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Chicken Cacciatore

May 5, 2023

Chicken thighs get meltingly tender thanks to a simmer in tomatoes, red wine, garlic and olives in this classic Italian chicken cacciatore recipe.


homemade chicken cacciatore recipe in a while pot with olives and tomatoes.

A Classic, Hearty Chicken Cacciatore

Break out your red checkered tablecloth, light some drippy candles and pour some good red wine—it’s time to feast like you’re at your favorite Italian restaurant (except you’ll be even more comfortable, because you’re at home in your soft pants). Shallots, garlic, red wine, tomatoes, olives and peppers swirl together to make an ultra-savory braising liquid for tender chicken thighs in this classic Italian dish. It’s a winter (or fall) warmer that we grew up eating and never get tired of. Grab some crusty bread to sop up all of those gorgeous juices, and let’s get cooking.

Chicken Cacciatore in a braiser with shallots, olives, bell peppers, basil and parmesan

What Is Chicken Cacciatore?

And what does cacciatore mean? Chicken cacciatore originated in Italy, and is called chicken alla cacciatora, meaning “hunter-style chicken,” and was alternatively often made with rabbit. Marcella Hazan—we always, always turn to Marcella when we need to know the history of an Italian recipe—writes that because “there has always been a hunter in nearly every Italian household, every Italian cook prepares a dish with a claim to that description” chicken cacciatore can be prepared in a number of ways. But, it always involves tomatoes, onions, and other vegetables. Check, check and check! Sounds like even Marcella would consider our version of chicken cacciatore to be authentic, and that’s good enough for us.

ingredients for homemade chicken cacciatore, bone-in chicken thighs, crushed tomatoes, black olives, sliced mushrooms, garlic

Ingredients For The Very Best Chicken Cacciatore Recipe

You’ll notice that we’ve listed some of these ingredients as optional. In line with the Marcella Hazan quote above, this is a forgiving dish that’s meant to be made however *you* want to make it. Make it your own! Mold it to suit the tastes of your home. There’s no wrong way. What could be more inviting than that? Here’s everything you’ll need to make chicken cacciatore:

  • Chicken thighs. We’re calling for bone-in, skin-on thighs for this recipe.

  • Red bell pepper

  • Shallots

  • Crimini mushrooms

  • Garlic

  • Chicken stock

  • Red wine. We like to use something light, like Pinot Noir.

  • Italian seasoning

  • Canned crushed tomatoes

    As for those optional ingredients we mentioned, they are:

  • Black olives, optional

  • Red pepper flakes

  • Fresh basil

  • Parmesan

  • Flour

bone in skin on chicken thighs on parchment paper next to a plate of flour for chicken cacciatore
browned chicken thighs in a braiser
thinly slice shallots and bell peppers with mushrooms and garlic in a braiser pan
thinly slice shallots and bell peppers with mushrooms and garlic in a braiser pan with red wine and broth

How to Make Chicken Cacciatore

  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.

  2. *Optional step!* Dredge the chicken in flour.

  3. Brown the chicken to get a nice crisp on the skin, and set it aside.

  4. Sauté the bell pepper, shallots and mushrooms for a bit, then add the garlic.

  5. Pour in the stock, red wine (some recipes call for white wine) and Italian herbs. If there’s any browned bits left on the bottom of the pan from cooking the chicken and veg, use your spoon to scrape them up and stir into the liquid to add flavor to your sauce. Add the chicken, and bring the whole thing to a good simmer. Reduce the liquid by about half.

  6. In go the tomatoes and olives to make your tomato sauce. Simmer the whole pot until the internal temperature of the chicken thighs registers 165°F on an instant read thermometer.

  7. *Optional step!* Garnish with fresh basil and optional parmesan cheese before serving.

  8. *Not-optional step!* Mangia! That means eat up!

