This Creamy and cheesy Chicken Divan Curry Casserole recipe is a delicious and easy make-ahead family dinner! Served with rice, it truly doesn’t get much easier.
This Chicken Divan Casserole is comfort food at it’s finest! Browned chicken and tender broccoli are cooked in a creamy and cheesy sauce with onions, garlic, and warm curry flare. Then crispy panko breadcrumbs finish off this delicious dinner. I love to serve it over rice, but you could also serve it with noodles, potatoes, or poured over a huge chunk of crusty bread!
Mom’s Midwest Chicken Divan
I grew up in a suburb of Chicago, so we ate lots of hearty meat and potato dishes along with chicken casseroles. And Chicken Broccoli Divan was a classic in my house. The original recipe came from a restaurant in New York City and was then popularized in the 50’s with home cooks. My Mom’s version was chicken, broccoli, mixed with a can of condensed cream soup and some other ingredients. I loved it!
This version is just as easy, I promise!! But it doesn’t use canned soup. And I have added curry because my daughters now love the flavor of curry and I’m running with it! The curry spices give the cream sauce in this casserole so much warmth and depth, your family will love it too.
Simple Ingredients and Substitutes
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- Uncooked Long grain White rice – You can substitute with any rice that you have on hand, such as serving this over jasmine rice. You can also sub in quinoa, egg noodles, regular noodles, brown rice, or cauliflower rice.
- Fresh Broccoli Florets – Broccoli and chicken are the stars of this show, but you can certainly use cauliflower, zucchini, or carrots as well.
- Chicken breasts, boneless skinless – You can replace the raw chicken with precooked or leftover chicken or leftover turkey to save time. I always have raw chicken breasts in the freezer as they can last up to 12 months if in an airtight container or packaging. Check out all of my tips on Prepping and Storing Chicken for Easier Dinners.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil for cooking chicken and onions
- Onion, diced – I used yellow onion, but you can use white onion, red onion, shallots, or even scallions. If you don’t have fresh onion, you can also use a tablespoon of onion flakes or onion powder.
- Fresh Garlic cloves, minced – Fresh is best in this simple recipe, but you can buy the pre-minced garlic sold in a small jar or use dried garlic flakes or garlic powder.
- Salted Butter – Butter is used for making the roux in the gravy base. You can also use unsalted butter. You can substitute with another fat, but you do really need a fat to make the smooth thick roux. Substitutes for butter can be Ghee (clarified butter), olive oil, coconut oil, or other butter or oil product.
- All purpose white flour – This is the thickener to mix with the butter/fat.
- Milk – I used 1% milk, but any milk will work, including unsweetened soy, almond, or coconut milk. If you want even creamier, you can add half and half or heavy cream. You can also eliminate the milk and replace it with water or chicken stock.
- Chicken Broth or stock – You can also use, vegetable broth or stock or beef broth or stock. You can also use water mixed with a beef or chicken bouillon cube or beef base or chicken base.
- Curry Powder – Curry powder can be found in the spice aisle or in the International foods aisle. Use your favorite brand or blend.
- Shredded gruyere or white cheddar cheese – The cheese adds creaminess and thickness to the sauce, but it’s not absolutely necessary in this recipe. You want a nice melty white cheese like gruyere, white cheddar, monterey jack, or gouda.
- Fresh Italian Parsley, chopped – Fresh parsley is best, don’t even bother with dried parsley. You can substitute in other fresh herbs, such as basil or oregano.
- Panko Bread Crumbs – Panko gives such a nice crunchy topping. You can substitute with regular breadcrumbs, crushed ritz crackers, crushed potato chips, or cheese.
See recipe card for quantities.
For this recipe, to start, you need a large skillet/frying pan for browning the chicken, then making the sauce. I used my 12″ Ceramic Pan, because food really does slide right off with minimal oil and I don’t have to worry about food sticking and burning.
For cooking in the oven, you need a medium to large casserole dish that’s approximately 10×10, 10×12, 11×11, or similar. You also need something to cover it while it cooks, such as an oven-safe lid or aluminum foil.
I also used a small-medium pot with lid for the rice and mincing garlic is made super easy with a Garlic Press.
Time Saving Prep-Ahead Steps
We are all extremely busy and making dinner during the week can be overwhelming. Here are steps you can prepare ahead to save time on busy nights! (See the full recipe below)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cook the Rice.
Dice the onion, mince the garlic, and chop the parsley. Set these aside for the sauce. Cut off the broccoli florets and place in the casserole dish.
Cut the raw chicken into 2-3 inch pieces so that you can get a few bites out of each one. After cutting the chicken, season it with salt and pepper on all sides.
Preheat a large pan over medium heat.
Brown the chicken on all sides in a pan. You will finish cooking the chicken in the oven.
Then transfer to the casserole dish with the broccoli florets.
To the same pan with all of the browned bits still in the pan, add another teaspoon of olive oil and the onions and garlic. Cook the onions until soft and translucent.
Add the butter first to melt and then whisk in the flour to the melted butter to make a roux. Cook for 2 minutes while stirring constantly so it does not burn.
