There are a lot of recipes for Creamy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole floating around the internet, but this is the best one you’ll ever try. The secret ingredient? Only grandma knows…until now!
This recipe for my Grandma’s Creamy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole has been in the family for as long as I can remember. The recipe is written on an index card nestled in my old fashioned wooden recipe box. I’ve stored my treasured recipes in a box since I began cooking at the age of 12. My recipe box is proudly displayed front and center in my kitchen. Inside are recipes on cards written over 50 years ago and this is the first time I’ve shared one of our favorite family recipes.
Grandma’s Creamy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole
One of the things I love about this recipe is how versatile and easy it is to make! There are a lot of recipes for chicken and broccoli casseroles out there, but I’ve never had one as good as this. My mother would make this dish often when friends and family came over and was constantly asked for the recipe. I recall at some point she had copies made so she could just hand them out whenever she was asked.
When I’m cooking, I need ingredients and steps to be fast and simple. I don’t have a lot of time, but I have a lot of mouths to feed. This is not a difficult recipe, but I’ve discovered some shortcuts like using store-bought rotisserie chicken that make it a snap! How convenient is that? Depending on time, you can use 1 1/2 pounds of freshly cooked broccoli or 20 ounces of frozen broccoli. You can really speed up the time to prepare this dish using shortcuts without sacrificing the taste.
Remember I said this recipe is versatile? You can practically combine any vegetables with the chicken. Over the years, I’ve created many tasty variations using different ingredients. If you don’t like broccoli or don’t have it on hand, use cooked cauliflower, potatoes, or asparagus. No matter what you use, the meal is simply fantastic. Just promise before you experiment, you make it according to the traditional recipe with chicken and broccoli. I want you to experience and enjoy what I have for so many years.
MAKING THE CHICKEN AND BROCCOLI CASSEROLE IS SIMPLE
If you relish making everything from ingredients you prepare yourself, I will include options in the recipe to do that. If you want to get something in the oven as fast as possible, I’ve included all the shortcuts I use. Honestly, I can’t tell the difference so consider the shortcuts because it’s a great opportunity to make a quick dish that tastes like it took hours to prepare. This is definitely an incredible comfort food and I recommend serving it with warm, crusty french bread.
To make this casserole, in a 13x9x2 baking dish, create an even layer of the broccoli. If you use frozen broccoli, it’s really important to drain it extremely well. Otherwise, you will have a pond at the bottom of the casserole dish and the casserole will be watery.
Next, create an even layer of chicken on top of the broccoli. Easy peasy, right? I like to buy the rotisserie chicken from the grocery market and create bite-sized pieces. It’s fast and simple, and the chicken is always moist.
Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl, with the exception of salt, butter, and breadcrumbs, to make a sauce. Pour the sauce (the magic is in this sauce!) over the chicken and smooth it out. I really love the sauce! Sometimes, I use 1 1/2 times the sauce for an extra creamy casserole.
Melt the butter and combine it with the breadcrumbs and salt. Sprinkle it evenly over the top of the casserole. That’s it! Now, it’s ready to bake.
About 45 -55 minutes later, this beautiful, golden brown casserole emerges. Give it about 10 minutes to settle and then serve.
- 3 roasted boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped OR 18 ounces of shredded rotisserie chicken
- 1 1/2 pounds freshly cooked broccoli OR 2 10-ounce packages frozen broccoli florets, roughly chopped
- 1 can cream of chicken soup
- 2/3 cup evaporated milk
- 2/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup shredded jack cheese
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp salted butter
- 3/4 cup plain bread crumbs (seasoned are fine too)
- 1 tsp salt
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Roughly chop broccoli and layer in the bottom of a 13 x 9 x 2 baking dish. If using frozen broccoli, it is essential the broccoli is completely defrosted and well drained. The casserole will be watery if frozen broccoli is not drained extremely well. Press all the water out using paper towels.
- Evenly layer the bite-sized pieces of chicken over the broccoli.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine the cream of chicken soup, evaporated milk, mayonnaise, jack cheese, and lemon juice. Stir until combined. Pour the sauce over the top of the layered broccoli and chicken and use a spatula to spread it in an even layer.
- In a small bowl, melt the butter and combine it with the breadcrumbs. Add salt and mix until well combined. Using clean hands, sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture evenly on top of the casserole.
- Bake 45-55 minutes in a preheated 350ºF oven until casserole is bubbly and top is lightly browned. Allow the casserole to sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Home Chef Tips:
- For an extra crunchy topping, use Panko bread crumbs. - To save on calories, substitute regular mayonnaise for your favorite low fat mayonnaise. Also, low fat jack cheese can be used. - Use 1 1/2 times the amount of sauce for an extra creamy version of the casserole. - Remember the important tip to drain frozen broccoli extremely well to avoid watery results.
I’ve found that even those who insist they dislike broccoli, including my teens and husband, will eat this casserole. I can’t keep the leftovers around for more than a day. Grandma used to make everything herself, including the breadcrumbs. Whether you choose to make everything from scratch or follow the shortcuts I’ve provided, the dish will be wonderful. I am confident this chicken and broccoli casserole will become one of your family favorites just as it has been with mine for the past 50 years.
We hope you love this Creamy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole recipe from SoFabFood Contributor, Janine from A Beautiful Whim, as much as we do. If you love this recipe, like us on Facebook and follow us on Pinterest to find more incredibly simple weeknight meal ideas. Enjoy!