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This Chicken Cacciatore Is Comfort Food Italian Style


Chicken Cacciatore

Overhead view of chicken cacciatore recipe in pan with basil for garnish

Want to head to an Italian restaurant (or better yet, an Italian grandma’s kitchen) for dinner tonight? Try this simple Chicken Cacciatore! Tender chicken thighs stewed with vegetables in a robust tomato sauce, this traditional rustic Italian stew is hearty, juicy, and surprisingly easy to make!

Overhead view of chicken cacciatore recipe in pan with basil for garnish

Why You’ll Love This Traditional Chicken Cacciatore Recipe

  • An Italian Tradition. Cacciatore (pronounced Kah-Chuh-Taw-Ree) means “hunter” in Italian. Thus, chicken cacciatore means chicken that is prepared alla cacciatore or “hunter-style.” Like Chicken Piccata, Chicken Marsala, and Baked Chicken Parmesan, it’s an Italian dish. You can find as many recipes for chicken cacciatore as there are Italian grandmothers who make them.
  • Easy Original. You don’t need to be an experienced chef to make this simple chicken cacciatore recipe! To make this recipe as easy as possible, I skip dredging in flour—it’s really not needed.
  • Comparatively Fast. Traditional chicken cacciatore recipes simmer for hours; this recipe speeds up the prep to make it weeknight attainable. (For a low-and-slow, check out my Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore.)
  • Supreme Comfort. Like France’s Beef Bourguignon, it’s made with slow-simmered meat (some traditional versions also call for rabbit) and features a rich sauce that tastes like love and care.
Chicken cacciatore on plate with pasta

5 Star Review

“This recipe has become one of my family’s most favorite. It is easy to prepare, serves well, freezes easily and is great over rice, roasted, or mashed potatoes. And of course pasta.”

— Peter —

How to Make Chicken Cacciatore

The Ingredients

  • Chicken Thighs. Chicken thighs are a wonderful choice for chicken stews like this (see also Spanish Chicken Stew). Dark meat is especially tender, juicy, and forgiving. If you prefer white meat, you can make this chicken cacciatore with chicken breasts.
  • Onion + Green Bell Pepper + Garlic. A flavorful trio to kick off our cacciatore sauce.
  • Dry White Wine. Like Chicken Piccata, the addition of wine enhances the other flavors in this recipe. In the “Wine Pairing” section below, you can find some suggested varieties.
  • Crushed Tomatoes. I used the crushed tomatoes and their juices to build a rich tomato flavor for the sauce.
  • Mushrooms. As the mushrooms cook, they add an earthy flavor to the sauce. I recommend cremini (baby bella) mushrooms or chopped portobello mushrooms, which have more flavor than white button mushrooms.
  • Italian Seasoning. An all-in-one-herb blend! Most consist of basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, sage, or coriander.
  • Balsamic Vinegar. For deep flavor that makes the sauce taste like it’s been simmering all day.

Optional Ingredients

  • Olives. Feel free to toss in 1/4 cup of chopped green olives to add a lovely layer of briny olive flavor to the dish.
  • Capers. For a different salty, briny nuance, add 2 tablespoons of drained capers.
  • Red Pepper Flakes. Want to add a little kick to your dish? Add 1 teaspoon or more of red pepper flakes.

The Directions

Seared chicken in pan
  1. Season and Brown the Chicken. Then remove it to a plate.
Sauteing vegetables in skillet for chicken cacciatore
  1. Sauté the Aromatics. Pour in the wine to deglaze.
Chicken cacciatore simmering in skillet
  1. Simmer. Stir in the tomatoes, mushrooms, seasoning, and vinegar, then simmer to reduce.
  1. Add the Chicken. Lay the chicken thighs in the sauce. Simmer partially covered until the chicken is cooked through. Dice or shred the chicken (if desired), or keep the thighs whole. Serve with herbs like parsley or fresh basil leaves, Parmesan, and any desired sides. DIG IN!

How to Serve Chicken Cacciatore

Wine Pairing

  • For white wine, a dry Riesling, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, or Chardonnay would pair nicely with this dish.
  • If you prefer red wine, try a Chianti or Sangiovese. Since this recipe calls for 3/4 cup of wine, I like to cook with a white wine that’s good enough to drink. Add a little to the dish, and drink the rest of the bottle with dinner.
  • Not a wine person? Pair an Italian Margarita with your chicken cacciatore instead.
Overhead view of chicken cacciatore in skillet

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Place leftovers in fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
  • To Reheat. Gently rewarm this dish in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat. You can also microwave, until steaming, if desired.
  • To Freeze. Freeze leftovers in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

What to Serve with Chicken Cacciatore

Overhead view of chicken cacciatore in pan garnished with basil chiffonade
  • Skillet. An essential tool in my kitchen for making delicious recipes like this chicken cacciatore.
  • Sharp Chef’s Knife. Easily chop vegetables, meat, fruit, and more with a high-quality knife like this one.
  • Instant Read Thermometer. If you cook meat often, I highly recommend adding one of these to your kitchen.
Overhead view of chicken cacciatore recipe in pan with basil for garnish

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Chicken Cacciatore

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This easy chicken cacciatore recipe with boneless chicken thighs, mushrooms, and wine is made on the stovetop and ready in under an hour.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 335kcal

Ingredients

FOR THE CHICKEN CACCIATORE:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • ¾ cup dry white wine or low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 8 ounces sliced baby bella (cremini) mushrooms
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • ½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar

FOR SERVING:

  • Whole wheat pasta or brown rice, polenta, rice, zucchini noodles, or baked and shredded spaghetti squash
  • Chopped fresh parsley or basil
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a Dutch oven or similar deep, sturdy pot over medium-high. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper.
  • Once the oil is hot and shimmering (but not so hot it starts smoking), add the chicken in a single layer. Cook on the first side for 3 to 4 minutes, until browned, moving the chicken as little as possible so that it gets a nice sear. Flip and brown on the other side, about 2 additional minutes. Transfer the chicken to a large, clean plate. The chicken does not need to be cooked through.
    Seared chicken in pan
  • Reduce the heat to medium. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, onion, and bell pepper. Cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 4 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, or until the garlic is fragrant.
    Sauteing vegetables in skillet for chicken cacciatore
  • Add the white wine. Stir and let simmer until the wine is reduced by approximately half, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes with their juices, mushrooms, Italian seasoning, and balsamic vinegar, stirring to combine. Bring to a simmer. Let the sauce simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
    Stirring mushrooms into chicken cacciatore
  • Nestle the chicken thighs into the tomato sauce, along with any drippings that have collected on the plate. The chicken should be mostly submerged, though some may peek through.
  • Partially cover the pot and let simmer 15 to 20 additional minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through, the sauce is thickened, and the mushrooms are tender.
  • If you’d like to dice or shred the chicken, remove it to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, dice or shred it, then return it to the pot. You also can serve the chicken thighs whole.
  • Taste and season the sauce with additional salt and pepper as desired. If you've chopped or shredded the chicken, return it to the sauce and toss to combine and warm through. Otherwise, serve the chicken pieces whole with a generous amount of sauce on top.
  • Serve hot over pasta, rice, polenta, or veggie noodles, with a big extra spoonful of sauce and a sprinkle of parsley and Parmesan.

Video

Notes

  • TO STORE: Refrigerator leftovers in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm chicken cacciatore in a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat.
  • TO FREEZE: Freeze leftovers in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 6) | Calories: 335kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 144mg | Potassium: 1032mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 416IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 89mg | Iron: 4mg

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Thanks to its versatility and ease, you can do so much with chicken. Here are some of my favorite healthy chicken recipes:

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