Chicken Divan is a cheesy chicken and broccoli casserole with pasta and a creamy sauce. It’s hearty and comforting and perfect for a weeknight dinner.
This classic chicken casserole is a favorite go-to for weekly meal planning. It pairs wonderfully with a crunchy Wedge Salad and some crispy Garlic Bread.
Casseroles are something that will never go out of style. They are simple, can be thrown together in no time and can often be a whole meal in one dish. This chicken broccoli casserole is all those things and it’s incredibly delicious and filling to boot.
Chicken Divan is a chicken casserole usually made with broccoli and a Mornay sauce. In the early 1900s, it was the signature dish at the Divan Parisien Restaurant in New York City where it was created. A mornay sauce is just a fancy French word for a bechamel sauce with cheese added to it, like what you would make for stovetop mac and cheese.
To make this a complete meal, I added pasta to the broccoli and chicken, which is then coated in a rich and creamy sauce and topped with Panko breadcrumbs for a little crunch. It comes together pretty quickly, and bakes in under 30 minutes. It can also be completely prepped a day ahead of time.
I like to make sauces from scratch whenever possible, but sometimes I do love a good shortcut. Instead of cooking a cheese sauce, I used cream of chicken soup. It just works so well in this recipe, but you also make your own cream of chicken soup if you have the time.
HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN BROCCOLI CASSEROLE
I love the simplicity of this recipe. It’s totally customizable too. Rotini is my pasta of choice, but any small cut pasta will work, such as shells or penne. If you aren’t a fan of broccoli or don’t happen to have any on hand, you could swap it out for some asparagus or cauliflower. Even green beans would work.
PREP: Cook rotini pasta in a pot of boiling, salted water. Cut up some broccoli into bite sized pieces and add that to the water with the pasta during the last few minutes. This is a great trick I like to use because the broccoli only needs a couple of minutes to get it just partially cooked so that it will be able to continue cooking with the casserole in the oven. Drain the pasta and broccoli really well and set aside.
MAKE THE SAUCE: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cream of chicken soup, milk, lemon juice and seasonings. Stir in shredded cheddar cheese and cooked chicken, then finally stir in the cooked broccoli and pasta. For the chicken, you can cook your own using our slow cooker or instant pot methods, or use a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.
BAKE: Pour the whole chicken divan casserole into a large baking dish. In a small bowl combine panko breadcrumbs with butter and parsley then sprinkle over the top. I love the added texture and flavor. Bake the casserole for about 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown. The breadcrumbs add flavor and texture to the Divan casserole, but you could use crushed crackers instead or leave them out all together
CAN I MAKE CHICKEN DIVAN CASSEROLE AHEAD OF TIME?
If you’d like to make your chicken broccoli casserole ahead of time, you can certainly do that in a few easy steps. Make the recipe, following the directions up to just before putting it in the oven. Cover the unbaked casserole tightly with plastic wrap, then place in the fridge overnight. Take out of the fridge about 10 minutes before baking to bring to room temperature. You may need to add a few minutes to the baking time.
If you’d like to freeze your Chicken Divan Casserole for baking later, follow the directions above, but add a layer of foil and pop the whole dish into the freezer. Freeze unbaked for up to 3 months. If you plan to freeze, I recommend using a disposable pan. To bake, thaw in the fridge overnight, then bake as directed. If the top starts to get too brown before the casserole is warmed through, cover loosely with foil.
WHAT TO DO WITH LEFTOVERS
Leftovers should be stored in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Freeze for up to 6 months.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a large, 13x9-inch casserole baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
Boil water in a pot and season generously with salt. Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions, adding the broccoli during the last 2 minutes. Drain well and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine cream soup, milk lemon juice, onion powder, paprika and black pepper. Stir in cheddar cheese, then chicken breast. Finally stir in the pasta and broccoli, making sure it is well drained.
Pour mixture into the baking dish.
In a small bowl, combine panko, melted butter and parsley. Sprinkle on top of the casserole.
Bake, uncovered, in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until breadcrumbs are golden and casserole is bubbly.
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Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.