Whether you ran out of time to make dinner, have a hankering for barbecued meat, or simply don’t want to cook, a rotisserie chicken could be the lifeline you’re looking for. With these skewered delights, you get a main course that's smoking hot and ready to eat without having to do any cooking yourself.
Costco's rotisserie chickens are especially popular, mainly because they’re still just five bucks and bursting with salty-barbecue flavor. But really, most major grocery store chains offer their own ready-roasted version of a delicious bird to take home. That includes Kroger, Publix, Safeway, and Whole Foods, to name a few.
Once you pick up a rotisserie chicken at the store, there are plenty of easy ways to turn it into a meal. Add a few side dishes (vegetables, rice, etc.) and you’ve got a full-blown dinner. Carve some slices onto bread with a bit of barbecue sauce and you’ve got a BBQ chicken sandwich. Throw some slices on top of a big green salad and it’s practically a health food. With so many ways to parlay this bird into dinner, it’s hard for a rotisserie chicken to lead you astray.
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13 Ways to Use Leftover Rotisserie Chicken
But, what do you do those rotisserie leftovers? At the very least, you can boil the bones and tendons for a couple of hours and make your own delicious chicken broth. But if your family doesn’t throw back an entire rotisserie chicken in one sitting, consider using the leftover meat to create a brand-new meal the next day. Here are some potential recipes and options:
#1: Rotisserie Chicken Alfredo Pasta
If you love alfredo sauce, adding rotisserie chicken to your favorite pasta dish is a smart move. The perfectly seasoned meat will fit in perfectly with your creamy alfredo masterpiece, and add a burst of protein to your dish to boot.
Boil and prepare any pasta of your choosing while you prepare your own cream sauce. This Food Network recipe promises alfredo sauce that’s better than Olive Garden's, so it’s worth a try.
Plate your pasta, add sauce, then add some heated rotisserie chicken and parmesan cheese on top. And if you want to take the easy route, you can even buy a jar of alfredo sauce and use that instead.
#2: DIY Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Rotisserie chicken cooled in the fridge is the perfect main course for a DIY chicken salad. Most chicken salads call for chicken (duh) and additional ingredients such as parsley, dill, mayonnaise, lemon juice, or celery. Others add to those ingredients sweet, diced grapes, and even walnuts.
You can make chicken salad any way you want, but we suggest this Food Network recipe because it includes fewer ingredients than most. Add your chicken salad to a big hoagie bun, and serve with chips or vegetables for a healthy leftover lunch.
#3: Chicken Stir-Fry
Stir-fry is easy to make. Simply chop up some of your favorite vegetables, then heat them in a wok over medium heat with some oil and your favorite soy or teriyaki sauce. Add some chunks of leftover rotisserie chicken for the last few minutes of cooking, and you’ve got an easy chicken stir-fry on your hands - serve it over rice or noodles to stretch it a bit farther.
You can use whatever vegetables you have on hand for a stir-fry, but my favorites are snow peas, diced carrots, onions, green peppers, and broccoli.
#4: Chicken Fried Rice
Chicken fried rice is easy-peasy. This better-than-takeout fried rice recipe lays it all on the line.
You’ll need tiny veggies (think peas, corn, and diced carrots and onions), prepared rice, soy sauce, sesame oil, eggs, and garlic. Follow the directions for the perfect fried rice, taking special care to add your leftover rotisserie chicken for the last few minutes in the wok.
The best part about this dish is that it's a complete meal in itself, with protein, vegetables, and grains.
#5: Chicken Quesadillas
Chicken quesadillas are delicious and easy to make. You’ll need tortillas, chopped up rotisserie chicken, shredded cheese, and whatever extra goodies you want inside.
Start by cooking your chopped rotisserie chicken with a packet of taco seasoning and water. In another pan, cook up your finely cut vegetables – green peppers, red peppers, and onions, for example.
