Many years ago, in the Tuscany countryside, among hills lush with olive trees, women from small villages used to go hunting for wild chickens on horseback or by bicycle. This tradition, which involved the mothers and firstborn daughters of Tuscan families, was a real ritual, during which they could spend time together in the open air in search of fresh meat to take home.

During the chicken-hunting outings, the women would gather olives from the wonderful trees found in the hunting areas. They’d also get carrots, zucchini, onions, and herbs from the farmers they met along the way, in exchange for part of the hunting proceeds.

Easy Chicken Cacciatore Article

Therefore, chicken alla cacciatore is truly the epitome of traditional Mediterranean cuisine. The juicy chicken meat is enveloped in the fragrance of olive oil, the sweetness of carrots, and the contrast of onions. The onions crisp up and — when cooked just right — make the dish delicious and easy to prepare. The ingredients, which can be easily found in supermarkets, are genuine and able to give a unique flavor to this easy chicken cacciatore recipe.

Many families, to make the dish more flavorful and creamy, add tomato sauce obtained by picking juicy fresh tomatoes in the countryside and cooking them for a very long time. Today, to speed up the process, it is sufficient to add ready-made tomato puree. This will not adversely affect the flavor of the recipe; it will still be extremely good and suitable for the whole family. In fact, when the chicken cooks in the tomato sauce it becomes very tender, so it can be consumed easily even by very young children.

I hope you enjoy what I think is the quickest, easiest, and best chicken cacciatore recipe.

Notes

  • For this recipe, it is better to use boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into pieces. In fact, this size allows the meat to blend very well with all the ingredients in the recipe. If you have other cuts of chicken (like skinless chicken thighs), you can use them for the recipe. It will still be delicious!
  • If you love garlic, I recommend frying the onion with one tablespoon of minced garlic (about three minced garlic cloves).
  • Another way to add flavor is to add half a cup of red wine when you add the vegetables. This is a common addition to chicken cacciatore recipes. Another option is to use two tablespoons of sherry or red wine vinegar.
  • Finally, many chicken cacciatore dishes include two tablespoons of capers for a little salty touch. You can add them with the salt and pepper.
  • If you want to add more vegetables besides carrot and zucchini, add one diced bell pepper (either a red bell pepper or green bell pepper), one diced celery stalk, and/or one cup of sliced mushrooms.
  • Now, you can use one cup of chopped fresh parsley. Or you can mix and match it with some other fresh herbs. This includes a few sprigs of fresh thyme or fresh rosemary, chopped fresh basil leaves, or fresh sage leaves.
  • If you want to bring the heat, add half a teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes (or add according to taste) when you add the salt and pepper.

FAQs

What is traditionally served with chicken cacciatore?

Serve chicken cacciatore with any of these side dishes:

What is a cacciatore sauce made of?​​

Cacciatore means “hunter” in Italian and alla cacciatore means “hunter-style” meal. So traditionally, tender fresh chicken (or rabbit) was braised in cacciatore sauce. This is traditionally made with tomatoes, onion, fresh herbs, vegetables, and usually some wine or vinegar.

What is the difference between chicken cacciatore and chicken chasseur?

Chicken chasseur is basically the French version of chicken cacciatore. Both versions include a tomato sauce, but the French also add some tarragon for additional flavor.

How do you thicken a cacciatore sauce?

If you ever need to thicken a cacciatore sauce, use a cornstarch slurry. This works for any soups or stews. Simply combine one tablespoon of cornstarch with one tablespoon of water. Add it to the sauce and stir well. Continue with this ratio until the sauce reaches your desired consistency.

Another way to thicken chicken cacciatore is to stir in one to two tablespoons of tomato paste while it simmers.

What kind of olives do you put in chicken cacciatore?

You want to use black olives in your easy chicken cacciatore recipe, like Kalamata olives.

What wine is best for chicken cacciatore?

Light red wines help balance out the acidity of the tomato sauce. So opt for something like pinot noir, zinfandel, Lambrusco, Chianti Classico, or grenache with this easy recipe for chicken cacciatore.

Is chicken cacciatore better with red or white wine?

Red wine is better with chicken cacciatore than white wine.

Is this recipe gluten-free?

Yes, this simple chicken cacciatore recipe is naturally gluten-free. Just make you serve it with gluten-free bread or one of the gluten-free sides mentioned above.

Can you make this easy chicken cacciatore recipe ahead of time?

Yes, you can make this chicken cacciatore up to two days in advance. In fact, it often tastes even better the next day. If making ahead, let it cool completely, then cover it or place it in an airtight container in the fridge. Then when it’s time to serve, reheat it on medium-low heat on the stovetop until heated through.

How long does this dish last in the refrigerator?

Leftover chicken cacciatore will last in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. Reheat leftovers in the microwave.

You can also freeze leftovers in a freezer-safe container or freezer bag for up to three months. Thaw them in the fridge overnight before reheating them in the microwave.

Easy Chicken Cacciatore Article

Easy Chicken Cacciatore

4.16 from 25 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4
Calories 366 kcal

Ingredients
  

For the Cacciatore

  • 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 cups canned tomato sauce
  • cup black olives
  • 14 ounces boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into small pieces
  • 2 zucchini, peeled and cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder

For Serving

  • Fresh parsley sprigs
  • Sliced bread
  • Olive oil

Instructions
 

  • For the cacciatore, heat the olive oil in a frying pan on the stove over medium heat. Add the onion and cook it for 5 minutes, until it becomes golden brown.
  • Add the tomato sauce and mix it in with a wooden spoon (the onion should be completely covered).
  • Stir in the olives.
  • Add the chicken and stir the whole mixture so that the ingredients are mixed well.
  • Cook the mixture over medium heat for 5 minutes, then add the carrots and zucchini. Mix everything well and cover the pan with a lid.
  • Cook the mixture for 10 minutes, checking halfway through to make sure there’s enough liquid in the bottom of the pan and the mixture isn’t burning. The mixture will be very smooth, with the tomato having become creamy, and the chicken will be cooked (165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer). At this point, reduce the heat to low and add the parsley, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  • Cook the mixture, uncovered, over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, to allow the seasonings to blend.
  • Serve the cacciatore hot, topped with the parsley sprigs. Best enjoyed with bread and olive oil.

Nutrition

Calories: 366kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 25gFat: 23gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 64mgSodium: 1211mgPotassium: 1265mgFiber: 5gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 9708IUVitamin C: 52mgCalcium: 87mgIron: 3mg
Have you tried this recipe? Tell us about it!Click here to rate this recipe in the comments section below.
About the Author: Antonello Mortilla
Antonello is a recipe developer from Italy and believes living a “good life” means rejoicing in the little things every moment and every day: your daughter's smile, cooking a meal for your wife, hugging your parents, sharing a slice of chocolate cake and a good cup of coffee with your best friend.
Mediterranean Living

Our Newsletter

Get seasonal recipe ideas as well as special offers on our online programs, live webinars and video releases. Sent once a week.