Chicken Cacciatore is one of those rustic dishes that turn simple ingredients into a delicious meal!

Juicy pieces of bone-in chicken, bell peppers, mushrooms, and onions are simmered in a rich and zesty tomato sauce.

I serve this saucy dish over pasta for a great meal. 

plated Chicken Cacciatore

What is Cacciatore Anyhow?

In Italian, “Cacciatore” means “hunter,” and it’s the inspiration behind this rustic dish. It’s a tomato-based stew filled with root veggies, garlic, red wine, herbs, spices, and chicken (or rabbit).

Hunter-style recipes often include braising the meat which just means to crisp the skin and then slow cooking in liquid. In this recipe, the chicken is browned and simmered in tomato sauce. Easy peasy!

  • It’s easy to prepare, and most of the cooking time is hands-off.
  • The chicken is tender and flavorful, serve it over pasta to stretch this meal.

Ingredients for Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken – For the best results, choose bone-in chicken pieces, like thighs or drumsticks. Dark meat won’t dry out and has lots of flavor. If using split chicken breasts, be sure not to overcook the chicken.

Vegetables – Bell pepper, onion, mushrooms, and garlic are a perfect match to crate a rich and healthy sauce. Feel free to toss in more veggies to make your meal go further.

Sauce – The browned chicken is cooked in tomato based sauce with some Italian inspired herbs like rosemary, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Capers (or kalamata olives) add a salty briny flavor and create a classic Chicken Cacciatore flavor.

Wine – Red wine adds another layer of flavor and is recommended, the alcohol will cook off as it simmers. For a non-alcoholic version, opt for low-sodium chicken broth (though it’ll change the flavor).

wine , pepper , tomatoes , mushrooms , chicken , oil , sauce , garlic , onion and seasonings with labels to make Chicken Cacciatore

How to Make Chicken Cacciatore

While this traditional Italian recipe takes some time to cook, it is super easy to prep:

  1. Season & brown the chicken (per the recipe below).
  2. Soften the veggies and then add the remaining sauce ingredients & simmer.
  3. Add the browned chicken & simmer until tender and cooked through
  4. Stir in the capers and serve over spaghetti.

Garnish with fresh herbs like basil or parsley and parmesan cheese if you’d like.

Serving Suggestions

Serve this chicken cacciatore recipe with any kind of pasta, polenta, or even with extra veggies. Don’t forget the crusty bread for the sopping up sauce in the bowl.

Did your family love this Chicken Cacciatore? Leave us a rating and a comment below!

plated Chicken Cacciatore
4.99 from 100 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Chicken Cacciatore

Tender pieces of chicken with fresh veggies are simmered in a rich tomato sauce and served over pasta.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings 4 servings

Equipment

Ingredients  

  • 6 chicken thighs and/or drumsticks bone-in, skin-on, about 2lbs
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces mushrooms sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 28 ounces canned diced tomatoes do not drain
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary minced, or ¾ teaspoon dried
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano minced, or ¾ teaspoon dried
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons capers drained

Instructions 

  • Generously season the chicken with salt & pepper.
  • In a deep 12-inch skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken for about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Remove the chicken and place it on a plate.
  • In the same skillet, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Stir in the diced bell peppers, onion, and mushrooms. Cook for until the vegetables have softened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add the red wine and let simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in the canned diced tomatoes with their juices, tomato sauce, bay leaf, rosemary, oregano, and red pepper flakes.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer 20 minutes.
  • Add the browned chicken, skin side up, to the skillet. Simmer, covered, for an additional 40 minutes.
  • Remove the lid and if the sauce is not thick enough, let it simmer uncovered for a few minutes until it thickens.
  • Remove the bay leaf, stir in the capers, and serve the Chicken Cacciatore with pasta.

Video

Notes

To Oven Bake:
  • Prepare the recipe up to step 4.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine all ingredients in a casserole dish and bake covered for one hour. 
Kalamata olives can be substituted for capers.
The sauce will thicken upon standing.
Store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days. Reheat on the stovetop, in the oven, or in the microwave until heated through. 
4.99 from 100 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 584 | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 166mg | Sodium: 625mg | Potassium: 1268mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 1743IU | Vitamin C: 89mg | Calcium: 113mg | Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Chicken, Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
close up of Chicken Cacciatore with a title
close up of hearty Chicken Cacciatore on pasta with a title
plated Chicken Cacciatore with bowl of sauce and writing
close up of Chicken Cacciatore with pasta and writing

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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Comments

  1. Made this yesterday and it came out really good…one thing is I couldn’t find capers so I left those out, but the dish was fantastic and I have plenty of leftovers5 stars

    1. Yes Rachel, you can use vegetable oil or butter in place of olive oil to brown the meat and veggies. Let us know how it turns out for you!

