Skip to Content

21 Leftover Chicken Thigh Recipes for the Perfect Dinner

21 Leftover Chicken Thigh Recipes for the Perfect Dinner

I remember scouring through my fridge one day.

It was about dinner time and my stomach was rumbling endlessly.

I stumbled upon the leftover chicken thighs I had made the other day.

Luckily, only a day had passed, and they were still good to go.

I, like you, was thinking of a leftover chicken thigh recipe to satiate my hunger.

I looked over to my air-fryer and ended up having one of the crispiest meals in a long time.

Having said that, you don’t have to resort to air-fryer leftover chicken thighs.

There’s a plethora of recipes you can try from an Indian coconut curry chicken option to an easy salad one.

Stick around to learn more about the top leftover chicken thigh recipes to help you reduce your food waste.

1. Leftover Chicken Thigh Empanadas

Nothing screams comfort food like some traditional homemade empanadas.

To create this culinary classic, you’ll want to start by shredding up the leftover chicken thighs.

Next, it’s time to create the filling by incorporating the shredded chicken with canned chiles, grated cheese, cumin, and salt for seasoning.

Hold off on the chiles if you’re not spice-tolerant.

Once the filling is done, the next step involves preparing the dough.

Simply, roll it out, cut off some circles and brush the edges with egg wash.

Then, add a tablespoon of your previously made filling.

Complete your empanadas by pinching them closed and baking them off on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Suffice it to say, we’re so glad this hearty ethnically diverse dish came to light.

2. Leftover Chicken Thigh Tetrazzini

Although it sounds like an Italian creation, Tetrazzini has U.S. origins, particularly in San Francisco, California.

Aside from that, you can use your leftover chicken thighs to create this American dish.

The dish involves creating a savory rich sauce of butter, flour, mushrooms, and chicken stock.

Afterward, you can dump in your leftover chicken thigh cuts and some peas.

Meanwhile, in a large, greased dish, prepare any kind of noodle pasta such as spaghetti, linguine, or my personal favorite, bucatini.

Next, pour over all your chicken-flavored goodness on the carbs, add some finishing cheese-grated touches, and in the oven it goes.

You’ll end up making the best comfort food for a rainy day.

3. Leftover Chicken Thigh Fried Rice

The best part about this recipe is that the chicken component isn’t the only leftover.

That being said, most fried rice recipes call for leftover rice, making this a two-for-one leftover dish.

Another plus side of this leftover chicken thigh dish is that you can create it in a pinch.

The main steps involve heating your pan and adding the cut leftover chicken and chopped veggies, which can include carrots, peas, and onions.

Then, you just need to put in the leftover rice and mix in some soy sauce and sesame oil for that umami kick.

You can also pour in a couple of whisked eggs to add more depth to your leftover chicken thigh dish.

Once cooked, finish off your dish by sprinkling in some diced spring onions and you’ll be left with a satisfying meal for the day.

4. Leftover Chicken Thigh Crispy Casserole

Truth be told, casserole dishes come in clutch whether you have a last-minute invite or visiting a friend.

For this leftover chicken thigh recipe, the ingredients include milk, cheese, cream of chicken soup, pasta, and breadcrumbs.

To create this quick dish, you just need to mix all the ingredients into one big mixture in your bowl.

Finally, pour it into a casserole dish, sprinkle some breadcrumbs, and let the oven do the rest.

If you’re serving it to your little ones, you can even sneak in a few veggies, and they won’t be able to tell the difference.

5. Leftover Chicken Thigh Soup

Looking for a warm meal to end a long day at work? How about some heart-warming chicken soup?

The good news is that this recipe packs a lot of nutrients from the various veggies included.

To make the soup, you’ll want to start by chopping up some veggies including celery, carrots, shallots, and garlic.

Secondly, add in your aromatic seasonings which can include oregano, dried basil, and a lone bay leaf.

Once the flavors are settled in, add in your main ingredient, leftover chicken thighs, and pour in chicken stock.

After that mixture simmers, incorporate egg noodles.

