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Stovetop Chicken Cacciatore

4.75 from 4 votes

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One-hour, pan-braised chicken cacciatore — fork-tender chicken in a thick, savory tomato sauce with chunky mushrooms, bell peppers and rosemary. Serve this classic chicken dish with a side of sauteed broccoli. Don’t forget pasta or polenta to capture every drop of the sauce!

Cooked chicken thighs and tomato sauce in a braising pan, with mushrooms, rosemary sprigs and serving fork.
Fork-tender chicken thighs in a tasty sauce with mushrooms, bell peppers and tomato.

Cozy and satisfying chicken cacciatore slow-cooks to perfection in under an hour, without a lot of fuss. This incredible Italian-style chicken recipe cooks entirely on the stovetop, in one skillet.

My Italian grandmother cooked her own version of this rustic dish, usually with rabbit and real, foraged wild mushrooms (that I was afraid to eat). She simmered it for hours and hours, until the sauce was deep, dark red and the meat was beyond fork tender.

What to know about chicken cacciatore

  • The word “cacciatore” (pronounced KA-CHA-TOR-EH) literally means “cooked in the hunter’s way in Italian.
  • It’s a rustic dish that was common in traditional Italian households, where there was always a hunter or two.
  • Like many Italian recipes, it tends to vary depending on the individual cook and the region.
Raw chicken thighs, red bell pepper, portobello mushrooms, shallots, salt and pepper and a jar of tomato paste in a pan.

About the ingredients

  • Chicken thighs: For the best flavor, I recommend bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or a combination of chicken legs and thighs. You can also use boneless, skinless chicken thighs, in which case the cooking time will be slightly shorter (see the recipe notes). Chicken breasts or a whole cut-up chicken are great in this recipe, but keep in mind the breasts will take less time to cook than the dark meat.
  • Mushrooms: Portobello mushrooms or cremini mushrooms are readily available. White button mushrooms will work in a pinch (although they are somewhat milder in flavor).
  • Red bell peppers: I always prefer red (or orange) peppers instead of green bell peppers — they’re much sweeter and less bitter-tasting.
  • Shallot: The flavor of shallots cooked with chicken is fantastic. A basic yellow onion works just as well if you don’t have shallots.
  • Rosemary: For some reason, the word cacciatore makes me think of a dense forest on a fall day. Fresh rosemary captures that feeling, and of course, it has a wonderful piney scent and flavor. Use half the amount of another aromatic dried herb such as oregano or thyme.
  • Garlic: One or two fat fresh cloves, enough to make about 1 tablespoon, finely sliced. Use more if you love garlic!
  • Balsamic vinegar: I like to use a good aged balsamic vinegar in the sauce because it’s an all-in-one ingredient that adds sweetness and tanginess at the same time. You can also use the same amount of dry white wine or red wine, such as pinot grigio or pinot noir.
  • All purpose or gluten-free flour blend: You need a tablespoon of flour for dredging the chicken pieces. It helps crisp the skin and adds body to the sauce.
  • Chicken broth: Look for a low-sodium broth, or use vegetable broth if you prefer.
Sliced mushrooms, shallots, bell peppers, garlic, rosemary and a small dish of olive oil prepped on a sheet pan.
Prepped vegetables for chicken cacciatore.

Cooking chicken cacciatore on the stovetop

Equipment: For the best results, choose a large saute pan (rather than a deep Dutch oven) for cooking the chicken. The wider surface area is best for sauteeing the chicken, and the sauce will thicken more quickly. I love my cast iron braising pan for this!

Storage tips

  • Prepared, refrigerated chicken cacciatore tastes delicious up to 3-5 days later.
  • Freeze portions in sturdy, leakproof containers up to 1 month. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator, or use the defrost function in a microwave.
  • Reheat on the stovetop: Put the chicken and sauce in a skillet or large saucepan. Cover the pan and place over medium heat about 15 minutes, or until heated through.

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Cooked chicken thighs and tomato sauce in a braising pan, with mushrooms, rosemary sprigs and serving fork.

Stovetop Chicken Cacciatore

Karen Tedesco
One-hour pan-braised chicken cacciatore — fork-tender chicken in a thick, savory tomato sauce with chunky mushrooms, bell peppers and rosemary. Serve this classic chicken dish with a side of sauteed broccoli. Don't forget pasta or polenta to capture every drop of the sauce!
Print Pin
4.75 from 4 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Chicken
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds bone-in chicken thighs (6-8 pieces)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour or all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 shallots, halved lengthwise and sliced (½ cup)
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped into 2-inch pieces
  • ½ pound cremini or small portobello mushrooms, sliced ½-inch thick
  • 1 tablespoon sliced garlic
  • cup tomato paste
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar, or use a dry red or white wine like pinot noir or pinot grigio
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary, or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • ¾ cup chicken broth

Instructions 

  • Pat the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel. Season generously on both sides with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the flour on both sides, patting off any excess.
  • Pour the oil into a large (12-inch) saute or braising pan and place over medium-high heat for a minute or two. When the oil begins to shimmer, arrange the chicken in the pan, skin-side down.
  • Cook the chicken until the skin is golden brown, 6-8 minutes. Turn the pieces over and cook another 2 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate.
  • Stir the shallots and bell pepper into the fat in the pan. Cook 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened. Add the mushrooms and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until the mushrooms begin to release their liquid, 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon of the rosemary to the pan. Cook one minute, stirring to disperse the tomato paste into the cooking oil. Arrange the chicken pieces skin side up over the vegetables. Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a simmer.
  • Cover the pan and cook 25 minutes. Adjust the heat as needed to maintain a slow bubble without boiling. Turn the chicken over and cook, uncovered, 10 more minutes. The chicken should be very tender when prodded with a fork.
  • Taste the sauce for seasoning, adding more salt if needed. Sprinkle the chicken with the remaining tablespoon chopped rosemary and serve.

Karen’s Notes and Tips

  • If substituting boneless, skinless chicken thighs, reduce the covered cooking time to 15 minutes, and proceed with 10 minutes cooking, uncovered.
  • Prepared, refrigerated chicken cacciatore tastes delicious up to 3-5 days later.
  • Freeze portions in sturdy, leakproof containers up to 1 month. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator, or use the defrost function in a microwave.
  • Reheat on the stovetop: Cover the pan and place over medium heat about 15 minutes, or until heated through.

Nutrition

Calories: 552kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Sodium: 381mg | Potassium: 778mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1014IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 2mg
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Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about making cooking fun and doable, with easy to follow tested recipes and incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

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One Comment

  1. 4 stars
    I found the recipe to be very tasty and easy to make. My husband and I follow Weight Watchers, so I substituted chicken breast for the thighs. I also reduced the amount of olive oil to 1 Tbs and used olive oil spray to save on points.