Recipes Using Canned Chicken Breast – What to Do with Canned Chicken

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Canned chicken tops our list of go-to ingredients when we need to get a meal on the table quickly or didn’t plan ahead to pull something from the freezer before work. From salads to soups, you can use canned chicken in almost any recipe that calls for cooked chicken.

Substitute canned chicken breast into any recipe that calls for diced, cooked chicken.  One 12 ounce can of chicken breast is approximately 1 1/2 cups, so you may need more than one can of chicken breast depending on how much the recipe calls for.

Recipes Using Canned Chicken Breast

Let’s face it, sometimes when it comes to cooking, we need convenience. And sometimes, we need cheap.  There’s no reason to sugar-coat it, it’s just the way it is.  One of the most versatile ingredients that fits both bills is canned chicken breast.

Canned chicken breast takes out the step of cooking the chicken which is a huge time saver.  For most recipes, be sure to drain off the excess liquid from the chicken before adding to a recipe.

We keep multiple cans of chicken in our pantry to have on hand when we need a quick meal or even snack – our 3-ingredient chicken salad made a great snack with crackers. Check out all of our pantry essentials on our Amazon Store (we do earn on qualifying purchases).

Is canned chicken cooked?

Yes, as a rule of thumb, any food that comes in a can is already cooked. During the canning process, foods are subjected to a high temperature to kill microorganisms. This makes canned foods safe to eat and also cooks the foods at the same time.  Essentially, you could eat any canned foods straight out of the cans cold, and they would be safe to eat.

What does canned chicken taste like?

Canned chicken breast has the texture and taste of poached chicken. It’s moist and has a pretty bland flavor, since it’s only seasoned with salt.  This makes it a good base to add to recipes.

What can I make with canned chicken?

Almost any recipe or dish that calls for cooked chicken can be made using canned chicken. Below we are sharing links to a variety of recipes that either already feature canned chicken OR that can easily be made with it instead of poached, rotisserie or roasted chicken.

What can I substitute for canned chicken breast?

Most cans of chicken breast contain 12 ounces which would be the equivalent of 1 1/2 cups of diced or shredded chicken, Substitute leftover grilled chicken, poached chicken, or rotisserie chicken.

Chicken Salad Recipes with Canned Chicken

Chicken salad is a great option for a quick lunch or even afternoon snack. We love putting together a bowl of chicken salad to use for our workday lunches. The first two recipes below call specifically for chicken in a can and the third can easily be adapted to use it too.

3 Ingredient Chicken Salad

This 3 Ingredient Chicken Salad is a great option for an easy workday lunch to fix as a sandwich or put on crackers. You will not be able to stop eating this simple salad with canned chicken, hard boiled eggs and mayonnaise.

Lemon Chicken Salad (Low Carb)

Sometimes eating healthier really is easy, like with this 5-Minute Low Carb Lemon Chicken Salad which is perfect served on your favorite type of lettuce. By using canned chicken, you can whip this dish up in no time.

Fancy Chicken Salad

This Fancy Chicken Salad is extra special with a touch of crunch from pecans, sweet pickles and celery and a hint of sweetness from canned cherries.  The ingredients are surprising, and the flavor is delicious. 

What do you put in a chicken salad?

Chicken salad is one of the most versatile meals around; you can practically put anything but the kitchen sink in it.  Look in your refrigerator and pantry and be creative.  Start with a base to make it creamy, and then pick your add-ins.  Love a sweet bite? Try some fruit or dried fruit.  Like a tang?  Mustard is a great way to add a little bite.  Check out our list of ideas below.

  • Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
  • Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Chopped Celery
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Peas
  • Mustard (Dijon, German, Yellow, etc.)
  • Fried Bacon Pieces
  • Pineapple
  • Mango

Canned Chicken Recipes with Crescent Rolls

Canned, refrigerated crescent rolls or biscuits are a great ingredient to use “outside the box.”  You can essentially roll out the dough, and stuff it with almost anything.  Another option would be to roll out the crescent dough into one big sheet or purchase crescent roll dough sheets to use as a crust for appetizers or even pizza.

Check out our favorite combinations of refrigerated biscuits and canned chicken breast.

Chicken Crescent Bake

Chicken Crescent Bake is a casserole that can be made using canned chicken or leftover shredded chicken.

Chicken Enchilada Bake

Easy Chicken Enchilada Biscuit Bake is the perfect dinner for a busy weeknight. Chicken, black beans and cheese are stuffed into canned, refrigerated biscuits and then baked in a combination of enchilada sauce and cream of chicken soup. The result will have your family licking their plates and begging for more.

Ranch Chicken Veggie Pizza

Adding grilled chicken turns the classic cream cheese vegetable bars with a crescent roll crust into this delicious Chicken Ranch Vegetable Pizza.

Canned Chicken Casserole Recipes

Casseroles are a perfect way to use this go-to ingredient! Below are a few of our favorites…although our go-to casserole is still our Mom’s Tuna Casserole using canned tuna!

