33 Leftover Chicken Cutlet Recipes That Are Anything but Boring

·12 min read

Whether you bought a ten-pound bag of frozen chicken cutlets on sale in bulk or just have a few hiding in the fridge from last night’s dinner, you’re officially on your way to making a tasty, protein-packed meal without much effort. Looking for a little inspiration? Voilà: 33 leftover chicken cutlet recipes to try, from buffalo chicken-stuffed sweet potatoes to Thai-inspired lettuce wraps.

(Psst: According to the USDA, you can keep leftover cooked chicken for three to four days in the fridge, while raw chicken should be cooked or frozen within one to two days. If you freeze it, it’ll taste fresh for up to a year—basically forever.)

RELATED: The 101 Best Chicken Recipes for When You’re in a Dinner Rut

1. Grilled Jerk Chicken Cutlets with Mango Salsa

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes

  • Why We Love It: <500 calories, high protein, <10 ingredients

Baking chicken cutlets on repeat is easy but boring. This grilled version is as simple as your old standby, but way more flavorful thanks to a blend of cinnamon and cayenne in the jerk seasoning. (Don’t get us started on the juicy mango salsa, which comes together with just six ingredients.)

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2. Cheesy Chicken Milanese

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes

  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, high protein

The secret to extra-crispy results? Using a blend of both regular and panko breadcrumbs. Plus, the cutlets are stuffed with mozzarella so when you cut into them, they ooze cheesy goodness.

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3. Potato-Chip Crusted Chicken with Arugula Pesto

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes

  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, kid-friendly, high protein, low sugar

There are myriad ways to enjoy this take on chicken parm: Try it in sub form on a long, thick roll, slapped with extra pesto, topped with arugula and a squeeze of lemon, or sandwich it inside a homemade pretzel bun. Or you can eat the chicken sans cheese or pesto to take advantage of that crunchy coating.

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4. Pasta Florentine with Grilled Chicken

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes

  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, beginner-friendly, kid-friendly

Aside from taking practically no time at all, charring the chicken cutlets on the grill adds a little smoky je ne sais quoi to this beloved pasta dish. In fact, you might not believe that the whole thing calls for fewer than ten ingredients.

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5. Avocado Chicken Salad

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes

  • Why We Love It: no cook, <10 ingredients, make ahead, low sugar, high protein

This creamy take on a classic works especially well if you have leftover chicken cutlets that are already cooked. Just chop or shred them up and mix them in with the avocado-laced dressing.

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6. Skillet Chicken Fajitas

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour

  • Why We Love It: <500 calories, high protein, low sugar, one pan

This one-skillet meal relies on your trusty cast iron skillet, but in a different way than usual. Instead of standing by the stove on sauté duty, you’ll toss all the ingredients in the pan, pop it in the oven and prep the rest of dinner while it cooks. Easy peasy.

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7. Chicken Tinga Tacos

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes

  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, beginner-friendly, ready in <30 minutes

Went overboard on the grilled chicken cutlets last night? Shred them into this punchy chipotle sauce and break out the tacos. Just like that, dinner is ready in half an hour.

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8. Garlic-Breaded Roast Chicken Breast

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour

  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, beginner-friendly, kid-friendly, low sugar, high protein

Plain roast chicken: bo-ring. This garlicky, crunchy version: the exact opposite. You don’t even need to chop any cloves, thanks to the convenience of garlic powder. Since chicken cutlets are thinner than breasts, you’ll want to reduce the cooking time and keep an eye on them so they don’t dry out.

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9. Family-Style Chicken Caesar Salad

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes

  • Why We Love It: high protein, beginner-friendly

Keep this trick in your apron pocket: You can make a super-simple homemade Caesar dressing without any raw egg or anchovies. The salty-umami flavor comes from green olives, and the base is a blend of mayonnaise and yogurt.

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10. Chicken Gnocchi Soup

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes

  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, <500 calories, beginner-friendly

Leftover cooked chicken and store-bought broth make for a lightning-fast dinner that tastes just as good as Mom’s recipe. Of course, you could use traditional noodles…but the gnocchi really takes the meaning of “comfort food” to another level.

