use it in these recipes. Ideally, try adding it at the end of the recipe, giving it time to reheat without going too far.

FAQs About Leftover Chicken Breast Recipes

How long is leftover chicken breast good for in the fridge?

Cooked chicken that is stored in an airtight container inside the fridge can be used for 5 days. The fridge doesn’t eliminate bacteria from growing on your leftover chicken, it just slows its growth. Some chicken might still be good after 5 days, but use it at your own risk. If you will need it later than that timeline, store it in the freezer for up to three months instead.

What can I do with overcooked chicken breast?

If your chicken breast got overcooked, there isn’t anything you can do to make it more tender or moist. However, that doesn’t mean you have to throw it away, especially with grocery prices so crazy high right now. 

Instead of throwing it away, try these two steps to use the overcooked chicken. First, chop up the chicken breast until it is very small. You can do this with a sharp chef’s knife or by pulsing it in a food processor. You will do this because overcooked chicken is tough. Chopping it small will allow much of that toughness to not be as noticeable.

Second, use the chicken in a recipe that is naturally moist, like a soup or enchiladas. Since your overcooked chicken is dry, adding moisture with a sauce or broth will help hide that unwanted characteristic.

Can I use dark meat in these leftover chicken breast recipes?

Yes, all of these 33 leftover chicken breast recipes can easily be made with either thigh or drumstick meat. In fact, dark meat has a lot more flavor than the white breast meat so you will end up with even better results. However, I know a lot of kids that would revolt if their chicken wasn’t the white breast meat so use with caution 🙂 

How to keep chicken from getting overcooked in leftover chicken breast recipes

Since the leftover chicken is already cooked, it is important to keep it from overcooking as you use it in these recipes. Ideally, you should try adding it at the end of the recipe, giving it time to reheat without going too far. For example, if you are making a chicken soup or stew, you will prepare the recipe as written but hold off on adding the cooked chicken until the last few minutes. Once the chicken has heated through, remove it from the heat and serve.

What if the recipe doesn’t call for chicken that is already cooked?

For the most part, in any recipe that calls for raw chicken, leftover chicken breasts can be substituted instead. As mentioned above, it is best to add the cooked chicken just long enough for it to be warmed through. For example, if you are making a chicken and vegetable stir fry, cook the vegetables and sauce in the pan first. Finally, add the diced chicken breasts to the pan in the last 3-4 minutes of stir-frying.

Tips For Using Leftover Chicken Breasts Recipes

Before we jump into the 33 leftover chicken breast recipes, it’s important to know the following tips for success for the different ways you can use the cooked protein.

  • Leftover chicken can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for 5 days, or in the freezer for three months. Be sure to keep yourself safe by not using cooked chicken that might have gone bad.
  • Since the chicken is fully cooked already, be cautious in how you use it in a recipe so that it doesn’t get overcooked and tough. A good rule of thumb is to add it towards the end to reheat it when possible. 
  • While chicken breasts are the white meat portion of the bird, any of these recipes is also a great way to use up the leftover thigh or drumstick meat as well. Substitute them directly one for one in any of the recipes below.

33 Leftover Chicken Breast Recipes

1. Baked BBQ Chicken Sliders

Baked BBQ Chicken Sliders Recipe
photo by Carole Jones

Baked BBQ Chicken Sliders are ready in 20 minutes and are the best sliders you have ever had! The shredded leftover chicken is loaded onto Hawaiian sweet rolls, then topped with garlic butter and parmesan cheese before being baked to golden perfection. Just look at all the melty cheese in there! This is how you do a quick weeknight dinner for the whole family.

2. Chicken Strawberry Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

Chicken Strawberry Salad
Photo by Carole Jones

Chicken Strawberry Salad with Poppyseed Dressing is a favorite summertime dinner when it is just too dang hot to cook! I love the feta cheese and toasted almonds on top of this chicken poppyseed salad. They add the perfect saltiness and crunch. Seriously, this is one of the easiest things to make on a busy weeknight during the summer.

3. Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole

a piece of Layered Green Chile Enchilada Casserole on a plate
Photo by Carole Jones

This Layered Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole only has FIVE ingredients and is so easy to make! It is an all-time favorite at Casa Jones since we love Mexican food so much. Plus, this chicken enchilada bake is kid-friendly because green chiles aren’t spicy, but they add a great flavor! This is one of our most often-used leftover chicken breast recipes.

