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Saucy Chicken Cacciatore Recipe

This chicken cacciatore recipe is extremely easy to make and full of authentic Italian flavor. This is a perfect weeknight meal that is sure to fill you up and put a smile on your face.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

This chicken cacciatore recipe is extremely easy to make and full of authentic Italian flavor. This is a perfect weeknight meal that is sure to fill you up and put a smile on your face.

Chicken cacciatore is especially great because everyone in the family will eat it right up. Who can say no to chicken cooked in rich tomato sauce? No one! This meal is an all around winner and exactly what you need to make for dinner tonight.

Chicken cacciatore in a skillet

Chicken Breasts with Homemade Tomato Sauce

So what exactly is chicken cacciatore? Chicken cacciatore is an Italian dish that has been around for centuries. The first recorded recipe for this tasty chicken dish first appeared in the 1600’s. Chicken thighs cooked in a homemade tomato sauce is the simplest way to describe this scrumptious dish. But, there is more to it than just that!

Classic chicken cacciatore is made with white wine, bell pepper and mushrooms. Those three ingredients are what makes this cacciatore sauce different from other Italian tomato sauces. The dish is also typically made with chicken thighs but many people today also use boneless skinless chicken breasts.

No matter the type of chicken you choose to use in your homemade cacciatore recipe, we promise that it will be delicious. With this easy Italian recipe, you just can’t go wrong! It is the best chicken cacciatore recipe you will ever try.

Chicken cacciatore with less sauce

Ingredients for Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken cacciatore is made with very simple ingredients which is just one of the reasons why this dish is so good. Here is a quick look at what you will need to make chicken cacciatore:

  • Boneless skinless chicken thighs – You can choose to use chicken thighs with the skin on but skinless is a little bit healthier and still just as tasty.

  • Olive oil – Extra virgin olive oil is best

  • Sea salt – Kosher salt or another large grain salt will work as well.

  • Ground black pepper – Freshly ground pepper has the most flavor.

  • Onion – White or yellow onions are best for this recipe.

  • Red and green bell peppers – Using two kinds of bell peppers gives the sauce lots of complex flavor. You can choose to use just one type of pepper and the sauce will still be delicious.

  • Garlic – Three cloves of garlic will make one tablespoon of minced garlic.

  • White wine – A dry white wine like pinot grigio is best for making sauce.

  • Crushed tomatoes – Look for tomatoes that are already Italian seasoned. Canned tomatoes are nice because they are already soft and ready to turn into sauce! Plus the extra seasoning helps to make a delicious sauce.

  • Italian seasoning – If you do not have Italian seasoning, use a mix of equal parts dried basil, dried parsley and dried oregano.

  • Sliced mushrooms – Baby portobello mushrooms are fantastic for this recipe.

  • Balsamic vinegar – a splash of balsamic actually helps to sweeten the sauce

  • Tomato paste – This will help thicken the sauce and add an intense tomato flavor.

  • Fresh basil – A perfect garnish for an Italian dinner

  • Parmesan cheese – You can never go wrong with cheese!



Here are a few ingredient tweaks and variations you may want to try.

  • Use chicken breast in place of the chicken thighs. Only sear the chicken pieces for 2 minutes on each side and then cook them in the sauce for just 15 minutes. Chicken breasts cook faster than chicken thighs. Using chicken breasts only will give you all light meat rather than dark meat which some people may love. Be sure to pound the chicken breasts with a mallet before cooking to help them tenderize. Tender chicken is necessary in this great recipe!

  • Replace the white wine with chicken broth. While the alcohol in the wine does cook off as the sauce simmers, you may not want to use wine. Low sodium chicken broth will work wonderfully.

  • Use red wine in place of white wine for a more complex, rich flavor. Choose a dry red wine like cabernet sauvignon.

  • Add a teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes to make the sauce have a tasty kick of spice. Stir the red pepper flakes into the sauce when you add the Italian seasoning.

chicken casserole chicken casserole with chickpeas, yellow and red peppers in tomato sauce. Cooked in an enamel pot and served on a wooden table.

