Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

Rustic Italian food just tastes better when it’s cold outside!  This Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore is one of our favorite dinners on a chilly day!

Rustic Italian food just tastes better when it's cold outside!  This Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore is one of our favorite dinners on a chilly winter day!Literally translated, chicken cacciatore means “hunter’s chicken.”  I find this term rather amusing as chickens aren’t a common target among hunters.  To be fair, chicken cacciatore can also be made with rabbit or wild boar, so at least there’s a hunter connection in that version.  (Of course, if rabbit or boar is used, the dish becomes rabbit cacciatore or wild boar cacciatore.)  No matter the style, cacciatore is a staple of Italian cuisine.  It’s rustic comfort food that’s perfect for cold winter nights!

Chicken cacciatore is a relatively simple dish, but it draws it’s flavors from a combination of onions, garlic, bell peppers and fresh thyme.  While the stovetop version isn’t terribly difficult, this Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore is even easier!  After all, a slow cooker simmering away on the kitchen countertop is one of the best things about cold days!  Slow cookers and curling.  That pretty much sums up winter in our house.  Oh, and shoveling snow.

Rustic Italian food just tastes better when it's cold outside!  This Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore is one of our favorite dinners on a chilly winter day!What type of chicken is best for Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore?

There’s no hard and fast rule for the best type of chicken, although I prefer to use chicken thighs when I make this Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore.  Thighs (I typically use boneless, skinless for simplicity) have a lot more flavor than breasts, although chicken breasts would still be a solid option for this recipe.  The key is to let the chicken cook until it can be easily shredded with 2 forks.

Rustic Italian food just tastes better when it's cold outside!  This Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore is one of our favorite dinners on a chilly winter day!What kind of wine do you use in Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore?

The decision on whether or not to add wine really comes down to your personal choice.  Red wine is commonly used in southern Italy, while white wine is often added to chicken cacciatore in northern Italy.  I personally like the red wine version as the wine combined with the crushed tomatoes creates a wonderful flavor.  Plus, we often have a bottle of red wine open during the winter, and we’re more likely to make this Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore on a cold winter day.  If you prefer to save the wine for drinking, that’s cool, too.  (Just add in additional chicken stock to take the place of the wine.)

Rustic Italian food just tastes better when it's cold outside!  This Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore is one of our favorite dinners on a chilly winter day!

I typically serve cacciatore over a bed of pasta, but I’ve seen it served over rice, polenta or even mashed potatoes.  Most of the time we end up with more sauce than pasta, and we just finish up the cacciatore sauce by itself.  Laura even pointed out that we could add more chicken stock and seasonings to turn the leftover cacciatore into a soup of sorts.  Sounds pretty delicious, right?

Rustic Italian food just tastes better when it's cold outside!  This Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore is one of our favorite dinners on a chilly winter day!As you can tell, there’s a fair amount of leeway when it comes to chicken cacciatore.  The basics are chicken (unless you go with rabbit or wild boar), bell peppers, onions, carrots and garlic.  After that, just let the dish slow cook it’s way into a delicious meal.  Oh, and make sure to finish it off with some grated Parmesan cheese!  The salty Parmesan adds a ton of flavor to the final dish.  Enjoy, friends!

Looking for more tasty slow cooker recipes?  Check out these other favorites:

3-Cheese Slow Cooker Pesto Chicken Pasta

Slow Cooker Pork Posole

Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs

Slow Cooker Carnitas Quesadillas

Slow Cooker Cajun Snack Mix (Yup, a snack mix…in a slow cooker!)

Did you make this Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore at home?  Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts!  Or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog).

Rustic Italian food just tastes better when it's cold outside!  This Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore is one of our favorite dinners on a chilly winter day!

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

Rustic Italian food just tastes better when it's cold outside!  This Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore is one of our favorite dinners on a chilly winter day!
5 from 11 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Finishing Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 596kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper cut into strips
  • 1 yellow bell pepper cut into strips
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • tsp minced garlic
  • 2 medium carrots thinly sliced
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 16 oz. linguine pasta
  • {optional} fresh basil chopped
  • {optional} Parmesan cheese grated

Instructions

  • Using a standard 6-quart slow cooker, add all ingredients except for pasta, basil and Parmesan cheese. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
  • Remove the cooked chicken thighs from slow cooker and shred using 2 forks. Return shredded chicken to slow cooker and stir until well combined.
  • Cook pasta in salted water according to package instructions.
  • Divide pasta evenly onto plates and top with a spoonful of chicken cacciatore.
  • {Optional} Garnish with fresh basil and grated Parmesan cheese prior to serving.

Rustic Italian food just tastes better when it's cold outside!  This Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore is one of our favorite dinners on a chilly winter day!

