For our family, chili is a Halloween must-have. And what’s one of the best things about chili (well, except everything?) It’s the leftovers! For one thing, all of those spices and ingredients just continue to intermingle and the chili flavor keeps intensifying the more it sits. And it’s so easy to just heat up a couple of bowls of leftover chili for an easy lunch or dinner.
But. But! Sometimes you can get a smidge tired of yet another plain ol’ bowl of leftover chili. It’s true. So what’s a person-with-chili-leftovers to do?
Try one of these ingenious leftover chili recipes, that’s what!
Chili Cheese Stuffed Spaghetti Squash from Kitchen Treaty (moi!) – A main dish that screams fall – roasted spaghetti squash stuffed with chili and cheese. Easy and delicious!
Baked Vegetarian Chili Cheese Dip from Cozy Peach Kitchen – This easy cheesy dip calls for a can of chili, but it’s super easy to swap in your leftover chili instead.
Chili Cheese Fries from Sandra’s Easy Cooking – Super easy to customize to everyones’ liking – just add your leftover chili to crinkle-cut potatoes and top however you want!
Chili Lasagna from Create Kid’s Club – This is such a brilliant way to use up leftover chili! Layers of pasta, chili, and cheese – yessss. When you start with leftover chili, start with step 3, and your lasagna will be bubbling in the oven in no time.
Straw Hats by Kitchen Treaty (me again!) – Forgive the photo, it’s one of the very first of my blogging days, all the way back in ’09. I went against the grain by calling these “Straw Hats” – most people know this one as Frito Pie. But my Mom called ’em Straw Hats and so Straw Hats they are. So easy and so good, we’re just talking corn chips, chili, cheese, lettuce, and toppings. These are a camping staple for us.
Sweet Potato Chili Fries by Organically Addision – Roasted sweet potato wedges smothered in chili? Yes please! I’m all for the optional BBQ sauce situation, too.
Spicy Loaded Tater Tot Nachos by Ask Chef Dennis – Like chili cheese fries, but amped up – a LOT! Tater tots, chili, bacon (leave it off if you’re vegetarian), lots of pickled jalapeños, and a lime crema drizzled over the top. Yessss.
Chili Cheese Dogs by Recipes From a Pantry – Are chili dogs the ultimate grubbin’ comfort food? Quite possibly! Hot dogs (sub in veggie dogs for the vegetarians), smothered in chili and cheese and baked or air-fried. Top with jalapeños and life is good!
Vegan Chili Cheese Dip by Cadry’s Kitchen – Got just a bit of leftover chili? Perfect! This cheesy vegan situation calls for just a half cup. Perfect for a light dinner or game night!
Chili Tacos by Laura Fuentes – Dinnertime couldn’t be easier than this! Flour tortillas or taco boats, filled with leftover chili and topped with cheddar, diced avocado, and sour cream. Swap in veggie chili and vegan sour cream and leave out the cheddar for a vegan version.
Quick Chili-Topped Sweet Potatoes from The Vegan Atlas – Bake up some sweet potatoes, bust ’em open, and top with warm leftover chili and some vegan cheese for a seriously fast, easy, and hearty dinner.
10 Leftover Chili Recipes – Chili Cheese Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
- 2 small to medium spaghetti squash (2-3 pounds each)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (divided + more to taste)
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper + more to taste
- 1 cup diced onion (about ½ medium onion)
- 1 cup diced green pepper (about 1 medium pepper)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 small cloves)
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes in tomato puree
- 1 14.5 ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (plain diced tomatoes work too)
- 1 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed (or about 1 3/4 cups cooked beans)
- 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed (or about 1 3/4 cups cooked beans)
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (8 ounces)
- Optional toppings such as: sour cream (Greek yogurt, chopped avocado, cilantro leaves, fresh tomato, and/or chopped scallions)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line one large or two medium rimmed cookie sheets with parchment paper or foil.
- Lop off the top of the spaghetti squash and cut it in half lengthwise. With a spoon, scrape out the seeds. Brush the cut side of each half with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Dust with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Place cut-side down on cookie sheet(s) and bake until tender and the squash can easily be pierced with a fork, about 40 minutes. You can also microwave the spaghetti squash if you need dinner on the table faster. Here’s how to cook spaghetti squash in the microwave, along with full instructions on prepping and cooking it both ways.
- While the spaghetti squash cooks, make the chili. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil into a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, green peppers, and oregano and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne and cook, stirring constantly, for one minute. Add the tomatoes and beans and stir to combine. Cook until it starts to bubble (be careful, it may splatter because it’s so thick) then reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, for another 10 minutes, until heated through. Set aside.
- When spaghetti squash are done cooking, flip them over. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the cheese in the bottom of each half. Fill to the top with chili and top each with remaining cheese. Return to oven and bake until cheese is melted and bubbly, 20-25 minutes.
- Serve with assorted toppings.