Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore
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This easy and healthy Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore is a tender and flavorful Italian chicken dinner recipe made in a slow cooker. Chicken thighs or chicken breasts are simmered in a rich and mouth-watering cacciatore sauce, absorbing all the delicious flavors!
There’s something about this authentic Italian classic: succulent chicken is braised with onions, bell pepper, mushroom, and tomatoes in a savory and tangy sauce. It’s so comforting and warms you up in a delicious way. It’s also a great weight-watchers’ recipe that’s low in carbs with only 346 calories per serving.
Chicken Cacciatore means “hunter’s style” chicken in Italian. The traditional recipe calls for the chicken to be dusted with flour and fried in oil first, and then cooked on the stove or in the oven. But this easy version skips this step, making it healthier with just as much delicious flavor!
So I turn to my slow cooker, which makes an impressive chicken cacciatore with minimal effort. It takes less than 10 minutes to prepare and you can just “dump and go”!
How to make chicken cacciatore in a crock pot
I use quite a few ingredients to flavor the chicken: crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, minced garlic, dried oregano, olive and cooking wine. If you don’t have any of them, you can omit or substitute with other seasonings. For example, you can use Italian seasoning, red wine or white wine. It might not taste exactly the same, but it’ll be close.
To make it extra healthy, I removed the skin from the bone-in chicken thighs and trimmed the fat. I find 6 chicken thighs fit perfectly in a single layer in my 6-quart slow cooker.
I use canned crushed tomatoes to save time, but you can make your own if desired.
To control the salt level, I like to use the minimum amount of salt when seasoning the chicken, and adjust to taste when the chicken is done cooking.
How long to cook crock pot chicken cacciatore?
It takes 4 – 6 hours on “LOW” for chicken thighs. If you want them to be ready sooner, you can cook them on “HIGH” for 2-3 hours.
When cooking on low, it’s best to check on your chicken thighs after 4 hours. The chicken is fully cooked when an instant-read thermometer inserted in the middle measures 165°F (74°C).
What are good side dishes for chicken cacciatore?
This dish goes great with spaghetti, pasta, mashed potatoes or rice. You can even add cooked pasta to the slow cooker for the final 30 minutes to soak up the flavors!
For a low carb option, try serving it on cauliflower rice.
Frequently asked questions:
- Can I make it with chicken breasts? Yes, if you use boneless chicken breasts, you might be able to fit 4 pieces in the slow cooker without too much overlap. Cook on low for 3 hours or high for 1 ½ – 2 hours.
- To sear or not to sear? Searing the chicken and vegetables before adding to the slow cooker makes the dish slightly more flavorful, but I find the difference is subtle and not worth the extra effort.
- How to thicken chicken cacciatore? After the chicken is done cooking, transfer it to a serving platter. Then add a cornstarch slurry ( 1 tablespoon of cornstarch + 2 tablespoons of water) to the sauce remaining in the crock pot. Cook on high for 15 minutes or for a faster option boil for 3-5 minutes in a skillet.
- Can I cook crock pot chicken cacciatore with potatoes? Yes, and you can add potatoes in the last 2 hours of cooking to make a complete meal. Small Yukon gold or quartered russets are good choices that will hold their shape.
- Can I cook it with frozen chicken? Frozen chicken cannot be cooked directly in a slow cooker according to the USDA. However, you can thaw it quickly by placing it in a sealed ziptop bag and submerging in cold water for 20 minutes. Replace with fresh cold water and submerge another 10-20 minutes, at which point the chicken should be thawed.
More Slow Cooker Chicken Recipes:
Easy Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore
- 6 chicken thighs, skinless and bone-in (or 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts)
- salt and pepper, to taste (I use 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced
- 4 oz mushrooms sliced
- 28 oz crushed tomatoes, 1 can
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic, or 3 cloves
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1/2 cup pitted olives, (I use Kalamata olives, but you can use green or black olives)
- 1/2 cup cooking wine, (you can also use red wine or white wine)
- fresh herbs, parsley or basil, optional for garnish
- Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper.
- Place the chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker, overlapping only as much as necessary.
- Top with onions, peppers, mushrooms, crushed tomatoes, garlic, oregano, olives and wine. Give it a quick stir.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 4-6 hours or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the chicken reads 165°F (74°C). You can also cook it on HIGH for 2-3 hours. (Boneless chicken breasts need 3 hours on Low or 1 ½-2 hours on High.)
- When the chicken is done cooking, transfer to a serving platter and cover with aluminum foil.
- Optional: You can thicken the sauce by adding the mixture of 1 tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons of water to the crock pot. Cover and cook on high for 15 minutes. (To thicken faster, cook it in a skillet on medium heat for 3-5 minutes.)
- Taste the sauce and add more salt if desired.
- Serve on top of pasta and spoon extra sauce over the chicken. Garnish with optional parsley or herbs of your choice.
- To make it spicy, add ½-1 teaspoon of red chili flakes to the sauce.
- Pasta not included in nutritional info.
Please read our nutrition disclaimer.
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