Chicken Divan is a classic chicken casserole. This vintage family recipe goes back to 1960 and has stood the test of time – I’m still making it and still getting compliments.
This Chicken Divan will get you enthusiastic compliments every time you serve it. My mom makes this dish, I make it, and now my daughter makes it for her family. Family and friends have been enjoying this dish for decades.
Because it’s easy to make, it’s a great go-to recipe for weeknights, yet it’s also perfect for serving guests, and believe me, they will love it!
What’s Is It?
Chicken Divan is a favorite casserole recipe consisting of layered broccoli and chicken topped with a rich, creamy, and cheesy sauce, then baked till hot and bubbly.
Where did Chicken Divan originate?
Created in the Divan Parisien Restaurant in the New York City Chatham Hotel, the dish was named after the place of its invention, where it was served as the signature dish in the early twentieth century.
The chef who created and received an award from the hotel for the dish was Anthony Lagasi. All the chefs of the hotel restaurant initially made it even though it’s uncertain who all they were. In french divan refers to a great hall or meeting place. It is believed that the name was given to imply elegance and bring attention to the restaurant’s owners.
By the late ’50s, Chicken Divan had become a home cook’s staple and remains one of the most classic American casserole dishes today. Since then, different variations of the recipe have been created.
How Do You Make Chicken Divan?
- Broccoli Layer:
First, you will add a layer of steamed broccoli. I prefer to use broccoli crowns because we don’t like the stems.
- Chicken Layer:
Add chicken that has been thoroughly cooked. I bake mine in a covered dish in the oven. After baking, cut into bite-size pieces, or you can shred it if you prefer.
- Sauce Layer:
After mixing your sauce, you will spread this over the top of the chicken. Sometimes, I heat my sauce enough to melt the cheese, but you don’t have to.
How to Bake Chicken Divan with Curry
It’s easy. You just put it in a preheated 350° oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until the edges are bubbly.
What Goes With This Dish?
I fix Basmati rice to go with this yummy dish. The rice goes perfectly with the creamy sauce. I round out the fixin’s with applesauce or red beets – with my family, it’s usually both. ;)
Although I like it best with chicken breast and fresh steamed broccoli, if you’d like, you can use rotisserie chicken or frozen broccoli that has been thawed or both. If you use frozen broccoli, you won’t need to steam it ahead of time.
Can Chicken Divan be made ahead of time and frozen?
Yes to both! You can make it the day or night before you plan to serve it. Cover it and place it in the fridge. Take it out about an hour before you plan to bake it. When ready to bake, remove the cover and bake as directed.
You can prep, bake, cool, and then freeze for up to three months. When you’re ready, take it out of the freezer about an hour before baking, then place in preheated oven and reheat until thoroughly heated.
Have you had this Chicken Divan before? What sides would you like with it?
Vintage 1950 Chicken Divan
- 2-3 bunches fresh broccoli 2 – 10-ounce boxes frozen can be used
- 3 boneless chicken breast or 2 cups sliced rotisserie chicken
- 2 10 ounce cans cream of chicken soup
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp curry powder I use a tab bit more
- 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- 1/2 cup butter cracker crumbs
- 1 tbsp butter
- Steam broccoli in a pan until tender crisp.
- Arrange broccoli in a 9×13 baking dish + place chicken on top.
- Combine soup, mayonnaise, lemon juice, cheese, and curry powder; pour over chicken.
- Combine bread crumbs, butter, and parsley, and sprinkle over top.
- Bake in a 350° oven for about 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated and bubbly.