What To Do With Leftover Pulled Pork

Pulled pork is delicious. But it takes some serious time to prepare. According to Tasting Table, people who are invested in the process apply dry rubs — some store-bought, and some homemade — and could easily spend more than 10 hours smoking it to perfection. Not that the smoker is the only way to make pulled pork, but devotees will likely tell you it's the best.

One of the great things about pulled pork is how versatile the food is. There are so many spices that marry beautifully with this cut and type of meat. And there's so many things you can do with it once it's prepared. The versatility of pulled pork is excellent news because even if you have friends and family over, there's a genuine possibility you won't polish off a whole pork shoulder or pork butt in one sitting.

Fortunately, pulled pork keeps well. Before shredding it, you should let it rest at least 45 minutes after cooking so the juices can permeate the meat and amp up the flavor. But it's best not to let it cool completely. It will shred easiest when the pork is still warm. You can insulate and store it for two to five hours before shredding — once that's done, it can be refrigerated and kept to reheat for later meals and recipes. We have lots of ways for you to use your leftovers and intriguing preparations for your pork butt. Sandwiches, salads, pastas, appetizers, and Mexican dishes are just a few options. Let's dig in!

Add it to your French fries or nachos

Who doesn't love cheese or chili fries? And nachos are always a hit at parties. Both are wonderful ways to use your leftover shredded pork. You could try Pork Loaded French Fries from Mashed for a combination of the two. It's an adaptable recipe that lets you use frozen fries for a quick version or make your own fries for the perfect seasoning, size, and style of potato. If you have leftover pork, you're all set to add it and your other toppings to your fries. If not, you can cook it right in your Instant Pot. Cook the fries first, then add your pulled pork. Toss the pork with barbecue sauce and add to your fries, along with onions, scallions, shredded cheddar, and Monterey jack. Bake until the cheese melts, take it out of the oven and top it with sour cream.

A fan of nachos? Toss your leftover pulled pork with cumin, paprika, and garlic powder and reheat it in the oven (via Meatloaf and Melodrama). Once your pork is heated, spread tortilla chips over a sheet pan, top with your pulled pork and black beans, then cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses. Heat in the oven until the cheese melts, then top with your favorite nacho toppings.

Want something a bit different? Consider these Ruffles Pulled Pork Nachos (per The Daily Meal) introduced at Levi's Stadium. Recreate them at home using a bag of Ruffles, nacho cheese, cheddar, pulled pork, onions, jalapeños, and sour cream.

Add it to your chili

Tons of chili recipes will make good use of your leftover pork. If you don't already have leftover pulled pork, you can easily prepare it in your slow cooker. This chili verde recipe from Tasting Table starts with an uncooked pork butt. You'll begin by broiling tomatillos, poblanos, and cilantro, then blending them to create a sauce. Put that in the bottom of your slow cooker and add your pork.

It will take about four hours to cook. Then remove and shred it with two forks or use the paddle attachment on your stand mixer. Put the shredded meat in your slow cooker and let it simmer in the sauce for an hour to pick up all the flavors and spices. If you have pulled pork already, put it and the sauce in your slow cooker. Serve and top however you choose.

Prefer a red sauce in your chili? You could try a smoked pulled pork chili (via Healthy Little Peach). It uses two pounds of pulled pork, so you'll have leftovers from your leftovers. One of the best things about using your pulled pork to make chili is you'll get several more meals by incorporating it into this dish. If you love the barbecue flavor of pulled pork, you can carry that over into your chili (per Cooking with Carlee). Put it in your slow cooker with onion, green pepper, beef broth, crushed tomatoes, chili beans, barbecue sauce, and chili powder.

Stir it into soups

Soups are another quick and easy way to use your pulled pork. Adding it to a soup recipe will make it more filling and can make it taste even better. And like chili, you'll likely end up with additional servings that will turn into several more meals. Add it to chicken broth in a Dutch oven, then stir in some rice, stewed tomatoes, and green chilis for a well-rounded taco-flavored meal in this Pulled Pork Vegetable Soup from Plain Chicken.

