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20 Leftover Chili Recipes

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Chili is one of our favorite winter comfort meals. Whether it’s authentic Texas chili, chili with beans, vegetarian chili, turkey chili, or spicy 5-alarm chili there’s often a dilemma: what to do with the leftovers? Instead of reheating the same bowl of chili, why not get creative and transform those leftovers into mouthwatering meals that will surprise your taste buds? Here are twenty leftover chili recipes that are not only easy to prepare but will also make you look forward to having extra chili on hand.

cornbread served with chili. chili topped with cheese and cornbread crumbles.

How To Store Leftover Chili


Storing leftover chili properly is essential to maintain its flavor and safety for future consumption. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to store leftover chili:

Allow the Chili to Cool: Before storing, let the leftover chili cool down to room temperature. Hot food can raise the temperature inside the refrigerator, potentially affecting other items.

Choose the Right Container: Use airtight containers or resealable plastic bags designed for food storage. Ensure they have a tight seal to prevent air from entering. Divide the chili into smaller portions if you plan to use it in smaller servings.

Label and Date: Label the container or bag with the contents (“Chili”) and the date when it was prepared. This helps you keep track of how long it’s been stored.

Fill Containers Properly: Leave some space at the top of the container or bag because chili may expand when frozen. This prevents the container from cracking. If using a bag, squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing it.

Store in the Refrigerator: If you plan to use the leftover chili within 3-4 days, place it in the refrigerator. Keep it in the main part of the fridge, not in the door where temperatures can fluctuate.

Store in the Freezer (for Longer Storage): If you don’t plan to use the chili within a few days, store it in the freezer for longer shelf life. Freeze chili in a container or bag suitable for freezing. Consider using a vacuum sealer for even better preservation. It’s a good idea to portion the chili into single servings before freezing if you anticipate using it individually. Chili can typically be safely stored in the freezer for 2-3 months.

Reheating: When you’re ready to enjoy your leftover chili, thaw it in the refrigerator if it’s frozen. You can also reheat it from frozen, but it will take longer. Reheat the chili on the stovetop over medium heat or in the microwave, stirring occasionally until it’s thoroughly heated. Ensure it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.

Avoid Thawing and Refreezing: If you’ve frozen leftover chili, try to use it all at once when you decide to thaw it. Repeated freezing and thawing can affect the texture and quality of the chili.

chili in a white bowl topped with crema, cheese, and jalapenos

What To Do With Leftover Chili


Leftover chili can be incredibly versatile and can be transformed into various dishes. Here are some creative leftover chili recipes:

