Nothing says comfort food like Nixon Chicken Casserole. It’s packed with tender chicken and broccoli under a creamy sauce, melty cheese, and crunchy breadcrumbs.
Nixon Chicken Casserole is a classic 1970s dish.
It’s made with large pieces of chicken and broccoli in a savory sauce, then topped with melted cheddar and breadcrumbs.
The shortcut ingredient is cream of chicken soup! It creates the sauce, along with a squeeze of lemon juice for brightness and fresh flavor, and a hint of curry powder.
My favorite part of Nixon chicken is the crisp breadcrumb topping. It really complements the creaminess of the casserole nicely.
Here are a few more of my favorite comfort food casserole recipes to bookmark for later!
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What is Nixon Chicken Casserole?
Nixon Chicken Casserole is a shortcut version of chicken divan. Instead of a from-scratch white sauce, canned chicken soup is used instead.
The recipe was popularized in the 1970s by President Richard Nixon when one of the ladies in his family (either his wife Patricia or one of their daughters) shared that it was a favorite family meal.
Shortcut meals were popularized in the 1970s when more women began to join the workforce. Few women had time to make from-scratch meals, thus began the onslaught of time-saving recipes using premade ingredients like canned soup.
Old Fashioned Tuna Noodle Casserole is another example of one of these meals.
- You’ll need boneless skinless chicken breasts for this recipe. Chicken thighs work well, too.
- Steam-in-the-bag frozen broccoli florets keep this recipe extra easy, since we’ll need to steam/microwave the broccoli before adding to the casserole.
- The savory sauce is made with cream of chicken soup and mayonnaise, plus a squeeze of lemon juice.
- The sauce also has a little curry powder to lend some savory spice.
- Cheddar cheese melts on top and makes it extra gooey.
- We’ll mix butter with breadcrumbs for the top—this gets crunchy as it bakes!
How to make Nixon Chicken Casserole
Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Lower to a simmer, then add the chicken breast. Cook until the chicken registers 165°F on a meat thermometer, or until cooked through.
Let the chicken cool slightly and chop into 1-inch pieces.
You can also use a rotisserie chicken if you prefer.
Meanwhile, steam the broccoli until tender. I buy the steam-in-the-bag broccoli florets to keep this easy.
Next, in a large bowl, whisk together the cream of chicken soup, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and curry powder.
In a small bowl, stir the breadcrumbs and melted butter together.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 13×9-inch dish with cooking spray.
Place the broccoli in the bottom of the prepared dish. Top with the chopped chicken.
Pour the cream of chicken soup mixture over the top.
Top with the shredded cheddar, then the breadcrumb mixture.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Let cool slightly, then serve warm with rice or egg noodles. Enjoy!
Can I make Nixon Chicken Casserole ahead of time?
The casserole can be prepared up to one day in advance. Make it as directed, but leave off the breadcrumbs (so they don’t get soggy).
Cover and refrigerate, then add the breadcrumbs when you’re ready to cook it. Add 5–10 minutes of cooking time since the dish and ingredients are cold.
Storage and reheating instructions
Cover and store Nixon Chicken Casserole in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
When you are ready to reheat, set the oven to 350°F. Cover the dish with foil and warm for about 20 minutes.
If you are short on time, you can also microwave the leftovers but keep in mind that the breadcrumbs won’t be as crisp.
Using an air fryer to reheat leftovers would also be a good and fast option. Use a silicone air fryer liner (affiliate link) if you use this option—we don’t want any of that delicious sauce dripping out!
- Use other chicken cuts like chicken tenders or thighs, swap in rotisserie chicken or use canned chicken chunks.
- Make the sauce using a different creamed soup like cream of mushroom soup or cream of celery soup in place of cream of chicken. If you’re really feeling up to it, you could even make your own white sauce!
- Instead of chopping the chicken, you can leave the cooked chicken breasts whole, cut them in half or even shred them.
- Feel free to use your favorite brand and variety of mayo. Even low fat mayo will work for this recipe.
- You can use any type of breadcrumbs for the topping such as Italian, plain, or fresh soft crumbs.
More comfort food casseroles you’ll love
Save time in the kitchen with more quick and satisfying old fashioned casseroles.
Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and/or comment below!
Nixon Chicken Casserole
- 1½ lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
- 2 packages frozen broccoli (10 oz each)
- 2 cans cream of chicken soup (10½ oz each)
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon curry powder
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Lower to a simmer, then add the chicken breast. Cover and cook for 10–12 minutes. or until the chicken registers 165°F on a meat thermometer inserted into the center.
- Let the chicken cool slightly and chop into 1-inch pieces.
- Meanwhile, steam the broccoli in the bag or in the microwave until tender.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the cream of chicken soup, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and curry powder.
- In a small bowl, stir the breadcrumbs and melted butter together.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 13×9-inch dish with cooking spray.
- Place the broccoli in the bottom of the prepared dish. Top with the chopped chicken. Pour the cream of chicken soup mixture over the top.
- Top with the shredded cheddar, then the breadcrumb mixture.
- Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown on top.
- Let cool slightly, then serve warm with rice.
- Use boneless skinless chicken thighs or rotisserie chicken if you prefer.
- Any “cream of” soup will work here (mushroom, celery, etc.)
- Use lowfat mayo if you like