Classic Chicken Cacciatore

Savor the rustic flavors of Italy with this Chicken Cacciatore recipe! Tender chicken simmered in a rich tomato sauce with peppers, mushrooms, onions, and aromatic herbs. A hearty and comforting dish that's perfect for family dinner. 🍅🍗
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Chicken Cacciatore is a rustic and flavorful Italian dish sometimes referred to as “Hunter’s Stew”. Tender chicken simmered in tomato sauce, red wine, capers, vegetables, and seasonings is comfort food at its best; and just like spaghetti sauce, or pasta fagioli, every Italian family has its own version. Chicken thighs are recommended for their cost and flavor, but chicken breasts may be substituted if preferred.

A Taste of Italy in Every Bite: When it comes to bringing the flavors of Italy into your kitchen, Chicken Cacciatore is a dish that stands the test of time. Originating from the rustic countryside, this recipe combines simple, wholesome ingredients to create a symphony of taste that transports you straight to an Italian trattoria. With its vibrant colors, aromatic herbs, and hearty textures, every bite is a reminder of the rich culinary heritage that Italy has to offer.

Classic Chicken Cacciatore

Also try this: Chicken Alla Diavola (Devil’s Chicken)

Cooking as an Expression of Love: There’s something magical about preparing a meal that not only nourishes the body but also warms the soul. Chicken Cacciatore embodies this sentiment perfectly. As you sauté the onions and bell peppers, their sizzle in the pan releases a fragrant melody that awakens your senses. Adding the tomatoes and herbs transforms your kitchen into an aromatic haven, reminiscent of Italian countryside kitchens where generations have gathered to share stories and create memories.

Also try this: Roasted Red Pepper Walnut Sauce Pasta

From Tradition to Creativity: While staying true to its traditional roots, Chicken Cacciatore is also a canvas for culinary creativity. Feel free to customize the recipe with your favorite vegetables, spices, or even a touch of wine. This dish not only welcomes your personal touch but encourages it. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a kitchen novice, experimenting with different variations can lead to new discoveries and unexpected delights.

Also try this: Orange Chicken Stir Fry

A Dish for All Occasions: Chicken Cacciatore is incredibly versatile, making it suitable for a range of occasions. From cozy weeknight dinners to festive gatherings with friends and family, it seamlessly adapts to any setting. Its rustic elegance can elevate a casual meal, while its heartiness can provide comfort during colder months. No matter the occasion, this dish is a reliable option that never fails to please.

Also try this: Air Fryer Lemon Rosemary Bone-In Chicken Thighs

Creating Lasting Memories: As you prepare and savor Chicken Cacciatore, consider the memories you’re building with each step. Imagine the aroma that will linger in your home, the laughter shared around the table, and the joy of creating a meal that nourishes both body and spirit. This recipe isn’t just about food; it’s about the experiences and connections that arise when we gather to enjoy a delicious and meaningful meal together.

Also try this: Chicken Caprese

Preserving Culinary Heritage: In a world of fast-paced meals and instant gratification, cooking a traditional dish like Chicken Cacciatore allows us to honor and preserve the culinary heritage of generations before us. It’s a reminder that good food takes time and care. As you follow the recipe, you’re not only creating a delicious meal but also carrying on a tradition that has brought comfort and joy to countless individuals over the years.

Sharing the Love: Now that you’ve uncovered the magic of Chicken Cacciatore, don’t keep it to yourself! Share this recipe with friends, family, and fellow food enthusiasts. Invite them to embark on their own culinary journey and experience the delight of Italian flavors. The act of sharing a recipe is a gesture of kindness and connection that can bring people closer together, even when they’re miles apart.

