The Best Ways to Use Leftover Chili

January 10, 2015

There are so many great conversations on the Hotline -- it's hard to choose a favorite. But we'll be doing it, once a week, to spread the wealth of our community's knowledge -- and to keep the conversation going.

Today: Baby, it's cold outside. You decided to make a big batch of chili, and then to make maybe just half a pot more -- now you have extra chili.


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It's January, which means that we're either talking about the weather (we're freezing), resolutions (did you make any?), or soup (lots and lots of soup). Today it's the soup. And chili is the hearty, soul-warming, extremely versatile type of soup meant to get you through cold winter nights.  

Which is probably what Tasha was thinking this week when she made a big batch of chili and ended up with leftovers. Freezing some for later is always a good option, but she wondered what other dishes she could make with it, and turned to the Hotline for help. As always, the community came through with soup-er suggestions:

Tamale Pie

  • C G, scruz, and Patricia Mack all recommend using leftover chili for tamale pie. You'll probably want to add cheddar cheese -- either mixed into a cornbread dough for the topping as C G does, or sprinkled on as a layer between the chili and a cornmeal crust as Patricia Mack prefers. Davidpdx suggests topping the chili with mashed potatoes instead, à la shepherd's pie.
  • Susan W likes to use it as a topping for tostadas and taco salads, or as a filling for omelettes and burritos.
  • Nancy suggests reheating leftover chili in a frying pan and cooking eggs in it for a twist on shakshuka


  • Davidpdx likes to use leftover chili as a pasta sauce or a topping for nachos
  • Aargersi recommends making Frito pie or mixing some into queso to turn it into a chili cheese dip. 
  • Aobenour goes for the comfort food too, saying: "Stir your leftover chili into your favorite baked macaroni and cheese recipe before you bake it."

More: You don't even need a recipe to make macaroni and cheese!

Chili Dogs

What are your favorite ways to use leftover chili? Tell us in the comments or join in the conversation over on the Hotline!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • adambravo
  • eat chic
    eat chic
  • Anne Saladino
    Anne Saladino
  • sexyLAMBCHOPx
  • Jakki
I like esoteric facts about vegetables. Author of the IACP Award-nominated cookbook, Cooking with Scraps.


adambravo January 20, 2015
I'm confused. What is "leftover chili"...?
eat C. January 14, 2015
Leftover chili on baked sweet potatoes is my favorite (I even featured the recipe in a cooking class, link below), but I definitely need to try it stirred into mac & cheese. That sounds fantastic.

Anne S. January 13, 2015
I add brown rice or quinoa and use it as a filling for stuffed peppers.
sexyLAMBCHOPx January 12, 2015
My husband's favorite is chili on spaghetti.
Jakki January 10, 2015
chili cheese fries (or hash browns), cook up some rice and make it like burritos, for breakfast beside eggs and ham/bologna... i have been eating chili all week and am almost out of ideas. this article couldnt have come at a better time.
Matt January 10, 2015
Chili dogs, of course.