I’ve mentioned my dad before when talking about foods that I grew up loving. He actually didn’t cook all that often, but when he did it was always a deliciously big deal, usually involving the Dutch oven. Pretty much all of my happy food memories from my childhood come from my dad–Dutch oven cinnamon rolls, omelets, oatmeal on cold winter mornings, the best scrambled eggs in the world, chicken cacciatore.

plated chicken cacciatore 
Chicken cacciatore is one of my earliest food memories (that and pimiento cheese spread; chicken cacciatore is a lot better!) I must’ve been younger than 6 because I remember eating it in our house before it was remodeled when I was in Kindergarten. That first time, it was actually Pheasant Cacciatore because I also remember my brother chasing me around the house with a severed pheasant foot, pulling on the tendon to make the claw move. We had a special relationship.
As I got older, I ate it less and less frequently and kind of forgot about it until after my husband and I got married. I discovered an old recipe and tried it out for him one night and he agreed–it was one of the best things he’d ever eaten. After some considerable tweaking on my part, I got the recipe just the way I wanted it (read: easier!) and now you get to have it. Just leave the severed poultry feet alone. Serve this for the family, serve it for company, serve it for a fancy or romantic meal–this is the little black dress of the pasta world, loved by everyone who’s tried it. I’ve caught people literally licking the plate on more than one occasion. It’s that kind of meal.
Start by chopping an onion, smashing a few cloves of garlic, and sautéing it all in some olive oil.
satueed onion and garlic 

Remove that mixture and place it in your blender or food processor. Place some flour and salt and pepper in a Ziploc bag and add some cubed chicken.

Seasoning chicken

Zip the bag shut and shake well until the chicken pieces are coated in the seasoned flour.

seasoned chicken cubes


Add chicken to pan and cook until golden.

golden brown chicken

Remove from pan and set on a paper towel.

chicken cacciatore on paper towel

Add chicken broth, wine (or apple juice), tomato paste, thyme, and marjoram to the onions and garlic in the blender or food processor and blend it until smooth.

blended chicken cacciatore sauce

Place chicken in a slow-cooker and top with a bay leaf.

Pour that delicious sauce right over it.

pouring sauce over chicken

Cook on low for a few hours. When you have about 1/2 hour to go, add the mushrooms and the chopped green pepper.

adding mushrooms and peppers to sauce

When it’s all done serve over your favorite pasta with a little parmesan and fresh herbs if you feel like it. 

plated chicken cacciatore

Y’all. I could drink this sauce.

Twirled pasta on fork


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Twirled pasta on fork

Chicken Cacciatore

  • Author: kate jones
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x



  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs (or a combination of the two), trimmed of fat and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup white flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 56 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed*
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 cup white wine (or 1 cup apple or white grape juice mixed with 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and chopped


Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, add onions and garlic and stir frequently until onions are tender and garlic is fragrant. Remove with a slotted spoon (this is why you need to keep the onion and garlic pieces big), shake off excess oil (you don’t have to go crazy here, a little olive oil never killed anyone!), and transfer to your blender. Increase heat to medium-high.

In a large Ziploc bag, combine flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Add chicken pieces, seal bag, and shake to coat pieces with flour. Dump the entire bag into the hot pan and stir quickly to prevent pieces from sticking together. Saute until chicken is golden. Remove chicken with slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Turn off the heat under the oil.

While the chicken is draining, add wine, chicken broth, tomato paste, thyme, and marjoram to the onions and garlic in the blender. Blend until smooth. Place chicken and bay leaf in your slow cooker and then pour the sauce over the chicken. Place lid on slow cooker and cook on high for 3.5-4 hours. When you have about 1/2 hour to go, add the mushrooms and the chopped green pepper. Cook until mushrooms and pepper are tender. Remove bay leaf and serve over pasta.


*The easiest way to use garlic in this dish is to remove the cloves from the head and then smash them with a meat mallet. Remove the skins and then sauté the whole, smashed garlic clove.


Complete steps through browning the chicken. Instead of placing chicken in your slow cooker, place it in a freezer-safe container and cover with sauce. When ready to eat, place frozen mixture in your slow cooker and cook on high for 4-5 hours. You can either cut the mushrooms and peppers ahead of time and freeze them separately from the chicken and sauce or you can just plan to have those in your fridge when you’re ready to make this.



Complete steps through browning the chicken. Instead of placing chicken in your slow cooker, place it in a heavy pot or Dutch oven, top with sauce, and simmer for about 1 hour (add the mushrooms and peppers in the last 20 minutes).