How to Make Chicken Cacciatore

This easy chicken cacciatore recipe can be made in just minutes. Take a look at how to make this tasty chicken dish so you are ready to cook when dinner time comes around.

  1. Sear the chicken: Brown the chicken in hot olive oil in a Dutch oven, searing both sides of the bone in chicken. Move the seared chicken to a plate and return the pot to the stove.

  2. Saute the veggies: Saute the onions and peppers in the hot oil until they are soft. Stir in the garlic and continue to cook for one minute.

  3. Make the sauce: Add the wine, canned diced tomatoes, tomato paste, mushrooms, balsamic and Italian seasoning to the pot and stir. Let the sauce simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes.

  4. Cook the chicken: Add the browned chicken back into the dutch oven, nestling it into the sauce. Cover the pot, leaving it slightly cracked, and cook the chicken in the sauce for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  5. Serve: Serve the hot chicken cacciatore over cooked pasta, egg noodles, mashed potatoes or just enjoy it plain with some crusty bread to mop up the extra sauce. Sprinkle with the basil and parmesan then enjoy!

Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore

You can easily make this recipe in a crock pot or Instant pot for even easier cooking. Sear the chicken in the pan as directed in the recipe but then place the seared chicken thighs into a crock pot or Instant Pot. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl of the slow cooker then cover and cook.

To cook chicken cacciatore in a slow cooker, set the slow cooker to high heat and cook the chicken and sauce for 4-5 hours.

To make Instant pot chicken cacciatore, set the pot to high pressure and cook for 25 minutes. Let the pressure naturally release.

Chicken Cacciatore cooked in pressure pot

How to Serve Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken cacciatore is traditionally served with pasta. You can pair it with any shape or type of pasta you’d like but it is typically served on top of fettuccini or linguini noodles. The cooked, split chicken breasts are also great next to potatoes, gnocchi or steamed vegetables. Green beans are a classic vegetable to serve next to this dish.

Many people like remove the cooked chicken from the bone, shred the meat, then return it to the pot of sauce. Stir the shredded chicken into the tomato sauce then scoop it on top of cooked noodles. This makes eating the dish a whole lot easier- no knife required!

When planning what to serve with chicken cacciatore, don’t forget a glass of wine on the side! Red wine or white wine will both go well with this dish. Try to serve the same wine you used to cook the sauce as it is guaranteed to pair well.

Keep all of these serving tips in mind for your next dinner party. Everyone will be amazed by your incredible cooking skills and ability to cook like a true Italian chef!


How to Store Chicken Cacciatore

If you have leftover chicken cacciatore, store it in an airtight container in the fridge. It will keep for about 4-5 days. Reheat the chicken in the microwave until it is nice and hot. You can also scoop it into a pan and reheat it over the stove top. This makes a perfect lunch or second day dinner!

Chicken cacciatore is so easy to make that we do not recommend freezing it. While it will keep in the freezer for about a month, fresh cacciatore is always the best! This recipe is so quick to put together that it can easily be made on a weeknight in just minutes.


More Incredible Italian Recipes

If you love cooking authentic Italian cuisine, check out our other delicious recipes. Italian stuffed shells and Italian porchetta are just a few of our favorites. You can also find fantastic cooking classes near you where you can learn to cook like a professional Italian chef. You’ll be making flawless dinners in no time!

Chicken Cacciatore Recipe Recipe Feature Image - 1390x600

Saucy Chicken Cacciatore Recipe

This beloved Chicken Cacciatore recipe embodies the essence of Italian cuisine with its rich tomato sauce and succulent chicken, promising a comforting meal any night of the week.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people
Calories 397 kcal


  • 4 Boneless chicken thighs
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 green bell pepper chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic minced
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 can Italian crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 pound sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese grated


