Creative Ideas for Repurposing Leftover Roast Beef

Roast beef is a wonderfully comforting meal to prepare, and if you are creating a feast for your extended family, you will likely be cooking quite a large joint. Inevitably, there is always some meat left over the following day, and while sticking it on a sandwich is a common way to use it up, your majestic roast deserves more than that.

By thinking creatively, you can give your roast beef a second chance to shine by incorporating it into delicious dishes that can make stunning midweek meals. From a starring role in a mouthwatering Philly cheesesteak to an Asian-inspired beef noodle bowl, we’ve got suggestions to please every palate.

Finding a way to reheat roast beef without sacrificing its tender texture can be tricky, but we have some tips to make sure your leftover beef tastes just as good the second time around. Let’s have a look at some ideas that are so delicious, you’ll be hoping there are even more leftovers next time!

Beef burritos

beef burritos on wooden surface

If you are used to having chicken in your burritos, it’s time to switch it up and make a tasty beef version with your leftover roast. Though many recipes use ground beef, roast beef works brilliantly, too — just cut it into thin strips so that it’s easy to eat.

Since the beef is already cooked, it’s best to fry your additional ingredients separately before mixing them with the meat. Fry up some onions with a mix of cumin, chili powder, and paprika. Rice and beans are an easy way to bulk out your burrito and make it more filling, so add them to the mix as well if you want a substantial meal.

Now comes the fun part — add your leftover roast beef to a tortilla wrap along with the onions, beans, and rice, then add some colorful and delicious toppings. Avocado, sour cream, homemade charred tomato salsa, and grated cheese are all classic options, but you can customize it with whatever flavors you’re in the mood for.

Once you have filled your burrito to your liking, wrap it tight and either fry it in a pan, or bake it in the oven for around 20 minutes. You want to cook it just long enough for the beef to heat up and the cheese to melt. Then enjoy your deliciously gooey roast-beef burrito with salad or tortilla chips, and vow to have this twist on a Tex-Mex classic whenever you have some leftovers from your roast.

Philly cheesesteak sandwich

fresh Philly cheesesteak sandwich

As far as midweek easy meals or weekend lunches go, Philly cheesesteak is always a winner, and if you have leftover roast beef, there is no excuse not to whip up this fantastic sandwich. By adding a few fridge and pantry staples to your roast meat, you can have yourself a delicious version of this American classic in a matter of minutes. 

First, fry some onions, peppers, and mushrooms in a skillet with a variety of herbs and spices. Thyme, oregano, and paprika are all great matches, but you can pretty much add what you like from your spice rack. Once the vegetables are almost cooked, add the roast beef, sliced into thin strips. Your aim here is to heat up the beef, not to overcook it.

Once your filling is complete, grab yourself a hoagie roll and get ready to layer up your sandwich. Layer your beef with the vegetables, then add some cheese on top — provolone will provide the perfect consistency.  If you want the cheese to melt perfectly, place it under the broiler for a couple of minutes, then tuck into your cheesesteak and enjoy every deliciously savory bite.

Stuffed peppers

beef and cheese stuffed peppers

If you’re in the mood for a filling, healthy meal, it’s time to use your leftover beef to create some stuffed peppers. Adding peppers to your weekly recipe plan is a great way to increase nutrition for the whole family, as a whole bell pepper counts as two portions of the recommended five-a-day intake of fruit and vegetables.

First, you need to decide what sort of pepper to stuff. Bell peppers are the most common option due to the ease of filling them with your rice mixture, and the fact that they keep their shape pretty well while cooking. Red, orange, and yellow bell peppers have a mild, sweet flavor, while green ones have a more bitter note, though this does mellow with cooking. All colors of pepper are packed with vitamin C, but yellow has the highest level. 

If you are in the mood for a stuffed pepper with more of a kick, try a poblano pepper instead. They are smaller than bell peppers and have a fiery taste, making them the ideal option if you fancy a flavor fiesta.

Gather your stuffing ingredients and mix them in a bowl. Rice, quinoa, or couscous all make great, comforting bases, and you can add whatever vegetables you wish. Tomatoes, mushrooms, and zucchini would all work, and a grating of cheese allows the filling to combine in a deliciously oozy manner. Mix with the roast beef, stuff your peppers until they are bursting, then bake them in the oven.

Roast beef salad

beef salad on black plate


When it’s time to up your salad game and create a leafy green dish that delivers on both the health and flavor fronts, try making a roast beef salad with your leftover meat. Limp iceberg lettuce and a couple of sad cucumber discs no longer cut it, and creating a beautiful bowl of vibrant veggies is a lot easier — and more appetizing — than you may think.