What to pair with Chicken Cacciatore

Pairing side dishes with Chicken Cacciatore can complement the rich flavors of the dish and provide a well-rounded meal. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Polenta: Creamy and comforting, polenta serves as an excellent base for soaking up the flavorful sauce of Chicken Cacciatore. It adds a wonderful texture contrast and complements the rustic Italian theme.
  2. Pasta: Serving Chicken Cacciatore over pasta, such as spaghetti or penne, is a classic choice. The pasta’s neutral flavor allows the chicken and sauce to shine, creating a hearty and satisfying combination.
  3. Rice: Opt for white or brown rice to absorb the delicious sauce and provide a simple, versatile accompaniment that balances the flavors of the dish.
  4. Crusty Bread: A crusty baguette or Italian bread is perfect for mopping up the rich tomato sauce. It’s a simple yet delightful way to enjoy every bit of flavor.
  5. Roasted Vegetables: Roasted vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, and eggplant can complement the dish’s flavors while adding a touch of caramelized sweetness and a burst of color.
  6. Sauteed Spinach or Greens: A light and nutritious option, sautéed spinach or other leafy greens can provide a fresh contrast to the rich Chicken Cacciatore.
  7. Herb Salad: A simple herb salad with fresh greens, herbs, and a light vinaigrette can provide a refreshing and palate-cleansing element to the meal.
  8. Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes can offer a comforting base that complements the savory and robust flavors of Chicken Cacciatore.
  9. Crispy Polenta Fries: Take polenta to the next level by cutting it into fries, baking until crispy, and serving as a unique side dish that adds both flavor and texture.
  10. Caponata: This Sicilian eggplant dish, featuring a mix of cooked vegetables and sweet-sour flavors, can be a delicious accompaniment that adds depth and complexity.
  11. Fried Rice: For a fusion twist, consider serving Chicken Cacciatore with fried rice. The combination of the Italian and Asian flavors can be surprisingly delightful.
  12. Italian Bean Salad: A cold bean salad with ingredients like cannellini beans, tomatoes, red onion, and herbs can provide a refreshing and protein-rich option.

Remember, the choice of side dish depends on your personal preferences and the overall theme you want to achieve. Feel free to mix and match or explore new combinations to find what works best for you and your guests.

Wine pairing

When choosing a wine to serve alongside Chicken Cacciatore, you’ll want to consider the robust flavors of the dish and the overall dining experience you’re aiming for. Here are a few wine options that can complement the flavors of Chicken Cacciatore:

  1. Chianti: A classic Italian red wine, Chianti pairs well with the rich tomato sauce and savory elements of Chicken Cacciatore. Its medium body and bright acidity can cut through the richness of the dish.
  2. Sangiovese: Another Italian red wine, Sangiovese offers notes of red fruit and herbs that can enhance the herbal and tomato-based flavors of the dish. It’s a versatile choice that works well with many Italian dishes.
  3. Barbera: This Italian red wine features juicy acidity and red berry flavors, which can complement the tangy tomato sauce and the combination of vegetables and chicken in Chicken Cacciatore.
  4. Merlot: If you prefer a softer and smoother red wine, Merlot can be a good option. Its fruit-forward profile and supple tannins can provide a nice contrast to the savory flavors of the dish.
  5. Zinfandel: Zinfandel’s ripe fruit flavors and peppery notes can create an interesting contrast with the flavors of Chicken Cacciatore. It’s a bold choice that can stand up to the dish’s richness.
  6. Pinot Noir: If you’re looking for a lighter red wine option, Pinot Noir can work well. Its red fruit notes and subtle earthiness can harmonize with the dish without overpowering it.
  7. Rosé: For a refreshing and versatile choice, consider serving a dry rosé. Its acidity and fruity notes can complement the flavors of Chicken Cacciatore while providing a lighter option.
  8. White Wine: While red wines are often associated with hearty dishes like Chicken Cacciatore, you can also opt for a white wine if you prefer. A crisp and light white wine like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc can provide a refreshing contrast.

Ultimately, the best wine choice depends on your personal preferences and those of your guests. It’s a good idea to have a few different options available to cater to various tastes. When in doubt, you can also ask for recommendations from your local wine shop or sommelier to find the perfect pairing for your Chicken Cacciatore meal.


