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How to Use Up Leftovers

Image of leftovers with the title "How to use up leftovers"

Ugh, leftovers.

For some people, leftovers can be a bad word. Dinner tastes great the night you make it; but either you can’t stand reheating cold food, or you don’t want to keep eating the same thing.

So you let the food hang out in the fridge and go bad, wasting food and money. And who wants to do that every week?

Thankfully, leftovers don’t have to be gross, or be left in the back of the fridge! You can turn your leftover food into new, delicious dishes that won’t even seem like the original dinner. Keep reading to learn more about how to re-purpose your leftovers and get some new recipe ideas!

Image of leftover spaghetti sauce

Why re-purpose leftovers?

Wasting food is a huge problem. Even at my house. I have a habit of buying a 3-pack of Romaine hearts only to cut up 2 of them and leave the other one to rot.

Re-purposing leftovers means you use up everything you make, which creates zero waste. And zero wasted food = zero wasted money!

And- here’s the best part- using your leftovers in a new way gives you a FREE meal! That frees up a few extra dollars you can use on other groceries and things you need.

Image of cooked chicken in an Instant Pot

Plan ahead

One of the biggest things you can do to create less waste and re-purpose leftovers is to plan ahead. If you know you’re cooking a huge batch of chicken for one dinner, create another dinner that uses the rest of the chicken.

Or, if you’re making rice for burritos one night but also want to make fried rice later in the week, make a double batch of rice. Now you’ve saved yourself some time as well as made a plan to use what you’ve cooked!

Here are some different ways you can use up specific items, including a few recipes:

Image of ham and cheese pocket


Image of an egg scramble with veggies


  • Add to egg scrambles
  • Make a quiche/frittata (Here’s an easy guide to making a frittata)
  • Make soup (I do this all the time with potatoes, carrots, and onions!)
  • Roast as a side item
Image of bread crusts in a ziploc bag

Other ways to re-purpose leftovers

Image of uncooked rice

Helpful items to keep on hand

Some foods actually make it easier to re-purpose leftovers. They can be used in multiple ways and will keep foods interesting! Try to keep some of these in your house at all times:

  • Eggs
  • Beans
  • Rice
  • Pasta

What are some creative ways you’ve used up leftovers? Leave a comment and give us ideas!

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