Chicken Divan with Curry is a classic dish with a personal touch. It is made with juicy chicken and tender broccoli in a creamy cheesy sauce. Sprinkled with a crispy topping, this simple and delicious casserole will be ready for dinner in under an hour. A satisfying comfort dish that will easily become a family favorite!
Chicken Divan casserole is a great recipe to use up leftover turkey from Thanksgiving. With the holidays around the corner, it’s always nice to have a plethora of ways to use up leftovers! Turning it into a turkey divan will give it a totally different flavor but will taste amazing!
I love taking vintage recipes and giving it a little personal flare. The addition of curry didn’t originate as part of this traditional dish, but it adds an unforgettable layer of flavor without overpowering anything.
It’s a dish the whole family can enjoy and it’s one that can be made whether you’re hosting a crowd or for a quick and easy weeknight dinner.
What is Chicken Divan?
It may sound fancy-schmancy but classic chicken divan is essentially a very simple, but oh so tasty, casserole or hot dish! It’s made with chicken and broccoli and traditionally a mornay sauce, but as with most dishes, it has evolved and been recreated using slight variations.
This version skips the steps of making mornay sauce but does not skimp on the flavor. The sharpness of the cheddar is balanced by the creamy textures. The mouthwatering golden cheesy topping tastes even better than it looks! And the crispy and tender broccoli and juicy chicken combined with the aroma of the hot dish right out of the oven makes for one satisfying experience.
This chicken divan recipe really is a family-friendly dish that can be made ahead, frozen, and reheated. It’s the exact meal you want at the end of the day. Served with a simple side salad or over a bed of rice, and you’ll have introduced your kids to their “remember when mom used to make” favorite.
Where did this recipe originate from?
This recipe was developed at the New York Chateau Hotel at their Divan Parisienne Restaurant. It was very popular in the 1950s but it was a little different than how American housewives adapted it.
It was originally made with a french mornay sauce – a roux butter/flour mixture with milk and cheese added and thickened. American housewives over the years have adapted this chicken broccoli bake with canned soup, sour cream, and even mayonnaise on occasion.
- Chicken- I used leftover rotisserie chicken most often, but you can also poach or chunk chicken breasts and saute them to use. Be sure and season them no matter what you decide to do. You want to use bite-size pieces.
- Broccoli– Fresh is best. I primarily use the crown and cut away most of the stem while cutting it into bite-sized pieces. Steam it, but keep it a little al dente so it doesn’t turn to mush.
- Cheese We are partial to cheddar and it looks great in contrast. Any hard cheese will do, mozzarella, Monterey jack, gouda, swiss, or parmesan.
- Sour Cream– Adds a bit of tang and helps with the creamy consistency.
- Creamed Soup – I use cream of chicken, but you can also use cream of mushroom.
- Curry Powder– Not all Divans have this, but it elevates the flavor with a zing. It also adds a slight depth of color.
- Ritz Crackers– Total classic topping but feel free to use panko, saltine crackers, homemade onion strings, stuffing mix, goldfish, cornflakes, or regular breadcrumbs instead.
- Butter– don’t skip this– it gives the topping both its golden color and the crunch!
How to make Chicken Divan with Curry
- Pick your protien and cube it into bit sized pieces.
- I presteam the broccoli a little bit so the water is released and wont thicken the creamy sauce.
- Stirring all the wet ingredients and the curry powder is all you need for the sauce. If the sauce seems a little thick you can add water 1 tablespoon at a time to thicken it. I like to have a thick pancake batter consistancy.
- Pour this sauce over the top and while baking it will seep all around.
- In another small bowl, crush the crackers (or whatever crumbs you’re using) and add the melted butter. Combine together until blended.
- Sprinkle the crumbs over the top of the casserole and bake until it is heated through. The top should be golden brown and the cheese nicely melted.
Make-Ahead: You can make this ahead of time up until adding the topping. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days in plastic wrap. Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before baking to allow the chill to come off of the casserole. Add topping. Bake until bubbly and golden brown (closer to 30 minutes when it’s been chilled.)
Freezer Ready: Make to the point of adding the topping. Freeze wrapped in plastic and sealed tightly to avoid moisture getting into it. You can place it into a plastic container too, and just put it into the casserole dish when ready to bake. Let defrost in the fridge overnight. Follow the make ahead baking instructions above.
Turkey Divan: Use diced turkey meat instead of chicken. If you are serving this after thanksgiving you could also add french’s onions to the top that you have leftover.
Cauliflower and Spinach Divan: Sub out the broccoli and add cauliflower and spinach instead.
Common Questions you might have
Can I use frozen Broccoli or sub spinach instead? Absolutely you can. If you are using the kind you steam in the microwave in its package, be careful not to overcook it. No matter what type of vegetable you’re using, make sure to drain all the excess liquid before adding it to the casserole dish.
No canned soup or processed ingredients for me. What can I use instead? Make a mornay sauce from scratch! It only takes about 15 minutes. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter then sprinkle on 2 tablespoons of flour. Whisk for 2 minutes. Increase heat to high as you add 2 cups of milk. Reduce heat once it begins to boil then stir until it starts to thicken, about 10 minutes. Then add in the 5 ounces of cheese and allow to melt. Pour over the broccoli chicken in the 9 X 13 baking dish and top with topping and bake as directed.
My family doesn’t like curry can I omit that? Yes! By all means, go ahead and just leave it out! Many recipes don’t even call for it!
More Vintage Recipes
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- 3 Cups Chicken Breast, torn or cut to bite sized pieces
- 3 Cups Broccoli, crowns cut to small bite sized pieces
- 3 ounces Cheddar Cheese, shredded
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- 2 Cans Cream of Chicken soup
- 5 ounces, Cheddar Cheese, shredded
- 1 cup Sour Cream
- 2 Teaspoons Curry Powder
- 1/2 Cup Water (only as needed)
- 20 Ritz Crackers
- 2 Tablespoons Butter
- Preheat oven to 400°
- Steam broccoli in the microwave in the bag for 4 minutes. Remove, drain, break up pieces.
- Place chicken and broccoli into the bottom of a 9 X 13 baking dish. Make sure all pieces are bite-sized.
- Into a small bowl add cream of chicken soup, sour cream, 5 ounces of cheddar cheese, curry powder and water. Stir until well blended.
- Pour sauce over broccoli and chicken.
- Sprinkle 3 ounces of cheddar cheese over the top.
- Into a small bowl, crush the Ritz crackers, then add melted butter. Stir until well coated.
- Sprinkle over the top of the top.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until casserole is heated through and the topping in golden brown and the cheese on top is melted.
- Serve over rice, buttered noodles or alone. Goes well with a simple salad.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 402Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 103mgSodium: 909mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 27g
This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. Please calculate your own nutritional information if you want it exact to what you make and use my calculations as a guide only.
I’ve done this post with several other food writers. We’re sharing all sorts of classic Vintage Recipes. Be sure and check out all of their recipes too!
- Baked Alaska for Two by Making Miracles
- Calabrese Tuna Antipasto Salad by That Recipe
- Chicken a la King by Palatable Pastime
- Chicken Cordon Bleu by Family Around the Table
- Chicken Divan with Curry Recipe by West Via Midwest
- Classic Glorified Chicken by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Classic Layered Taco Dip by Blogghetti
- Grandma’s Sea Foam Candy (Divinity)–No Corn Syrup by Art of Natural Living
- One Skillet Pork Chop Dinner by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Skillet Chicken Pot Pie by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- The Relish Tray by Our Good Life
- The Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing by Karen’s Kitchen Stories