Crispy Leftover Chicken and Shells
on May 06, 2020, Updated Mar 14, 2021
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Leftover chicken recipes are pretty popular in our home because we eat a lot of chicken recipes. This is the number one favorite of our boys.
You can make this delicious casserole for about $1 per serving and it will taste great the next day too!
Table of Contents
🍲 What is this?
This tasty meal shows you can use any leftover poultry for another meal. It’s not only good tasting and fast, but it’s also darn affordable.
You can make this easy casserole for about $5.00 and well under $1.00 per serving. As my dad use to ask, “How do you like those apples?!”
It doesn’t matter if the original poultry was fried, roasted, barbecued, or even from the rotisserie.
You probably won’t find this leftover chicken recipe at a Michelin-starred restaurant. Lucky for us, our boys are O.K. with that.
🥘 Ingredients and notes
Other than the meat, this easy family meal has just a few ingredients. Because it is a casserole, you can use your imagination pretty freely. If you want to add a bag of mixed vegetables to this, your kids won’t even know the difference!
For the Pasta – Shells work great for this leftover chicken recipe, but you can also use the tubular rigatoni like what we use in our best mac and cheese.
Cream Soup – You can also use cream of mushroom or cream of celery soup in this recipe.
For the Cheese – Use whatever you have on hand. Parmesan, cheddar, and mozzarella all work for this casserole.
For the Milk – 2% or whole milk works best for this casserole. Anything less takes away from the creaminess of it.
🔪 How to make it
The steps to making this leftover chicken recipe are short and sweet. Another bonus to using good leftovers.
Other than the ingredients, all you need is a 9 x 13-inch casserole pan, a mixing bowl, wooden spoon, and some measuring cups.
1. Cook and drain the pasta shells as directed. Then combine all the ingredients with the meat in a large mixing bowl.
2. Stir it all together.
3. Transfer the ingredients to a greased 9 x 13 casserole pan.
4. Bake at 350° for about 35 minutes.
For a saucier and creamier dish, add an extra 1/2 to 1 cup of milk to the pan before it goes into the oven.
Our whole family loves this leftover chicken recipe. Because it is a recycled meal, we are getting a twofer. Of course, this makes it even better!
Variations and substitutions
- Use whatever kind of leftover poultry that you have on hand.
- Use your favorite cheese in this leftover chicken recipe, or whatever you have on hand.
- Mozzarella cheese works great for a mild and light flavor.
- Cheddar cheese will add a little more savory flavor to this leftover casserole.
- Parmesan cheese will give it a bit of an Italian flare.
- To make it extra creamy, substitute the milk for heavy cream or half and half.
Make sure it is cooled and then sealed and wrapped in the refrigerator as soon as possible. Never allow poultry to sit at room temperature for over 2 hours.
It should be tossed out after 3 or 4 days in the fridge. If it starts to smell or look funky, throw it out. To reheat this, follow the same directions for when reheating alfredo sauce.
You can freeze this leftover chicken recipe for up to 6 months. Use plastic wrap to seal it before placing it in the freezer Allow it to thaw in the fridge overnight, the day before you bake it.
What to serve with it
This is a meal all by itself, but if you want to add a side dish or two, consider some of the following easy side dishes:
More leftover chicken recipes
- Quick Chicken Quesadillas
- Indian Curry Chicken Salad
- Mexican Lasagna
- Chicken and Biscuits Skillet Pot Pie
- Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup
Be sure and see our entire collection of easy dinner recipes.
If you’re a fan of leftovers, be sure and read how to reheat enchiladas; they can taste even better the next day! Speaking of leftover and enchiladas, you’ll want to check out our leftover steak recipe for enchiladas!
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Crispy Leftover Chicken and Shells Casserole
- 16 oz. chicken, coarsely cubed
- 16 oz. pasta shells
- 8 oz. shredded cheese
- 1 can cream of chicken or mushroom soup
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F°
- Grease a 9 x 13 casserole pan.
- Prepare pasta as directed, drain.
- In a large mixing bowl, cube leftover poultry. Add grated cheese, soup, milk, breadcrumbs and pasta.
- Stir mixture thoroughly then evenly distribute in prepared casserole dish.
- Bake for about 35 minutes, or until golden brown on top.
- Oregano/Italian seasoning
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.