Chicken Cacciatore is a versatile dish that can be adapted and customized to suit different tastes. Here are some variations and ingredient swaps you can consider:

  1. Seafood Cacciatore: Replace the chicken with seafood like shrimp, mussels, or even fish fillets. The seafood will absorb the flavorful sauce, creating a delightful seafood version of the dish.
  2. Mushroom Medley: Add a variety of mushrooms, such as cremini, shiitake, or oyster mushrooms, to enhance the earthy flavors. They will complement the dish’s rustic profile.
  3. Spicy Kick: For a bit of heat, add red pepper flakes or diced chili peppers to the sauce. This can add a delightful kick and balance out the richness.
  4. Artichoke Hearts: Include artichoke hearts for an extra layer of flavor and texture. They can bring a unique tangy element to the dish.
  5. Herb Infusion: Experiment with different fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, or basil to infuse unique flavors into the sauce.
  6. Balsamic Vinegar: Drizzle a touch of balsamic vinegar into the sauce for a slightly sweet and tangy element that can elevate the flavors.
  7. Gremolata Topping: Sprinkle a gremolata made from chopped fresh parsley, garlic, and lemon zest on top before serving. This can provide a burst of freshness.
  8. Creamy Variation: For a richer version, consider adding a touch of heavy cream or coconut milk to create a creamy Chicken Cacciatore.
  9. Grilled Variation: Grill the chicken before simmering it in the sauce to infuse a smoky flavor.
  10. Cauliflower Rice: Swap traditional rice or pasta with cauliflower rice for a low-carb option that still soaks up the sauce.
  11. Quinoa: Instead of rice or pasta, serve Chicken Cacciatore over quinoa for a protein-packed alternative.
  12. Vegan Option: Replace the chicken with plant-based protein sources like seitan, tofu, or tempeh for a vegan-friendly version.
  13. Slow Cooker or Instant Pot: Adapt the recipe for a slow cooker or Instant Pot for convenient cooking methods that tenderize the meat and intensify the flavors.

Feel free to combine multiple variations or come up with your own creative twists. The key is to experiment and discover new combinations that cater to your preferences and dietary needs.

In Conclusion: Chicken Cacciatore isn’t just a dish; it’s an experience that engages your senses, encourages creativity, and creates lasting memories. So, gather your ingredients, turn up the music, and let the aromas guide you through this Italian adventure in your very own kitchen. With every step, you’re not only crafting a delicious meal but also weaving a story that’s uniquely yours. Buon appetito!

Let’s get started…

Classic Chicken Cacciatore

It’s time to prep your veggies, slice the onions, bell peppers and mushrooms and keep them ready.

Classic Chicken Cacciatore
Classic Chicken Cacciatore

Classic Chicken Cacciatore

Spice up your dinner routine with Chicken Cacciatore - a symphony of colors and flavors in every bite. From the stove to your table, experience the joy of cooking this Italian favorite.

Prep Time 10 mins Cook Time 50 mins Total Time 1 hr Difficulty: Intermediate Servings: 4 Best Season: Suitable throughout the year

What you'll need...

What'll need to do...

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large high-sided skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add chicken thighs and sear on all sides until a golden crust forms, 4-5 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper on all sides. 

    Classic Chicken Cacciatore
  2. Remove the chicken thighs from the skillet and set aside on a plate.

  3. In the same skillet, add onions and mushrooms and season to taste with salt and pepper. If necessary, add an additional 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

    Classic Chicken Cacciatore
  4. Cook until the onions become translucent, and the mushrooms soften, approximately 4-5 minutes.

  5. Add garlic and bell pepper and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes.

    Classic Chicken Cacciatore
  6. Add wine, crushed tomatoes with their juices, oregano, red pepper flakes, olives, and capers. Stir to combine.

    Classic Chicken Cacciatore
  7. Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat.

  8. Add the chicken and any accumulated juices back to the sauce and cook until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is slightly thickened, approximately 30-35 minutes.

    Classic Chicken Cacciatore
  9. Remove from heat and stir in the fresh parsley.

    Classic Chicken Cacciatore
  10. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired.

  11. Serve over cooked spaghetti or polenta. Enjoy!

    Classic Chicken Cacciatore
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