Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore results in the most divine tender chicken that falls right off the bone! Serve this amazing braised chicken recipe with your choice of steamed rice, pasta noodles, or baguette for an unforgettable meal the whole family will love!
Chicken cacciatore was a staple in my family’s home when I was growing up, and it was one I always looked forward to.
Tender, fall off the bone chicken with lots of fresh veggies and a rich tomato based broth just bodes so nicely with some sort of starch like rice or spaghetti noodles.
What’s not to love?
As a finicky eater in my younger years, this was one of the few magical meals I would go back for seconds. Or thirds.
But before I get ahead of myself, let’s get into some basics.
What is Chicken Cacciatore?:
Chicken cacciatore is a traditional Italian dinner recipe made with chicken (or rabbit) stewed in a tomato-based sauce with a combination of vegetables such as onions, carrots, and bell peppers.
The word, “Cacciatore” translates in Italian to “Hunter,” and “Alla Cacciatore” or “Alla Cacciatora” means “Hunter-Style.” Hunter style Italian dishes are braised chicken or rabbit cooked with onion, garlic, tomatoes, bell pepper, wine, and fresh herbs. This type of dish is either served with pasta or rice (most typically pasta).
There are endless variations on classic chicken cacciatore.
Some people make it without wine whereas some swear by adding wine. Some people go without bell peppers. Others add olives, mushrooms, or even capers. And there are so many combinations herein.
I find the combination of ingredients in this easy slow cooker chicken cacciatore recipe to be a fairly traditional approach to the classic Italian dish, as you will find them in most cacciatore recipes.
What does chicken cacciatore taste like? Just imagine succulent chicken supported by tangy tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, bold onions and garlic in a rich and delicious broth. You can look at it as a delicious chicken stew that you’ll most certainly want to serve with some form of crusty bread, rice, noodles, or mashed potatoes to soak up the delicious sauce.
Why Make Chicken Cacciatore in the Crock Pot?:
There are three primary reasons why one would want to make chicken cacciatore in the crock pot.
1.) It requires very little prep and no monitoring once it is set up.
2.) The longer the chicken cooks, the more the flavors develop.
3.) You won’t need to second guess whether or not the chicken will be tender and flavorful, as the slow cooking process does all the heavy lifting for you.
Does cooking chicken in a crock pot make it more tender? In general, yes!
The primary reason I like making chicken cacciatore (and many slow cooker chicken recipes) is that the chicken turns out fall-off-the-bone tender and moist.
In most cases, cooking chicken in a slow cooker will result in very tender chicken that is easy to shred.
I like this method for chicken breasts in particular because we all know chicken breasts have a reputation for turning out dry and bland when baked in the oven.
Let’s discuss the simple ingredients for this easy slow cooker chicken cacciatore recipe.
Chicken Cacciatore Ingredients:
Chicken: Pick your favorite cut of chicken and go for it! I like using bone-in skin-on chicken thighs or a combination of bone-in chicken thighs and drumsticks.
Boneless skinless chicken thighs and boneless skinless chicken breasts will work too.
If you go this route, you won’t need to sear the outside of the skinless pieces before putting them into the crock pot.
If you prefer boneless pieces I would recommend sticking with boneless thighs as they produce more flavor than boneless chicken breast.
Avocado Oil: Used to sear the chicken thighs so that the skin becomes golden brown and delicious, we use a high-temperature cooking oil like avocado oil. You can also use olive oil or vegetable oil.
Yellow Onion, Bell Peppers, Garlic, Carrots: The combination of these fresh vegetables results in a vibrant flavorful broth.
Choose any colors of bell peppers you like. I used one green bell pepper and one yellow bell pepper but red bell peppers and orange bell peppers work just as well.
Crushed Tomatoes, Chicken Broth, White Wine: The broth is a combination of crushed tomatoes, white wine (or red wine) and chicken stock. Use either a light white wine like merlot or a dry white wine like sauvignon blanc. If you don’t cook with wine, feel free to skip it.
Sea Salt, Black Pepper: Used to season the chicken thighs and to add flavor to the meal, we use plenty of salt and pepper. You can also add fresh herbs or dried herbs like Italian seasoning, rosemary, parsley, or oregano. Fresh rosemary is a great addition as well.
- Add 1 to 3 tablespoons of tomato paste for more tomato flavor.
