Freezer Meals: Chicken Divan

Since I received several requests for the freezer meal recipes we used for making meals for the needy family in our church, I would love to share them in a series of posts. I would consider all of these excellent frugal and nutritious meals! We have used these many times over for freezer cooking!

Chicken Divan

2 or more cups cooked brown rice
2 bunches fresh broccoli, lightly stemmed & chopped
2-3 cups cooked chicken, cubed
2 cans cream of mushroom soup (see recipe below)
½ cup mayonnaise
1-2 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp curry
½ cup grated cheese
½-3/4 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp melted butter, optional

Since canned soups often contain MSG, I have learned how to make it from scratch, see below. It is also a lot healthier this way, because you can use whole wheat flour and raw milk, if you like. Use one recipe of the soup to replace these cans.

Combine soup (whether canned or homemade) with mayo, lemon and curry. Keep the mixture relatively thin by adding further milk or water. Additional salt may be necessary. Gently steam broccoli until tender.

Grease a 13×9 pan. Layer rice, followed by broccoli and then the chicken. Pour creamed soup mixture over the broccoli. Sprinkle cheese on top. Combine crumbs and butter, sprinkle over all. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. For freezer cooking, leave unbaked and cover to freeze. If frozen, you may have to cook 1 hr or longer.

Condensed Creamed Soup Substitute

2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 c whole wheat flour
1 tsp. salt or more to taste
12 fresh mushrooms, chopped
2 cups of milk (less for a thicker soup)

Heat butter and oil then add flour and salt, stirring to make a roux. Add mushrooms and cook about a minute, just to soften. Add milk and stir until thickened. This is a substitute (and a great one at that!) for two 10 oz. cans cream of mushroom soup. To make cream of chicken, simply omit mushrooms, add 1 tsp. chicken base (a paste, like bouillon but without the MSG) and substitute half the milk with chicken broth or stock. To make cream of celery, substitute celery for the mushrooms and proceed as listed above.

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

48 Responses to Freezer Meals: Chicken Divan

  1. Janelle @ The Smudge Curve January 28, 2014 at 11:35 pm #

    Since I’m lazy I substituted sour cream for the soup and it tasted very yummy. Adding this to our recipe book!

  2. Kelsi @ Cheeky Bums Blog October 22, 2012 at 3:51 am #

    I find myself always coming back to your recipe for condensed soup made from scratch, and I shared it today at our blog! Thanks so much and keep it up – love your blog!

  3. Ginny July 25, 2012 at 10:57 pm #

    I love your blog. It’s full of great information but it doesn’t stress me out as much as some of the other real food blogs (so much to worry about)! I was wondering what brand of chicken base you use. I’m having a hard time finding one w/o MSG, or MSG under one of it’s other names.

    • Lindsay July 26, 2012 at 12:36 pm #

      Yah, they are hard to find. I honestly don’t have a source for it myself right now either. The Better Than Bouillon is the best alternative I have found.

  4. Esther March 9, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

    LOoks yummy. How many servings does it make?

    • Lindsay March 10, 2012 at 8:29 am #

      It’s a 13×9 pan, so anywhere probably around 8-10 servings.

  5. Dayspring January 19, 2012 at 12:18 pm #


    I love this condensed cream of mushroom soup recipe! I usually double it, freeze portions and use it for cooking. But sometimes, I like to add extra milk and eat it as mushroom soup. Delicious! Nothing out of a can could match it.
    You have really blessed me and my family with this and other recipies. I know you have blessed more people than you will ever know.

    Many thanks!

  6. Whitney September 12, 2011 at 2:33 pm #

    A friend of mine has made chicken divan before and I loved it! I’ve been wanting to make it but not have to use canned soup. SO thankful for this recipe! Made it the other night and it was fantastic! Been noshing on the leftovers and haven’t gotten sick of it yet:).

  7. Joanna August 2, 2011 at 10:33 am #

    I’m wondering how to make the cream of chicken. Do you buy the chicken base or are you making it? If you’re making it how are you doing it? Or am I just looking to buy chicken bouillion w/o msg?

  8. Audra June 30, 2011 at 11:38 am #

    Do you if the cream soups can be pressure canned? I would love to make a large batch and keep some on hand for when needed.


    • Lindsay June 30, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

      I would recommend just freezing it in small portions.

