This chicken cacciatore recipe is a delicious stew that uses everyday ingredients, is simple to prepare, and has authentic Italian flavors. It's ready in under an hour!
Love this flavor profile? Try my Easy Pasta Puttanesca next!
Why you'll love it
Chicken cacciatore is one of those all-out comforting and cozy stews that sticks to your ribs. Making it on the stovetop with this method yields beautifully concentrated and robust flavors in very little time, and there's no fancy ingredients or special technique that you need to learn for this Italian classic.
This rustic braised chicken recipe also happens to make fantastic leftovers, so you'll have at least a few extra delicious meals to look forward to in the upcoming week. That is if your family doesn't devour it all in one go!
What does cacciatore mean?
- "Cacciatore" means "hunter" in Italian. Hunter-style (alla cacciatore) preparation refers to cooking chicken and sometimes rabbit with onions, herbs, tomatoes, bell peppers, and occasionally wine for that irresistible really saucy sauce.
Everything you'll need
- Chicken thighs - I find that boneless/skinless chicken thighs offer the best balance between ease of cooking and flavor and tenderness
- Flour - for dredging to create a nice crust. It serves two purposes, making the chicken brown easier and 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.
- Olive oil and butter - to sear the chicken
- Onion and garlic - our tasty aromatics. I like sweet onions best (Vidalia).
- Carrot and red bell pepper - classic veggies for this tasty stew
- White wine - use a dry white wine like pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc, or chicken broth if you prefer
- Tomatoes - 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 naturally sweet, but if you find the sauce tastes a bit acidic, add a small spoonful of sugar, which is a classic restaurant trick.
- Thyme, oregano, basil, and parsley - irresistible herbs to pack in the flavor!
- Kalamata olives - they add more delicious salty flavor to this dish without being overpowering
- You can use bone-in skin-on chicken thighs instead. 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 recommend using them.
How to make chicken cacciatore
This is an overview, and full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
- Season each chicken thigh with salt & pepper, then coat them in flour. In a Dutch oven, soup pot, or braiser, heat the oil and butter and sear the chicken until golden on both sides. Using kitchen tongs makes it easy to turn. Transfer to a plate.
- Add the onions to the pot and sauté for 3 minutes, then add in the red bell pepper and carrots. Continue cooking for another 5-7 minutes. Stir in the garlic, followed by the wine, crushed tomatoes, oregano, and thyme.
- Return the chicken to the pot, and simmer for at least 20 minutes or until the it's very tender and the carrots have softened fully. Stir in the fresh chopped basil, parsley, and olives, and season to taste!
Can I make it in my slow cooker or Instant Pot?
- Yes! I've had an Instant Pot Chicken Cacciatore recipe on my website for a while if you'd prefer to cook it using that method.
- To adapt this into a Crockpot chicken cacciatore, follow steps 1-6 in the recipe card, and then add everything except for the olives, fresh basil, and parsley to slow cooker. Do 3 to 4 hours on high or 6-8 on low, and toss in the remaining ingredients right at the end of cooking. This recipe can also be doubled in a Crockpot no problem.
Substitutions and variations
- The olives are my favorite part, but I'd understand if you left them out, or you can swap for green olives or even capers. That briny tang really adds a lot to the dish, though.
- I've seen some versions of this recipe include mushrooms. You could definitely add some in!
- Try switching the white wine for a dry red if that's more your thing.
What to serve with it
- Try pasta like my Quick and Easy Garlic Butter Noodles, and then top with plenty of freshly grated parmesan cheese!
- Our kitchen also loves serving chicken cacciatore with 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.
Leftovers and storage
- It'll keep for 3-4 days in the fridge in an airtight container.
- You could also freeze it for up to 3 months. I like to do individual portions for easy meal prep.
- To reheat, place in a saucepan over a low heat, giving it the occasional stir. You can also microwave it in small increments until warmed throughout.
Do you have any questions about this classic chicken cacciatore, or did you make it? Tell 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.