Chicken Divan

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Easy Chicken Divan is a flavorful and cheesy chicken and broccoli casserole. With no mayo or cream of mushroom soup and a few healthier swaps, you’ll enjoy this modern-day fresh spin on a classic.

Serve Chicken Divan on a bed of mashed potatoes or rice and alongside this simple fruit salad and these dinner rolls.

Image of Chicken Divan in a casserole dish, fresh out of the oven.

This retro casserole my mom made nearly my entire childhood is getting a makeover today; I doubt you’ll ever want to visit the other versions again! The Chicken Divan I grew up on was loaded with whole milk or cream, cream of chicken soup, and sometimes mayo. Today we’re tossing out all of those ingredients and making this casserole more flavorful than ever.

While this recipe requires a couple more steps, you won’t regret making this dish from scratch — no artificial tasting casserole here!

What is Chicken Divan?

As a bit of a background on this dish, this casserole is named after the place of its invention (the Divan Parisian Restaurant in New York City’s Chatham Hotel). This chicken casserole with broccoli and sauce was the signature dish in the early twentieth century.

Image of the broccoli and chicken being added to the casserole dish.

Quick ingredient tips

  • Broccoli:  Make sure to use fresh; frozen broccoli ends up watery and mushy. It’s also important that the lightly cooked broccoli dries completely before adding it to the base of this casserole. Otherwise, it will make the sauce and dish watery.
  • Chicken:  Save time and effort – get a rotisserie chicken from the store for this recipe! Not only does it add flavor, but it also saves a bunch of time (and you’ll need fewer seasonings overall, since rotisserie chickens are already seasoned.
  • Cheese: Freshly grated cheese is essential for the recipe. Pre-grated cheese has a waxy coating that keeps it from melting smoothly into the sauce.
  • Dijon mustard: While it might seem weird, mustard adds an incredible depth of flavor. If you don’t want to use Dijon, I recommend using 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder.
  • Sour Cream: While you can use full-fat sour cream for a richer dinner, fat-free works great in this dish! Great tangy flavor for much fewer calories.

QUICK TIP

Using rotisserie chicken saves all that roasting time. You can save even more time if you buy rotisserie chicken that has already been pulled from the bones. Look in the deli area of your grocery store; it’s widely available and provides instant chicken pieces for your recipes!

Image of the cheesy sauce being added to the casserole.

Chicken divan storage

Preparing in advance

To make ahead of time, assemble the casserole according to recipe instructions right up until baking (store panko topping in a bag separately to avoid a soggy topping). Cover with foil and refrigerate up to 2 days.

When ready to bake: Let casserole sit on the counter as the oven preheats to 350 degrees F.  Bake for 35 minutes (add panko topping mixture and keep casserole covered with foil) or until heated through, and bubbly around the edges.

Reheating

To reheat Chicken Divan in the oven, cover the leftovers in the casserole dish with foil and bake at 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes or until warmed through.

You can also reheat individual servings in the microwave.

Freezing

  • Make and assemble according to directions up until adding the panko. Store panko in a bag separately to avoid a soggy topping.
  • Let casserole cool from the warm cheese sauce.
  • Wrap securely with plastic wrap and then foil. 
  • Label and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • When ready to eat, thaw overnight in the fridge (it can take up to 24 hours to fully thaw).
  • Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. Add panko topping in the last 10 minutes of baking. 

Image of the panko and cheese being added to this casserole dish for Chicken Divan.

Variations

  • Chicken Divan with Ritz crackers: You can use crushed up Ritzยฎ crackers in place of the panko, but it will be less crunchy! (If you’re not familiar with panko, read up on it here!)
  • Chicken Divan recipe with mayo: Replace some or all of the sour cream with mayo. I also recommend adding 1-2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice if using mayo.
  • Switch up veggies: Instead of broccoli try asparagus or frozen peas.
  • Chicken Divan with curry: Many recipes call for curry powder; feel free to add 1/4 to 1 full teaspoon to the sauce of this recipe. If adding curry powder, I also recommend adding 1 teaspoon lemon juice.
  • Chicken Divan with rice: To have rice already added into the casserole dish, try this similar recipe.

Up-close image of Chicken Divan in the pan, about to be served.

What to serve with Chicken Divan

  • We like serving Chicken Divan over rice best (instant rice for an even quicker side!).
  • It’s also frequently served over mashed potatoes or buttered egg noodles.
  • For side dishes, a large garden salad (such as this Olive Garden Salad copycat or this Italian Salad) would be delicious.
  • Dinner rolls, garlic bread or crusty bread would create a delicious avenue to sop up any leftover creamy cheese sauce.

Chicken Divan with rice.

