Background This study aimed to investigate post-recurrence overall survival (PROS) in patients with recurrent extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (EHC) and to indicate which groups of patients need active salvage treatments. Methods We retrospectively reviewed the records of 251 consecutive patients who underwent curative surgery followed by adjuvant chemoradiotherapy for EHC. Among these, 144 patients experienced a recurrence and were included for further analysis. Results The median PROS was 7 months (range, 1–130). In multivariate analysis, poorly differentiated histology, short disease-free survival, poor performance status, and elevated CA 19-9 were identified as significant prognosticators for poor PROS. Based on this, we stratified study patients into three categories by the number of risk factors: group 1 (0 or 1 factors), group 2 (2 factors) and group 3 (3–4 factors). Median PROS for groups 1, 2, and 3 were 13, 7, and 5 months, respectively (p < 0.001). Group 1 patients showed a significant benefit from salvage treatment, but groups 2 and 3 did not demonstrate clear benefit. In addition, we developed a nomogram to specifically identify individual patient's prognosis. Conclusion Our simple risk stratification as well as proposed nomogram can classify patients into subgroups with different prognosis and will help facilitate personalized strategies after recurrence.