What To Do With Leftover Steak

Food waste is more prevalent than you may have thought. According to the EPA, one-third of all food is wasted: That is a lot of food. Imagine that when you are grocery shopping, one-third of the food you are putting in your cart won't make it to your family; instead, it will go into the garbage. So what can home chefs do to be part of the solution to food waste and not part of the problem? The simplest solution is meal planning. And incorporating leftovers into meal planning is an excellent strategy to make sure you aren't wasting your money.

Unfortunately, eating leftovers isn't always an appealing option. For many, using leftovers means eating the same things a few days in a row. But that doesn't have to be the case; leftovers don't have to be boring. You just need to get creative to make new dishes from your leftovers to make your family feel like they are eating something new.

From leftover rice to potatoes to steak, there are many ways to repurpose leftovers into something new. Leftover steak doesn't need to end up in the trash. Instead, we have fun and, most importantly, yummy ways to use that leftover steak in your weekly menu.

Beef stroganoff

Creamy beef stroganoff is an excellent way to use leftover steak. This simple dish with a fancy name is the ultimate comfort food and makes a hearty dish the whole family will love. Originally from Russia, the popular dish has ties to royalty. The dish is named after wealthy aristocrats, the Stroganoff family, who had a taste for the finer things, including everything and anything French. The Stroganoff family employed a French chef who created the dish for the elderly Count Stroganoff, whose weak, aging teeth supposedly couldn't manage large cuts of meat. The French chef originally created this dish using small pieces of steak, French mustard, and Russian sour cream to make the classic recipe (via Grainews).

Over the years, the recipe has morphed to include mushrooms and Hungarian paprika instead of French mustard. In Moscow, the dish is served alongside potatoes, but in the U.S., beef stroganoff is usually served with egg noodles or even rice. So if you are looking for a way to use leftover steak, try making this simple yet sophisticated dish.


Sauté colorful sliced peppers with strips of leftover steak for a Tex-Mex favorite, fajitas. You don't need a lot of leftover steak to make fajitas, as they are more vegetables than steak. Classic fajitas include bell peppers and onions cooked with steak, and then wrapped in a warm tortilla. Making fajitas is the perfect way to use leftover steak and make a healthy meal your family will love. Bell peppers add color, flavor, and a healthy dose of vitamins. According to Healthline, bell peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C and antioxidants, plus they are low in calories, making fajitas not only an easy dinner option, but also a healthy one too.

Pre-made fajita seasonings are available at most grocery stores to help you get a fresh take on that leftover steak. Just wrap those sizzling goodies up in a flour tortilla and serve with guacamole and salsa. If you like it spicy, serve them with jalapeno slices or your favorite hot sauce.

Philly cheesesteaks

Every home chef should know how to make this Philadelphia favorite, the Philly cheesesteak. The Philly cheesesteak is more than just a sandwich; it's an institution and part of the Philadelphia experience. This decadent sandwich has a pile of sliced beef mixed with sauteed onions and lots of cheese on a hoagie roll. You can choose provolone, cheddar, or even Cheeze Whiz for your cheesy component (via Only In Your State). There aren't any hard rules when it comes to cheese on Philly cheesesteaks; as long as the cheese is melted, anything goes.

Of course, the key to making a good Philly cheesesteak is to cut your leftover steak into thin slices before mixing it with the onions. And, whichever cheese you choose, always go heavy on the cheese. The cheese is essential as it's the ooey-gooey goodness that holds the whole shebang together: You will need both hands to hold this tasty sandwich. Philly cheesesteaks may not be the healthiest way to use up leftover steak, but it is definitely one of the tastiest.

Beef stew

Take your leftover steak and make a hearty stew. Beef stew is a favorite feel-good comfort food that can turn a bad day around. Chunks of beef simmering in a pot of vegetables like carrots and potatoes and thick tomato broth is exactly what the doctor ordered. Serve your stew with pieces of sourdough bread that will fill your belly and heart.

