Taco Tuesday doesn’t have to just be Tuesdays! While quick, easy and delish, tacos always seem to have a lot of leftovers. No need to stress! Here are 38 easy and mouth-watering recipes you can use up your leftover taco meat (without getting bored).
Some of these meals err on the healthier side, such as leafy salads and quinoa bowls, while others have comfort food written all over them. Want to keep the fiesta going? We uncovered tons of Mexican recipes, too — like, enchiladas, smothered beef burritos, Crunchwraps, tostadas, and more. We even found breakfast recipes, because taco meat isn’t limited to just lunch or dinner. With these recipes, your leftovers will never go to waste. Keep in mind that you may have to tweak measurements and cook times to properly fit the portions of leftover taco meat and toppings (cheese, lettuce, sour cream, etc.) you’re working with.
Skillet Beef Burritos
Take the hassle, stress, and mess out of rolling burritos with this easy skillet beef burritos recipe. The great part is you probably already have most of these ingredients on hand from taco night — and now your extra toppings like cheese and cilantro won’t go to waste.
Get the recipe: skillet beef burritos
You have not lived if you haven’t experienced the deliciousness of a walking taco. This easy meal comes together in just three quick steps: open a bag of Doritos; add leftover taco meat; top with fixings such as jalapeños, shredded lettuce, cheese, and more. Feel free to use Nacho Cheese or Cool Ranch Doritos.
Get the recipe: walking tacos
Beef Taco Salad Bowls
This recipe is topped with a yummy creamy lime-cilantro dressing that’ll leave you wanting seconds. The tortilla bowls take 15 minutes to bake and you already have the meat prepared, so you can whip this up in under 30 minutes.
Get the recipe: beef taco salad bowls
Who doesn’t love a casserole? Made with refried beans, tater tots, taco meat, and your choice of toppings, this recipe only takes 30 minutes to bake. It’s perfect if you have guests coming over.
Get the recipe: taco casserole
If you’re looking for a healthier alternative, you’ll want to bookmark this taco skillet recipe. It’s gluten-free, and the recipe creator includes instructions for how to make it low-carb and keto-friendly, too.
Get the recipe: taco skillet
Healthy Taco Salad
This healthy no-cook salad is a great lunch or dinner idea for days where you may not have time to cook. Pile everything on a bed of leafy greens and be on your way.
Get the recipe: healthy taco salad
Layered Taco Salad
This layered taco salad puts Rachel Green’s English trifle to shame. The recipe includes layers of lettuce, black olives, corn, cucumbers, taco meat, sour-cream salsa, grape tomatoes, and black beans, and it’s topped with red onions, avocado, and shredded cheese.
Get the recipe: layered taco salad
If a taco casserole and a walking taco had a baby, it would be this crunchy Frito pie. A Tex-Mex-inspired dish, Frito pie can be customized to fit your preferred veggies and only takes 20 minutes to bake.
Get the recipe: Frito pie
Put your leftover shrimp to delicious use with this easy stuffed avocado recipe. Similar to ceviche, this 15-minute meal includes fresh shrimp, red onions, avocado, tomatoes, and spices. There’s also an option to add hot sauce for a spicy kick.
Get the recipe: shrimp-stuffed avocados
Chicken Taco Lettuce Wraps
These lettuce wraps are another timesaver recipe. All you have to do is gather leftover chicken taco meat and toppings then pile it high on a lettuce leaf.
Get the recipe: chicken taco lettuce wraps
30-Minute Taco Soup
This 30-minute taco soup is made with a variety of seasonings like chili powder, cumin, and oregano. It also comes with heat-level instructions so you’re in control of how spicy it is.
Get the recipe: 30-minute taco soup
30-Minute Homemade Chicken Tortilla Soup
The most time-consuming part of making homemade chicken tortilla soup is cooking and shredding the chicken, which you already have! For the soup, all you have to do is sauté onion, jalapeño, and garlic, toss everything else in, and let it simmer. Instructions for homemade tortilla strips are included, but if you’re in a pinch you can find them at the store.