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11. Buffalo-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 15 minutes

  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, gluten free, <500 calories, high protein, low sugar

This ten-ingredient meal works as a light entrée if you pair it with a big green side salad, or as a side dish all its own. FYI, you can cook the spuds up to five days in advance; just re-warm them in the oven when you’re ready to eat.

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12. Grilled Peach, Chicken and Ricotta Pizza

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour

  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, high protein, low sugar

Homemade pizza? With store-bought dough, why not? The pie comes together in an hour, which is faster than that delivery you were thinking about ordered. (Plus, it’s got peaches, fresh ricotta and perfectly charred chicken.)

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13. Black Pepper Chicken

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes

  • Why We Love It: ready in <30 minutes, high protein, low sugar, <500 calories

Not only is this takeout fave a chance for a fridge cleanout (it’ll use up your celery in addition to the chicken cutlets) but it’s also gluten-, grain- and dairy-free, paleo and Whole30-approved. Serve it with rice, or riced cauliflower if you’re watching your carbs.

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14. Easy Green Chicken Enchiladas

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes

  • Why We Love It: make ahead, kid-friendly, beginner-friendly, <10 ingredients

Leftover chicken cutlets? We have two words for you: chicken enchiladas. The green sauce is lighter and brighter than the usual red variety, not to mention it’s totally store-bought. You can even assemble the dish ahead and stash it in the freezer for a last-minute dinner in no time.

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15. Greek Lemon Chicken Skewers with Tzatziki Sauce

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 30 minutes

  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, high protein, low carb, gluten free

The yogurt-lemon marinade tenderizes the chicken and ensures a gorgeously browned crust when you throw these skewers on the grill. Serve it with warm pita, a salad and chilled white wine for the full effect.

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16. Gochujang Chicken Stir Fry

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 30 minutes

  • Why We Love It: low sugar, beginner-friendly, one pan

Don’t be put off by the hour-plus time commitment. Most of it is hands off, as the chicken marinates in the fridge to soak up all that spicy-sweet gochujang flavor. The sauce can be made up to two weeks ahead, and the rest comes together in a single skillet. (We’re serving ours with steamed rice; what about you?)

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17. Crispy Grilled Chicken

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes

  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, kid-friendly, ready in <30 minutes, <10 ingredients

Here’s a cooking magic trick: Coating the chicken in mayonnaise results in a super crispy, golden brown crust sans breading or deep-frying. Swap the breasts for chicken cutlets and they’ll be ready in even less time.

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18. Firecracker Chicken with Rice

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes

  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, <500 calories, high protein, beginner-friendly

Getting every single pot and pan dirty on a weeknight? We’ll pass in favor of this foolproof and irresistible sticky-sweet chicken recipe. Pan-frying results in a crisp coating without the mess of deep-frying, while the sauce is a combination of condiments you likely already have in your fridge.

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19. Grilled Lemon-Herb Chicken and Avocado Salad

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 35 minutes

  • Why We Love It: high protein, low sugar, make ahead

Everyone knows the best part of a salad isn’t the lettuce, it’s the toppings. Here, we’re piling our bowl high with barley, avocado, cherry tomatoes and a citrusy dressing, not to mention expertly cooked grilled chicken.

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20. Honey-Lime Chicken and Veggies in Foil

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes

  • Why We Love It: high protein, <500 calories, beginner-friendly, gluten free

Each portion of this meal cooks inside a little foil packet that you place directly on the grill. Once everything’s cooked, just throw away the foil. Feel free to swap the asparagus for another similarly sized vegetable, like broccolini or green beans.

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21. Grilled Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes

  • Why We Love It: ready in <30 minutes, low sugar, low carb, <500 calories

Trade the chicken thighs in this recipe for your leftover chicken cutlets, reduce the cooking time and marvel at how fast your dinner just came together. (And wait until you taste the salty-sweet garlic-chile sauce.)

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22. Sheet-Pan Chicken and Rainbow Vegetables

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes

  • Why We Love It: sheet pan recipe, keto, high protein, <500 calories

When your dinner M.O. is more “no thought and no dishes” than “truss up a whole bird,” reach for this simple sheet pan number. You can use any combination of vegetables, so go wild and clean out your crisper drawer.

