Easy Chicken Divan is loaded with chunks of tender chicken and broccoli and smothered in a cream sauce. It is perfect to freeze for later!
We like to serve this cheesy Chicken Divan with rice, but it’s also delicious over noodles or Mashed Potatoes. To skip out on a few carbs, pair it with Parmesan Roasted Asparagus or Creamy Pesto Salad. It’s great all by itself, too.
Chicken Broccoli Divan
What is Chicken Divan? Chicken Divan is a classic American Dish originating from New York City in the early 1900’s. Lagasi, a chef at the Divan Parisienne Restaurant at the Chatham Hotel created it.
This creamy and flavorful Chicken Divan Casserole is so easy to make and so yummy! It’s loaded with chunks of tender chicken and broccoli, smothered in a rich and creamy sauce, and topped with crisp, buttery bread crumbs. It is comfort food at its best!
During the colder months, I am always on the lookout for delicious and cozy recipes. This Chicken Divan fits the bill perfectly!
We ate a similar dish fairly often when I was a child (we called it Chicken and Broccoli Casserole), and it reminds me of home and good memories whenever I eat it. My kids love it too, so it is a staple at our house!
Chicken Divan from scratch
There are a variety of Chicken Divan recipes, and most of them use condensed soups and/or mayonnaise. I decided to make up my own sauce recipe.
It’s just as creamy and flavorful as the traditional recipe, but it tastes even better because it’s homemade!
PREP. Preheat the oven to 375°F, and spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray.
SAUCE. In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium heat, until melted. Add the flour and whisk to combine. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until bubbly and golden.
Slowly whisk in the chicken broth, followed by the milk, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Cook the sauce until thickened and bubbling. Remove the sauce from the heat, and stir in the sour cream and salt.
BROCCOLI. Add the broccoli to a microwave-safe bowl with 2 tablespoons of water. Cover and microwave on high for 2 minutes, or until softened slightly but not fully cooked. Drain well.
COMBINE. Add the broccoli and chicken (instructions for cooking chicken HERE) to the skillet with the sauce, and stir to combine. Pour into the prepared baking dish, and sprinkle with the cheddar cheese.
BAKE. In a small bowl, mix together the melted butter and bread crumbs. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top of the chicken mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the bread crumbs are golden brown and crispy, and the sauce is bubbling.
ENJOY! Serve hot with cooked rice, noodles, or Mashed Potatoes.
Broccoli. To avoid mushy broccoli, only cook it about halfway before adding it to the casserole mixture. The broccoli will cook the rest of the way as it bakes, and will come out green and tender, instead of mushy and bland. It makes for a much prettier presentation and tastes better too.
A frozen bag of steamed broccoli will also work (more than one bag may be needed).
Thickness. Easily adjust the texture of the sauce in a few ways.
- Thin it out by adding extra chicken broth.
- Using whole milk will create a creamier sauce than using skim milk.
- To thicken the sauce – in step 2, with flour, pour ¼ cup of the sauce into a separate bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon of flour. Once smooth, pour it back into the main sauce and stir.
- To thicken the sauce with cornstarch – in a separate bowl add 1 tablespoon of cold water and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. Stir and pour it into the main sauce. Simmer.
Boneless skinless chicken breasts. To calculate how many chicken breasts are needed, note that 1½ lbs of raw chicken will equal about 3 cups (16.5oz) of cubed cooked chicken. Use an equal amount of boneless skinless chicken thighs.
Variations. This recipe is already a creamy dish of pure comfort, but to get a bit creative, try some of the following ideas:
- Replace the broccoli or add it with cauliflower, green beans, corn, spinach, or asparagus.
- Add extra flavor with black pepper, onion powder, or garlic powder.
- Use 3 cups of rotisserie chicken.
- Replaced the breadcrumbs with crushed cornflakes or ritz crackers.
- Use plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream to cut down on the amount of fat.
- Use nut milk instead of cow’s milk.
Make ahead of time. Cover with saran wrap and keep refrigerated until ready to bake.
Make this a freezer meal. Prepare the casserole in a disposable baking dish, (do not add the buttered breadcrumbs).