  9. If you have leftovers, and that’s a big *if*, you can reheat in the oven or microwave until warmed through.

homemade chicken cacciatore in a braiser
Chicken Cacciatore in a braiser with shallots and bell peppers
Chicken Cacciatore in a braiser with shallots, bell peppers and black olives
the best chicken Cacciatore in a braiser with shallots, olives and bell peppers

What to Serve With Chicken Cacciatore

Clearly, this is a hearty meal as-it, maybe served with just a basic green salad. But if you’re serving it to company—or just to a household with big appetites—you’ll want to add a few sides. Here are a few things we love to serve with chicken cacciatore:

Some More Of Our Favorite One-Pot Chicken Recipes

Once you one-pot, you can’t stop!

Chicken Cacciatore in a braiser with shallots, olives, bell peppers, basil and parmesan
the best chicken cacciatore in a braiser with shallots, olives, bell peppers, basil and parmesan
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Chicken Cacciatore

  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time:  20 min
  • Cook Time:  45 min
  • Calories: 707


  • ⅓ cup flour (see Note)
  • 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, fat trimmed
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 shallots, cut into ½-inch slices
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, ends trimmed, sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or roughly chopped
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup red wine (we like Pinot Noir)
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 (14-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (6-ounce) can black olives, drained (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Minced fresh basil (optional)
  • Grated Parmesan (optional)


  1. Add the flour to a shallow bowl. Pat the chicken dry. Season all over with the salt and pepper. Dip each chicken thigh into the flour, turning to coat.

  2. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or braiser over medium-high heat. Once the oil is glistening, add the chicken skin-sides down and cook, undisturbed, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

  3. Add the bell pepper, shallot, and mushrooms to the pan and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, or until the onions begin to soften. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute more.

  4. Add the chicken stock, wine, and Italian seasoning and stir to combine. Nestle in the chicken thighs and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the liquid reduces by half, about 7 minutes.

  5. Stir in the crushed tomatoes and olives, if using, and simmer 20-25 minutes longer, or until the sauce has thickened and the internal temperature at the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165°F on an instant-read thermometer .

  6. Top with basil and parmesan, if using, and serve.

Note: If you want, you can skip dredging with flour in step one. The chicken will brown a little slower, about 6 minutes on each side and the sauce will be slightly less thick.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories707
  • Protein35 g
  • Carbohydrates29 g
  • Total Fat46 g
  • Dietary Fiber4 g
  • Cholesterol166 mg
  • sodium502 mg
  • Total Sugars6 g

Chicken Cacciatore

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Cynthia

    If I’m having this as a simple home entertaining dish, can I cook it sat mid afternoon and warm it up later? Also what sides do I serve this with? Thanks.

    I think it will taste best made just before serving, but will still taste lovely if cooked ahead and warmed up. I would serve with some roasted vegetables or a simple salad.

  • Avi

    I use tofu instead of mushrooms

    Nice, hope you enjoyed!

  • Julie

    Can the left overs be frozen


  • Kristin

    My husband, bless his soul, is not a dark chicken meat eater. If I use both chicken thighs and chicken breasts (cut to be about the same size as the thighs), will one type of chicken be overdone in order to cook the other properly?

    Yes, they cook differently, we wouldn't recommend cooking them together.

  • Anna


    It should be ok Anna, sometimes chicken can get a bit dried out when reheating so just careful not to reheat for too long. Enjoy!

  • Nancy

    This recipe just always works! It's a bit of effort but consistently has the best sauce ever and the chicken is moist. Soooo good!

    Thanks Nancy, so happy you loved it!

  • Steph

    Yum! Omitted tomato and doubled chicken stock

    Thanks Steph! Glad you loved it!

  • K

    This was simple, delicious, and filling! Everyone liked it... my older son called it Pizza Stew. He's not wrong!

    We are so glad everyone enjoyed this, thanks os much for trying it out!

  • Debra

    I loved this chicken cacciatore recipe for the addition of black olives and the use of red wine over white. The chicken thighs were "meltingly tender" as promised. Great taste; great texture.

    Thanks Debra! We are so happy you loved it!

  • Jenn

    The whole family loved this! This is going into our rotation.

    Thanks Jenn, we are so glad you loved it!