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Thursday, October 5, 2023

15 Ways to Use Up Leftover Chili

A big pot of chili usually leaves leftovers!
Here are 15 ways to repurpose those leftovers and make a complete new meal.

Earlier this year I asked my readers what they wanted more of and you unanimously voted for leftover ideas! My first leftover post, 15 Ways to Use Up Pot Roast Leftovers, has been viewed over 30K times and continues to rank as the top leftover pot roast post on Google.

A major win!

Now with Fall here we are finally entering cooler months and people are anxious to make soups and chili. My easy chili recipe is the version I've been eating since a kid. And while it's delicious it almost always gives us some leftovers.

Here is your chance to turn those chili leftovers into a brand new meal! These 15 ideas are fun and easy. Browse through them and pick one out for next time.

15 Ways to Use Up Leftover Chili

1. Pot Pie

Did you know pot pie can be made any which way? While the traditional chicken version is delicious, any meat can be layered underneath a pie crust or cornbread layer to create an amazing pot pie. This Chili Pot Pie with a Cornbread Crust combines two of everyone's favorites - your favorite chili and a homemade cornbread batter (a store bought version would work too). 

2. Baked Chili Cheese Dogs

Who doesn't love a chili dog? Growing up you would have never thought of baking them all in a dish to ease on prep and mess, but in today's world that is what we do! This recipe for Baked Chili Cheese Dogs does just that. You line all the hot dogs buns up in a 9x13 baking dish and start layering. The perfect use for leftover chili. Such a fun way to feed a crowd!

3. Nachos

One of the best "leftover" meals to throw together on a busy night are nachos. Drag everything needing to be used up out of the fridge, top it all with cheese and bake it on a big tray in the oven. Leftover chili is the ultimate topper for nachos. The spicy meat and beans are already mixed together! This recipe for Chili Con Carne Nachos will step up your nacho game.

Chili Con Carne Nachos....a simple way to use up leftover chili - nachos baked on a big tray.

4. Chili Mac

Over the years I've mixed a multitude of things into my kids macaroni and cheese. Leftover chili is another great option. Most people call it Chili Mac. I have a recipe on my site called Fiesta Mac, which is pretty similar (uses leftover taco meat), but leftover chili works just the same. If you are feeling extra fancy once it's mixed all together go ahead and top it with sour cream, lettuce and diced tomatoes too.

5. Baked Eggs

People put salsa on eggs all the time, why not leftover chili? This recipe for Leftover Chili Baked Eggs looks heavenly. Chili gets simmered in a skillet, then you make little wells in the chili and crack an egg. After baking this dish for 10 minutes the eggs are soft set and the chili is nice and bubbly. Grab some toast for scooping it up!

6. Stuffed Chicken Breasts

By simply butterflying a chicken breast and laying it flat it can then be stuffed with anything (cheeses, veggies, bacon) even leftover chili! This recipe for Chili and Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts looks fancy, but really is very simple. It is the epitome of making one dish and getting two meals out of it.

7. Queso

Nothing goes better in melted cheese than chili - especially when you have chips to dip it in! My famous Smokey Beef Queso has some of the best fillings around (diced tomatoes, chilis, onions, Velveeta, green salsa and more). Instead of putting the called for seasoned ground beef go ahead and mix in that leftover chili. Then watch your friends devour it.

Smokey Beef Queso with leftover chili - a hand holding a tortilla chip coated in queso.

8. Frito Pie

Frito Pie is a SUPER easy and quick dinner that has been around for decades. Often seen at tailgating parties it's a fun way to say you're eating "pie" when really it's not even close. This recipe for Frito Pie uses chili leftovers (any will do) and combines them with classic Frito chips and all your favorite toppings - cheese, lettuce, salsa, sour cream, etc.

9. As a topper for Cornbread Waffles

This recipe is such a fun idea! So many people serve cornbread on the side when eating chili, some even crumble the cornbread into the chili....so why not make cornbread waffles and top them with the chili? It all makes sense.

10. Baked Potato Casserole

This 5 ingredient dinner is on my list to make soon. I often have a few potatoes in the pantry needing to be used up as well - combining those with leftover chili and turning them into a casserole is genius. This recipe bakes them together and gets topped with cheese and all the fixings.

11. Chili Burritos

Fast food joints have chili cheese burritos, why can't we? This recipe for Cheesy Leftover Chili Burritos combines refried beans, leftover chili and cheese and then gets baked to cheesy perfection. This would also be a great meal to make two pans and freeze one for later. I'm imagining my kids will flip for these!

Cheesy Leftover Chili Burritos - an easy way to use up leftover chili!

12. Potato Skins

What do we see on restaurant menus? Potato skins! And generally the yummy potato filling is a meat and cheese combo. Using any leftover chili to top these potatoes with is a superb idea. Bake these beauties off and then garnish with sour cream, green onions and salsa. This party platter of skins will be gone quick!

13. Hash Brown Casserole

This recipe is as simple as layering shredded hash browns, leftover chili and cheese and then baking until bubbly and golden. Why haven't I thought of this one before? Serve it with dinner rolls, a chopped salad or a roasted veggie and dinner is complete.

Leftover Chili Spaghetti Pie....like a baked spaghetti but with a chili middle layer!

14. Spaghetti Casserole

Ever heard of Cincinnati chili? That is what this Leftover Chili Spaghetti Pie reminds me of. People love to put chili over spaghetti noodles! This version gets baked just like a regular baked spaghetti but uses up leftover chili for the middle layer. Top with cheddar cheese and your favorite toppings!

15. Tator Tot Chili Dog Casserole

It only makes sense to use leftover chili in this recipe as the base before you lay on the traditional tator tots to crisp up on top. Kids will flip for this dinner because cut up hot dogs are involved too! You layer in hot dogs with the chili, add cheese and top with tator tots - then bake till crispy.

Tator Tot Chili Dog Casserole...an easy way to use up leftover chili!

Which recipe will you use up your leftover chili on first?

I hope this post benefits you and your family! Let's not let those leftovers die a slow death in the refrigerator any longer. It's chili season, let's go!

And in case you are cooking a pot roast anytime soon, be sure to also visit my 15 Ways to Use Up Pot Roast Leftovers

A collage of leftover chili dinner ideas.

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  1. Can’t view your site. Too many ads and pop overs. I’ll never come here again.