  9. Katie June 15, 2011 at 9:38 pm #

    Wow–this is the first time that I’ve ever run across someone else who knows how to do Chicken Divan right (this is the exact recipe we use in our family except I do cream of chicken soup instead of cream of mushroom)! The lemon juice and curry totally transform the flavor and make it so much more than the typical chicken & broccoli casserole. Anyhow, Chicken Divan is a definite household favorite, so if our tastes are obviously calibrated on this recipe, I’m so excited to try more of your recipes!

  10. nikki May 19, 2011 at 4:11 am #

    can i make batches of the cream soup ahead of time and freezer it separately for other recipes? love cream soup but wont use canned anymore because of sodium levels and msg. thanks

    • Lindsay May 19, 2011 at 1:01 pm #

      I have not personally tried it, but I am sure you could.

  11. janie March 18, 2011 at 12:56 pm #

    Yummmmmmmy!!! Thankyou for such a great recipe, we loved it!

  12. nikki February 24, 2011 at 7:29 pm #

    Would 1# frozen broccoli work instead of fresh? I’m thinking of using this recipe for cooking club next month (so I’d be making 8 of these to swap with the other families).

    • Lindsay February 25, 2011 at 8:16 am #

      Yes, certainly.

  13. Chelsea M February 10, 2011 at 5:48 pm #

    I just put this in the oven! Did a taste test of the creamed soup substitute while making it and its WONDERFUL! I might add a bit more flour next time or reduce the milk even more (I used 1 3/4 cups) It smells awesome in my kitchen right now! I hope this is a hit with my husband and kids, I grew up on this dish and I’ve made this lots of times for them and they usually love it but this is the first time making my own creamed soup. Thank you for your inspiration, your example to serve God and your family in this way really ministers to me a great deal. Between this site and kitchen stewardship and heavenly homemakers i’ve been able to gain a lot of wisdom and engouragement and healthy spiritual conviction that was greatly needed. Thank you again so very much!

  14. Rebekah January 19, 2011 at 3:30 pm #

    This is delicious!! I had been wanting to do a chicken and rice casserole for a while, but couldn’t find a recipe without cream-of-whatever soup. Your version is fantastic. My husband agrees. :-) What a great use for leftover roast chicken.

    For the sauce I used half stock, half milk, and I chopped up two small onions instead of the mushrooms. Oh, and we just had Indian food two nights in a row (haha) so I left out the curry powder and put in a teaspoon of rosemary, a teaspoon of dill, and a quarter-teaspoon of cayenne. The white sauce needed half a teaspoon more of salt for my tastes. And I think next time I’ll use 3 cups of rice… it was delicious with 2, but there’s probably enough sauce for more.

    Thank you so, so much!

  15. Jennifer August 28, 2010 at 7:57 pm #

    Well, God is so good! I have had a thought in the back of my mind for weeks now about looking for an alternative to cream soups with MSG. But I’ve never taken the time to look!
    But tonight I was reading meal plans over at Keeper of the Home (which I originally found through you!) and she linked back to this recipe!
    I should have known that the answer would be here! Your blog is so helpful. Thank you Lindsey!

  16. Jade B. August 21, 2010 at 5:45 pm #

    Do you think I could use quinoa instead of the rice? I didn’t know if it would work or not in this recipe.

    • Lindsay August 24, 2010 at 1:01 pm #

      By all means! A great suggestion!

  17. Sarah Doll June 24, 2010 at 8:18 pm #

    This recipe is awesome!! The family loved it! No leftovers over here!

  18. Dorothy May 1, 2010 at 6:20 pm #

    Thanks for your soup recipes.Sounds delicious will try it.

  19. Sarah April 20, 2010 at 2:21 am #

    Thanks so much for the soup recipe! I refuse to buy most because of the msg and have occasionally found an organic soup, though this is definitely cheaper!

  20. Karen Montmeny March 4, 2010 at 6:12 pm #

    This is really good. I substituted mustard for the curry powder just because I wasn’t in the mood for curry and it came out great. I’m sure the curry is good too : )

  21. Shannon February 21, 2010 at 6:16 pm #

    Do you use curry powder or curry paste? This looks delicious! Thanks!

    • Lindsay February 22, 2010 at 4:55 pm #

      Curry powder.

  22. Amanda August 22, 2009 at 8:20 pm #

    That’s funny, I did a search for it, and that’s the one I picked to try. LOL It’s okay to freeze the chicken soup like the mushroom isn’t it?

    • Lindsay August 23, 2009 at 9:52 am #

      I would imagine so.

