Chicken Cacciatore: the Italian-style recipe for a rustic, easy hunter-style chicken

Total time: 55 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 6 people
By Cookist

Traditional chicken cacciatore is a rustic, stew-like Italian main recipe. Super flavorful and easy to make, so you'll probably find it in most Italian cookbooks. The Italian word cacciatore actually means “hunter” in English, and you could also call it pollo alla cacciatora which means hunter-style chicken.

The dish is packed with flavor from the slow-simmering rustic tomato sauce, and juicy, fall-off-the-bone chicken. With a few humble ingredients such as chicken, tomato, bell peppers, mushrooms, olives, and onions, you can easily make this easy chicken cacciatore.

If you’re looking for a hearty dinner dish that will satisfy both children and adults alike, then look no further than this recipe.

What Is Chicken Cacciatore?

Chicken Cacciatore (pronounced kah-chuh-taw-ree) is a rustic main Italian “hunter-style” recipe, and dates back to the 14th century period known as the Renaissance. The word cacciatore actually means hunter in English, hence the English name for hunter-style chicken.

The cooking method can also be used to cook rabbit, but whether you use rabbit or chicken, the meat is slow-cooked with vegetables and a rich tomato sauce.


Traditional Chicken Cacciatore Ingredients

Chicken – traditionally bon-in, skin-on chicken thighs are used, but you can also use chicken breast.

Onion and garlic – they add a flavorful base to the dish.

Vegetables – is this recipe, we used bell pepper, carrots, and mushrooms, but you can add other veggies too.

Tomatoes – use canned tomato.

Red wine – use a high-quality red wine like Pinot Noir.

How To Make Chicken Cacciatore

This dish comes together quickly, and make a heart dinner. Brown the chicken. Season the chicken first before browning it in a large pot. Remove them and set aside. You will add them back, once the remaining ingredients are added, so they don’t need to be cooked through at this stage.

Cook the vegetables. Add more oil if necessary, before cooking the vegetables. Create the sauce. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil before returning the chicken to the pot.

Cook on a low simmer for about 35-45 minutes. The chicken should be cooked through and no longer pink in the middle.


Can You Make Chicken Cacciatore in A Slow Cooker?

Yes, you can! Simple season the chicken and place in the slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients (except the basil). Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours. Stir the basil into the sauce and serve.

Can You Make Chicken Cacciatore in The Instant Pot?

Yes! Sauté the chicken using the sauté function on your Instant Pot. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the basil). Close the lid and cook on high pressure for 11 minutes.

What Wine to Pair with Chicken Cacciatore?

Chicken usually goes well with white wines like Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay, but you can also drink it with Pinot Noir, which is a medium bodied red wine.

What to Serve with Easy Chicken Cacciatore

Chicken cacciatore is traditionally served with pasta, but you can also serve it with brown wild rice, polenta, or mashed potatoes to mop all those delicious juices.

Tips for making Traditional Chicken Cacciatore

For punchier flavors, add any of the filling: ½ cup pitted olives, ½ cup red wine, 2 tbsp tomato paste.

To make it leaner, you can remove the chicken skin, or use chicken breast fillets.

If you prefer to leave out the tomato sauce, you can use a combination of white wine, vinegar, garlic and rosemary.

How To Store Chicken Cacciatore

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

If you want to freeze it, let it cool completely, then seal the chicken and sauce in a freezer bag or airtight container for up to 3 months.

chicken drums or thighs, bone-in, skin-on
medium onion, diced
garlic, sliced
3 cloves
yellow bell pepper, chopped
Red bell pepper, chopped
large carrot, chopped
mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 cups
black olives, pitted
1/2 cup
fresh herbs like thyme and basil
1/4 cup
Dried oregano
1 tsp
Crushed tomatoes
1 28-oz can
Red wine
1/4 cup
salt and pepper to season
Vegetable Oil
Chicken broth
1/4 cup


Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.

Heat a bit of vegetable oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Brown the chicken on both sides (do not cook through), about 4 minutes on each side.

Add more oil if needed, and sauté the onions, carrots, and peppers until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds).

Add the mushrooms and cook for 3 more minutes.

Add in the oregano.

Pour in the chicken broth.

Add the crushed tomato, wine, olives, thyme.

Cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer, and continue cooking until the chicken is tender and cooked through, about 45 minutes.

Stir the basil through.

Serve and enjoy!


When browning the chicken, don’t be alarmed if it’s still pink in the middle, it will continue to cook when you add it to the sauce. Use a thermometer to check that the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F.

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