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Chicken Divan

5 from 13 votes
Easy Chicken Divan is a flavorful and cheesy chicken and broccoli casserole. With no mayo or cream of mushroom soup and a few healthier swaps, you'll enjoy this modern-day twist on a classic.
Print Recipe

Chicken Divan

5 from 13 votes
Easy Chicken Divan is a flavorful and cheesy chicken and broccoli casserole. With no mayo or cream of mushroom soup and a few healthier swaps, you'll enjoy this modern-day twist on a classic.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword chicken divan
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 488kcal
Cost $5.31

Ingredients

  • 4 heaping cups fresh broccoli (2 florets; about 11 ounces)
  • 3 cups prepared rotisserie chicken cut into small cubes
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup white all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup low-fat milk (I use 1% to keep this healthier; skim or milk alternatives don't work well)
  • 2/3 cup chicken stock or broth
  • 1 and 1/2 cups sharp Cheddar cheese freshly grated, separated
  • 2/3 cup fat-free sour cream (regular sour cream can be used)
  • 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon EACH: garlic powder, onion powder, and dried parsley
  • Fine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

Topping

  • 3/4 cup panko (or crushed Ritz crackers)
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Instructions

  • BROCCOLI AND CHICKEN: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut broccoli into bite-sized florets. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, add in chopped broccoli and cook for 3 minutes. Drain and let stand to thoroughly dry. Chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces to make 3 cups.
  • SAUCE: Melt butter in a small pot over medium heat. Once melted, gradually add in flour, whisking constantly until a thick paste forms. Whisk for one minute and then gradually add in 1/3 cup of the milk while continuing to whisk. Gradually whisk in 1/3 cup chicken stock or broth. Add in another 1/3 cup milk, the remaining 1/3 cup stock, and last remaining 1/3 cup milk. Whisk until completely smooth. Add in 1 cup of cheese and whisk again until completely smooth. Add in sour cream and whisk until smooth. Stir in the chicken bouillon powder, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, dried parsley, and salt and pepper to taste (I add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; add to taste preference).
  • ASSEMBLE AND BAKE: Add the dry broccoli (if it's still wet, it will make the casserole soggy) to the base of a 9x13-inch casserole dish. Sprinkle the chicken over top. Pour the sauce over everything, spread to evenly coat, and sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup cheese over top of sauce. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Add the panko and toast, stirring constantly, until crumbs are light brown and toasted. Sprinkle topping evenly over cheese. Cover casserole with foil and bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly around the edges. Remove and serve hot.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 488kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 164mg | Sodium: 912mg | Potassium: 177mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 600IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 306mg | Iron: 1mg

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49 Comments

  1. Gee I always use red rice, but since I cook it in my rice cooker, I don’t have the instructions. Wonder if the 1 cup rice to 3 cups liquid would work for that, do you know, have you ever used red rice.

    1. Sorry, I’ve never used red rice with this recipe, so I can’t say for sure. However, red rice is more like brown rice than white rice, so I don’t think it would cook in the same time as white in this dish.

  2. Chelsea! Girl, these pictures rock my world! They are incredible! The recipe looks great too – and it was entertaining to read. Keep up the good work! ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Can I make this recipe without the chicken bullion powder. I have chicken broth but no cubes or powder

        1. You can, it will just have less flavor. If you have some poultry seasoning, you can add some of that instead ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. The recipe looks great and I’m excited to try it! However, I’m so confused on how this is a one pot meal! Why is everyone celebrating that?
    Broccoli steamed/boiled + 1 pot
    Sauce + 1 pot
    Baking dish + 1 pot/dish
    If I add rice or potatoes as a base + 1 pot
    That’s 3-4 pots in my math, but what do I know? Either way, I love your recipes and will give this one a try.

    1. 5 stars
      “one pot” or “one dish” just means that the entire meal can be served in one pot or dish. Funny… I love a one dish meal, but it often translates to a full dishwasher rack. For this dish, try steaming your broccoli in a medium saucepan, then use that same saucepan to make the sauce. Rinse it out good and make your rice, pasta or potatoes while the casserole bakes.

  4. 5 stars
    Chelsea, you’ve done it again! I made the Chicken Divan with no changes. It was flavorful and delicious. I had been looking for a chicken casserole without the canned soup, to take to friends and events. This will be perfect. You need a TV show.

    1. Awe Jane you always make my day with your kind reviews and comments! Thank you so much!! I really appreciate it ๐Ÿ™‚ So happy this chicken divan was a hit! XO

  5. 5 stars
    I have not made or HAD Chicken Divan in YEARS! Haven’t even thought about it… For some reason it popped into my head today while thinking about all the broccoli I had in the refrigerator and the chicken I was defrosting. When I first started looking at recipes I remembered why I don’t make it – canned soup! Was happy to find your recipe and my husband and teenage boys all LOVED IT! Hubby was a bit skeptical but after a few bites said, “This is a keeper!”. I served it over rice but I’m not a big rice fan so I love that it doesn’t include it IN the dish.

    1. Love, love hearing this! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment and review Kristin! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. This looks awesome! But my sister doesnโ€™t like broccoli do you think cauliflower could work in this?

    1. I haven’t actually tried that but I would imagine it would swap nicely for the broccoli! Let me know what you think! Thanks for your comment! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. 5 stars
    Do you use Dijon powder or the condiment form in the bottle? I used regular mustard powder last time but I do like Dijon… thank you great recipe

  8. 5 stars
    This is the best chicken divan Iโ€™ve ever made! The sauce is delicious. I didnโ€™t put extra cheese on top-just the panko. For me, there was already enough cheese in the sauce. I was out of sour cream so I used plain yogurt. I donโ€™t think either of these changes altered the taste at all.

  9. I donโ€™t have bouillon power but I do have bovril concentrate liquid would I use the same measurement as the powder?

    1. I believe the concentrate is much more concentrated than the powder. I’d start with 1/4th the amount and increase to taste

  10. An amazing recipe. Wonderful. Had to omit sour cream due to dairy๐Ÿฅด. Husband thought it was awesome. Thank you for sharing this delightful recipe. Will be a frequent meal.

    1. Not bogus; it just doesn’t publish comments until I approve them and I’m not at my computer 24/7 ๐Ÿ™‚

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