Rustic, hearty, and perfect for fall, my Quick and Easy Chicken Cacciatore is bursting with bright colors and fresh flavor!
When the weather cools down, I start to crave hearty, satisfying dishes like soups and stews. Chicken Cacciatore is the quintessential stick-to-your-ribs comfort food.
What is Chicken Cacciatore?
Chicken Cacciatore is a classic Italian dish made with chicken that's braised in a hearty tomato-based sauce. Vegetables like mushrooms and bell peppers are typically added to this rustic stew. Chicken cacciatore can be served with crusty bread, pasta or polenta to soak up all the delicious sauce.
There are an endless number of variations of this classic dish. You can customize it by adding your favorite vegetables and ingredients.
I decided to make a quick and easy version of classic Chicken Cacciatore. Let’s face it, we all need tasty, reliable dinner recipes that we can get on the table fast. Some of my favorite easy chicken dinner recipes are my Marry Me Chicken and Creamy Paprika Chicken.
This quick and easy chicken cacciatore is a family-friendly dish that your kids will love too. You can even get them involved in the prep, washing and chopping the colorful veggies. They'll be more likely to eat if if they help make it! It's a great way to prevent picky eaters.
Chicken cacciatore is typically made with a homemade tomato sauce. However, for my quick and easy version, I decided to take a little help from the store. So I use jarred marinara sauce instead.
I also picked up fresh, colorful vegetables and herbs like bell peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, and basil.
Part of the reason that my Chicken Cacciatore is "quick and easy" is because I use boneless, skinless chicken thighs. The classic dish is made with a bone-in, skin-on chicken that's cut into parts and braised for hours.
By using boneless chicken, you seriously cut down the cooking time. This way, you can enjoy Chicken Cacciatore even on busy weeknights. Using skinless chicken also means less calories and saturated fat, which is an added plus.
First, I sear the chicken in a hot pot. I used my enameled cast-iron braiser but I've also made this dish in my Dutch oven.
Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pot and add your chopped vegetables and herbs.
At this point, I like to add a splash of red wine for rich flavor. However, you can skip it if you prefer. Finally, add the marinara sauce and some chicken stock to the pan and nestle the chicken thighs back into the sauce.
Then, cover the pot and cook until tender. Just before serving, I like to add some fresh basil for a pop of color and flavor.
Chicken and colorful, fresh vegetables braised in a rich, hearty tomato sauce- what’s not to love?
What to serve with chicken cacciatore
Serve this Quick & Easy Chicken Cacciatore with rice, pasta, polenta or mashed potatoes. Try my Mashed Potatoes with Goat Cheese and Caramelized Onions or my Cauliflower Polenta.
You can also serve this crusty bread for dipping like my Pan con Tomate (Spanish Tomato Bread). If you're watching your carbs, make my Cauliflower Cheesy Bread instead. If you're craving pasta, try my Red Pesto Pasta with Eggplant.
More tasty chicken dishes
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Quick and Easy Chicken Cacciatore
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1.75 lbs)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 medium red or yellow bell pepper, sliced (about 1½ cups)
- 1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms
- ¼ cup red wine (optional)
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon capers, drained
- 1 ½ cups jarred marinara sauce
- ½ cup reduced sodium chicken broth
- ½ cup fresh basil, torn
- Heat the oil in large braiser or Dutch oven over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and add them to the pot. Cook until browned, about 4 minutes, then flip and cook another 2-3 minutes on the second side. Remove chicken from pot and place on a plate.
- Add the onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, oregano, bell peppers, and mushrooms to the pot and season them with a pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté 4-5 minutes until softened. Add the wine and cook 2-3 minutes until reduced, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pot.
- Add the oregano, tomatoes, capers, marinara sauce and chicken broth and stir to combine. Nestle the chicken thighs back into the sauce, covering them. Cover the pot and simmer on medium low heat until chicken is cooked through, 8-10 minutes. Uncover and cook another few minutes until sauce thickens. Stir in the basil.
- Serve with pasta, polenta or crusty bread.
Just look at all of those vibrant colors! I love Chicken Cacciatore and this one looks delicious and simple to prepare - my favorite combination!
