Beef can be pricey & a shame to waste but sometimes leftovers just stare at you saying “I’ll never be as good as the first night!” Wrong!
Here’s your resource for creative ideas to refashion smaller amounts of beef that aren’t enough for a meal on their own. Some types of beef are easy to refashion into something marvelous; others can be more of a challenge to reheat. If tough or dry, simmer it gently with water or stock until you get luscious shreds, then use.
Look at those leftovers in a new way; as a building block for marvelous meals; as a shortcut, especially any that rely on an already cooked ingredient. All you need is the inspiration & maybe a recipe.
Think of the recipes you’ll use as a “guide” not something set in stone, especially since the amount of leftover beef might not exactly match an amount in a recipe. Many of these recipes only use a bit of beef, some a bit more. Once you have a leftover ingredient to start with, scale recipes up or down, substitute and make do.
rule of thumb – in, over & under:
To stretch a small amount of leftover beef (and many times, food made with beef) serve in, over or under something. If you’re starting out with something large, like a roast, you may have plenty of leftovers to work with. If making individual steaks, think about cooking an additional one just for leftovers. I do have a post that has a clickable visual menu of recipes just from my site that all use leftover beef: Leftover Steak & Roast Beef, too.
Here are some ways to get creative, from everyday simple to more of a project. I’m sure barely scratched the surface and I tried to categorize the recipes by the type of leftover beef you may have – but so many of these can use steak, roast or pot roast interchangeably.
Here are some ideas just for steak and some will work with a beef roast or pot roast, although they each have a separate section, below. Be gentle with your leftover steak and careful how it is reheated so it won’t become tough.
If your steak is rare, you’re golden and chances are little will need to be done to refashion it. If it’s dry, overdone or just too tough to be appealing, consider simmering it to a shreddable state with some broth (the Instant Pot will take care of that easily) and then use it as you would leftover pot roast.
1. steak salad:
There was a time the thought of steak salad left me as cold as that icy chilled salad, itself. Then I got creative with this Southwestern Steak Salad which is fantastic and this simpler but still delectable California Steak Salad. Yum.
About any leftover beef can be made up into a bowl, but steak & roast beef really shine. Bowl ideas can be pulled from so many cultures & beef is easily stretched with veggies, grains, rice, noodles and/or beans. How ’bout my Mongolian Barbecue Noodle Bowls? They are pictured at the top of the page. Or maybe my Steak & Veggie Ramen Bowls are more your style? Or this Spicy Steak Ramen Bowl with Chipotle Yum Yum Sauce? Maybe you’d like to go Southwestern or Mexican? Pretend you’re going through Chipotle’s line and make whatever you love!
3. tacos, burritos or quesadillas:
If you just have a little beef and want a burrito, you’ll probably need to stretch it with veggies, rice or beans. Tacos are more conservative in their use of beef; check out my Simple Steak Tacos and my Carne Asada Steak Tacos. Quesadillas generally use only a bit of beef and might be as simple as beef & cheese or include just about anything you’d like to toss in them: caramelized onions, red onions, bell pepper, jalapenos – well you get the idea!
4. steak chimichangas:
Chimis are always good and can be made so many ways! Here’s my favorite Steak Chimichanga with a Chili Verde Sauce. Bake them or fry them. They’re enough to make you wish for leftovers just so you can have them!
5. steak sandwiches:
I love these copycat Panera Steak & White Cheddar Paninis. They’re fantastic with steak and great with leftover roast beef, too! Steak grilled cheese can never be wrong! Go simple or go all out with these Pub Style Grilled Steak Sandwiches from Wild Flower’s Cottage Kitchen, loaded with steak and beer-braised onions and served with a horseradish dipping sauce.
6. steak soup:
There is always this super easy and tasty looking beef & noodle soup that can be made with steak or roast, the old-fashioned Slow Cooker Steak Soup. Or this one that’s rated pretty highly on All Recipes that’s just loaded with veggies.
Go ahead and make Beef Stroganoff. You deserve it! Just skip the step of searing your steak and drop your leftover steak, thinly sliced against the grain, to gently heat through at the end.
8. steak lo mein:
Super fast and easy, this Steak Lo Mein might just become your go-to when faced with leftover steak! Toss your leftover steak in a quick marinade while Just stir fry up your favorite veggies and make a quick sauce. Then toss everything together. Better than take out!
9. cornish pasties:
Cornish Pasties can be made with slices or chunks of rare steak or roast. Shortcut them with a store-bought pie crust, although the simple rough puff pastry is delish and easy to make.