Complete steps through browning the chicken, except brown it in your Instant Pot instead of on the stovetop. After draining, return the chicken to the Instant Pot, top with sauce, add the mushrooms and peppers immediately, and cook for 8 minutes. Remove bay leaf before serving. 


  • Calories: 365kcal
  • Sugar: 7g
  • Sodium: 686mg
  • Fat: 21g
  • Saturated Fat: 3g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 19g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 21g
  • Cholesterol: 57mg


  1. Yum!! And I agree about tasting better with wine. I just started cooking with wine a few years ago, and will never be able to go back now ( : It just adds so much more richness and depth of flavor. My little black dress meal would be. . . maybe BLT pasta. I’ll probably have a different answer in 10 more minutes ( :

  2. We’re going to make this tonight! I’m excited. Oh, and maybe we’d try to white wine just for you, except I’d rather not make two trips. One to the grocery store and one to the liquor store, lol 🙂

    Kara M.

  3. LOVE this dinner! It was great to have in my freezer when we had a little baby in the house. For some reason though, the pictures of yours look a lot better than mine did. Maybe I need to work on my presentation!

  4. Sara’s right, bad wine can totally ruin this recipe. In fact, the deliciousness of this recipe really hangs on the wine/cooking wine/juice factor. Not to scare you or anything! 🙂

    When I lived in Utah, I didn’t really want to go to the state liquor store, especially with my children in tow, so I just used juice or cooking wine. But now I can pick it up at the grocery store and hope I don’t run into anyone I know. Honestly, I’ve had better luck with the cheapest wine at Walmart (like less than $3/bottle) than I ever did with cooking wine because cooking wine can be so hit and miss.

  5. I just put this in the crock pot and it smells really good. I was wondering if the chicken should have been cooked through or just browned? I bought the cooking wine, so I hope it turns out good.

  6. So i have made this before and loved it and wanted to make it again so I went to the recipe index and it isn't listed under poultry, it was kinda hard to find the recipe again. Just letting you know.

  7. I am having difficulties getting the chicken to brown. All the flour sticks to the bottom of the pan and starts burning before the chicken looks golden. I patted the chicken dry… maybe it's my pan? Do you have any suggestions as to what kind of pan to use? Maybe not enough oil? Or should I turn the heat up? It's still cooked, just not golden and I lose all the nice flavor when it's stuck on the bottom of the pan!

  8. Emily, one trick when browning meat is to heat your pan first. After it's hot, then add the oil. Once the oil is hot you add your meat. Also, don't turn the meat right away. It has to form a crust first and brown properly. If you try to stir it all around too soon, the crust sticks to the bottom of the pan. That sounds like the issue you're having, so try heating the pan first, then the oil, and letting the meat brown before turning it. Those tips are just for cooking meat in general, so maybe Kate has some comments about this recipe specifically.

  9. Question–is the blender necessary? I hate cleaning that thing, so if I can get away with not using it, that would be great. BUT, if it makes a big difference in the meal as a whole, I'd be willing to put aside my personal preferences. 🙂

  10. Hi, Lindsey! Yeah…I kind of think the blending is necessary, mostly because the body of the sauce is mostly made of the pureed onions and garlic, so the sauce would be kind of chunky and separated if you didn't blend it. Sorry I don't have better news!

  11. Quick way to clean up a blender:

    Refill the blender about 1/4 to 1/2 full of water, and blend on high until clean. Take blender jar back to the sink. Give it two or three vigorous shakes, then pour out. No difficult scrubbing, just disassemble and wipe down with a soapy sponge to get the last of the oil out.

    Cleaning it out before it dries is probably the most important part. If you can't get to it quickly, you can fill the jar full to the brim in the sink, let it sit for two minutes. Pour the loosened chunks out, then follow the instructions above.

    Remember: ALWAYS hold the blender lid down, lest the contents spread themselves all over your counters and floors!

  12. oh my you could so drink this sauce!!!! it is that yummy! I used red whine instead of white. really I have not made a single thing from this blog that was not delightful!

  13. I'm a college student, and I love to cook, but I normally don't have enough time/money! your directions were clear enough for me to follow quickly and it was pretty cheap too! 🙂

    I made a couple of modifications though

    I'm allergic to gluten, so I used an all purpose gluten free flour

    I didn't have a bay leaf so i substituted with an extra 1/4 teaspoon of thyme

    & I was nervous because the only wine I had was the oak leaf (wal mart brand) white zinfandel

    but it still turned out REALLY well!
    my boyfriend practically proposed to me when he ate it 🙂

    Thanks! I love that you had pictures with every step! it makes it so easy to follow the directions! 🙂

  14. We're having this tonight. It smells SO good, and I have had a sample (or 20) from the crockpot. Yummy yummy yummy! And I figured out the WW points on it for you on E-tools. If you figure there are 8 servings, it's 4 points(without the pasta).

