Broccoli Chicken Divan

Broccoli Chicken Divan is a classic casserole that combines tender chicken and fresh broccoli in a creamy, cheesy sauce, topped with a crunchy breadcrumb or cracker topping. This dish is a beloved comfort food, popular for its ease of preparation and its ability to satisfy a crowd. Originating as a convenient way to use leftover chicken, it has become a staple in American home cooking, often served during family gatherings and potlucks for its hearty and fulfilling nature.

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Broccoli Chicken Divan

  • Author: recipstep
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Broccoli Chicken Divan is a creamy and comforting casserole that combines tender chicken and fresh broccoli in a rich cheese sauce, topped with crispy breadcrumbs. It’s a classic dish that’s perfect for family dinners, offering a satisfying blend of flavors and textures.



1 pound chopped fresh broccoli
1 ½ cups cubed, cooked chicken meat
1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed cream of broccoli soup
⅓ cup milk
½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons dried bread crumbs
1 tablespoon butter, melted


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
Place broccoli in a saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain.
Place the cooked broccoli in a 9 inch pie plate. Top with the chicken. In a bowl, mix the soup and milk, and pour over the chicken. Sprinkle with Cheddar cheese. Mix the melted butter with the bread crumbs, and sprinkle over the cheese.
Bake in the preheated oven until casserole is bubbly and the top is golden brown, about 15 minutes.


  • Ensure that the broccoli is not overcooked before adding it to the casserole to prevent it from becoming mushy.
  • For a lighter version, substitute Greek yogurt for mayonnaise, and use low-fat milk and cheese.
  • Can be adapted to gluten-free by using gluten-free breadcrumbs and soup.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


  • Calories: 420
  • Sugar: 3g
  • Sodium: 790mg
  • Fat: 30g
  • Saturated Fat: 9g
  • Carbohydrates: 18g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 25g
  • Cholesterol: 85mg

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can Broccoli Chicken Divan be made vegan?

Yes, you can make a vegan version of Broccoli Chicken Divan by substituting the chicken for a plant-based protein like tofu or seitan. Use vegan cheese and a dairy-free cream alternative for the sauce, and ensure that your breadcrumbs are vegan as well.

How can I ensure my Broccoli Chicken Divan doesn’t turn out watery?

To prevent a watery casserole, ensure that the broccoli is thoroughly drained after cooking and before it’s added to the dish. Letting the cooked broccoli sit in a colander to drain off excess moisture or patting it dry with a towel can help reduce water content.

What’s the best way to get a crispy topping?

For a crispy topping, mix your breadcrumbs with melted butter before sprinkling them over the casserole. Baking the casserole uncovered will allow the topping to become golden and crisp. For an extra crunch, you can briefly broil the top for a minute or two at the end of baking, watching carefully to prevent burning.

Can I prepare Broccoli Chicken Divan ahead of time?

Absolutely! You can assemble the casserole a day ahead and store it in the refrigerator. Just add the breadcrumb topping before you’re ready to bake to keep it crisp. If you prefer, you can also freeze the assembled casserole before baking. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bake as directed.

What are some tips for adding more flavor to the dish?

To enhance the flavor of your Broccoli Chicken Divan, consider sautéing the onions and any other vegetables with garlic before adding them to the casserole. A pinch of nutmeg or mustard powder in the creamy sauce can also add depth. Additionally, using a good quality, flavorful cheese will make a significant difference.

Key Ingredients and Variations

The basic ingredients for Broccoli Chicken Divan include cooked chicken, fresh or frozen broccoli, cream of chicken or mushroom soup, mayonnaise, cheese (typically cheddar), and a buttery breadcrumb topping. Variations of this dish might include adding curry powder to the sauce for a hint of spice, using different types of cheese such as Swiss or Gruyere, or incorporating other vegetables like carrots or cauliflower. Some versions skip the mayonnaise and use sour cream or Greek yogurt to lighten the dish slightly.

Preparation Techniques

To prepare Broccoli Chicken Divan, start by cooking the broccoli until it is just tender, then drain it well to remove excess water. The chicken should be cooked and shredded or chopped into bite-sized pieces. In a separate bowl, mix the cream soup with mayonnaise (or its substitute), cheese, and any additional seasonings. This mixture is then combined with the chicken and broccoli in a baking dish. The final step is to sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture, mixed with melted butter, over the top before baking.