10. fried rice:
Fried Rice seems to be a go-to leftover meal for all kinds of bits of this and that. Just use leftover steak or roast in any recipe. This Pork Fried Rice is every bit as good made with smallish chunks of steak or roast, and this recipe from Chef Savvy for Easy Beef Fried Rice looks fabulous.
leftover roast beef:
Most roast beef is cooked to medium-rare which makes it ideal to fashion into leftovers. If it’s not, leftovers can be a bit more challenging and might work better if thinly sliced and either not heated or barely heated. And if it’s tough and looks beyond redemption – don’t lose hope! Break it down into pieces as slowly simmer until it’s soft and shreddable (again, the Instant Pot is a great save) and use one of the recipes for leftover pot roast.
Consider a kitchen slicer; for occasional use, a cheap one will probably serve your needs, then it’s super easy to whip up marvelous sandwiches, always a no-brainer option for using up that leftover roast and once you have one, you might use it for other things, too.
1. leftover roast & gravy over potatoes:
This was my Mom’s deal. If you have leftover gravy, it saves you a step. If not save the drippings to make a quick gravy. Cube the leftover roast and simmer it, very gently, so it doesn’t toughen up, in gravy until warm & serve over mashed potatoes. This works well with pot roast, too.
2. hot open faced beef sandwiches:
I think of this as Midwestern comfort food and used to be on just about every diner menu: carb on carb on carb! Roast Beef thinly sliced and laid over white bread and served with mashed potatoes. Beef gravy is poured over all. This is ideal for pot roast, too, and you can make the same thing with turkey. In some places this is called Beef Manhatten.
3. beef & guinness pies:
Start with leftover roast for these Beef & Guinness Pies that are filled with the most marvelous Guinness Stew. Add your leftover beef and let it simmer to lusciousness before proceeding with the Puff Pastry topping. OMG good.
4. leftover steak & mushroom pies:
For another take on a beef pot pie, I love to make these Leftover Steak & Mushroom Pies when I have a little leftover beef roast! It’s especially quick if you have enough leftover gravy. If not, there are instructions to make your own or stretch what you have. Puff pastry is a splurge but you can’t beat it to fancy up a few leftovers! They’re simple and quick.
Yes, Virginia, there is a beef pizza! Why does this make me so happy? Use thinly sliced steak or roast to make a Philly Cheese Steak Pizza. Recipe from the Little Spice Jar.
I think this recipe from the Food Network using thinly sliced roast beef for this Shortcut Beef Pho looks like it has great possibilities. And it would be even better with your own thinly sliced roast beef.
How about a home-made version of Beef on Weck (they’re marvelous sandwiches) starting with your leftover roast beef? Or maybe use that beef for French Dips? Scroll to the bottom of my post on 30 Minute Instant Pot Roast for my French Dip Sandwiches. And there’s always these easy Hot Broiled Sandwiches that work with just about any protein. Need I mention Philly Cheesesteak Sliders?
8. loaded nachos:
Make these spectacular Spicy Loaded Steak Nachos from Delightfully Made. I know, it says steak but will work just as well with leftover steak or roast beef. Toss your beef it in a pan with a little bit of water & add your taco seasoning, stirring and folding the beef over so the taco seasoning loses it’s raw taste and the beef has softened just a bit. No taco seasoning? Just add a little chili powder, cumin, maybe some garlic or onion powder and a touch of cayenne for some heat.
9. negamaki rolls:
Thinly slice the beef and wrap it around roasted asparagus, crisp/tender slices of bell pepper and/or scallions. Brush with soy sauce and broil until browned and crispy in spots.
Cut up roast into bite-sized pieces, toss in a skillet with diced potatoes, carrots and onions. Add a little water (and some gravy if you have it) and steam until the potatoes are soft and cooked through. Uncover and allow to crisp. Press down with a spatula to promote browning and turn over once. Season with salt and pepper.
leftover pot roast:
Pot Roast is so fantastic the first time around but as it sits in the fridge, leftover, it can harden up and be maybe not so appealing. Reheat it slowly in a moist environment if planning for a come back meal, and do the same when using that meat for any leftovers.
Below are some of my favorite ways to rework pot roast, all more marvelous than the original roast! I usually always buy a roast larger than I need and with the way my family eats, squirrel some away in the fridge from the get-go.
