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We don't know about you, but we almost always have chicken stocked in our fridge. Easy-to-cook, versatile, and relatively healthy, the protein is a staple ingredient that's heavily featured in our weekly recipe rotation. The thing is, unless you're feeding a family of four, you're bound to have a ton of leftovers when you roast an entire chicken, poach a breast, or grill some thighs. Thankfully, with a little ingenuity and a quick stop at the grocery store, last night's chicken can become tonight's saving grace.
In search of fresh and inspired ways to put leftover chicken to good use, we turned to Holly Erickson of The Modern Proper, Tieghan Gerald of Half Baked Harvest, Sarah Fennel of Broma Bakery, and Jessica Merchant of How Sweet Eats for their go-to recipes—and they did not disappoint. From a crazy-delicious green enchilada soup made with pantry staples to a one-pan cheesy casserole that requires minimal prep, this is what foodies make with their leftover chicken.
Consider dinner sorted. Keep scrolling for the best leftover chicken recipes to carry you through the week.
Green Enchilada Soup
The Recipe: A genius combination of tortilla soup and white bean chili, this green chicken enchilada soup is a busy weeknight savior. Stock up on cans of green enchilada sauce, diced green chiles, and white beans to make it.
The Pro Tip: "Kitchen hack alert! Grab a rotisserie chicken from your local market," advises recipe creator Holly of The Modern Proper. "By using it for your chicken in this dish you'll save tons of time."
One-Pan Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole
The Recipe: You only need to set aside 15 minutes to prep this one-pan chicken wild rice casserole. Filled with caramelized onions, garlicky mushrooms, and sweet apples, this dish in no way resembles your standard bland, soupy casserole.
The Pro Tip: "If you wanted to add another layer of flavor, I would highly recommend topping the dish with thinly sliced prosciutto before baking," says recipe creator Tieghan of Half Baked Harvest. "The salty flavors would be delicious with the apples, mushrooms, and rice."
Green Chicken Salad With Creamy Avocado Dressing
The Recipe: Topped with a creamy dressing made with avocado, freshly squeezed lime juice, and unsweetened almond milk, this watercress, apple, and farro green chicken salad is a crazy-delicious way to put the leftover chicken to good use.
The Pro Tip: "The real star is the 'creamy' avocado dressing," divulges recipe creator Sarah of Broma Bakery. "It's suuuper creamy and thick thanks to the avocado, and when combined with the almond milk, it has this lovely texture that resembles a creamy dressing."
Mediterranean Avocado Chicken Salad Sandwich
The Recipe: Made with sun-dried tomatoes, salty feta cheese, and peppery arugula, this avocado chicken salad sandwich is packed with Mediterranean flavors. Bookmark this recipe and say goodbye to sad desk lunches.
The Pro Tip: "This is really one of those recipes you can do whatever you want with," offers recipe creator Tieghan of Half Baked Harvest. "Have some bacon on hand? Throw that in. Don't like feta cheese? Maybe try some crumbled blue cheese or goat cheese. Vegetarian? Stir in chickpeas in place of the chicken."
Quick and Easy Chicken Noodle Soup
The Recipe: This quick and easy chicken noodle soup comes together in about 30 minutes if you have cooked chicken on hand, which, given that you're reading this article, it's safe to assume you do. Opt for egg noodles for that classic chicken noodle soup texture.
The Pro Tip: "For the sake of ease, I always try to keep dried egg noodles on hand in my pantry or, when I want to take things up a notch, hit up the refrigerated section of the grocery store to buy fresh egg noodles (that have been conveniently made by someone else)," confesses recipe creator Holly of The Modern Proper.
Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup
The Recipe: With the help of a few crazy-affordable ingredients from the canned goods aisle, namely fire-roasted tomatoes and red enchilada sauce, this easy chicken tortilla soup takes just 45 to make from start to finish.
The Pro Tip: If you don't have leftover chicken on-hand, pick up a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store. "You're no less of a home cook for relying on the occasional shortcut, and a cooked whole chicken is one of the greatest shortcuts of all time," reassures recipe creator Miranda of The Modern proper.
Smoky Chicken Enchilada Skillet
The Recipe: For those weeknights when you don't have time to run to the grocery store this smoky chicken enchilada skillet made with pantry staples is a game changer. As long as you have chicken stock, tomato paste, corns, beans, and cheese on hand, you're set.
The Pro Tip: The trick for ensuring this dish is packed with flavor is to coat each tortilla lightly with enchilada sauce as you layer the components of the casserole. "You don't have to dunk it, but you can take the back of a spoon and spread it over both sides of the tortilla," advises recipe creator Jessica of How Sweet Eats.