This chicken cacciatore recipe is a star in Italian cuisine. We make the classic version of the sauce – crushed tomatoes, sauteed vegetables, and finished with a touch of parmesan.
You get everything in one bite – savory chicken, sweet tomatoes, fresh onion, and mushrooms. There is no better comfort dinner and no better answer to National Chicken Cacciatore Day (October 15) than this chicken cacciatore recipe!
What Is Chicken Cacciatore?
The word “Cacciatore” means “hunter” in Italian. Meanwhile, “Alla cacciatora”, which is the original Italian name of Chicken Cacciatore, is a term referring to a hunter-style meal.
Chicken cacciatore is simply prepared with meat (chicken or rabbit), herbs, vegetables, and wine.
Coming from Tuscany and Umbria, this authentic Italian dish was built on what people could find back then – wild animals. In time, Alla Cacciatora kept up with the cross-cultural craze of dining, and arrived in American cuisine as Chicken Cacciatore.
Is Chicken Cacciatore Healthy?
This classic Italian dish could easily have a thousand versions because each home cook has secret ingredients and ways of cooking (see our Instant Pot Chicken Cacciatore Recipe). We came up with our own version that is a bit lighter, healthier and has a bunch of vegetables. Some healthful ingredients we added are:
Mushrooms: low in calories and high in protein, mushrooms are packed with nutrients such as vitamins B and D. Eating this vegetable daily can help in boosting the immune system and improving digestion.
Bell peppers: peppers come in different sizes and colors – red, orange, yellow, and green. All of them are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, fiber, and potassium.
This wonderful veggie brings about many health benefits from enhancing your eye health to preventing cancer. Their vibrant color, sweetness, and crunchiness can also give an explosion of flavor for any dish.
Tomatoes: tomatoes are referred to as a magical food since beyond being tasty, they provide many basic nutrients. One of them being lycopene – an antioxidant that can enhance health and protect from prostate cancer.
Containing vitamins C, A, K, and carotenoids, tomatoes provide a vitamin boost, protect our skin, and lower the risk of sunburn.
How To Make Chicken Cacciatore Recipe
Step 1: Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Step 2: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Put in the tomatoes and cook them for 1 minute.
Then transfer them into ice water so that they can cool quickly. Use a sharp knife to remove the tomato skins.
Step 3: In a cast-iron pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Sear the chicken thighs on each side until golden brown.
Step 4: Saute crimini mushrooms. Remove mushrooms from the pan and set aside.
Step 5: Add butter to the pan along with onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook over medium heat or until vegetables have softened.
Step 6: Add red wine and cook down for 1 minute. Then add in the tomatoes, salt, Italian seasoning, and pepper.
Step 7: Return the chicken to the pan. Add chicken broth, vegetables, red pepper flakes, and basil. Stir well and simmer for 5 minutes.
Step 8: Turn the heat off. Sprinkle in parmesan and parsley.
Step 9: Serve over spaghetti.
Chicken Cacciatore with Chicken Breast
Most chicken cacciatore recipes use chicken thighs for their tender meat and juicy texture. However, for those who want to cut down calories for this recipe, chicken breast is a nice option.
Sauce for Chicken Cacciatore
Chicken cacciatore recipe appears on many family weekly meal rotations for a simple reason. It’s rich, hearty, and easy to make at home with restaurant-quality.
Cacciatore sauce can be made from canned tomatoes, but we believe that nothing can’t beat the fresh ingredients. The sauce is simply kicked up with the vibrant tomatoes, you can taste the sweetness and juiciness in every bite.
Homemade tomato sauce from scratch isn’t hard to make, but it requires a little attention.
Let’s start by picking fresh tomatoes. Any kind of tomatoes works beautifully in this chicken cacciatore recipe, as long as they are of high quality.
Then you should add a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan before placing the fresh tomatoes in it. Squeezing or chopping tomatoes finely helps them break down faster.
You can return other ingredients like chicken, vegetables to the pan and bring to a simmer. Cook the sauce until you get the desirable consistency.
What Wine Goes with Chicken Cacciatore?
Adding wine is a simple way to add richness to the dish. Chicken cacciatore is basically chicken thigh cooked in a tomato-based sauce, garlic, pepper, and onion.
In Southern Italy, red wine is the most favored in use, while it’s usually dry white wine that’s preferred in Northern Italy. To name a few:
1. Red Wine
Some wine that can provide the best flavor for this chicken cacciatore recipe: Chianti Classico, Pinot Noir and Lambrusco.