  15. I'm in my third trimester and trying to cook extra meals for the freezer for after the baby comes. I made a double batch of this, froze half and put the rest on for tonight's dinner. After 2 hours my whole house smelled amazing and I had to sneak a taste. WOW. I hope that second batch I have stored in the freezer will last! You two never disappoint with your fantastic recipes, and this one just might be my favorite. I might even brave (another) trip to the state liquor store to get more wine so we can have it again soon;)

  16. Success! I had my husband's family over for dinner and tried this for the first time last night (risky, I know.) It was EXCELLENT! I don't love wine, so I was unsure of what to buy, but I discovered my grocery store sells these little four-packs of wine that each measure about 1 1/2 cups. Perfect for cooking so you don't waste the rest of the bottle! Anyway, thanks for ALWAYS being my go-to when I need a recipe I can count on! 🙂

  17. Congrats on the new look! I’ve been an avid follower for more than a year now and have loved every recipe I’ve tried from here so keep em coming:)

    I notice you said that juice can be substituted for wine in this recipe. Could you recommend a certain flavor like apple, mango or pineapple (sweetened or unsweetened)? Thanks a lot:)

    1. You’ll see in the recipe the best substitute is apple or white grape juice mixed with 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

  18. My little black dress meal is my mom’s thai green curry. Tastes better than restaurant curry. Can share the recipe if you guys care.

  19. Do you really cook it on HIGH for 3.5-4 hours? When I got home after just 3 hours, my crockpot was scorched around the edges. I saved the sauce and chicken, but I thought I must have read the recipe wrong. Now that I know I didn’t, any ideas why it burned or what I can do to prevent that from happening in the future? It was still delicious, btw!

    1. Kellie–I’ve had two crockpots and always cooked it on high in both of them. Yours may tend to cook on the high side, so you might just want to cook it on low if you’ve run into problems in the past.

  20. I’m looking for a good buffet dish to serve a large crowd. Could I make this recipe ahead, combine the cooked chicken mixture with an easier-to-eat-standing-up al dente cooked pasta (like penne), refrigerate the whole thing overnight and then warm it the next day in the oven prior to serving? I’m thinking that with a chance to “marry,” the flavors may be even better the next day… Also, I’d likely double the recipe to serve 12 – 16.

    1. I would probably make the sauce ahead of time and then add the pasta before serving. You could definitely do the penne–that would be awesome–but you know how sometimes pasta salads get flavorless or leftover pasta gets gummy? I’m afraid that might happen in this situation if you added the pasta the day before.

  21. Last time I made this, I cooked it all in my dutch oven. I put the lid on and left for about 2 hours. When I came back to it, it had burned all on the bottom. Is it because I need to have it in a crock pot? I want to make it again tomorrow, but I want to make sure it doesn’t burn like last time. Help?

    1. EJ–It can be hard to replicate the conditions of the crockpot in a dutch oven, which is probably the problem you ran into (the crockpot emits low heat from all sides). So yeah, you can either cook it for a long time in the crock pot or you can just cook it on the stovetop for about an hour, just be sure to stir it frequently so it doesn’t scorch.

  22. On your blog it says to add 1 TBS of white wine vinegar to the apple juice, but on the printable recipe it just says to use 1 cup cooking wine, apple juice, or white grape juice. I added 1 TBS of vinegar to my apple juice, but I was just wondering which one was correct? Thanks!

  23. I absolutely DETEST green peppers. Any nuance of green pepper flavor ruins a dish for me. Would it ruin the apparent amazingness of the dish if I used a red pepper instead?

    1. Yep, you could definitely use red pepper. It will be a different flavor (the green pepper adds a little bit of a sharp contrast whereas the red pepper will add to the sweetness), but it will still be delicious. Or you could just leave it out altogether. Shhh. 🙂

  24. for those that have issues with the crock pot being too hot, every crock pot is different and typically the first time you make a certain meal you should be around to watch it — then you can know the proper temp/time for the next time you make it. ALSO, an important thing to remember is that the crock pot you use should be AT LEAST half way filled with whatever you’re cooking, otherwise it will usually cook too high because there isn’t enough food for the size and heat dispersion of the crock pot. I have a 4 quart crock pot, and this recipe just barely reached half way up I think, so if yours is larger that might be the reason

  25. We had this for dinner tonight and it was really, really good! The white cooking wine I used was a Holland House brand… granted, I didn’t have quite a full cup left but the sauce turned out great tasting! I didn’t want to run to the store for a green pepper but it was plenty flavorful without. I served it over some pasta with a sprinkling of some leftover grated asiago cheese. It was delicious… thanks for another great recipe, girls!

