If you're having a hard time getting home-cooked meals on the table during the week, we have the solution for you. Enter the store-bought rotisserie chicken: a fully cooked chicken that's ready to bring to the table. These chickens should some kind of grocery store shortcut award! And I haven't even gotten to the best part - when you know how to use rotisserie chicken recipes as part of your weeknight meal repertoire, you're often paying the same price as raw chicken, without any of the work.
Chicken makes a great weeknight meal because it's packed with healthy proteins, but is full-flavored enough to qualify as a savory comfort food. The versatility of chicken is basically unmatched, too. It's delicious enough by itself to serve as a quarter chicken, or you can make the most of your bird with shredded chicken to stretch it longer through the week for multiple dinner recipes using leftover rotisserie chicken.
Here are our favorite 16 ways how to use rotisserie chicken for weeknight dinners.
1. Rotisserie Chicken and White Bean Soup
This is my favorite way to use my kitchen secret weapon, and it's healthy to boot. It's as easy as combining a can of chicken stock, white beans, and shredded rotisserie chicken.
To add some extra nutrition, simmer in some kale or chard, giving this soup a boost of color and flavor. If you have the time, you can start by making stock with the carcass! Find the full recipe for this easy chicken soup here.
2. BBQ Chicken Stuffed Baked Potatoes
Baked potatoes don't have to be side dishes, instead switch it up and start using them as main dishes. I love to eat them as the main event, topped with barbecue chicken, fresh veggies, and cheese sauce. Yum!
Check out the recipe for this perfect tailgating meal here.
3. Roasted Garlic Chicken Pizza
Jazz up shredded chicken breast in a number of different ways to make it the star ingredient on pizza. Start off with homemade dough, or buy a pizza shell from the frozen section. A classic combination is marinara sauce, mozzarella, chicken, and basil, or go crazy with garlic sauce and green onions. Turn it into a creamy chicken supreme with bell peppers, mushrooms, and asiago cheese on the crust.
The possibilities are endless! One of my favorite recipes can be found here.
4. Rotisserie Chicken Pasta
Pasta makes a perfect dinner, no matter the season, and the dish always makes for easy recipes. Go fresh and light in the summer with shredded chicken, fresh tomatoes, and spinach.
In the fall, embrace the season with chicken, sage, and butternut squash sauce. No matter how you spice it up, the rotisserie chicken will make the meal shine. Find the recipe here.
5. Rotisserie Chicken Pot Pie
Nothing beats the comfort of roast chicken pot pie, especially in the winter months. If you don't have to spend time cooking the chicken, it'll come together that much faster.
Grab a bag of frozen peas, make a quick gravy, and toss in your chicken. Perfect! For an even quicker dinner, consider this more of a chicken casserole with a puff pastry top. Here's a great step-by-step recipe and you're on your way to easy weeknight dinners.
6. Rotisserie Chicken Tacos
Either way, dinner will be ready and on the table in a flash when you cut out the cook time of the roast chicken itself. This recipe makes it fun to pull off Taco Tuesday, and it'll quickly become one of your favorite easy meals.
7. Pulled Chicken Tostadas
Tacos' distant cousin, the tostada, is a great way to add some excitement to normal weeknight meals. Fry or bake your own corn tortillas to make them crispy, seasoning them with a little cumin and coriander for flavor.
8. Rotisserie Chicken Nachos
If you don't want to go the tostadas route, but are craving crunchy foods, make nachos instead! Nachos don't have to be an appetizer if you load them up with toppings like shredded chicken and black beans.
Top it off with the cheese of your choice, add some guacamole and sour cream, and dinner is served! Nachos make a great family meal for sharing, too. Your new favorite nacho recipe can be found here (you're welcome!).
9. Spicy Chicken Quesadillas
In keeping with the Mexican theme, turn that leftover chicken into quesadillas. It's quick, it's easy, and it's simple with just chicken and cheese. Or make it more filling by stuffing it with fajita-style peppers and onions.
Go one step further and spice it up with jalapeños or fresh salsa. Serve it with a side salad to make it a complete meal, or eat it up as a snack. Start here with this great recipe.
10. Rotisserie Chicken Fajita Bowls
Take fajitas to the next level by turning them into a delicious bowl. Combine rice, beans, and shredded chicken with your favorite sauce and toppings.
11. Quick Chicken Fried Rice
Fried rice is an easy way to use up leftover rice and works well with white or brown rice. Toss in an egg, soy sauce, and shredded chicken.
Amp it up with veggies if you like and transform this classic Asian side dish into your main meal. Fried rice is quick and easy with this recipe.
12. Chicken Grain Bowls
Why not make everything into a bowl? Sub out the rice for soba noodles seasoned with sesame oil and take an Asian theme to the bowl. Or, go for cooked quinoa and add feta, cucumbers, and tomatoes to make a Greek-themed lunch.
This recipe for chicken grain bowls will have you feeling healthier before you even get started.
13. Rotisserie Chicken Caesar Salad
Chicken Caesar salad is a classic, so why not use the full-flavored white and dark meat from the rotisserie chicken? It'll be a sure fire way to have a filling work lunch that will make your coworkers jealous.
Check out the recipe here.
14. Asian Rotisserie Chicken salad
It's a different type of salad, but it's delicious nonetheless. Leftover shredded chicken can easily be transformed into chicken salad.
Go classic with walnuts, grapes, and celery, or style it up a bit by making a chipotle chicken salad. Perfect for a sandwich or for topping some fresh greens. This recipe is a fun twist on the classic.
15. Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
Speaking of sandwiches, I love a good BBQ pork sandwich. So why not change it up and make it with shredded chicken!
16. Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Just like a sandwich, but carb-free! You can spruce these lettuce wraps up any you want: go Asian flavors and mimic PF Changs' famous wraps, go Mexican style and eat it like a taco, or go BBQ and smother it in your favorite sauce. Delicious any way you wrap it! Get the full recipe here.
Now that you're flush with ideas, head to the store and snag a rotisserie chicken! And don't throw away that carcass when you're done - it's a perfect excuse to make some homemade stock.
This article was originally published on March 17, 2018.