Grandma’s Chicken and Rice Casserole

Grandma's Chicken and Rice Casserole is one of those dishes the entire family will eat. This casserole is a perfect way to take leftover chicken, rice - and even hard-boiled eggs - and turn them into a whole new dish.

Easy Chicken Noodle Casserole with Potato Chips

This classic chicken noodle casserole with a crunchy potato chip topping will take you right back to your childhood.  Easy Chicken Noodle Casserole with Potato Chips is quick and simple, and your family will give it two thumbs up.

Chicken Crunch Casserole

What's special about Chicken Crunch Casserole? The crunchy texture comes from water chestnuts, almonds and celery and a topping of crushed potato chips.

Cashew Chicken Casserole

Cashew Chicken Casserole is a humble recipe with great flavor and texture. Fresh lemon juice perks up the flavor while cashews bring a bit of crunch.  Save that leftover chicken, and turn it into your next meal with this easy recipe.

Chicken Ole Casserole

Chicken Ole Casserole (with cream of chicken soup) is a wide egg noodles and chicken casserole with the perfect amount of spice.  This easy chicken casserole recipes for dinner is a winner with the whole family. 

Crock Pot Chicken and Stuffing Casserole

Be prepared to add Crockpot Chicken Cornbread Stuffing Casserole to your regular rotation of dinners.  It tastes like the best of Thanksgiving dinner wrapped up into one easy meal. I promise your family will lick their plates clean and beg for more!

Pasta Recipes with Canned Chicken


10 Minute Lemon Chicken Pasta


This 10-Minute Easy Lemon Chicken Pasta is the perfect weeknight meal. By using canned chicken, leftover grilled or rotisserie chicken, this meal an be on the table in just minutes.

Impossible Chicken Parmesan Pie

Impossible Chicken Parmesan Pie is impossibly easy to throw together for a quick weeknight meal.  Three layers of cheesy goodness combine to form a pizza pie that the whole family will love. 

Chicken Bowtie Pasta Salad

Served warm or cold, this Chicken Bow-Tie Pasta Salad is easy to double or triple for a crowd. With fresh vegetables and chunks of chicken, it is perfect to make ahead and enjoy all week long.

Soup Recipes Using Canned Chicken


Creamy Chicken Chili

Creamy Chicken Chili is a versatile recipe that can be made on the stove top or in the Crock Pot.

Crock Pot Chicken Chili

This Easy Crock Pot Chicken Chili is made with four ingredients and can be customized to fit your family's tastes, including how much heat is preferred.

Crock Pot Chicken Corn Chowder

This Crock Pot Chicken Corn Chowder is made using ingredients that most of us on hand in our pantry and is a dish your entire family will love.

Mom’s Wild Rice and Broccoli Soup

If you need an easy dinner option, give Mom's Wild Rice and Broccoli Soup a try. It is full of flavor and quick to put together for a family-pleasing meal.



Old Fashioned Chicken Recipes

Here are some more great chicken recipes you can try that you could easily swap in canned chicken breast for cooked chicken in the ingredients. Remember that one 12 ounce can of chicken breast is approximately 1 1/2 cups!

Crust-less Chicken Pot Pie

Debbie's Chicken Goop is a crustless chicken pot pie stew that gets served along side of biscuits. It's a hearty chicken dinner that will become a requested staple in your house.

Homemade Chicken Tetrazzini

Our version of homemade Chicken Tetrazzini Casserole is without canned soup, sour cream and cream.  Instead, the cheesy sauce is made from milk, chicken broth, and shredded Parmesan.  I guess you could say this is just like Grandma would make back in her day.


Pin This Post for Later

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More Chicken Recipes

Chicken is such a versatile protein and we love using fresh bone-in chicken in recipes too. Our 4-ingredient baked chicken legs are so simple to make but are always a hit with the kids.

4-Ingredient Chicken Legs

Need a quick and easy way to make your family happy? These 4-Ingredient Baked Chicken Legs are extremely easy to make and turn out tender and juicy every time.

Hawaiian Glazed Chicken 

Hawaiian Glazed Chicken is an easy oven-baked recipe using minimal ingredients.  Use this sweet, sticky sauce on chicken wings or legs for a family-pleasing meal. 

Spanish Chicken and Rice

Spanish Chicken and Rice is a new spin on classic baked chicken and rice casserole.  This new and improved version contains peppers and tomatoes and is seasoned up with chili powder for some mild spice.  This one dish dinner will be a new favorite in your weeknight rotation.

“Fried” Chicken in the Crock Pot

Do you love fried chicken but hate making it? Try our Crock Pot Mock Fried Chicken for all of the taste but none of the mess!

Aunt Peggy’s Chicken Noodle Soup

Aunt Peggy's Chicken Noodle Soup is a from-scratch recipe that starts with a whole chicken. The flavors are authentic and old fashioned, and it's certainly good for your soul on a cold winter day.

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