  2. This recipe is excellent, and I did tweak it a bit to finish off some leftover carrots, celery, chicken breasts and a jar of sliced kalamata olives. While I made some changes, I tried to stay very close to the original recipe, and I have made enough SWP recipes to wholeheartedly recommend this recipe. The only minor adjustment I might suggest is that you may need to reduce the liquid from the diced tomatoes, if you prefer a thicker sauce. Or as suggested in the recipe you can simmer the dish uncovered to reduce the mixture. Total keeper!!!5 stars

  3. Thank you, Holly! I followed this recipe to the letter (except for the capers as I didn’t have any). The result was wonderful! Hubby and I thoroughly enjoyed this meal and found that, using 1 pound of farfalle for the pasta, it made enough for us for 4 whole meals. Again, thank you for sharing (love this website!)

  4. OMG! This was outstanding! I don’t normally like anything made with diced tomatoes but I couldn’t get enough of this. Definitely a keeper!5 stars

  5. I’m wanting to try the recipe but have a question. Can I use boneless thighs? I truly do not like trying to eat a bone in chicken piece with all of the sauce.

    1. Hi Susan, I haven’t tried it but I think it should work just fine. Brown them for a couple of minutes however the cook time should be reduced (I’d estimate about 15-20 minutes instead of 40). Let us know how it goes!

      1. Susan, the bone is easy to remove before cooking. That way you still have the skin to get a crispy bake on it.

  6. I loved this recipe so much!!!! so delicious!!! I added extra garlic cloves, extra oregano and wine, it was and is one of the best chicken dishes I’ve ever had, and the sauce is ridiculously good!!!!
    I want to try this sauce with pork, I think it will be delicious, just like the chicken!!!!!

  7. Followed the recipe. Chicken didn’t get done. Had to finish it in microwave. A lot of work for fair result.3 stars

    1. JudyJ, This reply is being done on behalf of everyone else and the author who are too polite to address you. OMG, did you just do a Karen because you don’t understand the simple concept of cooking a dish till it’s done? Different cooktops will cook differently. Put your big girl panties on and consider cooking the food till it’s done, even if it means you have to open the lid and check for doneness! If computers had slap-o-vision I would have mine reach out and backhand you for being a whiney Karen. Don’t post evidence of your ineptitude at cooking. Aside from the Karen issue that JudyJ has, the recipe is delicious and thanks to Holly for sharing it!5 stars

      1. Dale no need to be so rude. Perhaps she is new to cooking. Please show some grace instead of persecution.

  8. I made this recipe for the first time tonight, Sunday, November 27th, 2022. I bought bone-in, skinless drumsticks and followed the recipe precisely. It was a little time-consuming, but worth every minute of prep and cook time. The flavours were full and the seasoning of the dish was delicious! I would rate this a 9/10 for future and this will be my go-to recipe for Chicken Cacciatore going forward.5 stars

    1. I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure Laura. If you try it I would love to hear how it turns out!

    1. Thanks, Troy! Glad you are enjoying them. As listed in the instructions we stir in the rosemary and oregano in step 4.

  9. We were very happy with this recipe. We cooked on top of the stove. If you choose to cook in the oven, I would use a meat thermometer and test for doneness after 40 minutes. One hour seems long to me. Make sure they are at 180. My goofy husband forgot to add the capers and it still was tasty. No problem, we will add the capers to the leftovers for another meal this week. We served over rice and had steamed broccoli on the side. You might want to add a smidge of salt to the recipe. Dried herbs worked in this dish, just cut the amount in half. We would make this again.5 stars

  10. I’m glad we stayed in tonight because of the snowstorm & a sick dog. But it was well worth making this chicken cacciatore even though it took awhile. I put in a bit more rosemary due to the fact I had just opened a fresh bottle. The spicy richness & combination of vegetables & spices made this an excellent meal in a snowy evening! Also I have leftovers for tomorrow’s supper!5 stars

  11. I didn’t have thighs so I used legs. I followed the instructions and it was wonderful and easy.

  12. I plan on trying this recipe soon. It looks delicious but I do not like dark meat. Can chicken breats be used? Also, what kind of pasta do you recommend? Thank you in advance for your help.

    1. Yes, they can. Chicken breasts can dry out easier so you’ll want to ensure they aren’t overcooked but they will work just fine in this recipe. I usually use spaghetti, but any pasta will work!

      1. JudyJ, OMG!! I will tell you something that others won’t say out of politeness. When cooking you need to take some responsibility and understand that different cooktops work differently. If you see that your chicken is not done yet put your big girl panties on and step up to the plate and cook it a bit longer! Aside from that crap, recipe was delicious, thanks Holly!5 stars