Baking and Serving

Broccoli Chicken Divan is typically baked in a preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until the dish is bubbly and the topping is golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. It’s important to let the casserole sit for a few minutes after baking to set, making it easier to serve. This dish is often served hot as a main course, accompanied by rice or noodles to make a complete meal. It’s also a popular choice for meal prepping as it reheats well and can be made in advance.

Pairing and Enhancements

To enhance Broccoli Chicken Divan, consider pairing it with a crisp, green salad to add freshness and balance to the meal. For wine enthusiasts, a glass of Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc pairs beautifully with the creamy, cheesy elements of the casserole. For those looking to add more flavor and texture, tossing in some slivered almonds or crumbled bacon into the breadcrumb topping before baking can provide an extra layer of crunch and savoriness.

Nutritional Considerations

When considering the nutritional profile of Broccoli Chicken Divan, it’s important to note that this dish can be quite rich due to its creamy sauce and cheese content. However, it also offers good amounts of protein from the chicken and beneficial nutrients from the broccoli, which is rich in vitamins C and K, fiber, and iron. To make this dish healthier, consider using low-fat versions of mayonnaise, cream soup, and cheese. Additionally, increasing the proportion of broccoli and adding other vegetables like spinach or bell peppers can boost the dish’s vitamin and mineral content.

Broccoli Chicken Divan

Dietary Adaptations

Broccoli Chicken Divan can easily be adapted to suit various dietary needs. For a gluten-free version, ensure that the cream soup and breadcrumbs used are gluten-free, or substitute the breadcrumbs with a gluten-free alternative like crushed gluten-free crackers or almond meal. For those on a low-carb diet, the breadcrumbs can be omitted entirely, or replaced with a sprinkling of grated parmesan and almond flour for a similar texture. Vegetarians can substitute the chicken with plant-based proteins like tofu or a meat substitute, and use a mushroom or celery cream soup instead of chicken soup.

Advanced Preparation Tips

For those looking to prepare Broccoli Chicken Divan in advance, assembling the casserole the night before and refrigerating it until ready to bake is a practical solution. This allows the flavors to meld together and can save valuable time for busy cooks. It’s important to add the breadcrumb topping just before baking to keep it crisp. The casserole can also be frozen before baking; simply thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bake as directed. This makes it an excellent option for meal planning and ensures you have a delicious, home-cooked meal on hand.

Creative Serving Suggestions

To keep Broccoli Chicken Divan exciting, consider varying the presentation and sides. Serving the casserole in individual ramekins can make the dish feel more special and personalized. Pairing it with aromatic jasmine rice or wild rice can enhance its flavors and add a gourmet touch to an everyday meal. For a lighter option, a quinoa salad with lemon vinaigrette or a roasted vegetable medley can complement the creamy texture of the casserole without overloading on carbohydrates.

Seasonal Adaptations

Broccoli Chicken Divan can be adapted to reflect seasonal ingredients and flavors. In the spring, incorporating asparagus or peas can add freshness and a pop of color. During summer months, experimenting with lighter cheeses and adding herbs like basil or chives can lighten the dish’s flavor profile. In the autumn, mixing in roasted squash or pumpkin can introduce a sweet, earthy element that’s perfect for cooler weather. For winter, adding a layer of mashed potatoes on top before baking, similar to a shepherd’s pie, can turn it into a more comforting and hearty dish.

Broccoli Chicken Divan

Tips for Perfect Texture

Achieving the perfect texture in Broccoli Chicken Divan is crucial for maximizing enjoyment of the dish. Ensure that the broccoli is not overcooked before adding it to the casserole; it should be just tender enough to pierce with a fork. This prevents it from becoming too mushy during the baking process. Similarly, the chicken should be cooked but still moist before it’s combined with the other ingredients to avoid drying out. When mixing the sauce, be sure it’s homogeneous and smooth to evenly coat the chicken and broccoli, creating a uniform creamy texture throughout the casserole.

Incorporating Whole Grains

To increase the nutritional value of Broccoli Chicken Divan, consider incorporating whole grains into the recipe. Instead of traditional breadcrumbs, top the casserole with a mixture of whole-grain breadcrumbs or crushed whole-grain crackers mixed with a little Parmesan for added flavor. Another option is to stir cooked quinoa or brown rice into the chicken and broccoli mixture before baking. This not only adds fiber and nutrients but also gives the dish additional substance and texture.

