10 Easy, Fast Dinner Recipes That Start with a Rotisserie Chicken
Published on May 3, 2022
Last updated May 12, 2022
By Jess Novak
Rotisserie chickens are a perfectly delicious, simple food that make our lives way easier. On a busy weeknight, we’ll pick up a rotisserie chicken (usually the organic one from Whole Foods) then prep an easy, quick side — garlic-balsamic roasted potatoes and asparagus, maybe — for a seriously low-fuss dinner. The next day, we’ll make one of these leftover rotisserie chicken recipes to enjoy the same protein in a totally different way. Because rotisserie chickens are so neutral, they’re a great base for any number of flavor profiles, so you’ll never get bored.
These meals are such a weeknight time saver (several of them are ready in just 15 minutes) so at the start of an especially busy week, we’ve been known to grab an extra rotisserie chicken at the store — just so we know we’ve got ready-to-go leftovers in the fridge.
There are salads that are a welcome addition to a full meal, and then there are big, hearty dinner salads that are complete meals unto themselves. This one falls in the latter category. Don’t get us wrong, we love a simple green side salad, but it bears about as much resemblance to this dish as a chihuahua does to a German shepherd. This lemony leftover chicken and farro salad is packed with protein, a rainbow of vegetables, big flavors like capers and fresh herbs, and a whole can of chickpeas. This is a great cold dinner that also becomes a delightful lunch the next day, and if you keep the cheese separate, you can keep the whole thing in the fridge for about four days (if you don’t eat it all before then).
When you hear “nachos,” you may not think “healthy dinner option,” but hear us out: instead of using tortilla chips as a base, make DIY plantain chips — plantains have even more potassium than bananas, tons of magnesium, and they’re a great source of dietary fiber. The plantain chips in this loaded nachos recipes are good, but we like this plantain chip recipe even more (and it’s super fast). Either way, if you’re using a rotisserie chicken, just skip the turkey and top the nachos with shredded chicken mixed with salsa instead; it tastes great and takes less time to prepare. The same holds true for practically any dish that requires poached or grilled chicken — you can easily turn them into leftover rotisserie chicken recipes.
This recipe is quick, easy, and delicious, which makes it the perfect meal prep option for a weekday lunch or dinner. It’ll keep in the fridge for up to four days, and you can choose to either enjoy it cold or heat it up to melt the cheese a bit. For a simple, healthful dinner, we’d recommend serving these caprese chicken quinoa bowls with a simple side salad or a quick sheet pan of roasted broccoli.
A real Thai red curry is a beautiful and nuanced affair, but you can make a totally solid weeknight curry in 20 minutes. In lieu of making your own DIY spice paste, opt for a premade version — we’re big fans of Mike’s Organic Curry Love, although we tend to double the amount of paste recommended on the package. You can serve this over any grain you like, or over sautéed cauliflower rice for a low-carb option.
Whether or not you’re on a keto diet, these chicken patties are just a fantastic use of a leftover rotisserie chicken. They’re great on top of a salad, as the base of a healthyish chicken parm, as a chicken burger (with or without the bun), or as their own main, served with sides like roasted green beans and greek yogurt mashed potatoes. And once you make a batch, you’re good to go for quite a while — they freeze beautifully.
True jambalaya is a joy, and when you have the time to make it, we absolutely recommend doing so. (This is Paul Prudhomme’s recipe for the real-deal stuff.) However, you can still enjoy a low-key, quick jambalaya on a busy weeknight if you’re willing to bend the rules a bit. We love this recipe for bringing together all the delicious Cajun flavors in a pretty quick timeframe. One great thing about traditional jambalaya is that you really can throw all sorts of things in there, and we recommend going for it with this version, too — crab meat and crawfish are common. While smoked pork sausage is traditional (andouille is the most classic) you can leave it out altogether or sub for a vegan sausage to lower the cholesterol in the dish. To make this a leftover rotisserie chicken recipe, simply simply throw the cooked chicken in when you add the shrimp, rather than earlier — which also shaves 20 minutes off the cooking time, making this a 25 minute meal. We love that the rice is cooked separately in this variation of jambalaya because it keeps so much more easily for next-day leftovers. To up the calcium and reduce your refined carb intake, simply swap out the rice for sautéed cauliflower rice or opt for a rice-cauliflower rice blend to get the best of both worlds.
If you’re craving buffalo wings but want to eat something that’s actually pretty great for you, consider this healthy dinner option, which is ready in just 15 minutes and absolutely full of protein and healthy fats thanks to all that rotisserie chicken and avocado. These low-carb buffalo chicken lettuce wraps are ideal for anyone doing a low-carb diet, but if you’re going for more balance and want a healthy carb side, we think baked sweet potato fries would be a great way to have a healthy “pub food night” at home.
One of our favorite leftover rotisserie chicken recipes, this variation on classic coronation chicken salad is a curry chicken salad that offers a whole lot more flavor than the chicken salad you might have grown up with — and it’s much healthier, to boot. This is great on top of butter lettuce leaves or in lettuce cups, but for some more bulk, we’d serve this on top of a mix of lettuce and leftover wild rice. If you want to give it more of the traditional coronation flair, feel free to add a dollop of mango chutney and leave out the honey.
Fast, fresh, and delicious? This burrito bowl hits all three. The whole thing comes together in just 10 minutes, which makes it a weeknight hero if ever there was one, and it’s incredibly versatile. Don’t have any fresh tomatoes, but have a jar of salsa in the back of the cabinet? Go for it. Don’t feel like making brown rice, but need to use up some leftover quinoa? Perfect. If you can’t find queso fresco or want a lower-calorie option, a mild feta would work perfectly here. This is also a great way to use up any leftover cooked vegetables, like grilled bell peppers and cauliflower.
This version of white chicken chili has to be one of the best plays on comfort food we’ve ever tried. It delivers everything you want in a chicken chili — all that creaminess and low-key spice — but with the substitution of yogurt for cream cheese and sour cream, it’s totally good for you. We like to throw in zucchini and yellow peppers, but this would be great with any vegetables you want to toss in — broken-up button mushrooms would be lovely.
Jess Novak is the Head of Content and Audience Development for Clean Plates. She absolutely loves making meals that taste like they’re not healthy but secretly really are. You can follow her on Instagram @jtothenovak.