Chicken Cacciatore

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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


Twirled pasta on fork

Chicken Cacciatore

Prep Time 20 minutes


  • 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
  • 5-6 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, Carbohydrates: 19g, Protein: 21g, Fat: 21g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 57mg, Sodium: 686mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 7g
Calories: 365kcal
Author: kate jones
Did You Make This Recipe?Snap a picture, and hashtag it #ourbestbites. We love to see your creations on our Instagram @ourbestbites!

Sara Wells
Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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! 🙂

  4. 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;)

  5. 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).

  6. 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! 🙂

  7. 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!

  8. 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!

  9. 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!

  10. 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. 🙂

  11. 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.

  12. 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!

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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!

  17. Mmmmm that looks absolutely delish!
    Next time I make Pasta this is a definate MUST!!
    Thanks for sharing!

  18. We just ate this for diner, and we both loved it (shocking!!). Awesome! Thanks Kate.

    Kara M.

  19. Looks seems great with pasta !

    Btw,thanks Sara for your visit and comment on my blog..

  20. Thank you for the freezer meal instructions! I am looking to stock up with another little ‘un on the way

  21. 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.

  22. 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 ( :