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!
🍲 What is this?
This tasty meal shows that 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. This is the best way to use leftover chicken! Any kind - even our smoked whole chicken!
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.
Pro Cooking Tip: For a saucier and creamier dish, add an extra ½ to 1 cup of milk to the pan before it goes in 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.
- Leftover fried chicken
- Rotisserie chicken
- Leftover barbecued chicken
- Turkey tenderloin
- Leftover Thanksgiving turkey
- 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.
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
- Mexican Lasagna
- Chicken and Biscuits Skillet Pot Pie
- Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup
Be sure and see our full collection of easy dinner recipes.
Popular Casserole Recipes
See all our our casserole recipes here.
👨🍳 Tried this Recipe? Please leave a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating in the recipe card below and leave a comment. We love hearing from our readers!
⏩ Stay in touch with us on social media by following us on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube!
📬Get our Recipes delivered to your inbox for FREE!
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
- ¼ 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
aMAZing! I added a little pepper on top since I forgot the spices that were suggested but even without this dish was Great!
Definitely will be making it again.
Loved it! So easy, I added some left over broccoli & chopped up half of sweet red pepper. It was a great and easy brunch meal, thanks for the recipe
Just tried this tonight, it was delicious!
Served it with multi greens salad with cranberries and vinaigrette dressing!
Hubby took seconds and thirds!
Dan from Platter Talk
Starr! So nice to hear from you. Give my best to Dale, and enjoy the warm weather down in Sarasota! xo -Dan
My husband us not s big casserole person. He told me, “you did good”. I added a little garlic powder and I had a some frozen peas I needed to use up. I will definitely make this again.
Dan from Platter Talk
Husband approved! Love it. Thanks for sharing, Diane!
I made this but adjusted a little to use what I had. I didn't have much chicken left so I sauted up a little chopped onion and garlic with bacon. I added a handful of chopped up baby spinach and mixed it just enough with the cooked bacon to wilt it.
I mixed a can of cream of chicken soup and whole milk, then added grated swiss cheese, and then added the meat/spinach mixture, and the mini penne (which is what I had) Poured into a casserole. Topped with some crushed butter crackers that I mixed with a little melted butter. Delicious
Can you please let me know how far ahead I can make this. Thanks again Janet Watson.
Dan from Platter Talk
Hi Janet. You can make this and freeze it for up to 3 months. Otherwise, you can keep it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days (wrapped and sealed.)