2. White Wine
You can always replace red wine with wine one in its place. Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay are some of our favorites.
One last note: If you opt for wine, keep it in mind that alcohol will always dilute the sauce, so it’s better to be careful on the amount. You know what they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
What Goes with Chicken Cacciatore
There are many ways to customize this recipe to your own preference. Here are a few additions you can make:
The flavor of olives stewed with chicken and vegetables is interesting and irresistible. We prefer kalamata olives, but both black and green olives work beautifully in this recipe.
Cremini mushrooms add a nice texture and an earthy flavor to the sauce. You also can try button mushrooms instead of cremini mushrooms.
Pasta always goes well with Italian dishes, and we recommend spaghetti or fettuccine for this recipe. They can soak up the juices from the sauce and provide a good amount of carb as well.
Some people serve chicken cacciatore over rice instead of pasta, and it’s an ideal alternative. Dipping the spoon of rice in the sauce and taking a bite of succulent chicken, you feel all the goodness of the dish.
How Many Calories in Chicken Cacciatore
Our chicken cacciatore recipe provides 503 calories, including cooked spaghetti. Serving the dish with salad to balance out the creamy flavor and also add a dose of vitamins is a great option.
This chicken cacciatore is a complete meal that is going to satisfy your palate and keep you full until the next meal.
If you are craving some chicken dinner ideas, our chicken piccata is definitely worth a try. It’s simple, tasty and healthy, as with all recipes on our website!
What to Serve with Chicken Cacciatore
Of course, it is indisputable that the blend of garlic, bell peppers and Parmesan cheese support the flavor of this dish beautifully. But, know what else would go well with it? A bed of well-cooked pasta or rice for your cacciatore to rest on. If that’s not your suit – how does creamy mashed potatoes or polenta sound to you?
Some of the quickest and easiest side options are cauliflower rice and steamed vegetables (spinach is typical). Especially if you’re in a hurry for a hearty but tasty meal, all you need is something vegetal – easily chopped, prepped and cooked through.
Veggies are always the best choice to satisfy both the appetite and “healthy” requirement. Today, we recommend serving this chicken cacciatore recipe with watermelon arugula salad and fresh lime juice.
Here are the nutrition facts of the whole meal:
For more delicious chicken recipes, check out our top healthy chicken roundup.
Chicken Cacciatore Recipe
This chicken cacciatore recipe is so simple. Prep, brown, sauté – that's all you'll need to do. Requiring minimal time and effort but is still full of rich flavor, this dish is a delicious way to bring people together.
- cook TIME 30 mins
- prep TIME 20 mins
- total TIME 50 mins
- COURSE Main Course
- CUISINE Italian
- SERVINGS servings
- CALORIES 508 kcal
- 4 skinless chicken thighs
- 0.3 tspsalt
- 0.5 tspground pepper
- 1.5 tspseasoning
- 1 tbspolive oil
- 2 tspgarlic (chopped)
- 2 tbspparsley (chopped)
- 0.5 tspred pepper flakes
- 0.3 fl ozred wine
- 4 ozred bell pepper (cubed)
- 1 tbspbasil
- 2 cupsunsalted chicken broth
- 1.5 tbspunsalted butter
- 2 ozonion (chopped)
- 10 ozmushrooms (sliced)
- 24 oztomatoes
- 2 ozshredded parmesan
- 10.5 ozcooked pasta
- 1 ozHunt's tomato paste
Season chicken thighs with ¼ teaspoon of salt, ¼ teaspoon of pepper, and 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning. Set aside for 10 minutes.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Put in the tomatoes and cook them for 1 minute. Then transfer them into ice water so that they can cool quickly. Use a sharp knife to remove the tomato skins.
In a cast-iron pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Sear the chicken thighs on each side for 10 minutes in total. Set aside.
In the same pan saute crimini mushrooms for about 5 minutes. Remove mushrooms from the pan and set aside.
Add butter to the pan along with onion, tomato paste, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat or until vegetables have softened.
Once the vegetables are cooked, add red wine and cook down for 1 minute. Then add in the tomatoes, 1 oz parmesan, the remaining salt, Italian seasoning, and pepper.
Return the chicken to the pan. Add chicken broth, vegetables, red pepper flakes, and basil. Stir well and simmer for 5 minutes.
Turn the heat off. Sprinkle in the remaining parmesan and parsley. Serve over spaghetti.