Get the recipe: 30-minute homemade chicken tortilla soup
One-Pot Taco Pasta
Enveloped in Mexican seasonings, this one-pot taco pasta is as delicious as it is mouthwatering to look at. Unlike traditional pasta recipes, this one isn’t baked or simmered in a sauce, which makes it lighter on the stomach and faster to cook.
Get the recipe: one-pot taco pasta
15-Minute Southwestern Chicken and Black Bean Skillet
Only have 15 minutes to spare? Well you’re in luck, because this healthy Southwestern chicken and black bean skillet won’t require much attention (or kitchen expertise). It’s also gluten-free.
Get the recipe: 15-minute Southwestern chicken and black bean skillet
Mexican Taco Pizza
Calling all Taco Bell fans: this Mexican taco pizza recipe is for you. In just 20 minutes and eight quick steps, you can have a scrumptious pizza dinner. While this recipe calls for ground beef, you could easily substitute it with leftover chicken or carnitas taco meat.
Get the recipe: Mexican taco pizza
Doused in mild green-chili sour-cream sauce, these shredded-chicken enchiladas are a no-brainer for comfort-food cravings. Enchiladas are very different than tacos in terms of texture, flavor, and even ingredients. You won’t feel like you’re eating the same thing two nights in a row.
Get the recipe: shredded-chicken enchiladas
Healthy Cashew Chicken
If you live by the saying “The more the merrier,” then you’ll want to save this cashew chicken recipe for later. The sauce for this recipe includes low-sodium soy sauce; a splash of rice vinegar, hoisin sauce, and cornstarch; fresh ginger; minced garlic; and honey. Drizzling this on top of your leftover seasoned chicken is sure to be a flavorful fiesta.
Get the recipe: healthy cashew chicken
30-Minute Loaded Quinoa Taco Salad
This loaded quinoa taco salad is technically considered meatless; but sometimes, rules are meant to be broken. Follow this recipe and incorporate your leftover taco meat (ground beef or turkey, shredded chicken, shrimp, carnitas, etc.). It’s filling and an easy way to use up leftovers.
Get the recipe: 30-minute loaded quinoa taco salad
Breakfast Taco Hash
Who says taco meat can’t be eaten for breakfast? In this breakfast hash recipe, you can skip the steps that involve browning and seasoning the meat and swap in your leftover taco ground beef.
Get the recipe: breakfast taco hash
Smothered Beef Burritos
For those torn between making burritos or enchiladas, consider this recipe — it’s basically a hybrid of the two. Stuffed with ground beef, onions, refried beans, rice, and cheese and smothered in red enchilada sauce, these beefy burritos may become your new favorite Mexican recipe.
Get the recipe: smothered beef burritos
Chicken and Bean Tostadas
A tostada is an open-faced sandwich on a fried tortilla. This chicken and bean tostada revolves around basic taco topping ingredients such as shredded lettuce, cheese, and lime juice.
Get the recipe: chicken and bean tostadas
Taco Zucchini Boats
Taco zucchini boats are low-carb, fast to make, and light on the stomach. Finish them off with cilantro, oregano, sour cream, hot sauce, or avocado cream.
Get the recipe: taco zucchini boats
A pan-fried tostada packed with taco meat, cheesy queso, tomato, lettuce, hot sauce, and sour cream? Sign us up. It takes less than 30 minutes to make (thank you, leftovers) and is perfect for both lunch and dinner.
Get the recipe: Crunchwrap Supreme
One-Pot Cheesy Mexican Ground Beef
For a meal with very little effort, turn to this cheesy Mexican ground beef dish. It’s essentially just a mosh pit of last night’s taco leftovers with rice and tons of cheese.
Get the recipe: one-pot cheesy Mexican ground beef
Loaded Chicken Enchilada Nachos
Nachos with red enchilada sauce? Revolutionary. Pile these chips high with leftover chicken, pop it in the microwave for about two minutes, and voilà!
Get the recipe: loaded chicken enchilada nachos
Honey-Lime Shrimp and Avocado Taco Salad
Lunch never looked so colorful! This honey-lime shrimp and avocado taco salad is dairy-free, gluten-free, low-carb, and nut-free.