4. Easy Sheet Pan Chicken Nachos

leftover chicken breast recipes
Photo by Joe Lingeman

Nachos are one of my go-to weeknight meals, and I’m here to make sure they’re one of yours, too. No, I’m not talking about grabbing loaded nachos at happy hour. I’m talking about easy homemade chicken nachos, which will save you money and be ready in minutes. And if you have kids at home, there’s nothing more kid-friendly than nachos for dinner!

5. Southwest Chicken Chili

southwest chicken chili
Photo by Carole Jones

Southwest Chicken Soup is one of my favorite easy dinners that are loaded with all my favorite Mexican flavors: black beans, chicken, corn, and green chilis! If you love chicken tortilla soup as much as I do, then scroll on down to print this recipe.  Oh, and did I mention your dinner will be ready in 15 minutes? Add a dollop of sour cream, fresh avocado, and some tortilla chips on top for the perfect meal!

6. Thai Chicken Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Thai Chicken  Salad
Photo by Carole Jones

Thai Chicken Salad is hands-down the best salad I have ever made and one of the best recipes of my 600+ on this site!  Fresh, healthy greens combine with grilled and marinated chicken, veggies, peanuts, a spicy Thai peanut sauce and sweet chili dressing. This is a Thai salad recipe is one you just can’t stop eating and super kid friendly as well.

7. Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

chicken cordon bleu casserole
photo by Carole Jones

Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole is perfect for a busy weeknight meal.  This amazing dinner combines all your favorite flavors of chicken, ham, and swiss cheese but makes it fast to prepare.  Even though this recipe calls for a rotisserie chicken, you can use any form of leftover chicken you have hanging out in your fridge.

8. High Protein Vegetable Dip with Chicken & Bacon

High Protein Vegetable Dip
photo by Carole Jones

A delicious high-volume, low-calorie lunch and this High Protein Vegetable Dip with Chicken & Bacon! It is crazy addictive, low in calories, and makes a complete meal when you serve it with your favorite veggies for volume. Plus, it is an easy way to get a meal ready in 5 minutes so you can’t beat that. Make a batch on Monday and it makes enough to feast on it all week long.

9. Chicken Pot Pie

How to Make Chicken Pot Pie
Photo by Carole Jones

Learn how to make chicken pot pie with this crazy yummy dinner. This is one of my kid’s favorite leftover chicken breast recipes! You can make your pie dough from scratch or buy one from the store for the easiest way. My homemade pot pie recipe will convince you to forever walk away from the freezer selection at your grocery store.

10. Classic Chicken Enchiladas

leftover chicken breast recipes
Photo by Joe Lingeman

Making enchiladas is, hands-down, my favorite way to transform leftovers into an easy, flavorful dinner. Tender roasted chicken gets dressed up with spicy, piquant enchilada sauce, covered in shredded cheese, then wrapped in tender tortillas and baked until warm. What’s not to love? Serve it with an easy green salad for the perfect weeknight dinner.

11. Creamy Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
Photo by Carole Jones

This my friend is my famous Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup. Leave behind the chicken noodle soup in a can and go for this! It is loaded with vegetables, wild rice and chicken plus the creamy, decadent chicken broth just does your heart good when the weather is a bit on the chilly side. It makes a big pot enough for the whole family.

12. Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Leftover chicken breast recipes
Photo by Joe Lingeman

You don’t have to wait for game day to enjoy the fiery heat of Buffalo sauce. This weeknight dinner boasts hot sauce-spiked boneless chicken breasts stuffed into a bright and baked sweet potato. A drizzle of creamy ranch dressing cools the fire, long enough for you to refill your fork.

13. Chicken and Potato Chowder

chicken and potato chowder recipe
photo by Made From Pinterest

This amazing chowder is loaded with all your favorite simple ingredients: veggies, chicken, and an amazing creamy broth. It’s that creaminess that takes it from a chicken soup to a chicken chowder! It is perfect on a cool night for an easy dinner or to take to a friend who needs a little extra love.

14. White Chicken Lasagna

leftover chicken breast recipes
Photo by Oh So Deliciouso

Love Lasagna AND Fettuccine Alfredo? We sure do at our house! So we did a little bit of a mash-up of our two favorite leftover chicken breast recipes and boy is it AMAZING!! This Creamy Chicken Alfredo Lasagna is quite literally the best thing to hit our house in a while.

