12 Leftovers You Should Be Using In Your Soups

When a substantial meal yields abundant leftovers, you probably reheat them later and call it a day. But if you feel like getting a little more creative with your doggy-bagged dinner, transforming those meal remnants into a soup gives you a brand-new dish with all the flavors of your meal, so you can continue to savor it again and again. Whether it's casseroles, curries, pasta, or poultry, virtually any leftover meal can be transformed into a tasty soup, capturing the essence of the original dish with a delightful liquid twist. Crafting some of the most delicious homemade soups is as simple as combining leftovers with broth. However, certain varieties may need a few extra touches to elevate them to a level that will get the whole family aboard the dinnertime soup train.

The next time you whip up one of your favorite meals, prepare a big-batch version of the recipe with the intention of creating a soup from whatever remains. If you intend to store your leftovers for an extended period, transforming them into a soup enhances their freezer-friendliness so you can enjoy the dish months down the line. So, to spark creativity while saving yourself some future effort, we've curated a list of meals where the leftovers shine when combined with rich broth, succulent veggies, and a passion for the most versatile dish imaginable.


When hosting a large summertime grill-out, it's common to over-prepare. It's better to have a surplus of food than to leave some of your guests hungry. That's just poor party management. So, if you wind up with an excess of your famous backyard burgers once your barbecue is all said and done, don't throw them back on the grill later, where they'll meet a dried-out, withered fate. Instead, make cheeseburger soup.

Cheeseburger soup is made excellent by adding things you wouldn't usually put on a burger, like celery, carrots, and potatoes, and such herbs as parsley or rosemary. Just incorporate the vegetables, herbs, beef stock, diced remnants of cheeseburgers, and a bit of extra cheese, as the residue on the burgers may not suffice for forming a luscious, creamy soup. Use a mild cheese, like Monterey Jack, to bolster the other flavors in your soup while complementing the hearty chunks of delectable meat.

If you aim to please the palate of picky kids, this soup still tastes delicious without the added veggies and herbs, although the lack of veggies yields fewer vitamins and nutrients. Enhance the experience by grabbing some tortilla chips and sprinkling them on top for a satisfying crunch.

Chicken pot pie

Chicken pot pie stands as the quintessential comfort food, whether you treat yourself to a frozen option from the grocery store or decide to go the extra mile and prepare one at home. Chunks of tender meat and bright, flavorful veggies convene in a creamy sauce, snug inside a golden, toasted crust. What's not to love? Unfortunately, attempting to reheat a pot pie that's already been cooked often results in a burnt, shriveled mess. Rather than risk this pot pie peril, create a soup with your leftovers, encompassing all of the flavors that make chicken pot pie so universally adored.

Start by scooping out the innards of the dish. Add chicken stock and milk, along with thyme and rosemary, to bring more flavor to the broth. If your soup looks too watery, add more of the veggies in the pot pie, most likely peas, carrots, onions, and celery. While your soup simmers and you enjoy the aromas of your favorite familiar comfort food, prepare the pot pie crust to give your soup the perfect accompaniment. Slice up the crust into long strips and bake at 375 F until they're extra crispy and a dark golden color. Serve alongside the soup or crumble them on top as a garnish that takes this soup back to its roots.


If you spend a lot of time on TikTok, you've surely encountered the famed lasagna soup fad. This trendy recipe includes everything that makes lasagna one of the world's most celebrated pasta dishes — and in a cozy soup setting perfect for a chilly winter night. This dish is a must-try for your next creative soup venture, featuring a medley of Italian cheeses, tender noodles, and juicy ground meat. It can be made from scratch, or just use last night's dinner to prepare it in a fraction of the time and with all the deliciousness.

Dice up your homemade lasagna into medium-sized chunks and place them in a crock pot or a stock pot on the stove. Add tomato juice, tomato sauce, a blend of Italian herbs, and parmesan cheese. Allow the ingredients* to harmonize as the zesty tomatoes and velvety cheese unite to produce the unmatched fragrance of delectable Italian bliss. Add a scoop of cold ricotta to each bowl when serving the soup. The ricotta slowly melts into the soup, forming little rivers of smooth, cheesy decadence that envelop your mouth in rich depth with each bite.

Chinese ginger chicken

One of the best things about a Chinese restaurant menu is the liberal quantities of ginger on various dishes. Ginger boasts a distinct flavor that doesn't harmonize with just any ingredient. However, when you discover the perfect blend of complementary elements in a dish featuring ginger, you'll be amazed by the burst of sweet, fresh spiciness that this seemingly humble herb imparts.