Get the recipe: honey-lime shrimp and avocado taco salad
Fish Taco Slaw
This slaw can be used as both a taco topping and as its own entree; in this case, let’s go with the latter. After mixing up the slaw, add your leftover protein, whether it be fish or shrimp. If you think it needs more substance, you can add rice or quinoa.
Get the recipe: fish taco slaw
Leftover shredded chicken with sautéed bell peppers and onions makes for a delish fajita-inspired salad. Plus, you more than likely already have most of the ingredients prepped and ready.
Get the recipe: chicken-fajita salad
Ground-Beef-Stuffed Peppers without Rice
If you’re looking for a keto-friendly, low-carb recipe for leftover taco meat, then you’ve come to the right place. In this recipe, each bell pepper is stuffed with a layer of cream cheese, diced zucchini, ground beef, crushed tomatoes, and shredded cheese.
Get the recipe: ground-beef-stuffed peppers without rice
Instant Pot Arroz Con Pollo
Arroz con pollo (rice with chicken) is a beloved dish in Latin America. Traditional arroz con pollo can take upward of one hour to make; lucky for you, it’ll go by much quicker thanks to your leftovers shortcut.
Get the recipe: Instant Pot arroz con pollo
Mexican Breakfast Pizza
We love when dishes collide, and this recipe has two of our favorite foods: pizza and breakfast. This particular recipe calls for Mexican chorizo (Mexican seasoned ground sausage), which you may have as leftovers. If not, leftover ground beef or carnitas work just as well. Drizzled in Mexican crema, this breakfast pizza is worthy of a chef’s kiss.
Get the recipe: Mexican breakfast pizza
Sopa de Ajo
A traditional Spanish garlic soup, sopa de ajo calls for baguette slices; paprika; garlic cloves; vegetable broth; eggs; chopped parsley; dry sherry; and a small handful of other pantry ingredients. While sopa de ajo is traditionally vegetarian, it could be a fun and different way to use up leftover shredded seasoned chicken.
Get the recipe: sopa de ajo
Topped with a baked egg, these high-protein chicken fried quinoa stuffed peppers could be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! The recipe uses ground chicken, but you can easily sub in your leftover shredded chicken or even ground beef.
Get the recipe: chicken-fried-quinoa-stuffed peppers
Stuffed-Pepper Soup With Ground Turkey
Get rid of your leftover ground turkey or ground beef with this heartwarming bowl of stuffed-pepper soup. It’s perfect for cold, rainy days or when you need a break from regular tomato soup.
Get the recipe: stuffed-pepper soup with ground turkey
Creamy Chicken Lasagna
I know what you’re thinking — seasoned shredded chicken in lasagna? That’s right, and it’s going to taste delicious! A little kick will take this creamy, cheesy lasagna to the next level.
Get the recipe: creamy chicken lasagna
Sheet-Pan Mediterranean Shrimp
Whether you’re able to make this Mediterranean dish will largely depend on how you seasoned your shrimp the day prior. If the shrimp was cooked in olive oil, lemon juice, lime juice, or something of the like, then it should be good. Keep in mind this dish has feta cheese, cucumber, lemon, and other light and airy flavors. If you think the two will make a good combo, then go for it!
Get the recipe: sheet-pan Mediterranean shrimp
Loaded Cuban-Style Chicken Nachos
A POPSUGAR original recipe, this loaded Cuban-style chicken nachos recipe will use your leftovers right up. Plus, the recipe calls for Quest Protein Chips, which are a prime source of protein.
Get the recipe: loaded Cuban-style chicken nachos
Ruby Tuesday’s White Chicken Chili
As someone who has this chili on rotation during the colder months, I can guarantee it’ll taste even more amazing with seasoned shredded chicken. The chili requires a lot of the same ingredients found in taco meat mixtures — such as jalapeño peppers, chili peppers, oregano, cumin, cayenne pepper, and garlic. Adding leftover chicken will only help bring these flavors out even more.
Get the recipe: Ruby Tuesday’s White Chicken Chili
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