15. Asian Ramen Chicken Salad

Asian Ramen Salad
Photo by Carole Jones

This Asian Ramen Salad recipe is so amazing with fresh Napa cabbage, chicken, green onions, toasted almonds, and ramen noodles. Plus, it comes together in just a few minutes and uses only a few ingredients! If you’ve never had a Napa cabbage salad before, you are in for a treat because you only think you don’t like cabbage. Napa cabbage will change your mind instantly! Think of it like cabbage and romaine lettuce had a perfect little baby.

16. Chicken Fried Rice

Chicken Fried Rice
Photo by Carole Jones

Chicken Fried Rice Recipe that will turn out better than take-out from your favorite Chinese restaurant!  It’s loaded with veggies and chicken, and yet it is still a super kid-friendly dinner idea.  I also have the best tricks and tips to make sure this great meal turns out perfectly every time. So really, we get both leftover chicken breast recipes and leftover rice recipes all together in one!

17. Thai Coconut Curry Chicken Soup

leftover chicken breast recipes
Photo by Cooking Classy

Thai Coconut Curry Chicken Soup is a hearty vegetable, chicken, and noodle-based soup with vibrant fresh Thai flavors! And you’ll love the addition of crunchy peanuts to finish it off. It’s the perfect soup recipe to make year-round.

18. Grilled California Chicken Wraps

leftover chicken breast recipes
Photo by Carole Jones

Looking for a quick meal your kids can make for the family? These wraps are a fun twist on a classic lunch wrap. Just a bit fancier and grilled to make them a bit more satisfying for dinner. Feel free to play around with the recipe to make it your own! Spread some cream cheese onto the tortilla before loading it up. Or how about a drizzle of olive oil and vinegar over the top of everything before rolling it up?

19. Chicken Barley and Cabbage Soup

leftover chicken breast recipes
Photo by Carole Jones

Cooked cabbage is one of my favorite vegetables, which is why I adore this soup/stew! This is a very hearty and filling soup with whole grain barley and amazing cooked cabbage. Leftovers freezer beautifully for up to three months so don’t be afraid to make a bit pot.

20. Chicken Pad Thai

chicken pad thai recipe
Photo by Carole Jones

Pad Thai is one of my favorite easy meals for leftover chicken because it creates that perfect balance of savory, sweet, acid, and spice. The recipe calls for uncooked chicken but you can easily use already-cooked chicken and toss it in at the very end to heat it up with the finished Thai noodles.

21. Buffalo Chicken Dip

Buffalo Chicken Dip - leftover chicken breast recipes
Photo by Carole Jones

Buffalo Chicken Dip is my favorite party and holiday dip recipe!  Loaded with chicken, Franks hot sauce, and ranch or blue cheese dressing for the perfect protein-packed dip for bread, vegetables, crackers, or chips. Definitely a surprising option on the list of leftover chicken breast recipes but one you shouldn’t miss!

22. Ranch Mac and Cheese

leftover chicken breast recipes
Photo by Southern LIving

Two of the South’s favorite casseroles just came together in the ultimate skillet dinner. If you haven’t already met, allow us to introduce you to King Ranch Chicken Mac and Cheese. It has the rich, creaminess you expect from your favorite macaroni and cheese recipe, paired with the robust flavor of classic King Ranch Chicken Casserole. What’s not to love?

23. White Chicken Chili

leftover chicken breast recipes - white chicken chili
Photo by Carole Jones

Use your leftover chicken for this great and easy white chili! I also use this recipe with leftover chicken after Thanksgiving. If you have the time, you could also use dried beans instead of those from a can but just be sure you cook them according to package directions first. Unsurprisingly, this is just the perfect hearty recipe for when it is cold outside.