Starting with the base, mix up the flavor and the color by adding a variety of salad leaves. Arugula, spinach, and watercress will give you a solid start, and adding red lettuce will give it a splash of color. Next, add as many different colored veggies as you can find in your fridge! Beets, bell peppers, zucchini, grated carrot — there really is no excuse not to create a rainbow in your salad bowl every time. Not only will this make the plate more appealing and give a variety of flavors, it also ensures you get a wide range of phytonutrients from the vegetables. 

Of course, every balanced salad needs high-quality protein, so cut your roast beef into thin slices and scatter them across the salad. Add some feta cheese if you wish for a creamy tang, or some toasted seeds for a satisfying crunch. Your leftover roast beef salad will be anything but boring, and you may even find your family demanding second helpings.


beef and cheese quesadillas

It’s time to put a Mexican slant on your leftover beef by whipping up a batch of quesadillas. With their crispy exterior and soft, gooey insides, quesadillas are the ultimate in homemade fast food, elevated by the inclusion of some high-quality beef.

Start by preparing the tortilla by piling your favorite toppings on — whatever vegetables you are in the mood for, with plenty of spices to give it a flavorsome kick. Don’t forget to add plenty of cheese — a mix of different cheeses will give a complex flavor to an otherwise simple dish. Lastly, add the star of the show, the roast beef, and fold the tortilla in half to seal the delicious filling inside.

All that’s left is to fry the tortilla on both sides, heating the filling slightly and allowing the cheese to melt. Then serve with sour cream, guacamole, and a green salad, and prepare to be amazed at how easy it was to create a tasty midweek meal from scratch.

Beef stroganoff

beef stroganoff and rice

If you’re looking to turn your leftover roast beef into a warm, comforting midweek meal, beef stroganoff is the answer. This creamy dish is sure to become a family favorite. 

To create the sauce, fry some onions and mushrooms until they’re cooked through. Sprinkle a little bit of flour as a thickening agent, then add some high-quality beef stock and a splash of Worcestershire sauce.

The crucial ingredient in stroganoff, apart from the beef, is sour cream. This will give a rich, silky texture to the sauce and complement the meat perfectly. Add a large spoonful of sour cream as the sauce cooks, stirring well to create a uniform texture. Add some more, if needed, along with a dash of mustard from some extra tang, until you have a luxurious and well-balanced sauce. Then add the beef strips and turn the heat down low to make sure it doesn’t overcook.

When it comes to deciding what to serve your beef stroganoff with, just about any carb will do the trick. Rice or pasta are the classic accompaniments, but potatoes can also be used, or simply a big wedge of rustic crusty bread. Whatever you choose, this comforting dish made with leftover roast beef will become a regular feature in your culinary repertoire. 

Beef empanadas

beef empanadas on wooden board

Let’s take a trip to Latin America now for our next leftover dish, and try out some beef empanadas. A favorite street food in Argentina, beef empanadas are little bundles of joy, containing meat and veggies encased in beautiful flaky pastry.

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Since beef empanadas are usually made with ground beef, start by dicing your leftover roast beef into small cubes. Add it to the pan with onions and garlic, then add your own combination of spices — paprika, cumin, and chili powder will all work brilliantly. Add some tomato pasta and beef stock, then allow it all to simmer until you have a rich filling that is not too wet. 

For the pastry casing, you can make your own dough, or if you are pressed for time, pre-made pie dough will do the trick.  Cut the dough into rounds, then spoon a generous portion of filling into each one — the last thing you want is an under-filled empanada. Sprinkle some cheese on top if you like, then fold the dough over to create a half-moon, creating the signature crimping marks with a fork.

Bake your perfect parcels in the oven until they are golden, then serve them while they are still warm, making sure to grab a few for yourself before they all disappear! If you enjoy your beef empanadas, you may want to try experimenting with different fillings, such as this empanada variation filled with canned tuna. 

Cottage pie

cottage pie in white dish

If you’re a fan of shepherd’s pie, but your leftover roast is beef rather than lamb, don’t worry. You can use the beef to make a lesser-known version that is popular in the U.K. — cottage pie. This warm, comforting dish graces many a British dinner table in the winter months, and is fairly easy to throw together for a midweek meal.

To create the filling for the pie, you will need to dice the roast beef into small cubes before frying it alongside a mixture of vegetables, usually including onions, peas, and carrots. Turn your veggies into a gravy by adding a sprinkle of flour to thicken, followed by a splash of Worcestershire sauce and some beef stock. Then let the mixture bubble gently until you have a beautiful thick sauce.

To assemble your cottage pie, spoon the beef mixture into a baking dish, then add creamy mashed potatoes for a delicious topping. If you want to boost the nutrition, sweet potatoes make a great alternative, and their flavor will complement the beef well. Sprinkle some grated cheese on top of the mash, then bake in the oven until the topping turns golden and starts to bubble. You now have a great shepherd’s pie alternative that you can whip up whenever you have leftover beef.