Hope you have a wonderful weekend, my friend!
Ben Maclain|Havocinthekitchen says
This casserole looks fantastic, Sonali! Perfectly roasted chicken with loads of veggies, mushrooms, and herbs make just the perfect seasonal dish. Pass me a large spoon now, please:)
Made this tonight and it was delicious!!!. My son said this recipe is better than the chicken cacciatore recipe that I had been using. There is still some left over stew and I have some left over turkey from Thanksgiving so I will throw that into the stew for my lunch tomorrow.
A great colorful and simple recipe. Can't wait to try it.
Alisa Fleming says
This is such an unbelievably stunning dish! So healthy, and so doable, too. I've pinned to try it later ... or maybe tonight!
This reminds me of a dish I used to make all the time before I went vegetarian. Now, I would just load it up with double the mushrooms and serve it over rice sans the chicken. The rest of my family, however, would love it just as you wrote it! 🙂
Kelli (The Healthy Toast) says
So pretty!! And I love how easy it sounds! This would be an ideal dinner when hosting family over the holidays.
Kristy from Southern In Law says
This looks amazing! Chicken cacciatore was a dish my Mum always made growing up and one I still love today!
Lindsay Cotter says
This looks so flavorful! What a great dinner for the family!
Brynn at The Domestic Dietitian says
Putting spins on classic dishes are one of my favorites! This looks amazing!
Chrissa - Physical Kitchness says
THIS!!! Totally going to be a family favorite - I can sense it. PINNED and ready to devour!
Seriously Sonali it's only 7 AM and I want to run to my kitchen and make this! It looks so healthy and delicious!
Sonali- The Foodie Physician says
Haha, thanks Laura!
Jessica @ Nutritioulicious says
I'm a huge fan of chicken cacciatore, but my husband isn't so into it for some reason. Maybe if I make your version he'll like it - he likes all your other recipes!! Gorgeous pics as always and I love the new look of the blog (and that there's now a print button on your recipes!!)
Dishes like this are the exact reason why I want some enameled cast iron cookware! The colors are amazing, can't wait to give this recipe a try!
Sonali- The Foodie Physician says
I use my braiser all the time! Thanks for stopping by, Cara!
What a great chicken recipe! I love that you used chicken thighs. Beautiful color too.
Sarah- A Whisk and Two Wands says
This looks so colorful and full of flavor! Trying to think of a sub for the chicken, guess I could try Beyond Meat Chicken Free Chicken, so the whole family could enjoy this dish. It would be perfect Sunday night dinner!
Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary says
I was born and raised in Orlando, so I was giggling at your boots comment! I TOTALLY still rocked boots and scarves in the 'winter' down there! Anyways, now that we live in NC I can really appreciate a cozy meal on a cold evening, and this cacciatore is EVERYTHING!! This is absolutely gorgeous and the flavors are perfect! PLUS I love that it's quick and easy. Just perfection, girlfriend! Cheers!
amanda -runtothefinish says
Yes please to all this flavor!!! I love finding quick recipes that are so healthy, it's a reminder that we can make it any day of the week!
Elizabeth Shaw says
Well well well-- this looks like I may need to whip this up for dinner as soon as MR.CEO gets home! I never really knew you could buy boneless chicken thighs until Mrs. Haas informed me in our book! Looks like those I have in my freezer now have a home in this recipe :). Hope it cools off a little more for you--- we are in the 80s still!
This looks delicious. I always use skinless chicken breasts just because they have less fat than the chicken thighs. My question is would the chicken breasts work as well or would they dry out too much. Do you think this would work in a crock pot. I am always looking for crock pot meals. Either way I plan on making it as soon as I purchase all the ingredients. Thanks in advance for your answer
Yes you can use chicken breast but it does tend to dry out faster because of the lower fat content. I prefer to use thighs, which stay juicier, but I buy the skinless thighs to cut down on calories and fat. If you use breast meat, make sure you cut back on the cooking time or cook the dish in a crock pot as you mentioned. It's actually a great idea- it will help keep the meat moist and make it easier for you to prepare!