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23. Baked Caprese Chicken Skillet

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes

  • Why We Love It: one pan, low sugar, crowd-pleaser

Can you top everything with mozzarella? The jury is out, but we’re certainly going to try. Inspired by one of our fave salads of all time, this one-pan meal is as delicious as it is easy to make. The spaghetti isn’t strictly necessary, BTW, and a salad would be just as lovely on the side.

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24. Mini Chicken Shawarma

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour, 40 minutes

  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, low sugar, high protein, crowd-pleaser

Typically cooked on a rotisserie and shaved off in thin slices, our take on this classic Middle Eastern dish is much simpler to make at home. A quick marinade and a creamy herb sauce ensures these two-bite pita pockets are delightfully zesty and flavorful (and most of the time commitment is hands-off marinating).

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25. Chicken Pesto Focaccia Sandwiches

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes

  • Why We Love It: low sugar, high protein, <500 calories, beginner-friendly

Using leftover chicken cutlets instead of chicken breasts means you won’t need to spend as much time pounding them ultra-thin (and we love a shortcut). Use freshly baked bread to take things over the top, or just pick up a loaf from your favorite bakery.

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26. Sheet-Pan Cashew Chicken

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes

  • Why We Love It: sheet pan recipe, kid-friendly, high protein

Many sheet pan recipes fall short on their promise of an all-in-one meal. This ingenious take actually delivers, since the vegetables and chicken are timed so they both cook to perfection. Add a pot of steamed rice and dinner is complete.

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27. Make-Ahead Spicy Chicken and Rice Salad

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour

  • Why We Love It: make ahead, <500 calories, gluten free, dairy free

Instead of a rotisserie chicken, use up your leftover chicken cutlets in this spicy, crunchy, cabbage-based salad. It’ll keep in the fridge for up to five days, if you want to make it ahead.

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28. 30-Minute Creamy Chicken, Corn and Tomato Skillet

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes

  • Why We Love It: one pan, gluten free, high protein

A handful of ingredients and just three steps are all it takes to make this creamy, 30-minute wonder. This is an ideal time to pick up some local tomatoes and fresh corn from your farmers market (as if you needed an excuse).

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29. One-Pot Creamy Chicken Alfredo

  • Time Commitment: 35 minutes

  • Why We Love It: one pot, kid-friendly, <10 ingredients, crowd-pleaser

And here we thought homemade alfredo required dirtying every dish in our kitchen. Better yet, this one-pan version makes for the creamiest results imaginable, thanks to the pasta starch, so you can use skim milk if you want to cut down on cals.

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30. Chicken and Snap Pea Stir Fry

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes

  • Why We Love It: ready in <30 minutes, low sugar, high protein, low carb, <500 calories

When you really, really don’t feel like cooking, a stir fry is in order. It’s easy, healthy and tasty, all with just a few ingredients. Plus, you can swap the snap peas and peppers for almost any quick-cooking vegetable in your fridge.

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31. The Ultimate Grilled Chicken Sandwich

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes

  • Why We Love It: high protein, kid-friendly

Once you put frizzled onions on a sandwich, you’ll never settle for plain old lettuce and tomato again. This is a great opportunity to use up pre-cooked chicken cutlets, if you want to save about 15 minutes of time.

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32. Baked Quinoa Chicken Nuggets

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes

  • Why We Love It: kid-friendly, ready in <30 minutes, low sugar, crowd-pleaser

Frozen nuggets won’t know what hit them. These baked babies are crispy, moist and breaded in quinoa for a nutritious boost. Want to bread like a pro? Designate one hand for wet dredging and one for dry, to minimize the mess.

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33. Julia Turshen’s Sticky Chicken

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes

  • Why We Love It: ready in <30 minutes, high protein, gluten free, <500 calories

Here’s definitive proof that everyone should keep a bottle of ketchup in the fridge. It’s the secret ingredient behind this sticky sauce. Serve the dish with rice, noodles, steamed bok choy, broccoli, roasted sweet potatoes or stir-fried snap peas…the list goes on.

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RELATED: 35 One-Pot Chicken Recipes for When It’s Your Turn to Do the Dishes

Katherine Gillen is a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City restaurants. She used to sling sugary desserts in a pastry kitchen, but now she's an avid home cook and fanatic baker.