According to Science, there is a good reason that warm, comforting stews hit the spot; research suggests that being physically warm, which happens to our bodies when we eat hot stew, is linked to interpersonal warmth. That connection proves what many have known all along: Eating stews and soups make you feel good and is an instant mood lifter. Whether it be a bad day, a rainy afternoon, a squabble with a friend, or whatever else might be bringing you down, a bowl of beef stew can help you turn it around — which is an excellent reason to use that leftover steak to make something that will make everyone happy.

Steak and eggs

It's common for many people to skip breakfast, either because they are too busy or just don't feel hungry early in the morning. While you may not have time for a big breakfast every day, you should try and get a morning meal a few times a week. According to WebMD, skipping breakfast leads to a lack of energy and feeling sluggish throughout the day, which often leads to overeating later on. So it's important to get some food in your belly before you start your day, and a great way to do that is to repurpose last night's leftovers.

Leftovers aren't just for dinner; you can use them in the morning too. So take your leftover steak and make a filling breakfast with steak and eggs. This classic greasy spoon breakfast is easy to make at home with leftover steak. Just warm it up and cook your eggs the way you like them. If you are really hungry after your long night's sleep, add some hash browns or fried potatoes to your plate of steak and eggs to add some healthy carbs, and ensure your first meal of the day is a good one.

French dip sandwiches

The French dip is a restaurant staple, found on menus from the local pub to fine dining establishments, and it's easy to understand why. This meaty sandwich is filling, and dipping it in au jus gives it the perfect amount of moisture and keeps this sandwich from being anything but boring. If you have never made this sandwich at home, you will be surprised at just how easy this restaurant favorite is to put together. Just take your leftover steak and add it to a buttered hoagie roll. You can keep it simple, or you can add some sauteed onions and mushrooms for a decadent twist. As for the au jus, you can find premade packets to keep the process easy. Then slice and enjoy.

French dips, like french fries, are not actually French. The classic French dip was actually created in California. There is some debate on which California restaurant invented the famous sandwich, but it's all au jus under the bridge (via California.com). It doesn't really matter who invented it, as long as it stays on the menu.

Steak tacos, burritos and nachos

What can you make with leftover steak that will make all the picky eaters in your family happy? Take your picky eaters south of the border and make a Mexican platter with steak tacos, burritos, and nachos. Keep it simple for taco lovers; mix leftover steak with onions and cilantro, and wrap it in a warm corn tortilla. For your picky eaters with a big appetite, mix leftover steak with beans and rice and wrap it in a warm flour tortilla for the best burrito experience. And for the picky eater that doesn't like anything, add the leftover steak to a pile of tortilla chips with some guacamole and sour cream for some loaded leftover steak nachos. Tacos, burritos, nachos — you will be everyone's favorite home chef.

Leftovers never need to be boring again. Even the pickiest eaters will find something on a Mexican-inspired platter to make them happy.

Steak pizza with caramelized onions and Gorgonzola

There are a couple of food rules to live by; one, never wear white while eating messy barbecue, and number two, pizza is always the answer. Pizza is America's favorite food, according to a Harris Poll (via Food Network). It's versatile, inexpensive, and always a crowd-pleaser. So the next time you have some leftover steak you want to use up, why not whip up some pizza dough and make a pizza pie?

Pizza is one of those anything-goes foods; as long as it's edible, you can put it on a pizza. The best way to add leftover steak to your pizza is to cut it into thin slices or small chunks and use it as a base. From there, you can add onions and peppers. Or get fancy and add a delightfully pungent cheese like blue cheese. Or you can make heart-stopping meat lovers with your leftover steak, Italian sausage, and spicy pepperoni. Or if you like controversy, you can add the polarizing pizza topping, pineapple, with your leftover steak. Really, the possibilities are endless. Just make sure to use plenty of cheese and bake to perfection.