Enhancing Flavors with Spices

Spices can dramatically enhance the flavor of Broccoli Chicken Divan without adding extra calories. Introducing spices such as paprika, mustard powder, or a pinch of nutmeg can deepen the flavor profile of the cheese sauce. For a subtle kick, a dash of cayenne pepper or black pepper works beautifully. Experimenting with fresh herbs like dill, tarragon, or thyme when mixing the casserole can also introduce fresh, aromatic notes that complement the creamy texture wonderfully.

Make-Ahead Strategies

For those with busy schedules, Broccoli Chicken Divan is an excellent candidate for make-ahead meals. Prepare the entire casserole, excluding the topping, and store it in the refrigerator up to two days ahead. When ready to serve, add the breadcrumb topping and bake. The dish can also be frozen for up to two months; thaw in the refrigerator overnight before baking. These strategies can help streamline meal preparation and reduce stress during busy weekdays or when planning for a gathering.

Pairing with Wines

Pairing the right wine with Broccoli Chicken Divan can elevate the dining experience. A light to medium-bodied white wine, such as Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc, complements the creamy, cheesy elements of the dish without overwhelming its flavors. For those who prefer red wine, a Pinot Noir with its subtle earthy notes and moderate acidity pairs nicely, cutting through the richness of the sauce and balancing the hearty texture of the casserole.

Utilizing Leftovers

Broccoli Chicken Divan is not only delicious when freshly made but also excellent when using leftovers. Utilizing leftover chicken, such as from a roast or even a store-bought rotisserie chicken, can save time and reduce food waste. If there’s leftover cooked broccoli from another meal, it can be incorporated into the dish as well, though fresh is preferred to maintain optimal texture. Leftover casserole can be reheated in the oven or microwave, making for an easy lunch or dinner option the next day. For best results when reheating, cover with foil to keep the moisture in and prevent the top from burning.

Adapting for All Seasons

While Broccoli Chicken Divan is a hearty dish suited for colder months, it can be adapted to fit any season. In the summer, lighten it up by using less cheese and incorporating a mix of zucchini and broccoli for a fresher taste. During spring, fresh herbs and lemon zest can add brightness that complements the lighter days. In the fall, adding mushrooms can provide an earthy flavor that suits the season. For winter, extra cheese and a touch of cream can transform it into the ultimate comfort food.

Hosting with Style

When hosting a dinner where Broccoli Chicken Divan is served, presentation is key. Serve the casserole in a beautiful, oven-safe dish that complements your table setting. Garnish with fresh herbs just before serving to add a touch of elegance. Accompany the casserole with a simple side salad and a crusty bread to complete the meal. For larger gatherings, consider making multiple smaller dishes rather than one large casserole to allow for easier serving and to ensure every guest receives a beautifully presented portion.

Customizing for Dietary Needs

To accommodate various dietary needs, Broccoli Chicken Divan can be customized in several ways. For a gluten-free version, substitute the breadcrumbs with a gluten-free alternative or simply omit them. For a dairy-free version, use plant-based milk and cheese substitutes that melt well. Those watching their caloric intake might prefer low-fat dairy options and increase the proportion of broccoli to chicken for a lighter dish. Always consider guests’ dietary restrictions when preparing this dish to ensure everyone can enjoy it without concerns.

Broccoli Chicken Divan

Exploring International Flavors

Broccoli Chicken Divan can be infused with international flavors to create a new twist on the classic recipe. Adding curry powder and a hint of coconut milk can give it an Indian-inspired flavor, while incorporating a mixture of Italian herbs and a sprinkle of Parmesan can lend an Italian flair. For a Mexican twist, mix in some chopped green chiles and top with Monterey Jack cheese. Experimenting with flavors from around the world can keep this traditional dish exciting and new for any palate.


Broccoli Chicken Divan is a versatile and comforting dish perfect for family dinners, special occasions, or meal prep for the week. Its creamy texture, combined with the savory flavors of chicken and broccoli, topped with a crispy breadcrumb crust, makes it a satisfying meal that’s always a hit. Whether you stick to the traditional recipe or adapt it to fit dietary needs or flavor preferences, Broccoli Chicken Divan offers a delightful combination of taste and texture that can be enjoyed any time of the year. With these tips and tricks, you’re well on your way to mastering this beloved casserole.

Leave a Comment

Recipe rating