  23. Amanda August 22, 2009 at 10:52 am #

    We don’t eat mushrooms, and I’ve often wondered if I could make my own cream of chicken soup since I use it in casseroles alot, and it’s expensive. So how would I make cream of chicken soup since we don’t like mushrooms?

  24. Michelle August 12, 2009 at 2:15 pm #

    Any recommendations for mushroom substitute? I’m allergic…

    • Lindsay August 12, 2009 at 3:27 pm #

      You can easily substitute for a chicken soap base (similar to campbell’s chicken soup) . I don’t have a recipe but I am sure you can find one online.

  25. Pippasmum March 26, 2009 at 9:47 am #

    I’ve been looking for a substitute for canned soup forever!!! This is so exciting. I have found lots of yummy and easy recipes involving canned soup but just can’t bring myself to use it with all the salt, preservatives and the BPA risk in the cans. Thanks!

  26. Kendra March 21, 2009 at 9:46 am #

    Yum Yum Yummy! When my hubby and I were engaged he came over to my house for dinner and my mom had cooked Chicken Divan. He turned to me and said (only half jokingly), “If you can cook like this, then I definitely want to marry you.” We of course did get married, but for years I have been looking for a substitute for the creamed soups particularly for this recipe. I have found it!!! I didn’t have the chicken paste so I used the broth and seasoned the “soup” myself. It turned out oh so yummy and there was not a bit of MSG in it.
    Thank You for your blog. I love it!

  27. Tanja March 4, 2009 at 9:12 pm #

    Dear Lindsay,

    Have you tried using the substitute cream of mushroom in a crockpot where it cooks for many hours? I thought I heard somewhere that the roux will break if you cooked it that long. Any hints? Absolutely love your site!

    • Lindsay March 5, 2009 at 8:50 am #

      No I have not. Sorry!

  28. Brooke Kingston February 10, 2009 at 12:31 pm #

    I made the Chicken Divan this past weekend, and it was divine! :) (Nice rhyme there.) We make our own mayonnaise at home, and I happened to have an organic Meyer lemon on hand. The broccoli was still crisp-tender once the casserole baked up. I sprinkled the bread crumb/cheese topping with some nutritional yeast and a bit of paprika for color. Amazing! It won raves from DH and our toddler. Imagine that! Thank you, Lindsay…wonderful recipe!

  29. Mary Fairchild February 3, 2009 at 10:18 pm #

    This looks great. I’m looking forward to trying your recipes. I like to make huge meals and freeze for my family. I have a friend who is 80 and has to cook for his wife and care for her and he gets tired so I want to bring some freezer meals over for him.

  30. Ashley January 16, 2009 at 11:49 am #

    Great recipes. Was wondering if you could freeze the cream of mushroom soup for future use and to save time. Thanks,

    • Lindsay January 16, 2009 at 12:40 pm #

      I am sure you could! I have yet to try it but I freeze practically anything now a days!

      • Sarah May 20, 2009 at 11:40 am #

        You can, but sometimes the texture comes out differently – more grainy.

  31. Jamie January 13, 2009 at 7:33 pm #

    Lindsay, your blog is awesome! :) I have been looking everywhere for a simple cream of mushroom soup replacement recipe, and I finally found it here! Thank you!!!!

  32. Kim May 27, 2008 at 8:21 pm #

    This may be a really stupid question, but I have never made or (to my knowledge) had a freezer meal. I want to make some this summer, but do I cook them before I freeze them or assemble and freeze, then bake? Also hpw long do these keep? Thanks for your time.

    • Lindsay May 28, 2008 at 6:22 am #


      It depends on what you are making, but it works either way. The freezer meals that I have specifically shared here are pretty much cooked already, but you do normally freeze them after preparing, before the baking step. When getting ready to cook, I will pull it out and bake for an hour or so, otherwise they can get overcooked.

      But I also freeze extra soup or cooked beans, etc. because I like to make them in large batches and then freeze in smaller batches for individual meals. Saves time and energy!

      Freezer meals keep for 2 months or so. Depends on how thoroughly you wrap them or seal them. For casseroles use freezer paper! Everything else I store in glass jars or containers (as long as you leave two inches of space at the top, as the dish expands when it freezes!).

  33. Gretchen May 13, 2008 at 8:41 pm #

    I truly love your blog. You have such great information!

  34. Robin May 12, 2008 at 5:40 am #

    Great recipes, Lindsey! Can’t wait to try them.