That soup is tomato-based, but it's far from your only option. Remember, loads of flavors work with pork. Consider this Pork and Potato Soup (via Don't Waste the Crumbs). It uses a chicken stock base and adds pulled pork, potatoes, kale, mushrooms, garlic, celery, and carrots. This is a brilliant option to increase your daily veggie intake. Serve with a slab of crusty bread for a fantastic mid-winter meal.

Still not quite your style? Not to worry. Start with uncooked pork, and you can prepare this whole Pork with Onion Soup Mix recipe right in your slow cooker (per Mashed). Instead of pork butt or pork shoulder, this recipe calls for a pork loin. You'll cook the pork in onion soup mix and shred. You could serve this as soup or with gravy over mashed potatoes. If you have leftover pulled pork, you'll cook it similarly, but it will take considerably less time since your pork is already cooked and shredded.

Use it in Mexican meals

There are many ways to turn your leftover pulled pork into a Mexican meal. One of the most popular is making al pastor. Made famous by food trucks, this treatment for shredded pork can be recreated at home using this recipe from Tasting Table. If you're making it from scratch, you'll need to add dry rub to your pork and put it in a slow cooker with chopped pineapple. It will take less time if you start with leftover pulled pork. Saturate it in this sweet and sour type sauce and then eat it as is or serve it in tortillas.

Another option for Mexican pulled pork is to turn it into carnitas. This works equally well in sandwiches and tacos. This recipe (via Tasting Table) uses onion, orange juice, orange peel, and chicken stock for citrus-flavored shredded pork.

If neither of those ideas appeals to you, or you want to create a Mexican food buffet using your leftover pulled pork, you could make Sweet and Spicy Quesadillas (per Well Plated). It combines pulled pork with black beans, onion, chilis, and shredded cheddar. Serve it with barbecue sauce, Greek yogurt or sour cream, and green onions or cilantro. Or you could make a Mexican stew known as pozole (via Mashed). If you cook your pork in the Instant Pot, it will take a little over an hour to put this meal together. If you already have pulled pork, you can have dinner on the table even sooner.

Add it to your appetizers

Appetizers are a wonderful way to use up your leftover pulled pork, especially if you have friends over. But these work equally well if you just want to quickly get a variety of dishes on the table. Whether friends and family will be present or not, who doesn't love the idea of appetizers for holidays, the Super Bowl, or other game days?

Consider Pulled Pork Lettuce Wraps from Tasting Table. You can cook the pork for this in your slow cooker if you don't already have some. Then serve in lettuce cups with tomatoes, avocado, and crushed tortilla chips. Top with cole slaw dressing. These work just as well for a meal if you're so inclined. But consider pairing them with Pork Loaded Fries or nachos if you are preparing an appetizer smorgasbord.

Other appetizers that really shine with pulled pork? Try a cheesy pulled pork dip (via Crave the Good) or Pulled Pork Pastry Puffs (per Saving You Dinero), which is as much fun to say as it is to serve and to eat. Or you could make pulled pork egg rolls (via Tasting Table), but they will take a bit more time, and since they are deep fried, they involve a messier preparation. If you're on a diet or watching your calories, all appetizers may not be the best option, but some options will work. Consider, for example, low carb Pulled Pork Tomato Melts, according to Low Carb Yum.

Put it on pizza

Pulled pork makes a delicious addition to pizza. Just about every pulled pork pizza calls for barbecue sauce and onions. There are a couple of ways to make this happen. You can toss your pulled pork in barbecue sauce, then add it to your pizza, along with onions. Or you could use barbecue sauce on your pizza instead of tomato sauce. Or you could add the onions to your barbecue sauce, mix it with your pulled pork or use it as your base sauce.

Cooking your pizza on the grill makes this an even more delightful option. Use barbecue sauce and provolone cheese instead of the traditional tomato sauce and mozzarella in this recipe from The Daily Meal that starts with store-bought pizza dough on the grill. Once the dough is at room temperature, brush it with oil, then put it oil-side down on the grill. Brush the other side with oil and a barbecue rub to kick up the barbecue flavor another notch.

Want something a little different? Try a version with pickles (via Sip Bite Go). This also starts with premade dough, but it cooks in the oven. It goes through both a prebake and a second bake before you add your pulled pork and drizzle it with barbecue sauce. Then add your other toppings. Pickles are the perfect complement to your pulled pork. Or make your own dough and top it with pulled pork, pickled onions, and corn (per How Sweet Eats).