Slowly whisk in the broth and the milk until lumps are gone and sauce is creamy.
Whisk in the curry powder and salt to taste until completely combined.
Add the shredded cheese and the parsley and whisk to combine.
Pour the creamy sauce all over the chicken and the broccoli florets and stir to combine. Cover and cook in oven for 30 minutes.
Remove cover and sprinkle with panko bread crumbs. Put back in the oven for another 5-8 minutes until the top is lightly golden brown. Let the casserole rest for 5-10 minutes, then serve with rice or noodles and enjoy!!
Variations on this Chicken Casserole
You can change up this recipe in so many different ways by changing the seasonings the vegetables, the proteins, or the toppings. Here are just a few ideas.
- Divan Classic Recipe (non-curry) – If you want to go with the more traditional flavors, simply eliminate the Curry powder. You can replace with dried oregano or thyme or even Italian seasoning for more herby flavor.
- Mexican – Instead of Curry powder, try adding Taco Seasoning! Then replace the breadcrumbs with crushed tortilla chips.
- Vegetarian – Replace the chicken with browned Chickpeas and add in more veggies, such as carrots and mushrooms.
Chicken Divan Curry Casserole FAQs
Can I Use Canned Soup Instead Of Making The Sauce?
To save time, you can use cream of chicken soup or cream of mushroom soup or other similar condensed canned soups. To use it, you will use the entire can in its condensed form to replace the flour and milk. You will still need to combine it with a small amount of broth, but reduce the broth from 1 ½ cups to only ½ cup. Add the condensed soup and the broth to the onions in Cooking Step #3.
Can I Make This Chicken Casserole Ahead?
You can make this Chicken casserole ahead, making it great for meal prep! Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat it in a microwave safe container and warm it for 1-2 minutes. In the oven, cover it and warm it for 15-20 minutes at 350 F degrees.
Can This Casserole Be Frozen?
You can freeze this cooked recipe by first cooling it in the refrigerator. Then transfer it to a freezer safe airtight container. You can even freeze it in individual portions. It will keep in the freezer for up to 9 months. To reheat, thaw it in the fridge 24 hours before cooking. Then place in either the oven at 350 F for 20 minutes or in the microwave oven for 5 minutes and then another minute at a time until fully warmed through.
Want More Easy Dinner Casseroles?
If you like this delicious and easy family casserole, then you will love these recipes too!
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Chicken Divan Curry Casserole Recipe
This Chicken Divan Casserole is comfort food at it’s finest! Browned chicken and broccoli cooked in a creamy and cheesy sauce with onions, garlic, and warm curry flare. Then crispy panko breadcrumbs finish off this delicious dinner. I love to serve it over rice, but you could also serve it with noodles, potatoes, or poured over a huge chunk of crusty bread!
- 1 pound Chicken Breasts
- 2 teaspoons Salt (divided to season the raw chicken and the sauce)
- 1 teaspoon Ground black pepper (to season the raw chicken)
- 3-4 teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil for cooking chicken and onions
- ½ cup Yellow Onion diced
- 1 clove Garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons All Purpose Flour
- 3 tablespoons Butter
- 1 ⅕ cups Chicken Broth
- 3 teaspoons Curry powder
- 1 cup Milk
- ½ cup Shredded Gruyere or white cheddar
- 1 tablespoon Parsley
- 3 cups Broccoli Florets
- ¼ cup Panko Bread Crumbs
- 2 cups Long Grain White Rice uncooked
- 3 ½ cups water
Prep Ahead Steps
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cook the Rice: Add 2 ⅕ cups water to medium pot with a lid, then add 1 cup uncooked rice. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer and cover for 20 minutes. Once 20 minutes is done, keep lid on pot until ready to mix the rice into the casserole.
While the rice cooks, dice the onion, mince the garlic, and chop the parsley. Set these aside for the sauce. Cut off the broccoli florets and place in the casserole dish. Cut the raw chicken into 2-3 inch pieces so that you can get a few bites out of each one. After cutting the chicken, season it with salt and pepper on all sides.
To a preheated saute pan, add 2 teaspoons of olive oil and the chicken pieces in a single layer. Sear the chicken until browned on both sides. You are just looking to get color and flavor on the outside of the chicken, you don't need to cook it completely. Once browned (takes about 5-8 minutes total) transfer the chicken to the casserole dish leaving the browned bits in the pan.
To the same pan, add another teaspoon of olive oil and the onions and garlic. Cook the onions until soft and translucent.
Add the butter first to melt and then whisk in the flour to the melted butter to make a roux. Cook for 2 minutes while stirring constantly so it does not burn. Slowly whisk in the broth and the milk until lumps are gone and sauce is creamy.
Whisk in the curry powder and up to a teaspoon of salt to taste until completely combined. Then add the shredded cheese and the parsley and whisk to combine.
Pour the sauce all over the chicken and the broccoli florets and stir to combine. Cover and cook in oven for 15 minutes.
Remove cover and sprinkle with fried onions. Put back in the oven for another 8-10 minutes until the top is lightly browned. Let the casserole rest for 5-10 minutes, then serve with rice or noodles and enjoy!!