If noodles aren’t your cup of tea, you can resort to other pasta types like acini di pepe.

All that’s missing now is a few sprinkles of parsley and a fresh squeeze of lemon juice.

6. Leftover Chicken Thigh Teriyaki Dish

I can’t get enough of Asian dishes.

They’re always packed with intense flavors that tingle your taste buds in all the right areas.

One of those many dishes includes none other than the famed Teriyaki chicken.

Luckily, you can create this recipe with a few simple steps and ingredients.

Having said that, the main component is the sauce.

To make the sauce, you’ll want to mix sugar, soy sauce, mirin, sake, and ginger.

Once these ingredients are boiled and thickened, it’s time to apply them to your leftover chicken thighs.

Dust some sesame seeds, serve it with rice, and you’ve got an authentic dish to satisfy your Asian food cravings.

7. Leftover Air Fryer Chicken Thighs

If you happen to have some raw leftover chicken thighs, then you’ve got to try this addicting crispy recipe.

Despite starting with uncooked chicken, this air-fryer dish is a no-brainer.

To begin, simply preheat your air-fryer.

The trick to getting crispier skin is to pat your chicken dry before seasoning it.

Then, season your leftover chicken thighs with desired spices such as salt, pepper, paprika, oregano, and garlic powder.

Afterward, place your seasoned chicken cuts skin down in the air-fryer and flip them halfway through until the meat is cooked.

You can complement this dish with a myriad of sides.

Whether you want to pack some carby fries or a healthy garden salad, it’s up to you.

8. Leftover Chicken Thigh Coconut Curry

Seriously, I can’t get over Asian food.

For this recipe, we’re going the Indian route with some steamy and delectable curry flavors.

This Southeast Asian staple won’t take up much of your time but serves a highly rewarding and tasty result.

The basic ingredients needed to create this fragrant recipe involve tomatoes, coconut milk, curry seasoning, ginger, garlic, onions, and of course, your leftover chicken thighs.

Once you create your curry sauce, you need to mix your cooked chicken thighs into the mixture until it absorbs all the authentic flavors.

Pro-tip: You can add honey to your curry so you can balance out the highly acidic curry flavors in the Indian dish.

9. Leftover BBQ Chicken Thigh Quesadillas

Moving from Asian-style cuisine, we’re hopping into some Mexican delights by making a classic BBQ quesadilla dish.

First, let’s prepare some ingredients, namely, flour tortillas, diced parsley and onions, BBQ sauce, and your leftover chicken thighs.

To create the quesadillas, shred the chicken thighs and mix them with BBQ sauce.

Next, heat up your diced onions and mix them with your shredded and seasoned chicken thighs.

In a separate pan, place your tortillas and add a generous amount of cheese followed by your chicken mix.

Close it up, and you’ve got your BBQ leftover chicken thigh quesadillas ready to be devoured.

10. Leftover Chicken Thigh French Casserole

Looking for a more European taste? Well, then you’ll have to try this flavorful French casserole chicken recipe.

This dish calls for all the right ingredients to create a cozy meal for the winter months.

To make it, gather your uncooked leftover chicken thighs and season them with some salt and pepper.

Pan-sear them on your skillet until they’ve browned.

Remove the chicken and pan-fry shallots and garlic.

Next, wash them off with chicken stock and a few spoonfuls of mustard sauce.

Once that’s all mixed, add your cooked leftover chicken thighs back in.

Oven-bake the whole dish, take it out, and douse the chicken in cream, then place it back in the oven.

You can pair this filling meal with bread or other sides like these, for some added carbs to your protein.

11. Leftover Chicken Thigh Cacciatore

Following along with the European theme, let’s look at the famed Italian cacciatore, or hunter-style meal.

In essence, this meal involves lots of veggies such as mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, and garlic.

In addition to this, you also need to add tomato paste.

In turn, it produces a mixture of several flavors from the woodsy taste of the mushrooms to the acidity of the tomato paste.

To balance the strong flavors out, I’d suggest adding your cacciatore with some pasta or other carb.

