chicken divan recipe

by | Apr 1, 2020 | a slice of life, Recipes | 40 comments

I’ve noticed that I’m not the only one into cooking comfort foods in these strange times.  Not only are they comforting, hence the name, but they tend to be a good way to use up ingredients that are starting to turn or to use some of the canned goods in stock.  I’ve used this excuse to make banana bread, blueberry muffins, and last night, I made a childhood favorite to use up some fresh broccoli that was yellowing – Chicken Divan.

For years, I’ve doctored and tweaked the basic recipe found in The Heart of Hospitality Cookbook we got when our family was stationed in Germany…

It’s a collection of favorite recipes by people who were a part of the Overseas Christian Servicemen’s Centers in the 70’s and 80’s.  There is Onion Pie from Vicky Rogers, Impossible Quiche by Chris Spader, Konigsberger Klopse by Delcy Davenport, and Fudgy Oatmeal Squares by Nancy Baker.  There are over 850 recipes including appetizers, breads, dressings, soups, pastries, desserts, and more.  Some of my favorite childhood recipes are found in this book like the pizza crust and sauce my mom made for sleepovers with friends and birthday parties.  And there are so many more old-school, vintage-style recipes I want to try…

On a personal note, OCSC was a lifeline to our family.  You never know what kind of church family you’ll have on the military base where you’re stationed and, in Stuttgart, we found our church family at the OCSC Hospitality House in Ludwigsburg.  We went there once a week for families to worship together in music, the adults to have bible study, and the kids to play together.  And they always served amazing food!  The nights were filled with laughter, music, and great fellowship.  I don’t know if they still operate for those serving in the military overseas, but I hope they do.

Anyway, I generally follow the Chicken Divan recipe by JoAnn Larrabee, but I typically add some more fresh ingredients.

Adding freshness to a heavy casserole with fresh vegetables, fresh lemon juice, chopped parsley, etc. can brighten the flavor.

Like any good casserole, though, it’s topped with shredded cheese and buttered breadcrumbs!

One handy thing about this recipe is it’s something you can make ahead and bake when you’re ready.  It also freezes well.

It’s so yummy, creamy, and hearty!  We usually serve it over rice or noodles, but it can also be served by itself.


Some of the tweaks I’ve made are…

  • Adding a splash of white wine.  I just love the flavor white wine gives to chicken dishes, soups, and casseroles.
  • I add in some more vegetables in the form of aromatics – onions, carrots, and celery.  The carrots add more color and they all add more fresh flavor.
  • I reduced the mayonnaise.  1 cup just felt like overkill!
  • I prefer cream of celery and chicken soup over mushroom, but you can use whatever you have on hand!
  • Just about anything in this recipe can be substituted, adjusted, or even omitted depending on what you have.  If you don’t have curry powder, don’t worry about it.  I’ve made it many times without it and it’s still delicious.

Here is the printable recipe for those interested in making it…

Chicken Divan

creamy, comforting casserole
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Servings 8


  • baking dish


  • 2 cups chopped fresh broccoli crowns (or frozen)
  • 4 chicken breasts (or 8 tenders or 1 rotisserie chicken)
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 2 celery ribs
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 can cream of celery soup (or mushroom)
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 T white wine
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs (or regular breadcrumbs or crushed crackers)
  • 2 T melted butter
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • salt & pepper to taste


  • If cooking right away, preheat over to 350.
  • If not using a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken (or leftover chicken), cook chicken in a skillet until no longer pink.
  • While chicken cooks, steam fresh broccoli for 5 minutes until slightly softened
  • finely chop onion, celery, and carrots (if not already shredded)
  • Once chicken is cooked, remove from pan and set aside to cool. Add onion, celery, and carrot to the pan with a little olive oil and cook until soft.
  • Shred chicken with a fork.
  • Add the following ingredients directly to a large baking dish - chicken, soup, mayo, all veggies, lemon juice, white wine, and curry powder. Mix with a spoon and evenly distribute through the pan, smooth with back of the spoon.
  • melt butter and stir in bread crumbs. Sprinkle evenly over casserole. Sprinkle 1 cup cheese on top.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly and cheese is melted.
  • Serve over rice or noodles.
Keyword casserole, chicken


  1. Barbi

    I love chicken divan! I add in one package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed out and we serve over baked potatoes. Sometimes I use smashed up Ritz crumbs as the topping too. And some garlic never hurt, either. Delish!