24. Roasted Chicken Salad

Roasted Chicken Salad sandwiches
Photo by Carole Jones

Roasted Chicken Salad is always one of the best ways to eat healthy without feeling deprived! Most chicken salads use way too much mayonnaise as one of their main ingredients but this recipe has just enough while the calorie count is only 163 per half-cup serving. The recipe calls for cooking chicken breasts to make the salad, but you’ve already got that done so skip that part of the instructions 🙂

25. Biscuit Chicken Pot Pie

Biscuit Chicken Pot Pie
Photo by Carole Jones

Believe it or not, this gorgeous comfort food will be ready in 30 minutes or less! It is one of my favorite easy recipes from my cookbook! You will love this recipe because it is the perfect fusion of chicken pot pie with biscuits and gravy. Hence, there will not be an ounce of leftovers in the pan once you are done, so maybe you should make two with your leftover roast chicken 🙂

26. Chicken Gnocchi Soup

leftover chicken breast recipes
Photo by Salt and Lavendar

This chicken gnocchi soup recipe is quick, easy to make in your own kitchen, and comforting. The pillowy gnocchi melt in your mouth, there are tender veggies, and the creamy broth is addictive! This one you definitely need to try out of all these leftover chicken breast recipes. Takes chicken soup to a whole new level.

27. Southwest Chicken Quesadillas

Southwest Chicken Quesadillas
Photo by Carole Jones

Southwest Chicken Quesadillas….the perfect excuse to stuff all your favorite foods between two flour tortillas, along with a bunch of melty cheese:  chicken, corn, black beans, and green chiles.  This quesadilla recipe will be your new go-to meal when time is short and you need a really satisfying meal.  If you have ever wondered how to make quesadillas, this is the recipe you want to try first because you will never need another one! Interestingly, we just had these last night 🙂

28. Gluten Free White Chicken Lasagna

gluten free white lasagna
Photo by Made From Pinterest

Loaded with cheddar cheese, gluten-free pasta, and chicken, this recipe came from a family member of mine years ago and it is just plain ole yummy! Accordingly, if you aren’t gluten-free, feel free to use regular lasagna noodles instead!

29. Chicken and Fontina Paninis

leftover chicken breast recipes
Photo by Southern Living

Need something super quick for dinner tonight? Crusty on the outside, and gooey on the inside, this sandwich requires little effort and makes a satisfying lunch or light dinner. If you don’t have a panini press, you can just cook these hot sandwiches in a skillet on the stove. You’ll just need to  put something heavy on top to press them down a bit as they cook. This is how you do quick leftover chicken breast recipes the right way!

30. Creamy Avocado Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Creamy Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Photo by Carole Jones

Creamy Chicken Enchilada Casserole comes together super quickly and is crazy delicious! This casserole is super kid friendly because it is loaded with leftover meat, avocados, green chiles, and cheese. If you love chicken enchiladas with white sauce, then this is even better because you don’t have to waste all that time rolling up each individual enchilada!

31. Chicken Avocado and Bacon Pasta Salad

chicken bacon pasta salad
Photo by Carole Jones

During the hot summer months, this pasta salad is a STAPLE in our home. It is packed with so many amazing flavors and is honestly hard to stop eating. Interestingly, we love it best at room temperature so if you have any leftovers of the salad, just pop them in the microwave for a few seconds to take the chill off of it from the fridge.

32. Candied Pecan Chicken Salad

candied pecan chicken salad
Photo by Carole Jones

I created this recipe way back in 2008 after eating the most amazing salad like this at TGIFridays. After a few bites, I knew I was going to have to make my own at home. Loaded with chicken, cranberries, mandarin oranges, candied pecans, and blue cheese! This salad looks difficult but is quite easy to make and crazy good.

33. Strawberry Spinach Salad with Chicken

strawberry salad leftover chicken breast recipes
Photo by Carole Jones

Take your classic strawberry and spinach salad to the next level by adding chicken, mandarin oranges, toasted almonds, and a homemade poppy seed dressing. Accordingly, this one is perfect for a hot summer night because you don’t have to turn on the stove for anything if you have the leftover chicken in your fridge

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Carole Jones

Carole Jones is an Arizona-based cookbook author & food blogger. She's authored The 30 Minute Cooking From Frozen Cookbook and the self-published Take 5: Chicken e-cookbook. For the past 15 years, Carole has shared her culinary adventures cooking and baking for her six brutally honest children here on My Kitchen Escapades. Hot, crusty bread is Carole's love language, but her two adorable grandchildren are a close second. Yes, second. Don't judge.

1 comment

Duane
7 months ago

Two things. Arizona and Hot crusty bread. I knew I was going to like this site! I’m looking forward to trying out a number of the recipes herein. Thanks!

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