Easy Recipes That Are Guaranteed To Have Leftovers

Sometimes you want to make a big meal, whether you're feeding a large family or group of friends or just don't want to have to cook for yourself for a few days. That's when one-pot meals like risotto, chili, braised meats, beans, and casseroles come in handy. They're often more affordable because they use economical pieces of meat, grains, and legumes. And an added perk is that they're often pretty hands-off. You throw them in the oven, slow-cooker, or Instant Pot and dinner's ready when you are. For some recipes, that's a mere six minutes in the case of foolproof Instant Pot risotto or, at the other end of the scale, somewhere between six and eight hours for slow-cooker chili. 

Then there's spicy jambalayas, simple chicken fried rice, and Vietnamese-inspired chicken pho soup, which, after you've made them once, you'll want to keep in your dinner recipe arsenal for a long time to come. Because your time's valuable and your stomach deserves a great meal, here are easy recipes that are guaranteed to give you some delicious leftovers, from classic lasagna and copycat rotisserie chicken to Instant Pot pork carnitas and pork loin roast for a crowd.

Easy lasagna

This three-cheese lasagna serves six hungry people and is chock full of ground turkey or beef, tomato sauce, and noodles. It's a classic recipe that's meant to satisfy a crowd with a hearty meal, complete with layers of gooey cheese, canned tomato sauce, and lasagna noodles that you don't need to pre-cook. It's also a dish that you'll be able to throw together quickly and then sit back and relax while it bakes. This is so easy that you'll want to make it again soon. Well, after you finish your leftovers, that is.


This Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dish is like a beef or lamb lasagna, but with a béchamel-inspired cheese sauce and fried eggplant slices in place of noodles. This moussaka is rich and tangy thanks to the addition of ricotta. feta cheese, and Greek yogurt. It gets an aromatic boost from cinnamon, nutmeg, red wine, and mint. And in true Mediterranean style, there's plenty of olive oil involved. 

Like lasagna, there's some assembly required, but the results speak for themselves. Though this recipe for moussaka serves 10, you should probably make a second casserole dish and freeze it for when you run out of leftovers.

Slow cooker mac and cheese

This slow cooker mac and cheese might be the ultimate comfort food ever, not to mention your new favorite recipe. It serves eight, so whether you're cooking for the whole family or just want lots of leftovers, it's got you covered. And the three-cheese combo of cream cheese, mozzarella, and cheddar adds the perfect creaminess and richness to the meal without making you hunt for hard-to-find (and often expensive) cheeses. 

You don't even need to cook the macaroni in advance. Just throw it into the slow cooker with all the milk, butter, and spices for a little less than two hours, then add the cheeses just before serving. Because it's not a mac and cheese that's purely creamy and isn't supposed to be crispy or broiled on top, it'll be just as good reheated the next day.

Instant Pot carnitas

Whether you're craving tacos, burritos, enchiladas, tostadas or flautas, this Instant Pot carnitas recipe is going to be the go-to tortilla filling for pork-lovers everywhere. The secrets are in the spice rub, the quick sear, and the two and a half hours of slow-cooking. That process uses orange juice or pineapple juice so that the sweet-and-sour flavor can mix with the juices of the pork for taco perfection.

It's also an incredibly economical recipe, using five pounds of pork shoulder to yield 10 servings. Purists might say that all you'll need are tortillas to make a complete meal, but some salsa fresca, rice, or guacamole wouldn't go astray here, either.

Instant Pot risotto

The whole idea of risotto is that you need to stir it slowly. However, that can get pretty perilous, In some cases, that's just asking for undercooked grains or dry, bland rice when the stock evaporates too quickly. But with the magic (or, okay, the science) of the Instant Pot, this risotto cooks for just six minutes at high pressure. It's basically risotto-for-dummies and therefore deserves its own book. Or, put more nicely, it's foolproof. Now risotto is a dish for anyone, culinary novice or otherwise. 

This recipe officially only serves two people, but if you're really just serving two people with this vegetarian recipe, you're likely going to have leftovers. Adding extra meat, vegetables or shrimp will also help bulk up this dish for leftover greatness. If you're really hungry and eat it all, though, you could just cook more rice for a mere six minutes tomorrow.

Instant Pot baked beans

A giant pot of beans is always guaranteed to have leftovers, not just because they're not delicious, but because it's so easy to make a huge amount at once (this recipe serves 12!). The only downside is that dry beans usually take forever to make and you often have to remember to soak them overnight. 

But with an Instant Pot, even the potentially laborious task of cooking beans is easy. You don't even need to pre-soak the beans here. These baked beans cook in just 25 minutes, after which you can drain them and add them along with barbecue sauce, cider vinegar, mustard, brown sugar, sautéed bacon, bell pepper, and onion, and then cook for just 15 minutes more. As a result, you'll have sweet and tender barbecue "baked" beans in less than two hours.

