Don't suffer stale leftovers. Use them up in a flavorful way.
Credit: Photo: Jennifer Causey

Leftover barbecued chicken, hamburger buns, and grilled vegetables are mixed blessings. Sure, you have leftovers ready for dinner all week long and you can skip the extra trip to the grocery store, but by day three you’re craving something a little different. And if you're one of those people who just aren’t into leftovers; we don’t blame you. There are only so many days a burger stays palatable and you can’t refreeze already thawed ground meat. But if you change things up, reusing food cuts down on food waste and definitely cuts down on your bills. This Memorial Day, we're actually looking forward to leftovers.

We compiled our favorite leftover recipe roundups to help you make the most of your remaining barbecue goodies.

Credit: Photo: Jennifer Causey


Most steak recipes call for grilling or cooking the meat as the first step, so you’re saving time by using leftovers. Lighten things up with tomatoes and crispy bread in a steak and tomato panzanella salad or toss steak in a pita with crunchy veggies and cool ranch for a quick weekday lunch.


Watermelon is the ultimate barbecue dessert, but leftovers are inevitable by the end of the night. Use up watermelon in cool boozy ice pops or serve in a steak taco for a crisp contrast.

Credit: Photo: Jennifer Causey


If you grilled a few too many pork chops this weekend or made a batch of shredded barbecue pork you just can't finish, we have the remedy. Toss charred pork into a soba noodle salad with snap peas and radishes or add shredded pork to pinto tacos with pepita slaw.


Mix up leftover sliced ham with summer melon, burrata, and chile for a light, summer salad or kick up brunch this weekend with a savory bread pudding with ham and cheddar.

Credit: Photo: Jennifer Causey


Sure, you’re a professional at using up rotisserie chicken, but fresh barbecued chicken deserves some special love.

Shred leftovers for a bright chicken dish like avocado nacho salad or toss them with leftover charred corn for a grilled corn, chicken, and bell pepper salad.


It’s a nice gesture when a party guest brings their own six pack, but when you open the ice box at the end of the day and all that’s left are the cheap beer bottles, you’re stuck. Use leftover beer you won’t drink on its own for other delicious recipes. Make a beer batter for Baja fish tacos with mango salsa or bake a dessert for your next potluck, like chocolate stout brownies.

Credit: Photo: Jennifer Causey


Potato salads seem great in theory, but when you have piles unused or leftovers still sitting in dressing, they might seem less appealing. Try a few creative ways to keep your crew craving them all week long. Mash leftovers into pan-fried croquettes or chop up with other veggies and top with a fried egg for a photo-ready morning hash.


Sure, it’s no Thanksgiving leftovers, but turkey burgers and turkey legs alike always end up stowed away in your fridge after a big grilling day. Toss leftovers on pizza with prosciutto or break apart turkey burgers into turkey and wild mushroom hash cakes.

Credit: Sara Tane

Bread and Buns

It seems impossible to use up all the extra hamburger buns after a big barbecue. Repurpose all your bread products as croutons, bread crumbs, bread pudding, or even brunch French toast this week, and you'll feel good about not tossing the remaining slices.


Grilling up some fresh zucchini, mushrooms, and asparagus seems great in the moment, but most guests are not going to run at the chance to fill their plates with the green stuff on return trips to the buffet. Use up those veggies throughout the week in a breakfast quiche, as a pizza topper, or a kid-friendly pasta bake.

Credit: Photo: Jason Varney


When you’re stuck with leftover burgers for days it may seem like a gift, but burger after burger leads to a meat-heavy, bland diet. Mix things up with fun toppings, like cheese steak burgers with pickled peppers, onions, and cucumber, or turkey burgers with cranberry-peach chutney.


At only a few cents an ear during peak season, it’s common to end up a stash of corn that will never even hit the grill. Corn on the cob can get old if you eat it plain over and over, so mix it up with snap peas for a quick salad or combine with bacon and top with a piece of fresh halibut.

Credit: Photo: Jennifer Causey


Some side dishes go within a few minutes of the buffet opening while others languish in the back of your fridge for days. When pasta salads are making their way into containers, toss a few into a pasta bake or a weekend frittata for something unique. View Story: Leftover Pasta Recipes