Mom’s Easy Chicken Cacciatore (Hunters Style)
Learn how to make my mom’s easy chicken cacciatore! A rustic Italian stew that is full of rich flavor. This recipe is made of tender braised chicken thighs with tomatoes, a medley of fresh herbs, and vibrant aromatics for deep flavor.
From my family to yours!
If you’ve never had chicken cacciatore (also known as Pollo alla cacciatora in Italian), you’ll find that everyone makes it a bit differently, but the ingredients are all very similar! The word cacciatore means “hunter” so the dish is prepared hunter-style. This makes the dish rustic and more flexible to add whatever you like to it.
Traditionally chicken cacciatore (pronounced “chicken catch-a-tori”) is made of braised chicken thighs, tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, and carrots with aromatics (onions, garlic, and herbs). It’s not uncommon to add white or red wine to the stew, but in this recipe, we use chicken broth to make things easy. This recipe is simple Italian cooking at its finest, but the way in which you prepare the dish is where all the flavor comes from!
This hearty Italian chicken recipe originated in central Italy, but this specific recipe is more true to a northern Italian chicken cacciatore. Which uses onions, celery, and carrots for the base of flavor. If you were to make one that is more traditional to southern Italy, you would find ingredients in it such as anchovies, capers, or olives.
Whenever we have a special occasion or even a Sunday dinner as a family, this is the recipe my mom will make. It’s cozy and hearty, and everyone devours it!
Ingredients – What You Need
Below you’ll find the full list of ingredients you need to make this recipe happen!
Chicken thighs: to add deep flavor, and have moist chicken I recommend thighs (boneless and skinless) rather than chicken breast.
Bell pepper: we like to use red bell peppers for sweet flavor.
Celery: to add the perfect flavor to the base!
Carrot: for sweet flavor!
Tomatoes: I recommend crushed for a thicker consistency.
Mushrooms: even if you don’t love mushrooms, don’t skip out on them! They are chopped very small so you can’t even tell and they add tons of flavor.
Onion & garlic: to add lots of flavor to the base!
Tomato paste: to help thicken the stew.
Fresh herbs: for this recipe, we used a blend of rosemary, sage, and basil. Fresh is best for flavor!
Red pepper flakes: for a little spice – nothing too intense!
Broth: instead of white or red wine, we use chicken broth or vegetable broth.
How to Make Chicken Cacciatore
Step 1 – First, brown the chicken thighs in oil for about 3-4 minutes on both sides.
Step 2 – Remove the chicken, and in the same pan saute the onions for 3 minutes with a pinch of salt. Then add diced peppers, celery, carrots, mushrooms, and garlic and cook for 4-5 minutes with an additional pinch of salt.
Steps 3 & 4 – Add the chicken broth, half the can of tomatoes, tomato paste, red pepper flakes, sage, rosemary, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt & black pepper. Stir in the ingredients and use the bottom of a wooden spoon to deglaze the pan and get the bits up from the bottom. Add the chicken thighs and top with the rest of the tomatoes. Cover and bake at 350F for 45 minutes, then uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and top with chopped fresh basil – serve!
Tips for Success
Additional ingredients you can add – a lot of chicken cacciatore recipes also use anchovies, capers, and olives for flavor! You can also use a splash of red or white wine too. And for additional herbs, we also love to use oregano!
Types of canned tomatoes you can use – this recipe calls for canned tomatoes, preferably crushed or whole tomatoes. If using whole tomatoes you can use your hands to break them up or cut them with a knife into smaller pieces.
Cuts of chicken that are best – for this specific dish, you want to use darker meat like chicken thighs or legs. This dish bakes longer in the oven and if you were to use chicken breasts or cutlets they would end up dry and not as tender. I recommend using skinless chicken thighs but you can do bone-in for more flavor, or leave the bone out.
How to Freeze Leftovers & Freeze
Keeping leftovers fresh: the best way is to let the chicken completely cool, then refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days.
Freezing chicken cacciatore: let the chicken cool completely, then store the chicken and the sauce in a freezer-friendly bag. Remove all the air and seal tight, then freeze for 1-2 months.
How to reheat after freezing: when you’re ready to reheat the recipe again after freezing, let it thaw completely (either in a bowl of cold water or at room temperature). Place the chicken and sauce in a baking dish, covered, then bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes.
What to Serve it With
We love serving chicken cacciatore with pasta and fresh parmesan cheese! Our favorite type of pasta is farfalle, but you can also use penne, small shells, orecchiette, or rotini. To make it healthier we serve it with whole wheat pasta, but you can also use your favorite gluten-free pasta too!
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Learn how to make my mom's easy chicken cacciatore! A rustic Italian stew that is full of rich flavor. This recipe is made of tender braised chicken thighs with tomatoes, a medley of fresh herbs, and vibrant aromatics for deep flavor.
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 6 skinless chicken thighs
- 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes with the juices
- 2 Tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 pint white mushrooms, cleaned and diced very small
- 2 red bell peppers, diced small
- 1 celery stalk, diced
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 1/2 cup chicken broth, low sodium
- 1 teaspoon (each) fresh rosemary and sage, chopped
- 1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
- 1/4 teasoon (each) salt & black pepper plus more for seasoning
Brown the chicken: sprinkle a pinch of salt & black pepper over both sides of the chicken thighs. Then lay them in a medium-hot skillet pan with oil and brown for 3-4 minutes on each side. Then remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside.
Saute vegetables: in the same pan as the chicken, add the diced onions with a pinch of salt and cook for about 3 minutes. Then add chopped celery, carrot, mushrooms, pepper, and garlic with an additional pinch of salt and cook for about 4-5 minutes until the vegetables have softened.
Add broth: then add to the cooked vegetables half the can of tomatoes, chicken broth, tomato paste, red pepper flakes, rosemary & sage, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt & black pepper. Stir the ingredients together and use a wooden spoon to deglaze the bottom of the pan, removing any bits from the bottom that will add flavor.
Add the chicken and bake: add the chicken thighs back to the dish and pour the remaining tomatoes over top of the chicken with some black pepper sprinkled over top. Cover and bake at 350F for 45 minutes, then uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven, and sprinkle chopped fresh basil over top then serve!