Chicken Divan

published Feb 14, 2024
Chicken Divan Recipe

This retro chicken and broccoli casserole is ultra-comforting.


Prep15 minutes to 20 minutes

Cook35 minutes to 45 minutes

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overhead shot of the chicken divan in a baking dish, with a big scoop taken out of it by a large wooden spoon.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: James Park

Casseroles are a top pick for comfort-food dinners that feed a crowd (plus, there’s always the potential for leftovers). The classic combination of chicken and broccoli (like in this cheesy chicken, broccoli, and rice casserole) is always a hit. Chicken Divan, one of my childhood favorites that I go back to often, is one of many classic American casseroles made with shredded chicken, tender broccoli, and a creamy cheese sauce that’s baked until bubbling. 

It was thought to have originated in a now-closed New York City hotel restaurant called Divan Parisien. My mom always topped the casserole with more cheese and a shower of crushed buttery crackers. It was among the first dinners I learned to make, and over the years I’ve made her version my own. Here’s my take on my mom’s classic chicken Divan.

Ingredients in Chicken Divan

  • Onion and celery: Aromatics boost the homemade flavor of this homestyle casserole. 
  • Broccoli: Cut fresh broccoli crowns into florets, or skip that little bit of prep and opt for frozen broccoli florets instead.
  • Chicken: Shred 3 cups of cooked boneless, skinless chicken. The meat from one rotisserie chicken will give you plenty, or bake boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
  • Cream of chicken soup: A classic shortcut for creamy casseroles. 
  • Milk: Use whole or 2% milk to give the sauce its perfect creamy consistency.
  • Cheddar cheese: Stir half of the shredded cheddar cheese into the casserole, and sprinkle the rest over the top before adding the crackers.
  • Round butter crackers: Some recipes call for a potato chip topping, but that can taste too greasy. A better bet is to use buttery round crackers. My favorite is Ritz.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: James Park

How to Make Chicken Divan

  1. Prep the ingredients. Dice a small onion, slice celery stalks, and cut broccoli into florets (if using fresh). Shred cheddar cheese on a box grater and cooked chicken with your hands or two forks.
  2. Sauté the vegetables. Cook the vegetables until the onion and celery are tender and the broccoli is bright green and almost tender (or thawed, if using frozen).
  3. Combine casserole ingredients and bake. Stir in the chicken, cheese, canned soup, sour cream, milk, dry mustard powder, and garlic powder until combined, then transfer to a baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheddar cheese evenly over the casserole, cover with aluminum foil, and bake until the cheese is mostly melted and the edges begin to bubble.
  4. Make buttered cracker topping. Crush buttered crackers, then coat in melted butter. 
  5. Top casserole with crackers and finish baking. Sprinkle the buttered crackers evenly over the casserole and finish baking. 

What to Serve with Chicken Divan

Chicken Divan Recipe

This retro chicken and broccoli casserole is ultra-comforting.

Prep time 15 minutes to 20 minutes

Cook time 35 minutes to 45 minutes

Serves 6

Nutritional Info


  • 10 to 12 ounces

    fresh broccoli crowns, or 10 ounces frozen broccoli florets (do not thaw)

  • 1

    small yellow onion

  • 2

    medium stalks celery

  • 8 ounces

    sharp cheddar cheese (about 2 cups shredded), divided

  • 1 pound

    cooked boneless, skinless chicken (about 3 cups)

  • 6 tablespoons

    unsalted butter, divided

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1

    (10 1/2-ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup

  • 1/2 cup

    sour cream

  • 1 cup

    whole or 2% milk

  • 1 teaspoon

    dry mustard powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    garlic powder

  • 30

    round butter crackers, such as Ritz (about 1 sleeve)


  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F. If using fresh broccoli, cut 10 to 12 ounces broccoli crowns into small, bite-size florets (about 4 cups).

  2. Dice 1 small yellow onion (about 1 cup) and thinly slice 2 medium celery stalks crosswise (about 3/4 cup). Grate 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese on the large holes of a box grater if needed (about 2 cups). Cut 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken into bite-size pieces (about 3 cups).

  3. Melt 2 tablespoons of the unsalted butter in a large, preferably 12-inch, skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Sauté until tender and golden-brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the broccoli and cook until fresh broccoli is bright green and almost tender, or frozen broccoli is thawed, 2 to 3 minutes.

  4. Add the chicken, half of the cheese, 1 (10 1/2-ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup, 1/2 cup sour cream, 1 cup whole or 2% milk, 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder, and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder. Stir to combine.

  5. Transfer to a 9x13-inch baking dish and spread into an even layer. Top with the remaining cheese. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil.

  6. Bake until the cheese is mostly melted and the edges begin to bubble, 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, place the remaining 4 tablespoons unsalted butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave until almost completely melted, 20 to 30 seconds (or melt on the stovetop and transfer to a medium bowl). Place 30 round butter crackers in a large zip-top plastic bag and seal the bag. Use your hands to crush into coarse crumbs (about 1 1/2 cups). Add the crackers to the butter and stir to coat.

  7. Uncover the casserole and evenly sprinkle with the cracker crumbs. Return to the oven and bake uncovered until the edges are bubbling and the top is golden-brown, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The casserole can be assembled without the cracker topping, covered, and refrigerated up to 2 days ahead. Let the casserole sit at room temperature and make the cracker topping while the oven heats. Bake as directed; you may need to add 5 to 10 minutes to the first baking time.

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.