chili cheese nachos on a cookie sheet after coming out of the oven.
Chili Cheese Nachos
These loaded and delicious Chili Cheese Nachos have tortilla chips that are layered with melted cheese and leftover chili. They're perfect for game day, parties, or any time you’re craving some seriously good nachos!
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3 chili cheese hot dogs on a plate.
Chili Cheese Dog
There’s nothing quite as hearty and delicious as a solid, loaded Chili Cheese Dog, where a hot dog bun is piled with hot dog, chunky and flavorful chili, and gooey cheese. It’s the classic American sandwich, or shall I say, experience, that you can find at lots of diners across the country, ball par…
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chili cheese grilled cheese on a plate.
Chili Cheese Grilled Sandwich
This Chili Cheese Grilled Sandwich is a great way to use up leftover chili. The crispy, buttery, grilled bread combined with the melty, gooey, cheesy filling results in the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich!
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mushroom loaded with chili and cheese.
Chili Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms (Vegan)
These Vegan Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms are loaded with bean chili and baked to perfection. A tasty appetizer or main for Thanksgiving.
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chili cheese scramble on a plate with a side of toast.
Chili Cheese Scramble
Prepare a batch of Texas-style chili using our starter, then spoon it over scrambled eggs for a hearty Southern breakfast.
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chili and cheese in a bag with frito corn chips.
Walking Taco Recipe with Fritos!
Walking taco frito chili pie is so easy and perfect for parties, meals on the go and more. Enjoy chili pie with corn chips for a quick meal.
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chili cheese fries on a plate.
Chili Cheese Wedges Recipe
30 Minute Chili Cheese Wedges – The most comforting cheese fries! Pile your homemade chilli and melty cheese on these steak fries for a quick and filling appetizer.
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chili cheese macaroni in a bowl.
Easy Dinner Idea: Silly Chili Macaroni
Looking for an easy dinner recipe that children will love? Give this simple Silly Chili Macaroni a try! It’s a favorite of kids and adults!
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homemade tamale covered with chili and cheese on a plate.
Hot Tamale Recipe
This amazing untraditional Hot Tamale Recipe uses Beef Short Ribs cooked Sous-Vide, Hatch Green Chiles, and topped with chili and cheese.
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chili cheese hasselback potatoes on a plate.
Chili Cheese Hasselback Potatoes- Butter Your Biscuit
These chili cheese hasselback potatoes are perfect for a meal on their own or game day appetizer. Crispy, cheesy, and loaded with chili.
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chili and cheese stuffed peppers on a plate.
Chili Stuffed Peppers
Leftover chili stuffed peppers are delicious, flavorful, and the easiest way to make stuffed peppers, with only three ingredients and five minutes of prep.
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a slice of chili lasagna on a plate.
BBQ Chili Cheese Lasagna: 2 Meals in One! (Make Ahead)
This will be your new favorite lasagna! Barbecue Chili Cheese Lasagna is really two meals in one, and a great make ahead meal for busy weeknights!
thereciperebel.com
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a chip being dipped in chili cheese dip.
Crock Pot Chili Cheese Dip
This Crock Pot Chili Cheese Dip is the perfect appetizer for any gathering, whether you’re hosting a party or just having a cozy night in.
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omelette covered with leftover chili and sliced avocado.
Southwest Omelette with Chili and Cheese
Want a quick & easy breakfast (or breakfast for dinner)? This chili cheese Southwest omelette recipe is ready in minutes with whatever you have in the fridge.
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layered chili cheese dip in a bowl with a side of crackers.
Layered Chili Dip
Warm, cheesy, and deliciously creamy over all! The rich flavors of this 6 ingredient Layered Chili Dip is simple to make and sure to be a crowd pleaser!
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baked potatoes stuffed with chili and cheese.
Stuffed Chili Baked Potatoes
These Stuffed Chili Baked Potatoes are the perfect weeknight meal for the busiest days. They are super easy, filling, comforting, packed with flavor, and you can prep everything ahead of time or use leftover chili or store bought to make it extra quick!
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spaghetti squash loaded with chili and cheese.
Chili Cheese Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
Melty cheddar and tangy chili make this a squash for squash haters. Who can turn down chili and cheese?! Make it your own by using any chili you want (perfect for leftovers!)
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chili cheese polenta pie in a cast iron skillet.
Chili Polenta Skillet Pies
Chili Polenta Skillet Pies make great use of the leftover turkey chili. Your family will feel special as everyone gets their own serving.
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chili cheese frito pie on a plate topped with onions.
Frito Pie
Get ready to dig into the ultimate comfort food with this mouthwatering Frito Pie recipe, featuring layers of crunchy Frito corn chips, hearty homemade chili, and gooey melted cheese!
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chili spaghetti pie on a plate.
Leftover Chili Spaghetti Pie Casserole
Leftover chili nestled on a bed of baked spaghetti noodles and topped with cheddar cheese. Quick easy leftover chili recipe!
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More Leftover Recipe Ideas to Try


Looking for more leftover recipe ideas? Try these other favorites:

  • 20 Leftover Cornbread Recipes – Leftover cornbread is just waiting to be transformed into delicious dishes. Whether you’ve got a few crumbled bits or an entire skillet, don’t let this golden treasure go to waste. From savory stuffing and crispy croutons to savory casseroles and sweet desserts, these recipes make the most of every last crumb of your cornbread.
  • Leftover Turkey Pot Pie with Puff Pastry – This one-pan recipe is an easy comfort food recipe made with tender turkey, veggies, and delicious gravy topped with a flaky, buttery puff pastry crust. It’s perfect for those Thanksgiving leftovers.
  • Cranberry Pecan Turkey Salad – This easy recipe combines lefover shredded turkey (or chicken) with the sweet zing of cranberries and the satisfying crunch of pecans, making it an ideal post-holiday dish. Enjoy it in sandwiches, wraps, or atop fresh greens for a delicious meal. 

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2 thoughts on “20 Leftover Chili Recipes”

  1. Dizzy, Busy and Hungry

    5 stars
    All of these recipes look so good, I am going to try them all. I always look forward to leftover chili and now, I have 20 ways of using it.

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