Shredded beef pasta

tomato pasta with shredded beef

If spaghetti is a popular dinner in your house, you can put your leftover roast beef to use and make a shredded beef pasta dish instead. Using roast beef instead of ground beef gives a different texture to the dish, but its meaty, rich flavor is likely to be just as big a hit as your usual version.

Start by slicing your beef into manageable bite-size pieces, then tossing it into the pan with some olive oil and garlic. Add some tomato sauce, either shop-bought or homemade, add your favorite Italian herbs, then leave it to simmer and become a rich, flavorful sauce.

Now, decide which pasta to add to the delicious sauce you have just made. Any pasta shape will work, but a thick tube pasta like rigatoni will allow the sauce to collect inside, so it will suit it perfectly. Be sure to cook it al dente, the point at which the pasta is just cooked and still has some bite to it.

Once your pasta is cooked, drain and add it to the pan with the beef sauce, allowing the sauce to coat every surface. Serve the pasta with some crusty Italian bread, or a green side salad for a lighter option.

Beef noodle bowl

beef noodles in black bowl

It’s time to create an Asian-inspired dish using your leftover roast beef in the form of a beef noodle bowl. This dish champions fresh, vibrant flavors and takes the roast beef to a delicious new level.

Even though the beef has previously been cooked, it can still be marinated to impart flavor, so begin by slicing the meat into thin strips to get it ready to absorb some complex Thai flavors. Create a marinade using soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil, and garlic, and coat your beef strips in it.

Once you’ve decided what vegetables you are adding to the bowl — scallions, peppers, and onions are great options — stir-fry them in the pan, then toss in the beef strips along with the marinade. Cook the beef mixture on a low heat while the noodles cook, then get ready to assemble your Thai masterpiece. Place the noodles at the bottom of the bowl, followed by the beef and veggies mixture. Add some crunchy toppings such as chopped nuts or bean sprouts, then scatter some cilantro over the top to complete your beautiful, colorful noodle bowl.

Beef nachos

tray of beef nachos

To create a fun meal with your leftover roast beef, consider using it to make nachos. Whether you are making them as a light dinner, a lunchtime snack, or as part of a platter at a family party, nachos will always be a big hit.

The key to a good tray of nachos is to have all the ingredients in every layer. If you only have the good stuff on the top, it will be gone within seconds, and you will be left with a pile of dry tortilla chips — not what you want at all. Start with a layer of tortilla chips, then scatter thin strips of roast beef across them. Then add your grated cheese, and don’t be shy, as you want as much gooeyness as possible in each layer.

If you want to stop there, you can, but for added flavor, add some more ingredients on top of the bottom layer. Jalapeños, cooked beans, and even fresh diced tomatoes will give a delicious twist to your nachos. Once you have completed the first layer, repeat by placing more ingredients on more chips, then finish with additional grated cheese on top. Once you have heated the tray in the oven to create a beautiful tower of melted loveliness, add some sour cream and guacamole on top, and dig into the best nachos you’ve ever made.

Roast beef grilled cheese

roast beef grilled cheese

Grilled cheese is one of the all-time classic comfort foods, and sometimes, having a classic all-cheese version is what you need. But adding extra ingredients to your sandwich can elevate it from a simple indulgent snack to a more substantial meal, and leftover roast beef is the perfect way to achieve this.

The key to a great grilled cheese sandwich is choosing the right bread. The tangy notes from a sourdough balance perfectly with the cheese, and the bread will create a fantastic crust. Add some butter to the outside of each slice so that it can create a golden brown layer when it comes in contact with the pan.

On the non-buttered side of the bread, add plenty of your chosen cheese, then arrange your roast beef on top. For some extra flavor, consider adding condiments that work well with the beef, such as mustard or even horseradish sauce. Top with more cheese — it’s in the name of the sandwich for a reason — then add to your skillet or panini grill. The cheese will melt and mingle with the beef, creating a fantastic medley of flavor for you to tuck into.


tray of beef sliders

Sliders are fun to make and a joy to eat, and they are a great addition to parties or barbecues. By using leftover roast beef, you can elevate your slider game and create an elegant version of this popular snack.

There’s not much preparation involved since the beef is already cooked, but you may want to jazz it up a little first. Heat the meat in a pan with some seasonings — garlic salt and Worcestershire sauce both work well — and fry some onions at the same time. Round up your slider buns and sauce them up; mustard or horseradish sauce is crucial if you want the beef to have a kick. Mayonnaise and ketchup are pretty great options as well, and will give your sliders that traditional burger flavor.

Put a few slices of the roast beef on top of the lower bun, then add the caramelized onions on top. If you’re in the mood, add a thin slice of cheese, too, before broiling for a minute or so. Served warm with potato wedges or fries, these roast beef sliders will be a big hit at your next event. Just be sure to make enough to avoid having disappointed guests.

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