- Mix 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes in for a little spice.
- Add a cornstarch slurry toward the end of cooking for a thicker sauce. To do so, mix one tablespoon of cornstarch with two tablespoons of water and pour it in an hour before the meal has finished cooking. This extra step levels up this easy chicken cacciatore recipe because it gives it an even heartier essence.
- Add 2/3 cup of pitted kalamata olives, or 3 tablespoons of capers if you’d like.
- Serve with chopped fresh parsley on top if you have it on hand.
Now that we’ve covered the basic ingredients for chicken cacciatore, let’s make it!
How to Make Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore:
Sprinkle both sides of the chicken thighs with paprika, sea salt and pepper.
Heat the avocado oil in a large skillet over high on the stove top. Wait for a few minutes for the skillet to heat up until it is sizzling hot.
Place the chicken thighs (or chicken pieces) in the skillet, skin-side down and allow them to brown 3 to 5 minutes per side (or 5-10 minutes total).
If the skin becomes too dark too quickly, you can reduce the heat to medium-high heat.
Depending on the size of your skillet, you may need to do this step in two batches. I can fit all of eight thighs in my 12-inch nonstick skillet.
While the chicken is browning, add the chopped onion, bell peppers, garlic and carrots to the bottom of the slow cooker.
Transfer the browned chicken to your slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients (crushed tomatoes, broth, and wine). Season everything well with sea salt before giving everything a big stir.
Secure the lid on your crock pot and cook on Low heat for 8 to 10 hours, or High heat for 4 to 6 hours.
When the chicken cacciatore is ready, taste the mixture for flavor and add more sea salt to your personal taste.
Serve chicken cacciatore with your choice of rustic bread, pasta noodles, white rice, or brown rice. For a low-carb option, serve over zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash, or cauliflower rice.
Store leftover crock pot chicken cacciatore in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
What to Serve with Chicken Cacciatore:
If you’re looking for side dishes in addition to rice or noodles to serve with chicken cacciatore, here are some of my top recommendations.
- Garlic Butter Roasted Cabbage
- Crowd-Pleasing Roasted Vegetables
- Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Garlic and Lemon
- Gluten-Free Cornbread
- Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan and Lemon
- Roasted Beet and Arugula Salad with Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Garlic Roasted Potatoes
The way I see it, slow cooker recipes like this easy chicken cacciatore are ideal for weekly meal prep because they can be made in huge batches and are so nourishing.
The next time you’re craving classic Italian cuisine, whip up this simple recipe for an easy weeknight dinner.
Even picky eaters like I was are bound to enjoy this delicious meal. The tender perfection of the chicken in the delicious cacciatore sauce creates winning Italian food.
Looking for more healthy crock pot meals to enjoy throughout the chilly months of the year? Here are some reader favorites.
More Slow Cooker Recipes:
- Crock Pot Beef Stew
- Slow Cooker Lentil Soup
- Crock Pot White Chicken Chili
- Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs
- Crock Pot Thai Chicken Curry
- Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja (Cuban Shredded Beef)
- Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
Enjoy this easy, dreamy comfort food! Hunter-style chicken for the win!
Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore
- Sprinkle both sides of the chicken thighs with paprika, sea salt and pepper.
- Heat the avocado oil in a large skillet over high on the stove top. Wait for a few minutes for the skillet to heat up until it is sizzling hot.
- Place the chicken thighs (or chicken pieces) in the skillet, skin-side down and allow them to brown 3 to 5 minutes per side (or 5-10 minutes total). If the skin becomes too dark too quickly, you can reduce the heat to medium-high heat. Depending on the size of your skillet, you may need to do this step in two batches. I can fit all of eight thighs in my 12-inch nonstick skillet.
- While the chicken is browning, add the chopped onion, bell peppers, garlic and carrots to the bottom of the slow cooker.
- Transfer the browned chicken to your slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients (crushed tomatoes, broth, and wine). Season everything well with sea salt before giving everything a big stir.
- Secure the lid on your crock pot and cook on Low heat for 8 to 10 hours, or High heat for 4 to 6 hours.
- When the chicken cacciatore is ready, taste the mixture for flavor and add more sea salt to your personal taste.
- Serve chicken cacciatore with your choice of rustic bread, pasta noodles, white rice, or brown rice. For a low-carb option, serve over zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash, or cauliflower rice.
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