The Best Easy Chicken Cacciatore

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The Best Easy Chicken Cacciatore – a classic hearty rustic Italian chicken dinner with tomatoes, peppers, and herbs that the whole family will love!

picture of chicken cacciatore on a white plate
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picture of chicken cacciatore on a white plate

Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken Cacciatore is one of those dishes you always crave when you’re out – but its so simple, it is easy enough to make at home, any night of the week.

This hearty dish combines a ton of flavor from just one pot thanks to simmering peppers, onions, and mushrooms with wine and tomatoes before adding delicious crunchy browned chicken thighs – its great over rice, noodles, vegetables, with crusty bread, or on it’s own!

What is Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken Cacciatore is a classic Italian dish dating back to the 14th century, and was known as “Chicken’s hunter”.

It originally appeared in the Renaissance in central Italy – and the 15th of October is the official Chicken Cacciatore day!

Cacciatore in Italian means “hunter” – and this dish’s rustic feel is a perfect hearty meal any hunter would love to make!

As for the dish itself, Chicken Cacciatore is a combination of olives, peppers, onions, tomatoes, herbs, and chicken – in a rustic, hearty stew-style sauce that can be served with pasta or rice, mopped up with bread, or scooped up with a spoon!

picture of chicken cacciatore on a white plate

How To Make Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken Cacciatore’s humble rustic roots make it an incredibly easy, flavorful dish to make – especially on busy nights – but there are a couple steps and processes to make sure you get the best flavor, every time you make it at home.

chicken, olives, mushrooms, capers, oil, flour, onions, garlic

What Chicken To Use For Chicken Cacciatore

For this recipe, we’re calling for skinless bone-in chicken thighs.

If you would like to use chicken thighs with skin on, please give them extra time browning to ensure skin is extra crispy and crunchy to prevent flabby, soft chicken skin.

If you would like to use chicken breasts, please continue with recipe below, but monitor your chicken’s internal temperature instead of relying on the timing of this recipe, as chicken breasts cook at a different timing than chicken thighs.

How To Remove Chicken Thigh Bones

If you want to remove the bones from your chicken thighs, which is not in any way necessary but some people prefer, follow these steps:

  • Unroll chicken thigh.
  • Lay flat and find bones with your hands.
  • Lift bones slightly to find the membrane underneath that connects it to the chicken thigh.
  • Using kitchen shears, carefully cut just underneath the bone to remove it.

Removing bones will reduce cook time by a few minutes, so please watch chicken’s temperature as you cook.

How To Cook Chicken Thighs For Chicken Cacciatore

  1. Season the chicken on both sides with the salt and pepper.
  2. Sprinkle the flour on both sides of the chicken, patting it on to make sure it sticks. 
  3. Heat the oil and butter over medium heat in a dutch oven.
  4. Sear the chicken on both sides until lightly golden brown.
  5. Do not crowd the pan, you will need to sear in batches.
  6. Place the chicken on a plate and set aside.

Cacciatore Sauce

The rich flavor of cacciatore comes from its tomato and pepper sauce, which comes together by first browning onions, mushrooms, and peppers, and then creating a rich layer of flavor with water, olives, herbs, and tomatoes.

Hot Tip: if you’d like to replace the wine in the sauce, use stock.

  1. After cooking chicken in pan and removing after browning, add the onion, bell pepper, and mushrooms, cook for 5-8 minutes until softened, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds until fragrant. 
  3. Deglaze the pan with the wine, scrape the bottom of the pan to release any browned bits.
  4. Add the crushed tomatoes, chicken stock, tomato paste, olives, capers, and Italian seasoning, stir it until combined. 
  5. Add the chicken back into the dutch oven and cover in the sauce.
  6. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes, until tender and an internal temperature reaches at least 165°F.
picture of chicken cacciatore piled on a white plate

Tips To Perfect Chicken Cacciatore and FAQs

To make this recipe keto or low carb, please omit breading the chicken thighs, and simply pan-fry in the pan with butter, using the method described in my Best Baked Chicken Thighs post (you will just be using the “pre-searing” steps, then switching back to this recipe.)

This will keep the carb count down, but still result in crispy, crunchy chicken thighs with a TON of flavor and no flour or additional carbs for keto, low carb or other gluten free diets.