Ginger chicken, a staple dish at Chinese restaurants, makes for versatile leftovers that elevate any simple dish into a gingery masterpiece. Chicken noodle soup gets a much-deserved flavor boost when you substitute unseasoned chicken with chicken marinated in a ginger sauce. Use your favorite vegetables, and don't forget the garlic. Ginger and garlic are a match made in heaven, so let your soup feature the flavor of garlic just as much as the ginger. After you've cooked your veggies, add the leftover chicken and some extra ginger. Stir in chicken broth and egg noodles, and serve once the noodles are tender. Top your soup with aesthetically and aromatically pleasing herbs, like cilantro or scallions, for a picturesque touch to a comforting dish.


As one of the most dynamic and adaptable dishes, curry manifests in various forms. Whether preparing a fish curry stew or using a curry dry rub for meats, the distinctive blend of herbs and spices that imparts curry with its unique sweet, spicy, and aromatic qualities sets it apart from other dishes. Converting a curry dish into a soup is a common practice, allowing for a range of ingredient combinations, whether you're aiming for a seafood delight or a vegetable-packed creation.

Soup can be crafted using any form of leftover curry, whether it's a stew, curried noodles, or a dry preparation. You'll need a broth consisting of either chicken or vegetable stock —depending on your preference — and coconut milk. Add your leftover dish and the broth to a stock pot and let the ingredients simmer. Include extra curry seasoning since what remains in your leftovers likely won't be enough to pack a colossal curry punch in the soup, as well as fresh herbs, like Indian bay leaves and kaffir lime leaves, for extra flavor. To thicken your soup, go with sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are loaded with nutrients and have a sweet and earthy flavor profile that harmonizes beautifully with curry seasoning. Purée cooked sweet potatoes in a blender and add them to the broth to create a thick, creamy soup base.


The humble meatloaf stands as a classic dish familiar to almost everyone in the country. Perhaps you recall a time when you helped your mother cook this culinary delight for dinner, combining ground beef, pork, onions, fresh herbs, spices, and ketchup into a savory masterpiece. Maybe you also remember eating meatloaf for days on end, since this dish is often prepared in large quantities, yielding a ton of leftovers. Transforming these remnants into a robust, meat-laden stew is a simple and quick task, allowing for flexibility in ingredients based on what you have in your kitchen. You can even make this soup veggie-centric using a mushroom-based vegetarian meatloaf, although it may crumble, resulting in a heartier broth but with fewer meatloaf chunks.

Typically, this recipe comes together using onions, carrots, celery, and potatoes, but adding some extra veggies like frozen green beans or corn makes this soup more nutritious and filling. After sautéing your veggies, add diced meatloaf, canned tomatoes, beef stock, and some sage and rosemary to enhance the flavor of the meat and give a touch of bright herbaceousness to your soup. Next, you'll need a starch. Barely and beef go hand-in-hand in a marriage of heartiness that's scrumptious and satisfying, but pasta works in a pinch. This soup freezes well, so don't shy away from making a sizable batch.


For a meal that pleases every guest or family member, leaving everyone feeling full and satisfied, enchiladas are the way to go. The combination of savory meat, smooth and mild cheese, fresh herbs, and a piquant enchilada sauce to bring it all together is truly noteworthy. There's nothing like a creamy enchilada soup done from scratch but crafting one from leftover enchiladas is easily the next best thing. If you need to stretch out leftovers without having to add too many ingredients, this soup is your answer.

To make this dish, all you have to do is dice up your leftover enchiladas and add them to whichever stock matches the dish's protein — veggies, beef, chicken, or fish. The tortillas yield a substantial soup without the need to add additional ingredients, but including extra veggies never hurt. Try dropping in corn, peppers, or squash to raise the nutritional value of your soup while adding some crisp notes and a fun pop of color. Top your dish with avocado and cilantro and serve with tortilla chips to give these leftover enchiladas new life.

Roasted eggplant

If you're serving roasted eggplant as a side dish at a dinner party or making it the main attraction for your family's evening meal, there's a good chance you'll have leftovers. This is particularly likely due to the substantial size of the average eggplant. Since this pleasantly purple produce is rich in vitamins and minerals, regularly incorporating eggplant into your family's diet is a wise idea. So, rather than discarding the unappealing leftovers after everyone hesitated when the eggplant plate was passed, transform them into a quick and delicious soup in a matter of minutes.