Once your quesadilla's insides are cooked, you can begin assembly. Pack the bottom side of a quesadilla with filling, shred cheese on top, then add another tortilla to make a sandwich. From there, you can brown your quesadilla and melt the cheese on your stovetop or in the oven.
#6: Chicken Nachos
Ooey-gooey-melty nachos. Is there anything better?
Rotisserie chicken works amazingly as a topping for nachos. You can make nachos any way you want – with salsa, sour cream, green onions, peppers, black olives, or other toppings mixed with warm melted cheese. Then just heat your leftover chicken in the microwave or in a skillet with oil, and shred it on top of your nacho platter to kick things up a notch.
#7: Spicy Buffalo Chicken Dip
While you can use any buffalo chicken dip recipe with rotisserie chicken, this one appears to work rather well. All you need for the perfect dip is ranch dressing, cream cheese, hot sauce, and mozzarella cheese.
Melt your ingredients together with shredded chicken, then serve with your favorite dippers. If you want to skip some of the carbs, serve your dip with carrot or celery sticks instead of tortilla chips.
#8: Homemade Chicken Pizza
Homemade pizza is easy to make, and you can use just about any toppings you want (or want to get rid of). Start with a store-bought pizza crust or dough (or better yet, make your own), and add your favorite toppings – including shredded rotisserie chicken, of course.
You can go one of two ways with this strategy: red or white. A red pizza with chicken might work best with a handful of your favorite vegetables, like peppers and mushrooms, with shredded cheese and marinara sauce; but you can also go crazy and use barbecue sauce instead. A white pizza might include onions and artichokes with a garlic cream sauce -- or even ranch dressing, whatever floats your boat. Really, there's no wrong way: You can make your pizza however you want.
#9: Club Salad
Another easy way to use up rotisserie chicken is to throw it on top of your favorite salad. Cut up your favorite greens along with your favorite veggies – like chopped carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and red peppers.
Warm up your rotisserie chicken and throw it on top of the salad. Serve with your favorite dressing, croutons, and shredded cheese on top. For even more protein, add some sliced hard-boiled eggs, too.
#10: Shredded Chicken Tacos
Shredded chicken tacos are another easy favorite. All you need to do is fix tacos like you normally would, but fill them with rotisserie chicken instead of beef.
Saute your shredded rotisserie chicken leftovers in taco seasoning for added flavor, then add it to your taco shells. Other toppings to consider include refried beans, shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, onions, shredded cheese, and sour cream.
#11: Garden Chicken Wraps
Another easy – and healthy – way to use up rotisserie chicken is to create a healthy garden wrap. Buy a pack of tortillas at the store when you pick up the chicken, then fill them with chopped garden vegetables, shredded lettuce, and rotisserie chicken.
To add more flavor, line the inside of your tortilla with your favorite spread as well, like honey mustard or mayo. You can even try veggie cream cheese for a creamy kick, or your favorite spicy cheese dip.
#12: Easy Chicken Noodle Soup
Leftover rotisserie chicken is perfect for soup -- after all, you're often left with lots of small bits of meat, and you can make your own free broth by boiling the leftover bones with salt, pepper, an onion, and a couple of carrots. This Easy Chicken Noodle Soup recipe simply instructs you to combine leftover rotisserie chicken with chicken stock, chopped onions, celery, carrots, and your favorite noodles.
Homemade chicken noodle soup might be the perfect food to get you through the remainder of winter. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve with bread, and you can't go wrong.
#13: Creamy Chicken and Kale Soup
This recipe comes courtesy of my neighbor, Beth: In a large pot, saute one stalk of chopped celery, half of a diced onion, and one diced potato in some olive oil. Add chopped rotisserie chicken and chopped kale. Add two boxes of chicken stock, three cubes of Dorot frozen garlic, and simmer until potatoes are done. Turn down the heat to the lowest setting, and stir in one block of reduced-fat cream cheese and 3/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese.
The end result? You'll have a creamy soup full of vitamins and flavor.
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How do you use leftover rotisserie chicken? Have you tried any of the recipes on this list?