FAQs

When is chicken cooked?

Chicken is fully cooked at 165 degrees F throughout.
Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of chicken, taking care to not touch bone, to accurately gauge temperature.

What can I substitute for wine in Cacciatore?

If you would like to replace the wine in cacciatore, please use chicken stock.

How long does chicken cacciatore last?

Chicken cacciatore can be stored for up to four days in an airtight container in the refrigerator, or frozen for up to four months.

picture of chicken cacciatore piled on a white plate

What To Pair With Chicken Cacciatore

Pairing chicken cacciatore with wine and beer is pretty straightforward – it works wonderfully with a lot of drinks and cocktails.

For a great cocktail suggestion, we like a Cardamom and Juniper Gin and Tonic, Lemon Drop Martini Recipe, or a Italian Mule Cocktail with Fernet and Ginger Beer.

What Wine To Pair With Chicken Cacciatore

When seeing a hearty, rustic tomato dish, it’s natural to just reach for a bid, bold Cabernet – but that’s not usually the way I go when making chicken cacciatore.

Generally, you’ll want to opt for a red wine, but there are a couple picks for dry, bold white wines that will cut the acidity of the tomatoes in this dish that pair well and won’t be completely lost.

White Wines

Chardonnay – unoaked, dry, bold wines from California, Washington, Oregon play well with Chicken Cacciatore and cut some of the tomatoes acidity and can highlight the more delicate chicken flavor. We also like dry French Chardonnays – but again, be sure it is a dry style, as French chardonnays are either sweet or dry.

Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Vinho Verde that are dry and crisp also work well with chicken cacciatore.

Red Wines

Pinot Noir – lighter, fruit-forward French pinot noirs tend to be a little lower in alcohol and aren’t too overpowering, making them a perfect choice for pairing.

Other safe bets that won’t overpower your chicken dinner include young Sangiovese, Chianti, and Primotivo.

What Beer To Pair With Chicken Cacciatore

We like Italian Pilsners (which generally follow German-style Pilsners in being dry hopped, but are less about malt, and instead focus more on hops).

We suggest Peroni – or you can grab an Italian-style pilsner from an American brewery, like Firestone Walker’s Pivo Pils, Oxbow Brewing’s Luppolo, or Tributary Brewing Company’s Italian Pilsner.

picture of chicken cacciatore piled on a white plate

What To Serve With Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken cacciatore is amazing with our no knead bread, a delicious pasta, rice pilaf, or a rustic side like The Best Oven Roasted Garlic Parmesan Asparagus.

For more of our favorite side dishes, please check out some of our recent favorites:

Try these salads:

For our complete side dish recipe index, click here.

And for some sweet desserts to end the night on, click here for our dessert archives.

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The Best Easy Chicken Cacciatore

The Best Easy Chicken Cacciatore – classic hearty rustic Italian chicken with tomatoes, peppers, and herbs that the whole family loves!
Course Chicken
Cuisine Italian
Keyword best chicken recipe, cacciatore recipe, chicken thigh, poultry
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 servings
Calories 391kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell
Cost $12

Ingredients

  • 6 chicken thighs skinless, bone-in
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion thinly sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper sliced
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes with basil
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • ½ cup black pitted olives
  • 2 tablespoons capers drained
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • fresh chopped parsley for garnish optional
  • parmesan cheese for garnish optional

Instructions

  • Season the chicken on both sides with the salt and pepper. Sprinkle the flour on both sides of the chicken, patting it on to make sure it sticks. 
  • Heat the oil and butter over medium heat in a dutch oven.
  • Sear the chicken on both sides until lightly golden brown.
  • Do not crowd the pan, you will need to sear in batches.
  • Place the chicken on a plate and set aside.
  • Add the onion, bell pepper, and mushrooms, cook for 5-8 minutes until softened, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds until fragrant. 
  • Deglaze the pan with the wine, scrape the bottom of the pan to release any browned bits.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, chicken stock, tomato paste, olives, capers, and Italian seasoning, stir it until combined. 
  • Add the chicken back into the dutch oven and cover in the sauce.
  • Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes, until tender and an internal temperature reaches at least 165°F. Stir occasionally to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan. Serve with a garnish of parsley and parmesan cheese, optional.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 391kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 148mg | Sodium: 754mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 10g

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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