Classic Chicken Cacciatore

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This dish is so comforting and comes together beautifully in one pot.

“Cacciatore” means “hunter” or “hunter’s style” and it always makes me think of something you would serve a group of hungry souls coming in from a long day’s work and in need of something hearty and comforting. This recipe fits that bill perfectly. Serve with pasta, polenta, rice, or mashed potatoes. Be sure to have plenty of bread to sop up that amazing sauce!

An overhead view of a large silver skillet filled with chicken cacciatore consisting of six seared chicken thighs in a thick tomato sauce.

How To Make Classic Chicken Cacciatore


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The Ingredients You Will Need

The components of this classic dish are very straight-forward easy to find. Here’s what you’ll need to have on hand:

Chicken – We love making this dish with skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs. However, you can go with an entire cut-up chicken, boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts. You’ll just need to adjust the cooking time.
Oil – Olive oil is best, but extra-virgin olive oil or vegetable oil will work, too.
Seasonings – Salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
Onion – Cut it into slivers. The onion will cook down significantly.
Garlic – Minced.
Mushrooms – Sliced white button mushrooms are perfect, but you could go with any variety. Wild mushrooms, such as shiitake, portabella, or crimini are all excellent options.
White wine – A decent dry variety, such as Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc are excellent choices. If you prefer to not cook with wine, simply omit it.
Tomatoes – Whole San Marzano are highly recommended. Look for “Certified” printed on the can. Break the tomatoes up with your hands as you add them to the skillet.
Fresh herbs – Thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves.

EXPERT TIP: A non-stick skillet is ideal for searing the chicken thighs. Don’t worry if some of the skin sticks to the skillet. This is normal. Use your tongs to move the thighs around in the oil often. This will help keep the chicken from sticking to the skillet.

A close-up view of six chicken thighs with crispy skins being seared in a silver skillet in a thin layer of oil.

Tips for Making Perfect Chicken Cacciatore

Sear the Chicken – Start by searing the chicken pieces in a hot skillet with some olive oil. This will help to develop a rich, deep flavor and create a delicious golden-brown crust on the chicken.

Sauté the Vegetables Until Reduced and Very Tender – You’ll almost want to caramelize the onions. They should completely cook down and the mushrooms should be extremely tender. This concentrates the flavors and makes a deeply flavorful sauce.

Use Fresh Herbs – Simmering the sauce with fresh thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves will infuse the dish with a robust and earthy flavor. Don’t overdo it with the rosemary, however. One sprig is all that’s needed.

Simmer for Optimal Tenderness – After adding the chicken back to the skillet with the sauce, allow the dish to simmer gently over low heat. This slow cooking process will help the chicken become tender and allow the flavors to meld together.

EXPERT TIP: Once the mushrooms are soft and beginning to release their liquid is the time to add the wine. Use a wooden spatula to scrape up bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. This is called de-glazing the pan and it adds a major depth of flavor to the dish.

A person pouring white wine from a small carafe into a large silver skillet filled with sautéed onion slivers and sliced mushrooms.

How To Serve

We love to serve this dish family-style straight from the skillet. But, for a beautiful presentation, you could place the chicken pieces on a platter and then pour the sauce into a bowl with a serving spoon or gravy bowl.

This dish is wonderful and filling on its own, but it is also spectacular when served over a bed of pasta, polenta, steamed rice, or even mashed potatoes.

And probably the most important addition to this flavorful dish is bread. Soaking up that sauce with homemade bread is truly heavenly.

EXPERT TIP: You won’t fully cook the chicken pieces when searing them. They will finish cooking in the sauce. You’ll want to internal temperature to reach 165°F. An instant-read digital thermometer will make this very easy.

A metal pair of tongs being used to nestle a seared chicken thigh into a skillet filled with a simmering tomato sauce and several other chicken thighs.