Salpicón is a savory dish popular in Mexico and Central America, as noted by TasteAtlas. The word salpicon is Spanish and translates to "hodgepodge," per Yummly, and that's exactly what it is: a hodgepodge of flavors sometimes referred to as beef salad, although it can be made with seafood, chicken, and even venison too. Each region makes it different, which is the beauty of salpicón.

Beef salpicón is the perfect way to use leftover steak. Just chop the steak, mix it with onions and cilantro, and squeeze some fresh lime juice to finish it off. If you want some heat in your salpicón, you can add in minced jalapenos or habaneros, but the star of the show is the lime. The acid in the lime softens the beef and infuses it with flavor. The key to a good salpicón is to mince the beef into small pieces; you can do this with a sturdy kitchen knife, or let your food processor handle it.

Serve salpicón on crispy tostadas, or roll it into tortillas and fry in oil to make crunchy taquitos. There is no one way to serve salpicón, but some popular serving options are with roasted tomatillo salsa, fresh avocado slices, pickled radishes, and Mexican crema. For a truly personalized take on this south-of-the-border staple, serve it with your favorite salsa and sides. Impress your family and friends with this unique way to use leftover steak.

Greek steak gyros

While the Greek gyro sandwich may be new to some diners, it's been around for over 2000 years (via The New York Times). Since the dish has survived for that long, you know it must be good. Greek gyros sandwiches are traditionally made with a mix of lamb and beef, along with lettuce and tomato, all wrapped in warm pita bread. The sandwich forgoes the typical sandwich spreads like mayonnaise and mustard, and instead is topped with a yogurt dill sauce called tzatziki.

If you don't have a gyro place in your neighborhood, you will be pleased to know that you can make Greek gyros at home. Use thinly sliced leftover steak to make a homemade version of this classic Greek sandwich. If making your own tzatziki and pita bread sounds daunting, don't worry; you can find both at most major grocery stores. The key to creating the perfect gyro is spiced meat. Gyro spices are a mix of coriander, oregano, thyme, cumin, and other spices. But in the spirit of an easy leftover dinner, you can use pre-packaged gyro spices to ensure your leftover steak has the same flavor as traditional gyro meat.

Chili con carne

Does it get any better than a warm bowl of chili con carne? Beans and beef simmered in a spicy broth is the ultimate comfort food, and just about everyone has their own special chili con carne recipe. Some swear by using only kidney beans, while others mix it up with a combination of black beans, kidney beans, and white beans. Whichever beans you use in your homemade chili con carne, the carne — or beef — is really the star of the show, making it an excellent way to use leftover steak. Cut up your leftover steak in small chunks and toss it into your pot for a tasty meal, one that will warm you up from your head to your toes.

Not all recipes for chili con carne are spicy, but a good one ought to be. You don't have to go too crazy with the hot peppers, but a decent chili con carne should be spicy enough to perk you up and maybe make your nose run just a little; a little heat in your soup pot is a good thing. According to Healthline, eating spicy foods has health benefits like speeding up your metabolism and combating inflammation. So indulge in a little heat — a little spice makes life grand.

Ramen with steak

If you are on a budget, chances are you have a few packs of Ramen noodles floating around your pantry. These dried noodles hit the market in 1958 and have been filling bellies ever since (via Cup Noodles Museum). They are inexpensive and easy to make, so even a novice home chef can make them taste good. But if you really want to up your Ramen game, try a few add-ins in your Ramen — like leftover steak. Whether you use chicken or beef Ramen noodles, you can add slices of leftover steak to make these simple noodles a protein-filled meal. You don't need to be an aspiring chef to turn this basic dish, beloved by college students everywhere, into a special treat.

If you really want to impress with your culinary prowess, saute some Swiss chard and mushrooms to complement the leftover steak Ramen. Or add in some halved hard-boiled eggs for more protein and plate appeal.

Beef quesadillas

Quesadillas are simple; just melted cheese between two flour tortillas — it's the perfect formula for a savory snack. Really, could it get any better? Actually, it can. Imagine melted cheese, tortillas, and slices of savory steak. Steak quesadillas take a simple formula and turn it into a filling meal.