1. beef gravy poutine:
Here’s a fantastic rendition of Beef Gravy Poutine from Seasons & Suppers. This is made with just a homemade beef gravy from broth, but it would be even better topped with tender chunks of pot roast and any leftover gravy you have. If you’re working with a roast or steak, just make the gravy and add slices or chunks of either – just to beef it up.
1. tamales or enchiladas:
Normally, we think pork or chicken for tamales but try beef. Simmer leftover beef with the spices (if it’s not soft leftover beef like pot roast, simmer until it breaks down) and proceed with the recipe. Gotta love Rick Bayless for anything Mexican. Make quick enchiladas: heat the beef with a little enchilada sauce and a touch of water if needed, until soft shreds, add cheese if you want. Roll in corn tortillas, top with the rest of the sauce and some cheese. Bake until hot and bubbly, 350 degrees for about 25 to 30 minutes.
Empanadas don’t need a lot of beef. Two cups of leftover pot roast will do the trick. My Chipotle Pork Empanadas can just as easily be made with leftover pot roast and in some places you can buy the dough, frozen in rounds. If not, make do with grocery pie crust for an easy option, but the dough that goes with the recipe is outstanding if you want to put forth the effort for homemade.
They’re little Venezuelan sandwiches. Knock hours off the time by starting with leftovers; just scale the recipe simmer your leftover pot roast until tender and shreddable in the spices in this recipe for Shredded Beef & Black Bean Arepas by the Candid Appetite.
A no-brainer. Wraps can be as basic or as decadent as you’d like and limited only by your imagination. These Cheesy Beef Wraps from the Genius Kitchen are calling my name.
Hands down one of my favorite recipes on my site – it’s a marvelous messy sandwich and it makes me want to just live for leftover pot roast, my Bourbon Barbecue Pot Roast Sandwich.
6. hand pies:
I would not turn down some Pot Roast Hand Pies from The Chic Site. Made with grocery store pie crust, they’re easy ways to transform that leftover pot roast. I’ll be making them with my own Balsamic Pot Roast.
7. beef & mushroom ragu over polenta:
Ok, so the original was made with leftover pork ribs, but it would be just as good made with leftover beef ribs, short ribs or a pot roast. Save the drippings and add beef stock to make up the difference in liquid.
8. shepherd’s pie:
I love to make Shepherd’s Pie with my leftover pot roast. I don’t know which is better, the original meal or the leftovers and this is one of the most amazing Shepherds, or cottage pie, if you insist, recipes. The pot roast and gravy makes a delectable base for shepherd’s pie!
9. egg rolls:
I’m drooling over these Cheesy Beef Egg Rolls by Family Fresh Meals. I use egg rolls with other leftovers, too.
10. beef barley soup:
My Beef Barley soup was developed specifically to use leftover pot roast. You’ll think it’s been simmering all day long from a scratch-made from the bones recipe.
other beef leftovers:
If you have a specific type or flavor of beef, you might want to morph your leftovers into something that plays well with those flavors. Here are a couple of examples that might give you ideas no matter what you have on hand.
1. italian beef soup from leftover Italian beef sandwiches:
If you’ve made Italian Beef Sandwiches, maybe mine in the Instant Pot, you may have leftovers. It’s hard to make just a little! Maybe you’d like to take those leftovers next level and make this One Pot Vegetable Beef Soup from Rooted In Foods? Make sure to use any leftover juices in the soup, too, for the best flavor.
2. bbq baked potatoes:
Okay, so it’s a no brainer! Add warmed up barbecue (maybe leftover from this Slow Cooker Pulled Pork or Brisket) and cheese to your baked potatoes or baked sweet potatoes. Why not top with some easy Refrigerator Pickled Jalapenos? It’s a great way to change up a few leftovers.
3. bbq wontons:
You can’t miss if you make these Filled Wonton Cups with any barbecue, beef or pork. They’re so scrumptious.
4. ropa vieja egg rolls:
While I love Ropa Vieja just as is, if you have just a little leftover, you might have enough to make a few egg rolls! Make sure the beef is well-drained, wrap and fry or spray with a little cooking spray an bake at 400 degrees, turning as necessary until browned and crunchy.
5. red mole enchiladas from beef barbacoa:
I have two barbacoa recipes on my site, one from the slow cooker the other from the instant pot. Leftovers from either make the most fantastic filling for these Brick Red Mole Enchiladas originally from Rick Bayless.
So I hope you found some Inspiration and Recipes for Leftover Beef that you like! And if you’d like to return the favor, I’d love to hear what your favorite and/or go to leftover recipes are!