- Cover with plastic wrap and aluminum foil, and freeze for 2-3 months.
- To bake, let thaw in the fridge for 24 hrs.
- Top with bread crumbs and bake according to recipe instructions.
- You may need to add a few minutes to compensate for the colder casserole.
STORE leftover Best Chicken Divan recipe in individual airtight containers, or a single container, and keep in the fridge for 3-5 days.
FREEZE for 2-3 months. Thaw before heating.
Reheat in the microwave or oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the Chicken Divan in a baking dish, cover with foil and bake for 8-10 minutes or until heated through.
To crisp up the breadcrumbs, remove the foil and broil for a couple of minutes.
Of course, just place the covered casserole dish in the fridge for up to 2 days or until you’re ready to bake. Keep in mind you may need to bake it for an extra 5 minutes if it’s super cold from the fridge.
Traditionally most people serve this over rice, but we also love serving it over mashed potatoes or even egg noodles for a twist!
Always! We love using leftover rotisserie chicken for this dish or the shredded chicken we use for our chicken tacos and chicken broccoli casserole.
For more chicken casseroles:
- Chicken Broccoli Casserole
- French Onion Chicken Casserole
- Chicken Alfredo Casserole
- Green Bean and Chicken Casserole
- Chicken Noodle Casserole
Chicken Divan Recipe
for the casserole:
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3 cups broccoli florets cut into bite sized pieces
- 3 cups cooked chicken cut into bite sized pieces
for the topping:
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter melted
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- Preheat the oven to 375°F, and spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray.
- In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium heat, until melted. Add the flour and whisk to combine. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until bubbly and golden. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth, followed by the milk, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Cook the sauce until thickened and bubbling. Remove the sauce from the heat, and stir in the sour cream and salt.
- Add the broccoli to a microwave-safe bowl with 2 tablespoons of water. Cover and microwave on high for 2 minutes, or until softened slightly but not fully cooked. Drain well.
- Add the broccoli and chicken to the skillet with the sauce, and stir to combine. Pour into the prepared baking dish, and sprinkle with the cheddar cheese.
- In a small bowl, mix together the melted butter and bread crumbs. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top of the chicken mixture.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the bread crumbs are golden brown and crispy, and the sauce is bubbling. Serve hot with cooked rice, noodles, or mashed potatoes.
Thank you Alicia from The Baker Upstairs!!
My family loves this recipe! EAsy, quick And delicious!!
This is tge second recip ive tried and so yummy
Glad you like it 🙂 Thank you so much!
This was a hit for all but my youngest. He picked out the green vegetables, but ate the reSt. It was delicious served over rice.
This dish is total comfort food!! The sauce is creamy & it has delicious flavors. I love broccoli with chicken & I love the added breadcrumbs on top!
A total comfort food! Been making this for years and its still a favorIte in our family. The combination of chicken and broccoli with the sauce makes iT irresistible!
This is one of my wife’s favorite chicken recipes of all time. I’ve actually never made it, so thanks for the recipe!
Hope she likes it!! Thank you for trying it!
I need to try this immediately, it looks so good!
This recipe is so easy and filling. One of our favorites for sure!
This looks like such a famly friendly recipe!
My family loved this. I had to add cornstarch to the sauce because it was too thin. I used 1% milk which I would not recommend.
I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks for sharing what you did.
What a great classic! Love, love , love!!
This dish is so full of flavor! I love it!
The sauce was really tasty. I like it better than the traditional mayo and soup based sauce. I would probably make the sauce a little bit thicker by reducing broth or adding a small amount of cornstarch but that is just personal preference.
Sounds great!! I am glad you liked it! Yes, you could totally thicken it up 🙂
Good proportions & was very good sauce consistency! Worth the effort to avoid the “canned” taste.
I did add 1 Teaspoon of curry to the sauce. Then a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice divided over the chicken bc I preferred
just seared chicken breast and the effect makes the sauce cling to the chicken while it is in the oven!
So glad you enjoyed the recipe. Thanks for sharing what you did!