The beauty of the classic quesadilla is that it's so versatile. You can use any cheese that melts well, from cheddar to Monterey Jack to manchego; as long as it melts well, it can make it on the quesadilla menu. According to Cheese Makers, in parts of Mexico and Texas, the preferred cheese for quesadillas is asadero, so if you are looking for a more authentic quesadilla experience, you can add asadero cheese to your grocery list. You can keep it simple with just one cheese, or mix different cheeses together with leftover steak for decadent cheese and steak quesadillas.

The best way to serve quesadillas is with salsa and guacamole. So save that leftover steak to make this Tex-Mex favorite.

Beef and barley soup

Transform your leftover steak into beef and barley soup. This classic, satisfying soup is easy to make and is the perfect way to use that leftover steak hiding in the back of your refrigerator. Barley is one of the lesser-known whole grains, but that shouldn't stop you from cooking with it and making it a regular addition to your healthy diet. Barley adds the right amount of heft to the soup, taking it from a side dish to the main course.

Homemade beef and barley soup is like a hug in a mug. It fills you up and is quick and easy to get on the dinner table. Of course, the main reason to make your own beef and barley soup is you can control the sodium. The cans of soup you find at the supermarket are full of sodium. According to Healthline, just one cup of canned soup can have 700 milligrams of sodium. Making your soup at home gives you control over your salt intake, and ensures your soup is the healthy meal that it should be.

Korean bibimbap

Using up leftovers is a great way to try new dishes, and if you have leftover steak in your kitchen, Korean bibimbap is a fun dish to make. Bibimbap is a dish so versatile it can include almost anything, from beef to chicken to vegetables, all over a steaming bed of rice. Traditionally bibimbap is served with all of the ingredients grouped separately in the dish, and only mixed together right before eating. As long as you have some leftover steak and a few vegetables like carrots, spinach, and sprouts, you can make Korean bibimbap.

The one key spice to bibimbap that you may not already have in your cupboard is a Korean hot pepper paste called gochujang (via Culture Trip). A spoonful of this spicy fermented bean paste with sweet undertones ties the whole dish together. Gochujang works in other recipes too, so if you like spice and love Korean food, it's definitely worth a trip to the international market so you can have this spicy paste in your kitchen.

Steak and rice stuffed peppers

Stuffed peppers are one of those dishes that seem more complicated than they actually are. You can make stuffed peppers with any mix of protein, grains, and vegetables. Leftover steak combined with leftover rice and vegetables is a great filling for peppers: Since all of the ingredients are already cooked, the dish comes together pretty quickly. Just cut open some bell peppers, fill them with leftover steak, rice, and some cooked vegetables, and top with your favorite cheese. You can use any color of bell peppers, but if you want to make a show of your meal, then choose a mix of red, green, yellow, and orange peppers for a colorful table presentation.

Stuffed peppers aren't just for dinner. You can use smaller sweet peppers and make mini stuffed peppers for a classy appetizer. Or swap out the sweet peppers for jalapenos or poblano peppers for a spicy version of stuffed peppers.

Beef pho

Vietnamese pho is a mix of noodles in a savory broth with toppings like sprouts, hot chilies, and slices of beef. It is a quintessential Vietnamese dish that has become extremely popular outside of Vietnam, and it's easy to understand why. Beef pho hits the spot for diners, and it is a comforting dish. There are many different types of pho, and throughout Vietnam, there are regional variations. If you go to your local pho restaurant, chances are the menu is long with all of the amazing ways to eat pho. But don't let that intimate you if you want to make pho at home.

You can use your leftover steak and noodles to make a simple homemade beef pho. Try not to overcomplicate the process and keep the toppings to two or three. Using homemade broth for pho is ideal, but if saving time is a priority, you can use store-bought broth to make homemade pho for a quick weeknight dinner. Just make sure to add some ginger and garlic to spice up your broth, for the best homemade beef pho experience.