I absolutely love this Chicken Broccoli Casserole. Perfectly-cooked broccoli, tender and juicy white meat chicken, with an incredibly creamy and cheesy sauce – what more could you ask for? And to top it all off, it’s a healthy and easy recipe – no processed ingredients in sight! Awesome, right?
CHEESY BROCCOLI CHICKEN CASSEROLE (CHICKEN DIVAN)
Everyone loves a warm and classic casserole like Chicken Divan, or as it’s more commonly known, Chicken Broccoli Casserole. Many recipes call for condensed soups to get that smooth and creamy cheese sauce, but this one uses just cream, broth, real cheese, and a tiny bit of natural cornstarch – so it’s low carb, gluten-free, and healthier all around!
You’ll love how the tender chunks of chicken breast pair with mushrooms, broccoli florets, and the cheesy, herb-y sauce. It’s comfort food you can truly feel happy about!
- Cooked Chicken Breast: You’ll need 1-1 ½ pounds cooked chicken breast, shredded or chopped. Rotisserie chicken can be substituted.
- Olive Oil
- Baby Portobello Mushrooms: Also known as Crimini.
- Broccoli Florets: About 4 cups total. Baby broccoli florets are great, but you can also use regular florets – if you do, cut larger florets into small, bite-sized pieces.
- Fresh Garlic: Mince or put through a garlic press.
- Salt and Pepper
- Dried Basil, Oregano, and Thyme
- Mozzarella Cheese: About 8 oz. shredded mozzarella, divided.
- Chicken Broth: I use low-sodium broth.
- Heavy Whipping Cream: You’ll need ½ cup of cream; half-and-half may be substituted but the sauce may not be as thick.
- Chopped Fresh Parsley: For garnish
HOW TO COOK CHICKEN BREAST
- If you’re preparing the chicken breast for this dish, rather than using rotisserie, my Stove Top Chicken Breast method is super fast and easy. Simply season the chicken breasts, sear them for about 6-7 minutes per side, and finish with a tablespoon of butter. That’s it! (Tip: Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness, and make extra! These freeze beautifully and come in handy for a quick meal!)
HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN BROCCOLI CASSEROLE
- Chop/Shred the Chicken and Layer in Baking Dish: Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. Then shred or chop the cooked chicken and arrange in the baking dish.
- Saute the Veggies: Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms to the hot oil and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in broccoli and garlic; season with salt, pepper, basil, and oregano, and continue to cook for 3 more minutes. Layer this mixture over the chicken.
- Make the Sauce: In a small mixing bowl, combine a tablespoon of chicken broth with cornstarch and whisk until pasty. Add the remaining chicken broth to the hot skillet; whisk in cornstarch paste, heavy cream, thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook until it just starts to thicken.
- Add the Sauce to the Casserole: Pour this sauce over the chicken mixture, and stir well; sprinkle with remaining cheese.
- Bake and Serve: Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil bake for 9 to 10 more minutes, or until light golden on top. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
TIPS FOR MAKING THIS CASSEROLE AHEAD
Follow these tips for the best results!
- To make this casserole ahead, first prepare the chicken, veggies, and sauce separately.
- If freezing, place the prepared chicken, veggies, and sauce in individual freezer bags, pushing out as much air as possible before sealing. Freeze for up to 3 months. To bake, thaw ingredients overnight in the refrigerator, assemble the casserole the following day, and bake according to the recipe.
- If refrigerating, assemble the entire casserole up to the point of baking. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
- Bake and serve according to recipe instructions. Do not store or freeze leftovers.
- This dish has a lot of indulgent umami flavor, thanks to the mushrooms, cheese, chicken, and broccoli. I like to pair it with something light, yet earthy as a contrast. Try my Radish Cucumber Tomato Salad as a side or starter.
- A simple side of Maple Roasted Carrots adds color and sweetness to the menu, creating a hearty meal with very little effort!
- You can also serve this casserole with a Light Skillet Cornbread for the main course, followed by a surprising dessert, like my Strawberry Pretzel Dessert, to round out the menu.
HOW TO STORE AND REHEAT CHICKEN BROCCOLI CASSEROLE
- Store leftovers in tightly-covered containers, or in individual portions sealed in plastic food-storage bags, for up to 3 days.
- Store leftovers in the freezer, tightly wrapped and sealed, for up to three months.
- Do not store leftovers if the casserole was previously made ahead and frozen before baking.
- To reheat, thaw the casserole in the refrigerator (if frozen). Bake the leftovers at 350˚F, covered, until heated through.
More Chicken Casserole Recipes
- Cheesy Chicken and Cauliflower Rice Casserole
- Broccoli and Chicken Quinoa Casserole
- Cheesy Chicken Spinach Bake
Tools Used in this Recipe
CHICKEN BROCCOLI CASSEROLE (CHICKEN DIVAN)
- 1 to 1.5 pounds cooked chicken breasts, chopped or shredded; you can also use rotisserie chicken.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 ounces sliced baby portobello mushrooms
- 4 cups small broccoli florets
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 cup + 1 tablespoon low sodium chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- red pepper flakes, for garnish, optional
- grated parmesan cheese, for garnish, optional
- Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish, optional
- Preheat oven to 350˚F. Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a large 12-inch skillet set over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms to the hot oil and cook for 2 minutes.
- Stir in broccoli and garlic; season with salt, pepper, basil, and oregano, and continue to cook for 3 more minutes, or until just beginning to soften.
- Shred or chop cooked chicken and arrange in baking dish.
- Remove mushroom and broccoli mixture from pan and layer over the chicken. Set aside.
- Set skillet back over medium-high heat. In a small mixing bowl combine 1 tablespoon chicken broth with 2 teaspoons cornstarch; whisk until pasty. Add 1 cup chicken broth to the hot skillet; to the skillet, whisk in the cornstarch paste, heavy cream, thyme, salt, pepper, half of shredded mozzarella, and parmesan cheese.
- Remove from heat and pour sauce over chicken mixture inside the baking dish; using a spoon, stir and mix until thoroughly combined. Sprinkle top with remaining mozzarella cheese.
- Cover baking dish with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake for 9 to 10 more minutes, or until cheese is melted and light golden brown on top.
- Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes. Garnish with red pepper flakes, grated parmesan cheese, and parsley. Serve.
- NET CARBS: 10 g
- For those following Weight Watchers, use fat-free shredded cheese to lower WW points.