15 Ways to Use Canned Chicken

This pantry item means delicious meals in a snap

Chicken Fried Rice

The Spruce/Zorica Lakonic

Keep canned chicken in your pantry for quick family lunches and dinners. It can be a lifesaver on a busy day or when you run out of fresh or frozen chicken. Add chopped canned chicken to your favorite pasta salad, baked macaroni and cheese, or sprinkle chunks over a tossed green salad to add a little protein to your favorite dishes. When at the grocery store, look for a dark and light meat chicken combination if possible. Not only does it come out cheaper much of the time, it has more moisture and flavor than just breast meat. Of course, all of these recipes also work with cooked and shredded or cubed chicken. The precooked packaged chicken strips found in the refrigerator section of the market make excellent options as well.

  • 01 of 15

    Easy Chicken Carbonara

    Tuna carbonara recipe

    ​The Spruce 

    Use canned chicken in this deliciously easy spaghetti dish. Cooked bacon also brings a nice smoky flavor and the eggs and cream create a rich sauce, while the canned chicken adds protein for a satisfying meal. Add a green salad and some garlic bread or a crusty Italian loaf for a fabulous family dinner.

  • 02 of 15

    Chicken Fried Rice

    Easy fried chicken rice recipe

    The Spruce / Zorica Lakonic

    If you need a last-minute meal, try this quick dish you can get on the table in a flash. Colorful vegetables paired with cooked rice and chicken, along with eggs and soy sauce, create a fried rice that tastes just like takeout. Just about any fresh veggies also work in this super versatile recipe.

  • 03 of 15

    Buffalo Chicken Roll-Ups

    Buffalo Chicken Tortilla Roll-ups

    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    These party-ready tortilla roll-ups make a tasty way to enjoy Buffalo chicken flavors as a fun appetizer or game-day snack. A combination of cream cheese, blue cheese, hot sauce, scallion, and canned or rotisserie chicken make up the filling. Just spread the mixture over the tortillas, roll them up, and slice into bite-sized appetizers for the perfect finger food.

  • 04 of 15

    Cheddar Chicken and Rice Casserole

    Cheddar Chicken and Rice Casserole

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    For an easy and delicious casserole, try this true comfort food made with canned or leftover cooked chicken, rice, and a simple sauce made with cheese, milk, and broth. Give it a little extra nutrition and color by tossing in some thawed and drained frozen vegetables, such as peas and carrots or broccoli.

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  • 05 of 15

    Buffalo Chicken Salad Stuffed Avocado

    Buffalo Chicken Salad Stuffed Avocado

    The Slack / Brenda Bennett

    A simple combination of mayo, lemon juice, and Buffalo chicken wing sauce gives this chicken salad a bit of zest, perfect for spooning into an avocado half. Canned chicken makes the recipe quick and easy, even though the presentation looks impressive. You can also use this salad as a filling for sandwiches, and it tastes equally delicious served as an appetizer spread on crackers.

  • 06 of 15

    Chicken Stuffed Alfredo Shells

    Hero_Chicken Stuffed Shells

    The Spruce/S&C Design Studios

    With a creamy Alfredo sauce and a hearty chicken and cheese stuffing inside tender pasta, this one-dish meal will satisfy all pasta-lovers. Use canned chicken and jarred Alfredo sauce to make it even faster and easier and serve on its own or with a green salad on the side to round things out.

  • 07 of 15

    Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Chicken

    Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

    The Spruce/Leah Maroney

    Stuffing sweet potatoes with a spicy Buffalo chicken mixture makes a tasty low-carb meal that works for those who follow a keto, Paleo, or Whole 30 meal plan (if you leave out the bleu cheese). Even if you don't have dietary restrictions, try it for a different take on wings.

  • 08 of 15

    Chicken Tamale Pie

    Chicken Tamale Pie

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

    While the Southwestern-style tamale pie traditionally uses ground beef, it also works great with shredded or canned chicken. With a crumbly cornbread topping, enchilada sauce, canned corn, and cheddar cheese, the blend of flavors will bring everyone to the table.

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  • 09 of 15

    Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

    chicken and wild rice soup

    For a warming bowl of goodness, chicken and wild rice soup has hearty grains, protein-rich chicken, and nutritious veggies. Fragrant spices will fill your kitchen with delectable aromas as it cooks, too. Make a big batch because it also freezes well.

  • 10 of 15

    Canned Chicken Dan Dan Noodles

    Tuna Dan Dan Noodles

    The Spruce / Todd Coleman

    Typically, Dan Dan noodles use ground beef, but this recipe takes a different approach. It calls for canned tuna, but it also tastes great with canned chicken. The combination of peanut butter, spicy chili paste, and pasta makes for a unique, Asian-inspired meal that comes together fast.

  • 11 of 15

    Chicken Omelette

    Chicken Omelette

    Leah Maroney

    For a filling breakfast, brunch, or even egg-based lunch, this chicken omelette will keep you satisfied all day. A blend of shredded chicken, gruyere cheese, and chopped spinach makes a unique omelette that might just become your next go-to. Add a side of toast and home fries for a diner classic.

  • 12 of 15

    Southern Brunswick Stew

    Traditional Brunswick stew in a cast iron Dutch oven.
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    With pork shoulder, shredded chicken, tomatoes, beans, and veggies, Brunswick stew has a real down-home flavor. Traditionally, people used any meat they could find around, including squirrel. Reaching into your pantry for canned chicken harkens back to the spirit of the dish.

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  • 13 of 15

    Crock Pot Chicken Casserole

    Crock Pot Tuna Casserole

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    Replace the tuna with canned chicken in this easy, classic casserole. You probably have most of the ingredients in the pantry and fridge, too. The slow cooker makes the dish especially convenient if you have errands to run or afternoon events; just combine the ingredients in the crock pot and come back home to a fully cooked meal.

  • 14 of 15

    Buffalo Cheese Dip

    Buffalo Chicken Dip Recipe

    The Spruce / Elizabeth Briskin

    Serve this spicy dip to friends and family and make sure you have the recipe on hand. Adding canned chicken to the simple recipe makes it taste just like Buffalo wings. Using canned chicken allows you to whip it up in a snap for last-minute guests. Serve with celery sticks, crackers, or tortilla chips.

  • 15 of 15

    Chicken Potato Bake

    Easy Tuna Potato Bake in a casserole dish

    The Spruce / Karen Hibbard

    Swap out the canned tuna for canned chicken in this easy potato bake that will get dinner on the table without dirtying more than one dish. Layer packaged scalloped potatoes, canned chicken, and a cheesy crust for a comfort food that tastes like home. Steamed vegetables would make a nutritious contrasting side.