12. One-Pot Paprika Leftover Chicken Thigh

This one-pot paprika leftover chicken thigh meal is the perfect dish for a potluck gathering.

The delicious meal first involves seasoning the chicken thighs with paprika as well as salt and pepper.

Next, pan-sear the leftover chicken thighs until brown.

Now, it’s my favorite part, adding all the veggies.

This includes baby carrots, onions, mushrooms, and potatoes.

Douse all these ingredients with chicken stock and place your cooked chicken thighs in there.

Leave it to simmer and absorb all the rich flavors and you’ll be ready for your potluck.

13. Chinese Leftover Chicken Thigh Potato Stew

Going back to our Asian fusion leftover chicken thigh ideas, we’ll be talking about some wholesome Chinese chicken potato stew.

Although traditionally made with chicken drumsticks, you can use thighs instead.

The main element in this dish is the sauce.

To make it, you’ll need the classic Asian staples, namely, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sesame oil.

In addition to these, the sauce also includes sugar, minced garlic, and pepper.

As for the solids in the meal, you can incorporate potatoes, carrots, onions, and diced green onions for garnish.

14. Creamy Lemon Leftover Chicken Thigh Potato Bake

After browsing through our rich dishes, you may be looking for something creamier.

Look no further, this creamy lemon chicken potato bake has got you covered.

With this recipe, you get boiled potatoes and leftover chicken thighs saturated in buttery creamy goodness.

The sauce added will captivate your tastebuds with a slight lemony acidic flavor balanced out by some fragrant thyme.

15. Leftover Chicken Thigh Pesto Bake

If you’re a fan of pesto, then you can’t miss this leftover chicken thigh pesto bake recipe.

For this green dish, you’ll be blending in fresh basil, pine nuts, parmesan, lemon juice, garlic, and a few sprigs of olive oil.

You can pair your leftover chicken thighs with potatoes and mix both components in the savory delicious pesto sauce.

16. Leftover Chicken Thigh Salad

leftover chicken thigh salad

After looking through the multiple heavy cheesy and rich recipes, you may be searching for something a little lighter.

Fortunately, you can opt for our leftover chicken thigh salad recipe.

First off, you’ll want to shred the chicken meat off its bone.

Next, cut up cucumbers, tomatoes, and lettuce.

Then, shred some carrots and add a few spoonfuls of canned corn.

Finally, add your chicken and drizzle in some honey mustard dressing and you’ll be left with a fresh and on-the-go meal.

17. Garlic Butter Leftover Chicken Thigh Pasta

Let’s admit it, everyone loves a good ol’ pasta dish and this one is no different.

The garlic butter leftover chicken thigh pasta recipe incorporates classic ingredients.

The instructions involve making a roux and adding some garlic and onion powder to create the sauce.

lemon butter chicken thighs with pasta

To kick it up a notch, you can drizzle in some hot sauce as well.

Once that’s done, you just need to add your leftover shredded chicken thighs along with the noodles.

18. Leftover Chicken Thigh Kebab

kebobs using leftover chicken thighs on a plate

If you have leftover uncooked chicken thighs, then you can put them to good use in your next BBQ outing and create kebabs.

Initially, you’ll first need to marinate the deboned chicken with some yogurt, paprika, lemon juice, sumac, garlic powder, and finally some salt and pepper.

Once marinated, skewer the chicken along with veggies such as peppers and onions.

Finally, you can leave them on the grill until cooked.

All I can say is to get your taste buds ready for the juiciest meat you’ve had.

19. Leftover Chicken Thigh Wrap

chicken thigh wrap using leftovers

When in doubt, make a wrap.

That’s my motto for meat leftovers.

The same holds true for leftover chicken thighs.

You can debone the cut, shred it, and add it to your flour tortillas along with tomatoes, onions, and lettuce.

You can take this meal anywhere and even give it to your little ones for their lunch meals.

Check out this recipe for some fab tips.

20. Leftover Chicken Thigh Rice Meal

chicken thigh rice meal in a bowl

If you’re running short on time, then you can try out this leftover chicken thigh rice meal.

