Canned chicken is a life and time-saving pantry staple we should all regularly keep on our kitchen shelves. Here are three delicious canned chicken recipes I have been making my family for over twenty years. Canned chicken is one of the most convenient and inexpensive ways to add protein to a meal.
Three Easy Meals You Can Make With Canned Chicken
Did you grow up eating canned chicken? I didn’t. Canned tuna, yes, but honestly I never knew canned chicken even existed until about twenty-two or twenty-three years ago. I purchased my first canned chicken in bulk at one of the big box stores, now Costco, (I think it was called Price Club back then) and I’ve never looked back. I was honestly surprised how good it is. Back then I think I just mixed it together with mayonnaise and made a sandwich out of it. I don’t think I started getting creative with canned chicken until a couple years after buying it for the first time.
Canned chicken became a welcome pantry staple when I needed a quick meal, especially lunch. It has a really long shelf life and tastes surprisingly delicious in so many things. It’s also a godsend when you don’t know what to make your kid’s for dinner or forgot to take something out of the freezer. As someone who cooks mostly from scratch, it does surprise me how much I truly enjoy this shelf stable item.
Have you ever purchased canned chicken? If yes, what do you make with it? If you’re still nervous about it, I suggest trying it in one of the following three recipes, I think you’ll be very surprised at how good it is.
Is All Canned Chicken Created Equal?
I’m going to go out on a limb and say NO. I have never had better canned chicken than the Kirkland (Costco) brand. It’s super high quality, is seasoned well and tastes all around delicious, not to mention how inexpensive six cans are. There are a couple of other brands I feel are good, but they don’t hit the mark like the Kirkland brand. Taste test them for yourselves.
My Top Three Canned Chicken Brands
- Kirkland Signature Chicken Breast
- HORMEL Premium Chunk Chicken
- Swanson White and Dark Premium Chunk Chicken
The key to this delicious canned chicken salad recipe is the ratio of ingredients to one can of chicken. It’s such a delicious combination of flavors, especially if let it sit overnight in the fridge before serving. We actually love eating this for breakfast with a toasted bagel!
I usually double or triple this recipe. It lasts a long time in the refrigerator and it’s great to have available when everyone in the family is eating at a different time.
Canned Chicken Quesadilla Recipe
My kids always loved quesadillas and it was such an easy thing to make them for lunch when they were home during the summer or on weekends. However, I felt it was important to get a little more protein in the meal, but did not always have a protein source on hand during the lunch hour. Canned chicken is a lifesaver for these delicious quesadillas. One full can of chicken will make about seven fajita sized quesadillas. They are perfect served plain, but are even more amazing served with sour cream, guacamole and salsa.
What Else Can I Add To My Quesadilla
- toss the chicken with some taco seasoning
- canned diced green chiles or jalapenos
- pickled jalapenos
Just fill half of a flour tortilla with shredded cheese and canned chicken, fold the tortilla over and place in a warm skillet with melted butter. You will be quite surprised how good these taste.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy here.
Canned Chicken Caesar Salad Recipe
I love Caesar salad made from scratch, but that is not always reality on a busy day. I have a favorite bottled variety of Caesar salad dressing, it’s Cardini’s. However, I like to doctor it up with a few extras like lemon juice, pepper, Parmesan and garlic. With the canned chicken and the kicked up salad dressing, it’s the perfect way to enjoy a quick and easy Caesar salad. If I have croutons on hand I will also toss them into this salad. It’s the perfect lunch when I’m short on time and/or ingredients.
Here is what the Caesar dressing looks like before I whisk it all together. I think you’ll love it.
These three canned chicken recipes are also great alternatives for college kids living in an apartment and have limited ingredients or limited skills when it comes to cooking. They are all so easy to make.
Can I Use The Juice From My Canned Chicken?
Yes you can! The water your canned chicken is packed in has lots of flavor. Drain into a pouring vessel and keep it covered in the refrigerator to use it later.
- Use it to make rice
- Use it as the liquid to boil your ramen noodles in
- Replace chicken broth in soups
- Poach chicken
Canned Chicken Salad
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp Ranch dressing dry mix
- 1 can (12.5 oz) canned chicken, drained
- 1/2 cup finely diced celery
- 1/4 cup finely chopped green onion (green parts only)
- In a medium sized bowl, combine mayonnaise and Ranch dressing mix.
- Add canned chicken to the mayonnaise mixture. The chicken will likely be in chunks so make sure you shred it with two forks before mixing the mayonnaise with the chicken.
- Stir in celery and green onion.
- You can add ground black pepper and salt if you like, but I never do.
- Serve on toast, as a sandwich, over a bed of lettuce, on a toasted bagel, with crackers or plain.
Canned Chicken Quesadillas
- 1 fajita sized flour tortilla
- 1/4 cup shredded cheese, any kind (I use Mexican blend)
- 1/4 cup shredded canned chicken
- Cover one half side of your tortilla with shredded cheese.
- Sprinkle shredded chicken over the cheese and fold tortilla in half.
- Melt butter in a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Once butter is melted, place tortilla in the pan until golden brown and cheese is melty. Flip tortilla over and continue cooking until golden brown and cheese is completed melted.
- Remove from pan and slice tortilla into triangles with a pizza cutter. Serve immediately.
- Tastes even better with salsa and sour scream on the side, but still delicious plain.
Canned Chicken Caesar Salad
- 1/3 cup bottled Caesar Salad Dressing
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp finely minced garlic
- 2 tsps shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 tsp coarse ground pepper
- 4 oz. canned chicken, shredded
- 1 head (3-4 oz) romaine lettuce, chopped
- In a small bowl, whisk together salad dressing, lemon juice, garlic, Parmesan and ground pepper.
- Toss salad dressing with lettuce and add canned chicken. Sprinkle with more Parmesan and ground pepper if you like.