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Dutch Oven Chicken Cacciatore

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5 from 2 votes
Traditional Italian Chicken Cacciatore is a savory, rustic, one-pot chicken stew simmered in a Dutch oven with tomatoes, peppers, and onions and served over pasta.
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Dutch Oven Chicken Cacciatore over pasta in a white serving bowl on a rustic wooden background.

You’re going to fall head over heels for my Traditional Italian Chicken Cacciatore! It’s a savory, rustic, one-pot chicken stew simmered in a Dutch oven with tomatoes, peppers, and onions and served over pasta. This recipe will be your new favorite for family dinners.

Dutch Oven Chicken Cacciatore over pasta in a white serving bowl on a rustic wooden background.

If you asked me to pick one cuisine that was my absolute favorite (other than traditional southern, of course), I’m sure it would have to be Italian. I just enjoy everything about it, including this Chicken Cacciatore recipe. It’s one of my go-to’s!

I’m certainly no expert, but I would have to say that Italian is possibly one of the most varied cuisines in the world. It has so much variety with recipes that range from Baked Spaghetti to Tuscan Minestrone, and of course my Jumbo Meatballs and Spaghetti. You just can’t go wrong with Italian cuisine!

And, best of all, most children love Italian food. I mean really, kids and pizza …enough said.

Since I was in the mood for something Italian recently, I took out my big Dutch oven and made a traditional Chicken Cacciatore which is simply a rustic, slow-cooked Italian chicken stew! My recipe may be a little different than most since it doesn’t have wine in it. But even without the wine, this recipe will knock your socks off!

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However, if you’d like to make a more classic version with wine in the sauce, I’ve included notes about how to do that in the Tips section at the end of the post and in the recipe card.


  • All the best Italian flavors
  • Easy prep
  • Common ingredients
  • Makes enough for the whole family

What is “Cacciatore?”

The word cacciatore means “hunter” in Italian. So, a cacciatore is a meal or recipe prepared “hunter-style” with onions, herbs, usually tomatoes, often bell peppers, and sometimes wine. It can be made with either chicken or rabbit.

Ingredients You’ll Need

All the ingredients needed to prepare Chicken Cacciatore
  • Whole cut-up chicken (about 3-4 pounds)
  • Olive oil (just regular, not the expensive extra virgin)
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Celery
  • Bell pepper (any color you like – green, red, yellow)
  • Canned diced tomatoes (with their juice)
  • Fresh thyme
  • Bay leaf
  • Fresh parsley
  • Salt and pepper

You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.

How to Make Chicken Cacciatore

Let’s Go Step-by-Step

I always like to show you the photos and step-by-step instructions for my recipes to help you picture how to make them in your own kitchen. If you just want to print out a copy, you can skip to the bottom of the post where you’ll find the recipe card.

Prep and Brown the Chicken

Chicken coated with salt and pepper browning in olive oil in a Dutch oven.

Wipe the chicken dry. Salt and pepper the pieces well on both sides.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the chicken pieces and cook for about 5-6 minutes on each side or until nicely browned. Brown the chicken in batches to prevent overcrowding of the pan. Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.

Cook the Veggies

Chopped onions cooking in Dutch oven.

Add the onions into the Dutch oven (no need to clean it out first) and cook for 3 minutes, or until they begin to brown slightly.

Remaining veggies added to the Dutch oven.

Now, add the garlic, celery, and bell pepper and cook for an additional 5-6 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften. (If using wine, add it at this point. See the Tips section below for more information.)

Tomatoes and herbs added to Dutch oven.

Add the tomatoes with their juice, thyme, and bay leaf. Stir well.

Cook at a Low Simmer for an Hour

Browned chicken added to tomato and veggie sauce in Dutch oven.

Add the chicken back to the pan along with any juices that accumulated on the plate while the chicken was resting. Try to nestle the chicken pieces down into the tomato sauce so that they’re covered as much as possible. Bring it all to a gentle simmer. Then cover the pot and cook for approximately 1 hour.

Chicken cacciatore after cooking for one hour in a Dutch oven with parsley added.

Near the end of the cooking time, stir in the chopped parsley. Taste for salt and add a bit if you think it’s needed.

Dutch oven chicken cacciatore in a cooking pot along with a wooden spoon.