Copycat Costco rotisserie chicken

This copycat Costco rotisserie chicken recipe will feed the whole family and will have you hands-deep in crispy-skinned wings, thighs, and juicy drumsticks. It's almost too easy to just grab a grocery store chicken, but the list of thickeners and preservatives that those usually contain might have you reaching for the spice cupboard and this recipe instead. 

You do need to plan in advance to make this rotisserie chicken recipe, as it does take about two and a half hours, but remember that the anticipation is part of the attraction for this delicious recipe.

Chicken fried rice

Take leftover cooked rice, add low-fat chicken breast, eggs, and simple, fresh seasonings and dinner will come together in no time. This one-pot meal of chicken fried rice is supposed to serve four people, with almost 20 grams of protein per serving. However, remember to plan for leftovers, especially if you throw in some extra veggies that will help to bring up the volume of fried rice. 

You'll like this one so much that you'll want to always have extra rice on hand for a last-minute dinner that's sure to please everyone.


Think of jambalaya as the southern version of paella and a spice lover's dream come true. This healthed-up version of the one-pot dish uses whole-grain farro in place of rice and chicken sausage in place of pork. That doesn't mean it skimps on flavor, however. The shrimp add plenty of taste to this meal, along with celery, peppers, smoked paprika, chili powder, and tomatoes. 

Cannelini beans add some extra protein and stretch the meal to serve a total of six. You can also season it to taste with your favorite hot sauce. After all, some might say that it's not a great jambalaya unless you're sweating!

Pork loin roast

Take a giant piece of pork loin, stick it in the oven for an hour and a half along with some vegetables and spices and serve it with a gravy made from the tasty pan drippings. Simple, but don't let that fool you into thinking you're missing out on flavor and wonderful leftovers. That couldn't be farther from the truth. 

The 2 to 3 pounds of meat called for in this pork loin roast recipe makes a hearty meal for up to eight people and there are bound to be leftovers unless you're feeding a truly ravenous group. The extra step of searing the meat before roasting makes all the difference for a browned, crisped exterior and juicy, tender interior.

Slow cooker chili

This slow cooker chili recipe is as simple to make as it is delicious. All you do is brown the ground meat with peppers and onions and then combine it in the slow cooker with canned beans, tomatoes, and ground spices. Then the recipe practically cooks itself. Four hours (on high) or 6 to 8 hours (on low) later and you've got a very, very generous four servings of healthy, affordable, and spicy comfort food that will last you for days.

Turkey chili

There's nothing that fills you up and warms you up quite like chili. With chili powder, a can of diced green chiles, ground cumin, and smoked paprika, this turkey chili recipe stays on the mild side but still has a considerable depth of flavor. It also comes together in just 40 minutes with canned beans, tomatoes, and corn. 

It serves six and hits the spot, so don't be surprised if it turns into a weeknight staple with plenty of leftovers.

Enchilada casserole

Up there with chili, this enchilada casserole has a way of satisfying with its rich and warm sauce, savory stuffed tortillas, and juicy ground beef. Recipe author Laura Sampson typically doubles the recipe for her three kids so that there will be leftovers for lunch the following day. Many hands make light work, thankfully, So, if you do have a lot of mouths to feed, that's just more help with layering the tortillas, ground beef, sauce, and cheese in this hearty dish.

Chicken pho

This homemade chicken pho recipe is a relatively quick version of the traditional Vietnamese soup that's usually simmered for hours, but it's still got all the aromatic spices and rich bone broth with oh-so-slurpable rice noodles to satisfy your craving for comfort. The beef base and boneless chicken give it a meaty feel without the heaviness of a stew or long-braised dish. 

It officially serves four, but those are ample servings and you're likely to have leftovers. You can always add more broth or noodles to make use of that last bit of delicious broth.

Chicken noodle soup

Whether you've got a cold or not, this chicken noodle soup is good for what ails you. There's nothing like the wafting smell of homemade chicken noodle to make you feel like a culinary hero, whether or not anyone in your home is ill. 

But the best part of this recipe might be that it's so simple, with healthy chicken breast, vegetables, and low-sodium chicken stock coming together into soup in less than an hour. And since it makes a whopping 10 bowls, there'll be plenty of leftovers for everyone to enjoy.

Hashbrown casserole

You don't just want leftovers from dinner, do you? Breakfast can come with leftovers, too, making it easier to eat well again tomorrow morning (or later the same day — we're not judging). So this hashbrown casserole basically takes all the best parts of a filling breakfast and puts it into one giant dish, perfect for reheating by the piece or altogether later. 

It's a creamy, chewy, salty, and crispy blend of potatoes, cheese, onion, and butter, with sour cream to give it tanginess and condensed cheddar cheese soup to bring it all together in true casserole style.