Grandma’s Easy Chicken Cacciatore

Grandma’s Easy Chicken Cacciatore recipe is authentic and delicious! This classic dish is simple to make with accessible ingredients like tomato sauce, peppers, garlic and chicken. It’s also pretty healthy and goes great with pasta or a big hunk of crusty Italian bread!

An overhead image of a pan of chicken cacciatore with a wooden spoon in it on top of a white towel with a couple red stripes and some garlic bulbs next to it.

Try these other awesome chicken recipes: Margarita Chicken Skewers, Greek Yogurt Chicken and Champagne Braise Chicken Thighs.

Why I love this Chicken Cacciatore Recipe

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My friends, this is comfort food at it’s finest. Tender chicken pieces, braised in a savory tomato sauce with sweet bell peppers and garlic, until they’re fall-apart-tender. As a kid I wasn’t really a fan of peppers. But when Grandma made this, you couldn’t keep me away from it!

This recipe really is the epitome of simple, straight-forward cooking. There are no unnecessary, difficult-to-find ingredients because there is no need for anything extra. Just a few accessible ingredients that are commonly found in most people’s pantry and fridge. But trust me on this- you will NOT miss all the bells and whistles!

A close up image looking into a pan full of chicken cacciatore and zooming in on a drum stick.

Tips for making easy Chicken Cacciatore

  • Make sure you don’t burn the garlic- if you do, wash out the pan and start over again because the burnt garlic gives a terribly bitter flavor that will ruin the dish.
  • Be generous when seasoning the chicken
  • I left the sauce part of the ingredients open to 1-2 cans so that if you want plenty of extra sauce you have the option.

Ingredient information that’s helpful to know:

Chicken: we’ve always made this with bone-in dark meat chicken pieces for excellent flavor. You could use chicken breast if you want, but you’ll likely need to extend the cooking time. Be sure to remove the skin before cooking.

Tomato sauce: After adding the sauce, I swirl a bit of water around the can(s) and add it to the pan- this gets all the extra sauce into your dish and thins the sauce slightly

Bell peppers: Grandma always used green and that’s what I do, but if you prefer a different color, that will work just fine.

Pieces of chicken thigh with green peppers and cacciatore sauce on a white plate bread and the full pan of chicken in the background.

What is Chicken Cacciatore?

This is an Italian dish of braised chicken in a tomato-based sauce with peppers (and in other recipes herbs and white wine- we like to keep ours more simple). The word Cacciatore means hunter in Italian, so this is a rustic, “hunter-style” dish.

How do I tell when the chicken is ready to turn?

The key to searing the chicken is this: if it sticks to the pan, it needs a bit more time. Use some tongs to give the chicken pieces a gentle “shake” and if they lift easily, they’re ready to turn. If not, give them a minute or two and try again. Just keep a close eye and don’t let them burn.

What can I serve with this?

Back when Grandma would make this, we enjoyed it on its own with tons of crusty Italian bread to sop up every drop of that fantastically flavorful sauce. But it’s also great over pasta or rice with a green salad on the side.

Can I use boneless skinless chicken breasts?

You can, but I don’t encourage it. The bones in the chicken really help to flavor the sauce.

How long does chicken cacciatore last?

This will last up to 4 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Can I freeze it?

Sure- this will freeze well in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Pieces of chicken in cacciatore sauce in a pan with a wooden spoon in the background and a fork poking into a piece of the chicken showing how tender it is.

Helpful tools:

  1. Wooden spoon
  2. Cast iron dutch oven or this kind of dutch oven
  3. Chef’s knife
  4. Cutting board
  5. Peeler
  6. Immersion Blender

If you tried this recipe please comment and rate it 🙂 I love hearing your feedback and answering your questions! And if you make this please tag me on Instagram with @thelifejolie so I can share it <3

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A spoon pouring extra cacciatore sauce on top of chicken pieces on a plate with a pan of chicken behind it and bread on the side.

Grandma’s Easy Chicken Cacciatore
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 15 mins
Total Time
1 hr 25 mins
 
Grandma's Easy Chicken Cacciatore recipe is authentic and delicious! This classic dish is simple to make with accessible ingredients like tomato sauce, peppers, garlic and chicken. It's also pretty healthy and goes great with pasta or a big hunk of crusty Italian bread!
Course: dinner, Entree, Main
Cuisine: Chicken, Easy, Family, Italian
Keyword: chicken cacciatore
Servings: 4 -6 Servings
Author: Rose Scuteri
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 5-6 cloves garlic lightly poke them with the tip of your knife to allow the juices to release more during cooking
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 6 bone-in chicken drums and thighs skin removed
  • 2 large green peppers diced into large chunks
  • 1 28 ounce can tomato sauce (you can add a 2nd can if you want extra sauce for pasta)
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in dutch oven or braiser over medium heat and saute 3 garlic cloves until golden, about 3-4 minutes.

  2. Season chicken with salt and pepper the chicken on all sides and then brown on both sides lightly golden, about 6 minutes. Remove to side bowl. If the garlic is getting too dark remove it as well.

  3. Add peppers into the oil from the chicken and remaining garlic cloves and saute for a few minutes until they soften.

  4. Add the sauce and then fill one of the can half way with water and swirl to remove any left behind sauce. (if you're using two cans, wash the water through both cans to get all the excess sauce off both of them) and pour it into the pan.

  5. Add the chicken to the pan and bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low.

  6. Simmer for 1 hour or until the chicken is fall-apart-tender. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt and pepper if needed. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes
  • Make sure you don't burn the garlic- if you do, wash out the pan and start over again because the burnt garlic gives a terribly bitter flavor that will ruin the dish.
  • Be generous when seasoning the chicken
  • I left the sauce part of the ingredients open to 1-2 cans so that if you want plenty of extra sauce you have the option.
Grandma's Easy Chicken Cacciatore recipe is authentic and delicious! This classic dish is simple to make with accessible ingredients like tomato sauce, peppers, garlic and chicken. It's also pretty healthy and goes great with pasta or a big hunk of crusty Italian bread! #ad

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