Now you have a delicious traditional, homemade Italian Chicken Cacciatore! Serve over your choice of pasta.

Tip: Recipe Variation with Wine

To make the recipe with wine, I’d suggest using either a Cabernet or Merlot. Add 1 cup of wine after the vegetables have softened (before adding the tomatoes). Cook the wine with the vegetables until the wine has reduced by about half its volume. Then add the tomatoes and herbs and continue with the recipe. (Serve the rest of the wine from the bottle with dinner :-) )

FAQs

What can I serve with Chicken Cacciatore?

You can serve this with a long, ribbon pasta such as spaghetti, fettuccini, or linguini or, alternately, with polenta. For a low-carb option consider zucchini noodles. A side salad and some cheesy onion and herb bread make this recipe into a Sunday evening feast.

How do I store the leftovers?

If you have any leftovers you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Can I freeze this?

You can freeze the Chicken Cacciatore, but it’s not recommended to freeze cooked pasta. It’s better to make a fresh batch of pasta when you’re ready to thaw and reheat.

How do I reheat this?

It’s possible to reheat in the microwave, but I recommend reheating on the stovetop in a covered pan on a medium-low setting.

Have you tried this recipe? I’d love for you to give it a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in the recipe card and/or in the comments section further down. You can always stay in touch on social media by following me on FacebookInstagram, or Pinterest and Sign Up to Get my Newsletter, too!

Recipe

Dutch Oven Chicken Cacciatore over pasta in a white serving bowl on a rustic wooden background.

Chicken Cacciatore

Traditional Italian Chicken Cacciatore is a savory, rustic, one-pot chicken stew simmered in a Dutch oven with tomatoes, peppers, and onions and served over pasta.
5 from 2 votes
Print It Rate It Text It
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 395kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken approximately 3 pounds, cut-up
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 rib celery diced
  • 1 bell pepper cut in strips
  • 29 ounces canned diced tomatoes with juice
  • 4 springs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley chopped
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  • Wipe the chicken dry. Salt and pepper well on both sides.
  • Heat the olive oil in a heavy Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chicken pieces and cook for about 5-6 minutes on each side or until nicely browned. Brown the chicken in batches to prevent overcrowding of the pan. Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.
  • Add the onions into the Dutch oven (no need to clean it out first) and cook for 3 minutes, or until they begin to brown slightly.
  • Add the garlic, celery and bell pepper and cook for an additional 5-6 minutes until vegetables begin to soften. (If using wine, add 1 cup after the vegetables have softened. Cook the wine with the vegetables until the wine has reduced by about half its volume.)
  • Add tomatoes, thyme and bay leaf. Stir well.
  • Add the chicken back to the pan along with any juices that accumulated on the plate while the chicken was resting.
  • Bring to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for approximately 1 hour. Near the end of cooking time, stir in the chopped parsley. Check and correct seasonings.
  • Serve over your choice of pasta or polenta.

Notes

Tip: Recipe Variation with Wine
  • If you choose to make the recipe with wine, I’d suggest using either a Cabernet or Merlot.
Serving Suggestions:
  • Serve this with a long, ribbon pasta such as spaghetti, fettuccini, or linguini. Alternately, it can be served over polenta.
  • For a low-carb option consider zucchini noodles.
Storage: 
  • If you have any leftovers you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
  • You can freeze the Chicken Cacciatore, but it’s not recommended to freeze cooked pasta. It’s better to make a fresh batch of pasta when you’re ready to thaw and reheat.
Reheating:
  • It’s possible to reheat in the microwave, but I recommend reheating on the stovetop in a covered pan on a medium-low setting.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1 | Calories: 395kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 95mg | Sodium: 294mg | Potassium: 610mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1233IU | Vitamin C: 47mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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— This post was originally published on September 8, 2009.

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12 Comments

  1. I make this for dinner parties, but saute a bit of pepper bacon to render some fat and add olive oil before sauteing the chicken. I omit the celery, but add chopped Tuscan kale and red chile flakes.

    My rugby friends love it after a match with a cold beer or two.

  2. I love this recipe! and a beautiful photo! I have also made polenta with stone ground cornmeal, milk, and chick stock and served it with chicken cacciatore.

  3. I love how the color of the tomato just jumps out at you. Very inviting to the fork. I’d love some of that right about now. Yum!!!