Top 12 Recipes Using Canned Chicken

Delicious Meals in a Snap

Chicken Salad Sandwich
DebbiSmirnoff / Getty Images

Canned chicken is a great pantry item to always have on hand for quick family lunches and dinners. A can of chicken can be a lifesaver on a busy day; add chopped canned chicken to your favorite pasta salad or baked macaroni and cheese, or sprinkle chunks over a tossed green salad and you've got dinner. Choose a dark and light meat chicken combination if possible; it's cheaper and offers more flavor than the chicken breast meat.

Canned chicken became popular in the 1980s when food professionals started focusing on the food poisoning risk of mishandled or under-cooked raw chicken. It is an excellent choice if you are concerned about food safety or if you just don't like handling fresh raw chicken. Canned chicken is also a great product to use when it's hot outside and you just can't stand the thought of heating up the kitchen.

You can, of course, substitute cooked and shredded or cubed chicken for the canned chicken in these recipes. The precooked packaged chicken strips found in the refrigerator section of the market are excellent options as well, and they can be frozen for future use.

  • 01 of 12

    Grilled Chicken and Apple Sandwiches

    chicken sandwich
    Andrew Cebulka/Stocksy United

    This sandwich filling can be a lifesaver for those hungry kids after school. The chopped apple and Swiss cheese, combined with the chicken, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and chopped celery, add a unique flavor and texture that's sure to please. The filling is spooned between pieces of whole wheat bread and then the sandwich is grilled until toasted. The sandwiches are also wonderful served with a simple soup for a hearty lunch or dinner.

  • 02 of 12

    Easy Tuna or Chicken Carbonara

    Shenghung Lin Photos / Getty Images

    Canned chicken, tuna, or salmon add protein and flavor to this deliciously easy spaghetti dish. Cooked bacon brings a nice smokey flavor, the eggs and cream create a rich sauce, while the canned chicken—or other protein—makes it a satisfying meal. Add a tossed salad and some garlic bread or crusty Italian bread for a fabulous family dinner.

  • 03 of 12

    Buffalo Chicken Dip

    Homemade Buffalo Chicken Dip
    bhofack2 / Getty Images

    Serve this spicy dip to friends and family and be prepared for recipe requests. The combination of ingredients typically found in Buffalo wings—hot wing sauce, blue cheese, and chicken—makes for a fantastic dip. Using canned chicken allows you to whip it up in a snap for last minute guests. Serve with celery sticks, crackers, or sturdy tortilla chips.

  • 04 of 12

    Chicken Fried Rice

    chicken fried rice
    Jowena Chua/Moment/Getty Images

    If you need a last-minute meal that is on the table in no time, this quick dish is the perfect solution. Colorful frozen stir-fry vegetables pair with cooked rice and the chicken, along with eggs and soy sauce a classic tasting fried rice that is beyond convenient. Of course, feel free to use fresh vegetables if you have some on hand.

    Continue to 5 of 12 below.
  • 05 of 12

    Buffalo Chicken Roll Ups

    buffalo chicken tortilla roll ups
    Leah Maroney

    These party-ready tortilla roll-ups are a tasty way to enjoy Buffalo chicken flavors. A combination of cream cheese, blue cheese, hot sauce, scallions, 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.

  • 06 of 12

    Ziti Chicken Casserole

    Ziti chicken casserole in a dish.
    LauriPatterson / Getty Images

    This casserole is true, basic comfort food made with canned chicken, pasta, cheese, and condensed soup. The Muenster cheese is a nice change from cheddar and the Parmesan brings a bit of bite to the dish. If you like, toss in some thawed and drained frozen vegetables, such as peas and/or broccoli, to add color and more nutrition.

  • 07 of 12

    Pesto Chicken Pasta Salad

    Pesto chicken pasta salad



    littleclie / Getty Images

    A dressing of pesto, yogurt, and mayonnaise livens up this chicken and pasta salad with vibrant green color and rich basil and garlic flavor. It's a hearty, satisfying salad, packed with fresh vegetables, cheese, and chicken. If you use prepared pesto and canned chicken, the dish comes together in a pinch. Serve room temperature for an al fresco lunch on the patio.

  • 08 of 12

    Chicken Waldorf Sandwiches

    Chicken salad sandwich


    TheCrimsonMonkey / Getty Images

    Classic Waldorf salad ingredients combined with chicken make a delicious sandwich filling. The chopped apples, walnuts, celery, dried cranberries, and a tangy mayonnaise dressing create a slightly sweet mixture with great texture and bite. Spread onto cinnamon raisin bread for an added layer of sweetness.

    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • 09 of 12

    Crock Pot Chicken or Tuna Casserole

    tuna or chicken casserole
    lvinst/iStock/Getty Images

    Replace the tuna with canned chicken in this easy, classic-style casserole. You probably have most of the ingredients in the pantry and fridge, making it a snap to put together. 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 that is comforting and satisfying.

  • 10 of 12

    Russian Chicken Pie

    chicken pie
    diane555 / Getty Images

    The filling for this Russian chicken pie—called a kurnik—is made up of layers of cooked rice, a creamy chicken and mushroom mixture, and hard-cooked eggs flavored with fresh dill. The cream cheese pastry is the perfect topping for this rich and delicious pie. As the dough is made from scratch and the preparation does take some time, using canned chicken will definitely help speed up the process.

  • 11 of 12

    Zesty Chicken Salad

    chicken salad
    Paul Poplis / Getty Images

    A combination of ranch dressing, Dijon mustard, and cream cheese gives this chicken salad a bit of zest and pleasant texture, while the sweet pickle relish, roasted red pepper, and fresh chopped chives add extra flavor and color. This salad makes an excellent filling for sandwiches, and is equally as delicious served as an appetizer spread on crackers. You can also turn it into an impressive lunch by spooning a bit into cored tomatoes.

  • 12 of 12

    Pasta Salad With Chicken and Spinach

    Pasta Salad With Chicken and Spinach
    Diana Rattray

    This filling main dish salad makes a fabulous family dinner on a hot summer night. It is packed with flavor, and the fresh spinach and cherry tomatoes add appealing color. The dressing made of mayo, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, white wine vinegar, and basil add a fresh twist and creamy texture. It's a great picnic salad as well, or take it along to a barbecue or potluck dinner.