Put it in your pasta

The most common pasta dish to add pulled pork to is macaroni and cheese. Tasting Table lists pulled pork as one of the best additions to this particular pasta dish. Other options include (but are not limited to) bacon, pesto, mustard, breadcrumbs, truffles or truffle oil, spinach, and shredded chicken.

You could cook your pulled pork in a slow cooker, but you'll save yourself some time if you already have some leftovers on hand. You'll just need to make the macaroni and cheese if you do. You'll need macaroni, whole milk, shredded cheddar, flour, and unsalted butter (via Nutmeg Nanny). If you don't already have pulled pork, you can prepare it in either a slow cooker or an Instant Pot.

Want something a little less cheesy? Try creating a pulled pork ragu instead (per Inside the Rustic Kitchen). Start by cooking carrots, onions, and celery in oil. Add red wine and cook until the amount is reduced by half or until you can no longer smell the wine. Add tomato paste, pureed tomatoes, and water, and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add pulled pork, simmer and serve over your favorite pasta. Or you could make a completely different type of pulled pork pasta (via Sip Bite Go). It pairs your pulled pork with farfalle, rigatoni, or orecchiette, onions, red and yellow peppers, and alfredo sauce. Top with parmesan cheese.

Make sandwiches out of it

One of the most traditional ways to use pulled pork is to put it in sandwiches. The conventional variety is tossed in barbecue sauce and often served with cole slaw on top. But this recipe from Mashed uses beef broth and onion soup mix to season the pork you prepare in your slow cooker. You can serve barbecue sauce with this as a condiment or toss your meat with it before putting it on a roll. The beef and onion combination is simply a seasoning for the pork.

And The New York Times provides a traditional version of this sandwich that takes you through the steps to cook your pork and mix your own barbecue sauce before you slather it on a roll with cole slaw. But this isn't the only way to make a sandwich from your leftover pulled pork. You should also consider the Mexican torta. Nopalita restaurant in San Francisco is known for this pulled pork sandwich, and you can make a version at home with this copycat recipe (via Tasting Table).

You'll need to make the adobo for this recipe, too. Or you could purchase it premade. Prep your pork, put it on a roll, and add thickly sliced onions, cream, avocado, and shaved cabbage. And this would be incomplete without the pulled pork grilled cheese (per The Cookie Rookie). This recipe cooks up garlic that gets stirred into your prepared pulled pork and slathers it on brioche bread with American cheese and onion straws.

Beef up your salads

Salads are an excellent way to use up leftover pulled pork. And they're a bit healthier than some other options on this list. The Anthony Kitchen has a recipe for pulled pork salad featuring a homemade barbecue vinaigrette and pickled onions. It also features pickles, French fried onions, and Monterey jack cheese over cabbage and romaine lettuce.

Or you could make a version that's a bit like a taco salad (via Migraine Relief Recipes). This recipe makes use of more than one of your leftovers. Besides your pulled pork, you can also use leftover corn on the cob to create this salad.

If you like the idea of salads and the spices in this, but you're not a meat eater, there's good news. You can replicate pulled pork using jackfruit (per Mashed). Season the jackfruit with paprika, chili, salt, cumin, onion powder, and garlic powder. Then toss with barbecue sauce, and add to salads. Or sandwiches, appetizers, or — well, you get the idea.

Serve it in sliders

Sliders could technically fall into the sandwich category. Or the appetizer category. But since they have multiple uses and so many variations, we're listing them separately here.

If you make it from scratch, this recipe from The Daily Meal can take hours. The pork takes six to eight hours to cook on low or four to five hours to cook on high, and you also make your macaroni and cheese from scratch. However, it comes together much more quickly if you have leftover pulled pork. Once both are ready, pile them on a Hawaiian sweet roll, brush the top with melted butter, and enjoy!

If all that is a bit too much for you, you could just make a version with smoked pulled pork and white cheddar (per Or Whatever You Do). This recipe uses traditional rolls rather than the sweet variety and tops them with roasted garlic and chili peppers. And if you're not a cheese fan, that's okay. You could try these pulled pork sliders with garlic aioli (via Stuck on Sweet). These sliders are topped with a combination of mayonnaise, garlic, lemon juice, black pepper, and chopped chives.