Other Amazing Italian Recipes with Chicken

If you’re like us, you’re always looking a new (and delicious) recipe that includes chicken. Here are some Italian recipes that include that beloved protein that is not only easy to prepare, but also incredibly scrumptious:

Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Breasts with Vodka Sauce
Baked Teriyaki Chicken
Chicken Francese
Classic Chicken Parmesan
Chicken Marsala
Creamy Tuscan Chicken
Caprese-Stuffed Chicken
Tuscan Chicken with White Beans and Spinach
Pesto-Stuffed Chicken with Tomato Relish
Chicken Piccata
Creamy Chicken Florentine
Shells Stuffed with Chicken Sausage

These are all classic in their own way, without a doubt, but, in the meantime, isn’t this dish calling your name? Just look at that sauce!

A large silver spoon being used to transfer a tomato, onion, and mushroom sauce onto seared chicken in a bowl.

If you’re looking for a wonderful weeknight meal that will fill the family with good wholesome yumminess, and do it without a lot of fuss, then you need to give this classic recipe a try.

It has become a standard in our house, and because we are constantly developing new recipes and don’t often get the chance to repeat a recipe, that is really saying something.

It is just so good and just so comforting.

A straight-on view of a vintage individual bowl filled with a helping of chicken cacciatore and sitting next to a stemless glass of white wine.

Ready to make the best chicken dinner in town? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo of it, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!

An overhead view of a large silver skillet filled with chicken cacciatore consisting of six seared chicken thighs in a thick tomato sauce.

Classic Chicken Cacciatore

This Classic Chicken Cacciatore recipe is Italian comfort at its very best. Perfect for a busy weeknight as it all comes together in one pot. Use a whole cut-up chicken, or use your favorite types of chicken pieces. Bone-in and skin-on enhance the flavor and texture of this wonderful dish, but boneless thighs and/or breasts will work, too.
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Italian, Italian / American
Keyword: Cacciatore, how to make chicken cacciatore
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 514kcal



  • 2 tbsp olive oil plus extra for brushing chicken
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 6 chicken thighs bone-in, skin on
  • 1 medium onion thinly sliced
  • 8 oz. white button mushrooms sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes preferably San Marzano
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary


  • Brush oil all over the chicken pieces and then with salt and pepper.
    2 tbsp olive oil, Kosher salt and black pepper, 6 chicken thighs
  • Heat the oil (2 tbsp) in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the chicken to the skillet in a single layer, skin side down, and lower the heat to medium and sauté for about 8 minutes, until they have browned nicely on the bottoms. Use a pair of tongs to move the chicken around somewhat in the skillet. This will help to keep the chicken from sticking to the skillet (it's normal that it will stick some).
  • Flip the chicken pieces and sauté for another 8 minutes.
  • Transfer the chicken to a rimmed baking sheet, or platter, and set aside.
  • In the same skillet, add the onions and cook until they have softened, about 5 to 7 minutes.
    1 medium onion
  • Add garlic and mushrooms and cook over medium-high heat, until the mushrooms are releasing their liquid and becoming slightly browned on the edges.
    8 oz. white button mushrooms, 6 cloves garlic cloves
  • Pour in the white wine and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.
    1 cup dry white wine
  • Squeeze the whole tomatoes with your hands into the skillet. Add the liquid from the tomatoes and the chicken broth. Stir in 1¼ tsp salt and ½ tsp black pepper. If desired, stir in ½ tsp red pepper flakes.
    1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, ½ cup chicken broth, ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • Nestle the chicken pieces along with any accumulated juices into the simmering sauce and then nestle in the bay leaves, thyme, and rosemary.
    2 bay leaves, 3 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • Turn the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest for a few minutes.
  • Plate chicken pieces with sauce poured over the top.  


See the video near the top of the blog post for visual guidance. If you liked the video, please subscribe to our YouTube channel. 
If using boneless (and skinless) chicken thighs or breasts, you won't get the crispiness with the skin, but, still sear in the skillet. It will brown slightly. After the searing step, the chicken won't be fully cooked yet. It will reach the correct internal temperature of 165°F after simmering in the sauce. An instant-read thermometer ensures the chicken is fully cooked.  If you are using skinless chicken pieces, you may need to add another 1 tbsp of oil to the skillet before you add the onion and mushrooms. 
The sauce is amazing served over pasta, rice, polenta, or mashed potatoes.
Leftovers will keep covered in the fridge for up to 5 days and can be frozen for 2 to 3 months. 