  26. Here’s what NOT to do with this recipe: DO NOT use 1 *cup* vinegar in your wine substitute! ew, right? Read the directions, as I did not. I also did not have marjoram so I skipped it. This combination of foul plays made a meal that tasted VERY much like mustard and I am embarrassed to say that we had company over, DOH!

    This is me kicking myself . . .

  27. I made this last night for dinner and oh my goodness….I had to put it away before we ate the entire dish in one setting! (3 people should NOT eat a dish that serves 6 people in just ONE setting, right??) I have a cacciatore recipe for the crock pot, but this one is totally different with the blended sauce, etc. LOVE it! The only changes I made were to sub a red pepper for the green and, since my daughter is allergic to it and we don’t have any in the house, replaced marjoram with an Italian herb blend (marjoram-free). I did put this in my large slow cooker and it only took about 3 hours on high (just switched it to “Hold” until dinner). Thanks for yet another great recipe – Everything I’ve made from your site has been a “keeper”! 🙂

  28. This looked and smelled great, but was a miss for our family (and we did use the wine). Maybe it isn’t the recipe, but that we are not Chicken Cacciatori fans. I give it a 5/10. I LOVE this site though—I regularly look for my dinner ideas here. Thank you!

  29. Making this for dinner. I ran out of time to make it in the crockpot, so I cooked it in my dutch oven at 275 for 2 hours. Came out wonderful!! I’m just waiting for the pasta to finish and have already sneaked a few tastes, you know, just to be sure it’s good and all. ;o) Thanks for another great recipe!

  30. If not using a slow-cooker when using the freezer instructions, how long would you recommend it be cooked in the oven? And at what temp? Thanks!

  31. Just reading the list of ingredients reminds me of my childhood. I cannot wait to give it a try and see if the final product lives up to my memories of my aunt Kathy’s chicken cacciatore

  32. Do you think I could cook this on low for 9-10 hours? I’m looking for recipes that I can start in the morning before work around 8 am and turn off/serve between 5-7 pm.

  33. Making this a second time. It was awesome! My crockpot cooks fast so things were a little done the first time. This time I added a little more liquid. I use a four pack size bottle of chardonnay for the wine which is about 3/4 cup and add a little more broth to offset. Box wine from Target or similar also works as a cooking wine since you can use a small amount and the rest stays fresh for another time.

  34. This is SO yummy. I don’t make it often as it’s more work than I care to put into my meals but it completely worth the effort on the occasions I do make it.
    I have a few questions though: first – where do we use the kosher salt? there’s kosher salt & regular salt both mentioned in the ingredients list but for the life of me, I cannot find in the instructions where the kosher goes. second, when we’re sauteing the chicken – are we supposed to fully cook it? I haven’t been (as I’ve been letting my chicken pieces finish cooking in the crock), but I wasn’t sure if there’s a step I’m missing.
    Thanks for posting, so yummy!!

  35. I made this for dinner tonight and we LOVED it! It was amazing. Yum yum yum. This was the first time we’d ever had chicken cacciatore and I don’t feel like I need to try any other recipes for it. We liked it so much that I posted it on my blog and of course gave Kate credit and linked back to your recipe. Here’s my post: http://cheesewithnoodles.blogspot.com/2014/02/chicken-cacciatore-with-mushrooms-and.html Thanks for a new family favorite! And the extra mushrooms were awesome 😀

  36. I made this last night (minus the green pepper because I have some pepper protesters in my family) and it was FABULOUS, like restaurant fabulous. I had mine over spaghetti squash which was great, and really let’s be honest anything you put it on is just a vessel for that drink worthy sauce, oh my THE SAUCE. I’m looking forward to the leftovers for lunch today (heavy on the sauce, light on the spaghetti squash because again, THE SAUCE *insert heart eyes emoji here*). Another great recipe, thank you!

  37. I just commented that I couldn’t find the instant pot instructions… and of course I re read the last part and they’re there. The headings just confused me. I’m excited to try the shortcut! If you want to not approve either of my comments I’d love it.

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