  • Add two tablespoons of the olive oil to a Dutch oven pot and heat over medium high heat.
  • Season the chicken thighs with the salt and pepper then place them into the hot oil. Cook for 4 minutes to brown the chicken then flip it and cook the other side. Remove the seared chicken from the pot and set aside. It is not fully cooked, just browned.
  • Add the remaining extra virgin olive oil to the pot and lower the heat to medium. Add the onion and bell peppers and saute for about 5-6 minutes to soften the veggies.
  • Add the garlic to the pot and cook for one more minute.
  • Add the wine and bring it to a simmer. Once simmering, add the tomatoes, Italian seasoning and mushrooms to the pot. Simmer the sauce for 10 minutes over low heat.
  • Add the chicken thighs back into the pot. They should be mostly submerged in the tomato sauce. Cover the pot, leaving it slightly cracked, then simmer for another 20 minutes.
  • Serve the chicken thighs whole, covered in sauce over some pasta. Sprinkle each serving with grated parmesan cheese and chopped basil or fresh parsley.


  1. Optimizing Chicken Flavor and Texture: If using chicken breasts instead of thighs, it's important to avoid overcooking to maintain tenderness. Sear the breasts quickly on both sides, then simmer in the sauce just until cooked through, about 15 minutes. This prevents them from becoming tough and dry. For even better results, pound the breasts slightly before cooking to ensure they cook evenly and stay juicy.
  2. Enhancing Sauce Flavor: While the recipe calls for white wine, you can substitute with a dry red wine like Chianti or Cabernet Sauvignon to deepen the flavor profile of the sauce. This variation can add a rich, robust character that complements the tomatoes and herbs beautifully. If opting out of alcohol, a good quality, low sodium chicken broth can also add depth without the wine.
  3. Vegetable Variations for Seasonal Cooking: The recipe is flexible with the vegetables used. Depending on the season, you can incorporate different types of mushrooms, such as morels in spring or chanterelles in fall, to add unique flavors and textures. Similarly, you can swap out bell peppers for other seasonal vegetables like zucchini or eggplant for a twist on the traditional recipe, adjusting the cooking times accordingly to ensure all components are tender.
Keyword Chicken, Chicken Cacciatore

Disclaimer: Please be aware that the food images displayed on this website are for illustrative purposes only. They do not represent the actual dishes or presentations you might achieve when following our recipes. While we strive to inspire your culinary journey, the appearance of your dishes may vary.

Frequent Asked Questions

Chicken cacciatore sauce is made with wine, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, garlic, mushrooms and seasonings. Some recipes add red pepper flakes to make the sauce spicier and others eliminate the wine to make the sauce alcohol-free. However, the basic ingredients all stay the same!

You can serve chicken cacciatore with pasta, mashed potatoes, zucchini noodles, or just with some bread. The cooked chicken is also great on it’s own, smothered in the sauce with some fresh herbs sprinkled on top.

Chicken cacciatore is an Italian dish. More specifically, it comes from central Italy. The exact date when this chicken dish rose to popularity is unknown but it has been a part of the Italian food culture for hundreds of years.

Chicken cacciatore is made with chicken thighs cooked in a pepper and mushroom sauce. Chicken parmesan, on the other hand, is breaded, fried chicken strips that are baked in a tomato sauce with parmesan and mozzarella cheese melted on top. The difference between these two dishes lies in the type of chicken, how the chicken is cooked, the ingredients in the sauce and also the addition of cheese. The two Italian chicken meals are quite different but both absolutely delicious!

The word ‘cacciatore’ translates roughly to mean ‘hunter-style’. This refers to how hunters used to catch then cook their meat, typically turning it into a stew. Now, the phrase ‘cacciatore’ means to cook meat in a spicy mushroom and pepper sauce. Chicken cacciatore recipe, fish cacciatore and steak cacciatore recipes are all popular.

Cacciatore refers to how the chicken is cooked. This phrase indicates that the chicken is cooked in a tomato sauce made with peppers, mushrooms and wine. Cacciatore is a classic Italian dish that dates back hundreds of years and was originally invented by hunters.

Serve chicken cacciatore over cooked pasta or alongside potatoes or vegetables. The chicken and sauce are also delicious with some crusty bread.

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