First things first, you need to stir-fry some bell peppers along with some diced onions.

Then, add your leftover chicken thighs and your choice of cooked rice.

Mix it all together, plate it, then drizzle on some sauce like mayo or sriracha.

For some added presentation, optionally garnish with chopped green onions.

21. Leftover Chicken Thigh Burger

leftover chicken thigh burger

Yes, you can create a chicken burger from your leftover chicken thighs as well as your leftover fried chicken!

You just want to make sure that you have boneless chicken thighs at your disposal.

To prep, dredge, bread, and fry your chicken cut.

Make sure the chicken is initially at room temperature before doing this.

Afterward, toast your buns and place your favorite toppings.

I usually add a couple of pickles, lettuce, and tomatoes.

For the sauce, I like to squeeze some thousand island sauce and ketchup.

It all makes for a tasty burger that you can pack for lunch at work.

How Long Can You Leave Leftover Chicken Thighs in the Freezer?

Before you go on making these leftover chicken thigh recipes, you’ll want to ensure that the meat is still okay to use.

The good news is that you can freeze ready-made chicken for up to four months before reusing it.

This gives you more than enough time to create some of our mentioned recipes above.

In terms of uncooked leftover chicken, you can leave it in the freezer for a much longer period stretching for approximately one year.

How Long Can You Leave Leftover Chicken Thighs in the Fridge?

Knowing what to make with leftover chicken thighs is a crucial step if you want to reduce your waste and even meal prep.

Consequently, to retain better quality and taste from the chicken, you may want to opt to refrigerate the chicken rather than freeze it.

To do this, you’ll want to note that it’ll last a much shorter time.

For cooked leftovers, you can keep them in the fridge for about three to four days.

On the other hand, raw chicken thighs can’t stay as long.

You can only keep them in the fridge for about a day or two only before they start to lose their quality.

Best Leftover Chicken Thigh Storage Methods

Now that you know what to do with leftover chicken thighs, it’s time to dive deeper into the best ways you can store them.

If you plan on refrigerating the chicken, then an air-tight container can seal the deal.

Meanwhile, freezing the chicken is best protected by using a zip-lock or freezer bag.

I recommend labeling the chicken’s container with the date you stored them so you can account for time.

How to Reheat Leftover Chicken Thighs

One of the biggest complaints about reheated leftover chicken thigh recipes is the dryness from overcooking the meat.

Luckily, you can fix this issue by adding some chicken stock as you reheat the dish.

Just make sure it simmers before you add it in.

leftover chicken thigh recipies

21 Top Leftover Chicken Thigh Recipes That Won’t Taste Like Leftovers

Ideas and recipes to cook with leftover chicken thighs.


  • Leftover Chicken Thigh Empanadas
  • Leftover Chicken Thigh Tetrazzini
  • Leftover Chicken Thigh Fried Rice
  • Leftover Chicken Thigh Crispy Casserole
  • Leftover Chicken Thigh Soup
  • Leftover Chicken Thigh Teriyaki Dish
  • Leftover Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
  • Leftover Chicken Thigh Coconut Curry
  • Leftover BBQ Chicken Thigh Quesadillas
  • Leftover Chicken Thigh French Casserole
  • Leftover Chicken Thigh Cacciatore
  • One-Pot Paprika Leftover Chicken Thigh
  • Chinese Leftover Chicken Thigh Potato Stew
  • Creamy Lemon Leftover Chicken Thigh Potato Bake
  • Leftover Chicken Thigh Pesto Bake
  • Leftover Chicken Thigh Salad
  • Garlic Butter Leftover Chicken Thigh Pasta
  • Leftover Chicken Thigh Kebab
  • Leftover Chicken Thigh Wrap
  • Leftover Chicken Thigh Rice Meal
  • Leftover Chicken Thigh Burger


  • Choose your desired leftover chicken thigh recipe.
  • Gather and organize needed ingredients.
  • Create a tasty leftover chicken thigh recipe to complete your meal!

Do you like this recipe or recipe list?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating / 5. Vote count:

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.