Actually Good Chicken Divan With Potato Chips Recipe on Food52 (2024)


by: Riley Wofford



5 Ratings

  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Serves 6-8

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Author Notes

My mom was, and still is, a notoriously bad cook (don’t worry, she’s very self-aware). This was never due to a lack of effort, but due rather to a complete disdain for cooking and doing dishes (relatable). She did not make dinner often when I was a kid, but she was very good at warming up a premade casserole and popping open a bottle of chardonnay (#girlboss!) I was a casserole kid. She was a casserole mom. We were a casserole family. Our recipe of choice was something called King Ranch Casserole. Like most casseroles, this one was packed with mostly chicken and cheese, and sometimes had onions and peppers scattered throughout. But the thing that kept us coming back for more was the tortilla chips. They were crushed on top of the casserole before it baked. Some sank into the mixture and soaked up all of the flavor, getting a little bit soggy in the process. The rest remained on the surface, getting crisp and golden brown. There were many nights spent swapping my hands away when I tried to sneak the crunchy bits off the top.

Chicken Divan reminds me a lot of the King Ranch Casserole days, which is to say it creates some nostalgia for me. It is an easy weeknight recipe sure to make it into your regular dinner rotation any time of the year. It is most often made up of chicken breast, broccoli, and cream of mushroom soup. Most get topped with crispy breadcrumbs or crumbled butter crackers. While the majority of casseroles call for cans of creamy soup as their base, we are going to make our own quick creamy sauce for this recipe (because we deserve nice things!) We will, however, take a shortcut and start with a bag of frozen pre-cut broccoli—for this, I will make an exception. I like to bulk up this chicken dish with plenty of vegetables—in addition to the broccoli, this recipe has sautéed cremini mushrooms and shallots. It all gets tossed together in one pan with a creamy white sauce with plenty of cheddar cheese and sour cream.

When developing this recipe, I harkened back to the good old days of shamelessly helping myself to the entire first layer of the casserole. I wanted crunch. I wanted salt. I found both of these things in the most likely of places—potato chips. I used a ridged potato chip simply because I enjoy snacking on them and think they are supremely underrated, but your favorite chips will taste great crumbled over the top. Try salt and vinegar, sour cream and onion, or even jalapeño for a spicy kick.

While your casserole is bubbling away in the oven, you can decide what you want to serve it with. To be honest, it is a full meal on its own, but something starchy like rice or pasta is always great for sopping up the creamy sauce. I usually opt to serve rich dishes like this with a nice big salad, dressed with a simple vinaigrette.
Riley Wofford

  • Test Kitchen-Approved

What You'll Need

  • 1 poundfrozen broccoli florets
  • 3 tablespoonsextra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 poundschicken tenders, cut crosswise into thirds
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced (about ⅔ cup)
  • 12 ouncescremini mushrooms, quartered (about 4 cups)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 teaspoonred pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoonsall-purpose flour
  • 3 cupswhole milk
  • 1 tablespoonWorcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoonfreshly grated nutmeg
  • 6 ouncesmild cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)
  • 3/4 cupsour cream
  • 2 ouncespotato chips, like Ruffles
  1. Heat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Microwave broccoli according to package instructions, then drain and transfer to a bowl. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large, high-sided, oven-safe skillet over medium heat.
  3. Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Working in two batches, add chicken to skillet and cook, flipping once, until lightly browned and cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water to deglaze the pan between batches, scraping up any browned bits, if needed. Transfer to the bowl with broccoli.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil into the skillet. Add shallot and mushrooms. Cook over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until softened and browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic and pepper flakes; season with salt and pepper. Cook 30 seconds, then sprinkle flour over skillet; cook, whisking constantly, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in milk, then Worcestershire sauce and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer and cook, whisking occasionally, until sauce thickens to a gravy-like consistency, 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in cheddar and sour cream; season to taste with salt and pepper. Add reserved chicken and broccoli and toss to thoroughly combine. Crush potato chips over the top.
  6. Transfer to the oven and bake until golden brown on top and bubbling around the edges, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool at least 20 minutes before serving.


  • Casserole/Gratin
  • American
  • Mushroom
  • Chicken
  • Entree

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3 Reviews

Dan November 13, 2023

This was pretty easy to put together for a potluck main dish. Some things took a bit longer, the thickening of the sauce, but would definitely do again. Threw some of the leftovers into the Cuisinart with a bit of cream cheese and hot sauce and then baked for a quick, easy dip to eat with crackers and celery sticks.

On T. March 17, 2023

Super fun walk down memory lane that I'll make again. Followed instructions, though I didn't have Worcestershire sauce so I subbed a splash of dark soy sauce and fish sauce. Two notes: 1) I swapped chicken tenders for boneless chicken breasts and simply cut them into 2 inch pieces; and 2) You're gonna need a HUGE bowl to combine everything before putting it in your dish.

dinaofdoom December 11, 2022

Interesting that you added nutmeg plus the potato chips. I love mushrooms and I will do this next time because it would definitely amp up the flavor and the veggie content.

I make a Turkey Divan each year with Thanksgiving leftovers and double the (frozen, cooked on a sheet pan with a smoked paprika spice blend) broccoli.

The topping in my usual version is a parmesan and herb panko, but the potato chips are an interesting addition. My go-to also doesn't use sour cream and instead has a nice browned roux with the cheese, but I'm curious about how the sour cream adds to the texture and flavor.

Actually Good Chicken Divan With Potato Chips Recipe on Food52 (2024)
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