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.
Quite simple if you follow the instructions:
- Season the chicken and dredge in flour, then brown it and set aside.
- Saute the vegetables.
- Deglaze with red wine and allow to reduce.
- Add crushed tomatoes and olives.
- Add the chicken back in, cover, and simmer on low for 50 minutes.
- Chicken cacciatore is now ready! 😁
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 crispy and nice.
- Fall of the bone 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 spicy, just spicy enough. The chili flakes are optional but I highly recommend adding them.
What to Serve With
Sometimes I like to keep things simple, and serve chicken cacciatore with crusty bread 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 cast iron skillet or pot. 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 cacciatore, and 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.And these baked chicken tacos are perfect for days when you don’t have much time to cook, and the result is divine!
I don’t feel like I say this often enough, or that I could ever thank you enough. But THANK YOU for all of your support, for visiting my blog, commenting, and sharing my recipes with your friends and family. I am SO thankful for you!
If you make this recipe or any of my recipes, then don’t forget to rate it and leave a comment below. I would LOVE to hear about your experience and your comments just make my day!
I hope that you love every recipe that you make! – Diana x
- 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 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
- 28oz (800g) crushed tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes optional
- ½ cup black olives pitted
- 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 crushed tomatoes. Add the olives, then season with salt and pepper, and add chili 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, or shiitake.
- If you don’t want to use wine, substitute with unsweetened grape or apple juice.
- If you’re using extra large chicken thighs, increase the cooking time by 10 minutes.