Calories: 514kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 167mg | Sodium: 247mg | Potassium: 635mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 139IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe? Take a Picture!Mention @HowToFeedALoon or tag #HowToFeedALoon!

POST UPDATE: This was originally published in April 2018, but was updated with improved tweaks to the recipe with new tips and photography and a fabulous new video in March 2024!


  • 5 stars
    Excellent, delicious flavor. I added two ingredients only because I really like them in this dish, red bell pepper and two tablespoons of capers. A definite make again.

    • Hi Norma! Woo hoo!! So glad you had such great success with the cacciatore recipe! We love that dish so much! Thank you for letting us know and as always, we appreciate that wonderful review so very much!!! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    Hi Kris and Wesley! Another great recipe following the best ever tomato basil soup. This chicken was super amazing and the flavors were married just correctly. I have always taken the gross skin off because it made a rubbery mess. I gave it a little extra sear and kept it above the sauce as you suggested in another comment. It turned out wonderful looking even though I wouldn’t eat it in a million years. I think the skin just makes juicer chicken. I’m starting to just search your recipes now when I’m in the mood to try another recipe. I finally am making the brownies next weekend. Pretty soon I will need Weight Watchers! Thank you for sharing such amazing recipes. I really missed the video on this recipe though

    • 5 stars
      I have to make a confession. My husband asked me to make this again because it was so good. This time I had to use shallots because I didn’t have any onions and guess what else???? I had no cremini or white mushrooms! I soaked my absolute favorite dried porcini mushrooms for 20 minutes that I always have 10 bags on hand. I actually used the 1/2 cup of that most tasty mushroom stock in the sauce. Oh my porcini loving goodness. Try it! I never ever change a recipe and rate it. That is horrible. I was so sad that I was out of two of the ingredients. So I gave my initial review of it first. I for sure need to search for Weight Watcher meetings now.

      • Hi Diane! LOL!! Sounds like you adapted perfectly! And 1000% YES to porcini mushrooms and that amazing mushroom stock! Yum!! Thank you so much for letting us know how it worked out for you and for the wonderful review!! That means the world to us! We hear you about WW!! It’s a struggle, but a yummy one!! Ha! Please stay in touch! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • hi!! Question about the skin….i see you leave it on. Anytime I leave the skin on the chicken in a recipe, its just ends up being a rubbery, greasy mess. How do you prevent this? Can I leave the skin off?

    • Hi Jenna!! We totally know what you mean about the gross rubbery skin!! The skin is awesome, but only if it’s nice and crisp. If you get a really good sear on the skin in your hot skillet first, that will crisp it up perfectly. Then, once you nestle the chicken pieces into the sauce, make sure the skin is on the top, and not submerged in the sauce. This will keep the skin crisp, and will ensure the chicken get cooked all-the-way through. Of course, you can go with skinless, which usually is boneless, too. If you go that route, reduce the cook time by about 10 to 15 minutes. Internal temp should be 165°F. Hope this helps. Let us know if you have any other questions, and when you make this…let us know how it turns out! We love this dish so much!! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • Amazing! That was the first thing my wife said after her first bite. We kept smiling the whole time we were enjoying this crazy good meal. I can’t wait try more of your of your fabulous recipes. You guys rock!


    Rickie Lee

    • Hi Rickie Lee!! THANK YOU so much for letting us know! And we couldn’t be more thrilled that you and your wife loved this cacciatore! It’s one of our favs, for sure!! Please stay in touch and let us know if you make more recipes!! xoxo Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    Once again another outstanding recipe. Absolutely delicious. The flavors meld together beautifully. My husband asked me if this was a new recipe. I said yes. He said this is by far the best one. Make this one from now on. He said he loved the way the flavors blended together. He said it usually tastes like the vegetables are separate from the chicken. He said in this one everything went together. You must understand that the other recipes I’ve made are from highly regarded Italian chefs. This was by far the best! Thank you so much.

    • Wow! Thank you, Michelle!! That means so, so much to us. And so glad your hubby was impressed. I agree that the slow simmering really blends the vegetables and herbs beautifully. This really is one of our favorites. You are so wonderful for letting us know and sharing such kind words. xoxoxo All the best, Kris & Wesley.

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