Classic Italian Chicken Cacciatore cooked in a rich tomato sauce, with bell peppers, mushrooms, and olives. The chicken is braised until it’s fall off the bone tender, and the sauce is so fragrant that it will fill your whole house with beautiful aromas of home-cooked food. Easy family-friendly comfort meal with incredible flavors!
What is Chicken Cacciatore?
Chicken cacciatore means chicken prepared ‘hunter-style’. It’s a dish from Tuscany, Italy and it’s also very popular in the US. Chicken cacciatore is a tomato-based dish, as the chicken is first browned and then braised in either tomato sauce or marinara and vegetables. The dish is often cooked for an hour on a low simmer with dry red wine, with a mix of Italian herbs.
Serve with rustic bread, creamy mashed potatoes, rice, or spaghetti for a hearty meal that the whole family will love!
How to Make Chicken Cacciatore
It’s an easy to make meal, and all you need to do is prep the ingredients, brown the chicken, then throw everything together in a pot or skillet and slowly cook on a low simmer.
For the chicken, you will need: Skin-on and bone-in chicken thighs, salt and pepper, and flour.
And here’s what you’ll need for the sauce:
- The mushrooms and carrots are optional, but they add a lot to the flavor so I recommend that you add them.
- I recommend dry red wine for chicken cacciatore, I used Merlot. But in some versions dry white wine is used, so if you prefer a milder flavor then use white wine instead of red. If you can’t/don’t want to use wine, substitute with chicken broth, unsweetened grape juice, or apple juice. It won’t have the same flavor, obviously, but it will give some flavor and help you deglaze the pan.
This is quite simple if you follow the instructions:
- Season the chicken pieces and dredge in flour, then brown it and set aside.
- Saute the vegetables in olive oil.
- Deglaze with red wine and allow to reduce.
- Add diced tomatoes and olives.
- Add the chicken back in, cover, and simmer on low for 50 minutes stirring occasionally or until the chicken is cooked. Finish off with grated parmesan cheese if desired, and serve warm.
Here’s what you’ll end up with:
- Seriously juicy chicken infused with Mediterranean flavors.
- The chicken isn’t fully submerged in sauce, so the skin stays nice and crispy.
- Fall off the bone tender chicken as it’s braised on a low simmer for almost an hour.
- Insanely delicious sauce with the best flavors ever. Herbs, mushrooms, olives, tomato, bell peppers, and juicy chicken. What’s there not to love?
- The sauce is spicy, not too hot, just spicy enough. The red pepper flakes are optional but I love adding them to the sauce.
What to Serve Chicken Cacciatore With
I like to keep things simple, and serve chicken cacciatore with crusty bread or breadsticks on the side. It makes a complete meal. But you can also serve it with one of these simple sides:
Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.
For tomato-based dishes like this, I don’t recommend using a cast iron skillet or pot because I found that cooking tomato dishes for long in cast iron results in an unpleasant metallic taste.
So I use my stainless steel pan instead. It’s a great pan and I use it all the time, plenty of surface area, cooks very evenly and I love the helper handle.
Try this easy chicken dinner, and I’m sure you will love this recipe! It will definitely become a family favorite. Also make sure to check out my baked chicken and rice, an amazing family-friendly meal that’s made in one pan.
- 6 chicken thighs bone-in, skin-on
- 1 teaspoon salt divided
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper divided
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 1 carrot sliced into ⅕ inch slices
- 5 ounces (2 cups) 140g mushrooms sliced into ¼ inch slices
- 6 medium garlic cloves minced
- 1 red bell pepper sliced into strips
- 1 yellow bell pepper sliced into strips
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ cup (120ml) dry red wine See Note 4 for substitution
- 28oz (800g) diced tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional
- ½ cup black olives pitted
- Stainless steel skillet
- Season chicken with salt and pepper, dredge in flour shake off any excess.
- In a heavy-bottomed skillet, heat olive oil on medium heat. And brown the chicken starting skin side down. When the chicken is golden, remove from the skillet and set aside.
- Saute the onion, add the carrot and mushrooms, and cook together until the onion is soft and translucent (3-4 minutes). Then add the bell peppers, garlic, and the herbs and cook for 3 more minutes.
- Add the red wine, and deglaze the pan by scraping off any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Allow the wine to reduce (about 2 minutes), then add the tomato paste and diced tomatoes. Add the olives, then season with salt and pepper, and add crushed red pepper flakes if using.
- Return the chicken to the skillet, cover with the lid, and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 50 minutes while stirring every 15 minutes, or until the chicken has cooked through.
- Have a taste and adjust seasonings to your preference. Serve hot with bread, pasta, rice, or mashed potatoes.
- I don’t recommend using a cast-iron skillet for this dish, as I found that tomato-based dishes start getting a metallic taste if they are cooked in cast iron for long. I use my stainless steel skillet.
- Sometimes I add chopped celery with the carrots, so you can certainly do that.
- Use any type of mushrooms that you have available such as button mushrooms, chestnut/cremini/baby bella, or shiitake.
- If you don’t want to use wine, substitute with unsweetened grape or apple juice or chicken broth. It won’t give the same flavor as wine, but it will add flavor and help you deglaze the pan.
- If you’re using extra large chicken thighs, increase the cooking time by 10 minutes.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
© Little Sunny Kitchen