    • Marian Parsons

      Great options! Yes, it’s such a tweak-able recipe!

  2. Kate

    This looks so yummy. I was wondering what to make for dinner tonight that I hadn’t done before. Definitely need comfort food.

  3. Carolynn

    When you have ripe bananas but no time to bake, you can freeze them for later. I slice them and put them in a ziplock bag, spreading them out to make a single layer. Thaw them when you’re ready to bake. It’s also helpful for those times when I just have a banana or two left, but not enough to bake muffins or bread.

    • Marian Parsons

      Yes, I freeze them sometimes, too, but I hadn’t thought of slicing them first! That is brilliant, so you don’t kill your hands peeling frozen bananas. Great tip!

    • Jeannine

      I don’t do any of this… I freeze them whole and in the peel… thaw them whole and in the peel… then once thawed you can snip off one end and just squeeze the insides out. It’s so easy!

  4. Kim

    The organization does still serve military and its name has changed to Cadence.

    • Marian Parsons

      That’s right! I forgot about that. 🙂

  5. Deborah

    This is a great recipe that I will try for my family. I have not used curry powder in Chicken Divan, and now I am interested to try. Thank you!

    • Marian Parsons

      I used to leave it out, because I made the assumption that I didn’t like curry powder, but it really does add some nice depth of flavor. I love it added in!


    Sounds yummy 😋
    Think I’ll make this soon!! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Cheri

    I haven’t made chicken divan in years! Thanks for the reminder …. and a recipe to compare to!

  8. Laura F

    Yum! I’ll be making this soon!
    Curry powder is great with chicken, I add it to my chicken salad recipe for a little something extra

  9. amy Joanne Mogish

    My freezer is getting fuller and fuller of hearty meals and baked goods…..but I am lovin’ it! You’re recipe book shows much love and even better filled with memories :). Thank you for sharing.

  10. Debbie W

    Hi! My daughter in law’s family was stationed in Stuttgart. She graduated high school there. Her last name was Algie. I am guessing you would be about the same age

    • Marian Parsons

      There were several bases in Stuttgart. I lived on Patch Barracks, which was one of the larger ones. I lived there for 2nd-5th grade.

  11. Cindi Brewer

    My brother Terry Abel and his wife Barbara taught at the Stuttgart school. He was a guidance counselor and a magician on the side. Would be funny and a small world if you knew each other. Their children were Heather and Kristofer.

    • Marian Parsons

      Oh my goodness! Kristofer was in my class! I think 2nd or 3rd grade, but I don’t remember how many years we were in the same class together (there were four in each grade). You can tell him Marian Wagner says hello! My brother, John Wagner, was in Mr. Abel’s class. Such a small world!

  12. Pamela

    Hi Marian,
    I love Chicken Divan but have never added curry, I will have to try that. I love old cookbooks, anytime I am at a thrift store I always check for them, the church cookbooks are my favorite. I recently found an old farm journal country cookbook and we are using it during the quarantine to try new to us recipes. Thank you for sharing these recipes!

  13. Cindy

    We loved our stairwell apartment on Patch Barracks!
    Two years there and then 2 years at the 1stID in Kitzingen. I still have my copy of ‘Never A Dull Moment’ , dog eared and starred with places to revisit. Our ‘go to’ recipes from our collection of military cookbooks are for pumpkin bread and cornbread…can’t live without them.

    • Marian Parsons

      We lived on the third floor, so I can’t say that I miss the stairs! Those buildings were amazing for hide-and-seek games, though. All of the connecting basements and attics were in play, so the games would last for hours. We had so much freedom there as kids. It was a great place to grow up.

