This Chicken Cacciatore Dutch Oven Recipe is a classic Italian dish that just always sounds good. Lucky for you I’m sharing my best recipe for this delicious meal so you can make it at home too!
One of my favorites is tender, melt-in-your-mouth braised chicken. Traditional Italian Chicken Cacciatore is one of the best versions of braised chicken. It is supremely flavorful and pretty simple to make.
All you need to do is give it a good flavor base of vegetables—onions, carrots, and celery are a decent place to start. I think Cacciatore needs to have mushrooms too, it does mean hunter’s chicken and what hunter would not pick up a few wild mushrooms if he saw them?
Then you need to season the chicken very generously. This not only lends flavor to the chicken, but the entire dish—it also never hurts to add bacon either. It’s one of our favorite hearty meals during the cold winter months.
Read on for more details on making this chicken cacciatore dutch oven recipe.
What Is Chicken Cacciatore?
Cacciatore translates to hunter-style chicken. It is a rich chicken stew that is cooked in a tomato sauce with mushrooms and something briny like capers and/or olives.
It is a very forgiving recipe that is easily adaptable. Add garlic and bell pepper. Swap the capers for Kalamata olives. Use thyme and oregano instead of the parsley. Make it your own!
Tell Me More About This Chicken Cacciatore Dutch Oven Recipe
- Texture: Unlike many cacciatore recipes, I don’t add tomato paste making it super saucy, not thick and gloppy.
- Flavor: From the red wine, tomatoes, bacon, and capers this rustic dish is loaded with flavor. If you want a kick of spice you can also add red pepper flakes.
- Ease: Cooks of any skill level can handle this easy recipe. Everything cooks right on the stove top.
- Time: Set aside a little over an hour total time, which includes roughly 30 minutes for prep time and another 30-40 min for cooking.
What Kind Of Dutch Oven Should I Use?
One big enough that the chicken will fit in a single layer while it is browning. I use my 5.5-quart Le Creuset. Use a pot of similar size that has a heavy bottom so it cooks evenly.
See recipe card for exact amounts.
- Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. Dark meat is juicier and more flavorful but you could use skinless chicken breasts if you prefer white meat.
- Kosher salt. I always use Morton kosher salt unless otherwise specified.
- Freshly ground black pepper. For seasoning the chicken and sauce.
- Bacon. Chicken Cacciatore was originally made over an open fire. The smokiness of the bacon mimics that flavor.
- Olive oil
- Mushrooms. Crimini, chopped portobello, or even oyster mushrooms.
- Smoked paprika
- Red wine (not pictured). Dry white wine would also work.
- Fire-roasted tomatoes. Diced or crushed tomatoes. You could also use fresh tomatoes when in season.
- Chicken stock
- Italian parsley, for garnish or other fresh herbs like fresh basil
How To Make This Recipe
Season chicken. Season both sides of the chicken with the salt and pepper. I like to use skin-on chicken for best flavor but you can use skinless chicken thighs if you’d like.
Cook the bacon. Heat a large Dutch oven or similar heavy-bottomed pot with a lid over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp. Remove to a plate leaving the fat in the pot.
Brown the chicken. Next make sure you get your pan really hot over medium-high heat and use the bacon grease to brown the chicken pieces. The oil should be visibly shimmering and you want to put the chicken skin side down first to render any fat that is on the skin.
Let cook, without moving the chicken pieces, until they are golden brown on both sides.
Sauté the vegetables. After browning the chicken remove it from the pan and give the vegetables enough time to brown and develop flavor—don’t forget to season them too.
Add tomatoes and wine. Pour in the wine and scrape up any browned bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Then stir in the smoked paprika, tomatoes, capers, and chicken broth.
Simmer. Lastly, return the chicken to the tomato sauce. The chicken needs to cook long enough to become very tender, so give it at lest 30 minutes, but if you let it cook longer, that’s okay too—an hour will only meld the flavors even more.
Serve! Taste the sauce and add more salt and pepper if needed. Sprinkle fresh chopped parsley over the top and serve. This easy chicken cacciatore is even better the next day. Let it cool completely then transfer to a storage container and store in the refrigerator.
What To Serve With This Chicken Cacciatore Recipe
You want something that will soak up all that delicious cacciatore sauce. Egg noodles, crusty bread, pasta like spaghetti or polenta would be great. Or try one of these:
- Brown Rice with Scallions and Dried Cranberries
- Super Simple Blanched Broccoli with Garlic
- Lemon-Oregano Roasted Potatoes
- Rosemary-Fennel Focaccia
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Parmesan
- Broccolini with Red Onions and Garlic
Top 5 Most Popular Chicken Recipes
- 30-Minute Chinese Imperial Chicken with Garlic Rice
- Braised Chicken Thighs with Sausage and Pasta
- Healthier Dairy-Free Chicken Pot Pie
- Satay Chicken Skewers with Peanut Sauce
- Creamy Chicken Noodle Casserole
Try One Of My Favorite Chicken Recipes
Give this Italian classic a go and let me know what you think. Give it a try, share a photo and tag me on Instagram using @katesbestrecipes so that I can see. Or leave me a comment below (don’t forget to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating)! Also, sign up for my weekly recipe newsletter so you never miss a thing.
CHICKEN CACCIATORE RECIPE
- 2 1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper, plus more for seasoning
- 5 to 6 strips thick-cut bacon, chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium shallot, large dice
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and large dice
- 1 stalk celery, large dice
- 8 ounces Crimini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 15-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons capers
- 1 cup chicken stock or water
- Generously season both sides of chicken with the 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, set aside.
- Cook 5-6 slices chopped bacon until browned and crisp over medium heat in a large Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot with a lid. Remove bacon from pan and add the 2 tablespoons olive oil. Once shimmering, add half of the chicken pieces and cook on one side until well browned. Flip and repeat on other side, remove from pan to a clean plate and repeat with remaining chicken.
- Add 1 chopped shallot, 2 chopped carrots, 1 chopped celery stalk, and 8 ounces sliced mushrooms to pan and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables start to brown, about 10 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon smoked paprika and stir to incorporate into veggies. Add 1 cup red wine and scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.
- Add 15-ounce can tomatoes, 2 teaspoons capers, 1 cup chicken broth, the chicken and the cooked bacon and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a slow simmer, cover and cook until chicken is tender, at least 30 minutes. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
- Make-ahead/Storage Instructions: This chicken tastes even better the next day. Let it cool completely then store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
- Sauce: If you prefer a thicker sauce, you can add a tablespoon of tomato paste to the sauce.
- Chicken: Bone-in, skin-on thighs are easy and flavorful. You can use skinless chicken breast as well but the cooking time will be shorter. Check for doneness after 20 minutes. It is ready when the temperature reaches 165°F.
- Serve with: Polenta, homemade focaccia, mashed potatoes, or garlic broccoli.
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