For this recipe, you only need your leftover roasted eggplant, onions, garlic, tomatoes, vegetable stock, and spices like cumin and paprika. Sauté the vegetables with the spices, and then add your stock. After the flavors have melded together and the soothing aromatics start to fill your kitchen, transfer the soup to a blender or use an immersion blender to purée all the ingredients. You're left with a wholesome, creamy, vegetable-based soup that's nutritious and comforting. If you crave a spicy kick, sprinkle in cayenne pepper or your favorite hot sauce. Garnish your soup with fresh parsley or cilantro and serve with some crusty bread to ensure that it qualifies under dinner status.

Buffalo chicken wings

Making buffalo chicken wings at home is basic enough but we more commonly order this snack food for take-out, usually in vast quantities, since buffalo chicken wings have become synonymous with casual gatherings. And, as we all know, when ordering large amounts of food for a party, it's better to overestimate how much your guests will eat than leave anyone picking at the measly morsels left behind. That said, you've probably encountered a time when you had tons of leftover chicken wings you didn't know what to do with. Reheating them will surely dry them out and repurposing them into a chicken-based dish is challenging when the peppery sauce will throw off most recipes. But have no fear, buffalo chicken soup is your spicy savior in this scenario.

To create this unique soup, shred the chicken from your leftover wings with a fork. Set the shredded chicken aside and sauté onions, celery, carrots, and lots of garlic. Next, add the shredded buffalo chicken and chicken stock and let your creation simmer. To serve, add a little extra hot sauce and crumbled bleu cheese on top. The cheese melts into your soup and balances out the spiciness with a rich and tangy depth to make this dish your new favorite comfort food.

Thanksgiving dinner

The traditional Thanksgiving meal varies from household to household but there are some elements that most agree are necessary for capturing the holiday's essence. Turkey, of course, rates as a must-have on the Thanksgiving table. Along with the turkey, gravy swoops in as the hero that prevents the bird from getting too dry, while stuffing acts as the perfect accompaniment. You'll often find mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, cranberry sauce, and whatever dishes your guests bring to show off their culinary expertise. With so much food, you'll inevitably have leftovers after this highly anticipated annual meal, and deciding what to do with these leftovers becomes almost as fun as making the feast itself. Turning Thanksgiving's remnants into soup lets you use virtually every aspect of the meal. You can even add the cranberry sauce, although a more savory rendition of this recipe works better than a tart and sweet one.

To make Thanksgiving soup, just combine your favorite aspects of the epic meal into a stockpot with chicken or turkey stock and a little cream. Cook the vegetables first, then add the meat. While your ingredients simmer, thin the mashed potatoes with cream and water and whisk away. Slowly add the milky potatoes to the broth for a decadent soup base, delivering the perfect finishing touch to this unique and extravagant meal.

Baked potatoes

The humble baked potato acts as the perfect starchy companion for almost any meal. They're a cinch to prepare and universally loved, and they can be loaded with any of your favorite toppings, including bacon, jalapenos, or sour cream. Baked potatoes are easy to produce in large batches, so if you wind up with more than you thought you'd need, don't save them for a rainy day. If you've ever tried to reheat your leftover baked potatoes, then we don't have to tell you that the result is a crusty, decrepit mess. Instead, whipping up a creamy, indulgent potato soup is the best way to give them a makeover.

To make a soup from your leftover baked potatoes, start by scooping out the soft, white insides, and then purée them with milk or cream, or use buttermilk for an extra-decadent experience. Next, cook garlic and leeks in a stock pot until they're translucent. Mix sour cream and parmesan cheese into your potatoes and add them, along with some chicken stock, to the garlic and leeks. Salt and pepper your soup to taste. The versatile potato allows for free rein in the garnish realm — from chives and rosemary to bacon and cheddar cheese — inspiring your creativity to run rampant with this recipe.

Corned beef and cabbage

The iconic St. Patrick's Day meal boasts more sophistication than expected. Its simple ingredients can be easily adapted into various dishes, such as casseroles, sandwiches, and — of course — soups. Corned beef and cabbage soup, a delightful and hearty spin on the Irish classic, becomes a quick and low-waste meal after the initial effort of cooking the corned beef ends. So, the next time you're preparing a colossal holiday meal for your party, don't fret if you went overboard.

Start by gathering carrots, celery, leeks, and garlic for a textured and comforting soup that evokes the salty breeze off the Irish coast. Next, shred the corned beef with a fork and set aside. Sauté your veggies with some seasonings, like coriander or crushed red pepper, and then add diced potatoes and beef stock. Slowly add the shredded corned beef and let the soup simmer. Savor the enticing and salty fragrances and watch as the meat's fat adds a luscious, silky richness that transforms an ordinary broth into a sumptuous delight.