19 Recipes That Are Better as Leftovers the Next Day

Chilis, Soups, Curries, and More

Believe it or not, some dishes actually taste better the next day. A little time in the fridge can give the flavors time to get to know each other, and preparing these meals ahead of time makes your life easier too. With these recipes, you'll never have to hear, "Not leftovers for dinner!" ever again.

  • 01 of 19

    Ground Turkey Chili

    Ground turkey chili recipe

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

    Chili makes great leftovers, because the spices just meld as they sit. It reheats deliciously, travels easily, and freezes well. This turkey version comes out a tad lighter than beef, too. Make a big batch and eat it for days afterward. Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, and a little sliced avocado.

  • 02 of 19

    Slow Cooker No-Bean Chili

    Crock Pot No Bean Chili
    Simple Crock Pot No Bean Chili. Diana Rattray

    There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who make their chili with beans and those who swear they belong nowhere near it. If you belong to the latter camp, try this slow cooker recipe. It tastes great even days later.

  • 03 of 19

    Spam Fried Rice

    spam fried rice on a plate

      The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

    While fried rice often makes a great way to use up leftovers, it tastes great even a few days after you make it, too. Spam gets nice and crispy on the edges, giving the dish extra texture and a salty, umami note. Use whatever vegetables need to get out of the crisper in this simple and budget-friendly recipe.

  • 04 of 19

    15-Bean Soup

    Janetta's vegetarian bean soup

    The Spruce

    This hearty, classic 15-bean soup lends itself well to experimentation. Try using different dried bean blends, dash in your favorite spices, or use extra chilis to make it spicier. While this recipe has no meat, feel free to add chopped ham, sausage, or shredded chicken or turkey. It also freezes and reheats beautifully, so go ahead and double the recipe.

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  • 05 of 19

    Instant Pot Vegetable Soup

    instant pot vegetable soup in bowls with cornbread wedges
    Diana Rattray

    The popular pressure cooker makes this versatile vegetable soup so much faster than the stovetop, even though the prep does take a little time. If you like your soup a little meatier, add your favorite protein to the mix. You can also swap out the veggies, depending on your fridge situation.

  • 06 of 19

    Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

    Stuffed Cabbage Rolls With Ground Beef and Rice recipe

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

    Use very lean ground beef in these succulent stuffed cabbage rolls, to avoid them getting too oily as they cook. They reheat well and because they do take some work to assemble, you will definitely want to make enough to enjoy for several meals.

  • 07 of 19

    Vegan Yellow Curry

    Vegan Yellow Thai Curry With Mixed Vegetables

    The Spruce / Ali Redmond

    Many Thai dishes come naturally vegetarian or vegan without sacrificing any flavor and this yellow curry is no exception. Newcomers to curry will love the simplicity of this recipe, which has a shorter ingredient list than many others. Switch up the vegetables, if you prefer a different profile.

  • 08 of 19

    Thai Chicken Soup with Coconut Milk

    Thai Chicken Soup With Coconut Milk (Tom Ka Gai)

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

    This Thai chicken soup uses a can of coconut milk for its luscious creaminess, and it tastes especially great if you're nursing a cold. The balance of salty, sweet, spicy, and sour flavors are a real palate-pleaser and it makes a great starter or light entree.

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  • 09 of 19

    Tuna Corn Chowder

    Tuna corn chowder
    Diana Rattray

    Adding tuna to classic corn chowder gives it a New England-style fish soup taste and a little extra heft, so you can enjoy it as a standalone meal. Either fresh or frozen corn kernels work well, making this an easy and satisfying soup at any time of year. Serve with saltines or oyster crackers.

  • 10 of 19

    Kale and White Bean Soup with Sausage

    Kale and White Bean Soup With Spicy Sausage

    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

    Use up excess kale and other vegetables with this delicious and leftover-friendly kale, sausage and white bean soup. Andouille sausage works well, but you can use whatever variety you like best. Swap out the beans for your favorite type if you don't have white beans on hand.

  • 11 of 19

    Taco Soup with Ground Beef

    Taco Soup

    Diana Rattray

    Serve taco Tuesday in a bowl with this quick and easy soup. It calls for ground beef, but if you want to lighten things up, try it with ground turkey or chicken instead. Top it with your standard taco fixins and make plenty; it freezes and reheats perfectly.

  • 12 of 19

    Beef and Guinness Stew

    Beef and Guinness Stew Recipe

     The Spruce

    Stews work great for leftovers because their flavors just get better with time. This classic beef and Guinness stew will warm your cockles on a rainy day, so try it for a Saturday afternoon project. It makes a hearty meal with a side of crusty bread for sopping up the broth.

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  • 13 of 19

    Chicken and Shrimp Jambalaya

    Diana Rattray

    As many different interpretations on jambalaya exist as parishes in Louisiana, and we think they all taste amazing. This one features chicken, shrimp, and smoked sausage like andouille or kielbasa. It takes some time, but will be worth every minute.

  • 14 of 19

    Slow-Cooker Chicken Tinga

    chicken tinga tacos on platter

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

    Chicken tinga—a Mexican stew made up of chicken, tomatoes, onion, and chipotle peppers— tastes like the definition of comfort food. Use it as a filling for tacos, burritos, or over rice. If you don't want to pull out the slow cooker, make it on the stovetop over a very low flame instead.

  • 15 of 19

    Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Soup


     The Spruce Eats / Leah Maroney

    Butternut squash soup has a creamy, velvety texture and a sweet autumnal flavor and this crock pot version has no dairy or animal products at all. Toss it all together before work and then come home to a fragrant house and an easy supper. Then, pack it for a lovely lunch the next morning.

  • 16 of 19

    Wild Rice Stuffing

    Wild Rice Stuffing

    The Spruce / Laurel Randolph

    Stuffing just always tastes better the next day—just ask those Black Friday sandwich fans. Go ahead and make this Southern-style wild rice with mushrooms version any time of the year. We won't tell.

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  • 17 of 19

    Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice

    Instant Pot Red Beans and Rice

     Kristina Vanni

    Red beans and rice not only makes use of pantry staples most people already have on hand, but brings them together into a stick-to-your-ribs dish everyone will love. Making it in the Instant Pot means it takes a lot less time than the stovetop kind, too.

  • 18 of 19

    Creamy Potato and Ham Soup

    Creamy potato soup with ham recipe

    The Spruce Eats / Katarina Zunic

    Creamy potato and ham soup makes a lovely warming dinner with some crusty bread or biscuits, but can also become a delightful desk lunch the next day. And while ham and potatoes are a classic combination, some ground beef, sausage, or even chicken would also taste good.

  • 19 of 19

    Spinach Lasagna

    Perfect spinach lasagna recipe

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    Because the sauce soaks into everything else as it sits, lasagna just tastes better and better over time. And we're glad, because this recipe makes enough to feed a crowd twice. Serve it with a tossed green salad and some bread for a whole Italian event.