  14. Judy Karlson

    Such a lovely dish! I am gluten intolerant and have not found a good substitute for cream soups most of which have wheat in them. Any ideas from your readers? I miss making Chicken Divan for that reason. I hope someone has a good substitute so I can try this recipe.

    • Caroline

      You can make a regular cream sauce and flavor it with whatever you like or think would work well in the specific recipe. If you don’t know how to make a cream sauce, many cookbooks would explain it, and googling would find several versions, and I’m sure that there are gluten-free versions to be found. It will taste much better than the canned soup!

    • Peggy

      All the recipes for Rotel Chicken Casserole call for canned soup, but I use cream cheese instead. I’m thinking this would work for Chicken Divan too.
      I’ve made this same recipe for so many years! When I get some room in my freezer, I’ll have to try it with cream cheese.

    • Denette

      Judy, Walmart carries gluten free condensed soups including cream of mushroom and cream of chicken. At my nearby stores they are in the separate GF section. Progresso has a gluten free cream of mushroom soup that is not condensed. They are located in many stores in with the other Progresso soups. I have used both with good success.

      • Marian Parsons

        Thanks for sharing, Denette! We’re not gluten-free, so I’m not always mindful of that.

  15. Cindy

    Can you put a copy of the pizza crust and sauce on here too? I need a good recipe for that. Thank you.

    • Marian Parsons

      Yep, there are a few recipes for pizza and pizza pockets, casseroles, etc. that I’ll share.

  16. Cheryl

    This is one of my family fav recipes that I have been making over 30 years. The printed one from your old recipe book is exactly the one I use! Yum yum.

  17. Kim

    This sounds and looks absolutely delicious! I might have to give it a try once my OH is able to visit again (post pandemic!)

  18. Denette

    I went rogue and made the onion pie for lunch. I added the optional can of chili peppers and cheese. I also put in some cooked turkey we had in the fridge. It was really good, even my hubby liked it a lot and he is usually ho hum about things. Thanks!

    • Marian Parsons

      Good to know! I’ve never tried the onion pie, but maybe I’ll give it a try! 🙂

  19. MaryLisa

    Chicken Divan is one of my favorite meals. My husband is actually the go to guy for this in our house. I will have to get him to make this since I have all the ingredients on hand. Thanks so much!

  20. Hannah

    Definitely going to try this for my family— I love that this recipe uses what you’d already have on hand, and also that my kids will probably love it! It looks yummy and comforting and filling!

  21. Ruby Sugar

    5 stars
    I have been making this very same recipe for years! My son took the recipe to college with him and that is the first meal he made for his dorm floor. As a single, working mom of 3, I had to make quick easy dinners and this was our favorite. Thank you for posting, I hope others try it!

  22. Debbie

    5 stars
    Thanks for a great idea. I substituted what I had on hand. No cream soups but I did have two jars of Alfredo sauce and they worked out great. I cooked some thin spaghetti and put it in a layer in the center. Next time I’ll add some mushrooms (if I have any!). Everyone in my family loved it. I think next time I’ll add even more broccoli.

  23. arianapham

    Thank you for sharing how to make a delicious dish and it will help me score points with my family for today’s meal

  24. Lisa

    Thank you for sharing these recipes!!! Made the chicken divan last night and my husband LOVED it!!!! It is wonderful!!!!
    Shaunna’s Mom

  25. Jill Miglin

    Thanks for sharing Marian. I’ve had a similar recipe for years,( but without the cheese and breadcrumbs) and I never knew it was called Chicken Divan, we always called it Curried Chicken Casserole. I’ll have to try it using the additional toppings.

  26. Debi

    5 stars
    I made this yesterday and wow, we loved it! Such an easy and delicious recipe. I made it exactly as written (the MMS recipe) and I might add 1/4 more tsp of curry next time (we love curry). Thank you for posting. I am 67 years old and finding an easy recipe that we love is not a common occurrence so thank you! Stay safe!


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Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…


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