This Chicken Cacciatore recipe is a delicious chicken and vegetable stew that uses everyday ingredients, is simple to prepare, and has authentic Italian flavors.
"Cacciatore" means "hunter" in Italian. "Hunter style" preparation refers to cooking chicken (and sometimes rabbit) with onions, herbs, tomatoes, bell peppers, and occasionally wine. This rustic braised chicken recipe will stick to your ribs! It's relatively healthy too, and it makes great leftovers.
How to make Chicken Cacciatore (summary):
Sprinkle each chicken thigh with salt & pepper, then coat them in flour. In a Dutch oven, soup pot, or braiser (you want something deeper than a skillet), heat the oil + butter and sear the chicken until golden on both sides. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Add the onions to the pot and sauté for 3 minutes, then add in the red bell pepper and carrots and continue cooking for another 5-7 minutes. Add in the garlic, followed by the wine, crushed tomatoes, oregano, and thyme. Add the chicken back to the pot and simmer for at least 20 minutes or until the chicken is very tender and the carrots have softened fully. Stir in the fresh chopped basil, parsley, and olives, and season to taste. (Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below)
Other cooking methods: I've had an Instant Pot Chicken Cacciatore recipe on my website for a while if you'd prefer to cook it with an electric pressure cooker. I also include slow cooker tips in the recipe card.
What cut of chicken to use?
- I find that boneless/skinless chicken thighs offer the best balance between ease of cooking and flavor and tenderness.
- However, you may use bone-in skin-on chicken thighs. In classical preparations of this recipe, that's what is typically used.
- I would sear them for longer (start skin-side down and wait until the chicken releases easily when you go to turn it). Leave about a tablespoon of fat in the pot and drain the rest. You may need to skim the fat off the top of the sauce after it's done cooking if you notice some extra has bubbled up (or after it's cooled if you notice a solid layer of fat on top).
- The skin adds extra flavor to the dish, and it also helps keep the chicken moist. You can eat it or discard it if you choose.
- Chicken breasts won't be as moist or flavorful, so I would not use those.
Recipe notes & tips:
- I recommend buying good quality fire-roasted crushed tomatoes for this recipe since it's the base of the sauce. I used Muir Glen organic ones. They're nice and naturally sweet. If you find the sauce tastes a bit acidic, add a small spoonful of sugar.
- Flouring the chicken serves two purposes: it makes the chicken brown easier (and it's less likely to stick to the pan), and it also helps the sauce thicken up a bit. You may skip it if you need to, however.
- The olives are my favorite part, but I'd understand if you left them out. They add more delicious salty flavor to this dish. Or you can swap for green olives or even capers.
- I've seen some versions of this recipe include mushrooms. You could definitely add some in!
- Try switching the white wine (a pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc works) for a dry red if that's more your thing.
- Tools used to make this recipe:
What to serve with Chicken Cacciatore?
Try pasta (and grate some fresh parmesan cheese over top!), mashed potatoes, rice, or a thick slice of delicious fresh crusty bread. For veggies, my Easy Roasted Green Beans would go well with this dish.
More delicious chicken recipes to try:
- Easy Baked Chicken Thighs
- White Wine Mushroom Chicken Thighs
- Easy Chicken Stew
- Creamy Chicken Thighs (Sun-Dried Tomato & Basil Sauce)
- Crockpot Chicken Stew Recipe
Questions about this classic Chicken Cacciatore recipe? Ask me in the comments below.
Easy Chicken Cacciatore
- 6 chicken thighs (boneless, skinless) see note
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Flour for dredging
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 medium onion chopped finely
- 1 medium-to-large carrot peeled and chopped small
- 1 medium red bell pepper chopped small
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
- 1 (28 fluid ounce) can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives or to taste (optional)
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
- Generously season the chicken with salt & pepper and then coat it in flour (and shake off any excess).
- Add the oil and butter to a Dutch oven/soup pot/braiser over medium-high heat for a few minutes, then add the chicken and sear for 3-4 minutes/side or until golden. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
- Add in the onions and cook for 3 minutes.
- Add in the carrots and red bell pepper and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add in the white wine and crushed tomatoes and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pot.
- Stir in the thyme and oregano.
- Add the chicken back in and spoon some sauce over top. Cover the pot with the lid slightly ajar, reduce the heat, and gently simmer (turn the heat way down) for at least 20 minutes or until the carrots have softened and the chicken is tender (you can stir halfway through if you wish). The sauce will thicken up a bit. If it becomes too thick, add a splash more wine or chicken broth.
- Season with salt & pepper as needed, and stir in the Kalamata olives, basil, and parsley.
- Serves 4-6 depending how much people eat/what it's served with.
- For this recipe, use 1-2 pounds of chicken thighs (I bought a package of 6 that weighed 1.2 pounds). See blog post for tips if you want to use bone-in skin-on chicken thighs.
- Other methods: See Instant Pot version. For Crockpot, follow steps 1-6 as written, then add everything except for olives/basil/parsley to slow cooker (add them in at the end), and do 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 on low. Recipe is easily doubled in a Crockpot.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.