Spiced® is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associate Programs and other affiliate services. This means that spicedblog.com receives a small commission by linking to Amazon.com and other sites at no cost to the readers.

28 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    David, we love a good cacciatore and make it often. But, we’ve never done the noodle thing, but instead either polenta or toasted rustic bread. We’ve gotta try your noodle version.
    Did you say curling? As in sliding the stone over the ice? If so, you’ve found a fellow fan. Go Sweden in the 2019 World Men’s Curling Championship.

    1. You know, we’re in the same boat here, Ron. The noodles are delicious, but the last time I made this (last year? the year before?), we served it over leftover mashed potatoes. Now there was a tasty base!

      And, yes, curling indeed. Curling as in sliding the stone over ice. Curling as in sweeping til your arms fall off. I love the sport! In fact, I had a game last night and another one tomorrow night. The season is coming to an end here as we aren’t a year-round club. That’s ok, though…my arms need a break! 🙂

    1. Ah, I’m jealous that you’ve got spring out there in California, Gerlinde! It’s coming here…the signs are there. However, it’s still in the 20’s in the mornings, and that’s just downright chilly. This cacciatore recipe really is quite easy, and it’s packed with flavor, too! Cheers, my friend!

    1. Oh man, those late season colds are the worst, right? I was sick 2 weeks ago, and now I’ve got the cough that will linger forever. Ugh. I hope you are up and at ’em again soon, Kelsie! I hear that cake helps cure colds. Just sayin’. 🙂

  2. Cacciatore is one of my favorites, – funny I never even thought twice about the hunting of chickens. Ha! But this will be on my list to make ASAP as anything that’s toss in a slow-cooker and go is totally for me! Thanks, David!

    1. Yeah, it is pretty amusing to think about the literal translation of ‘chicken cacciatore.’ I mean back in the day I guess they had to hunt chickens. Or perhaps chicken cacciatore is what hunters would make if they came back empty handed? 🙂 Either way, this is one heck of a tasty meal…and it’s easy, too! Thanks, Laura!

  3. 5 stars
    That is pretty amusing – I’ve never seen anyone gearing up to go chicken hunting…lol.

    And I’ve never considered making chicken cacciatore. But why not!? Yours looks just perfect – melt in your mouth tender!

    1. The thought of gearing up to go chicken huntin’ is pretty funny. I mean there was a time I guess…

      Either way, this cacciatore is delicious, and it’s super easy to make, too! It was a huge hit here in our house. Thanks, Marissa!!

  4. 5 stars
    This is an excellent example of comfort food which would be appropriate basically all year round (Italians know how to make hearty yet not too heavy meals right?) Also, I agree on using thighs. While I love chicken breasts the most, it’s rather hard to cook it to the condition when you can easily shred it – sometimes breasts get kind of mushy instead. Thighs are more suitable for these recipes (Sorry for being a nerd today. I might have learned this from one professor named David haha). Anyway, this is a super delicious dish, and I want to make a rabbit ragu in red wine and with rosemary now. Over some pasta…mmm!

    1. You’re not being nerdy at all, my friend! I hear ya on the chicken breast vs. thigh debate. Chicken breasts would be fine, but thighs are definitely the way to go. Either way, it’s a delicious comfort food dish! Oh man, some rabbit ragu would be delicious! I’ve actually never cooked rabbit myself, but I’ve had some mighty tasty rabbit ragu made by other folks. I should try my hand at that sometime! Thanks so much for the comment, Ben!

  5. I’ve always found the image of someone, rifle in hand, hunting chickens pretty hilarious, but of course the explanation is the original dish was made with rabbit. Still pretty funny since it congers up memories of Elmer Fudd… 😉

    1. Elmer Fudd! Yes! As soon as you mentioned his name, it clicked in as the perfect image for a chicken hunter. Haha! 🙂 Thanks, Frank!

    1. Yes! We share the same weather, Kathy (although I think you’re a bit colder in general than us). Spring is wanting to come out, but winter is stubbornly holding on. It’s coming soon, my friend! In the meantime, we can make some delicious comfort food like this cacciatore. Yum!! Hope you have a great day!

  6. 5 stars
    I would never forget finishing with parmesan cheese 😉 This looks super comforting, David, and love how versatile it is. We use our slow cooker year round and this is another delicious reason to break it out (especially since we have a little snow today). Also, hunting chicken? That’s kinda funny, isn’t it?

    1. Haha…I’m right there with ya on the Parmesan cheese, Dawn! We always keep a huge wedge of it in our fridge. I’ve even been known to slice an extra piece off for snacking. (But that’s between us, ok?) And, yes to the slow cooker year round! That thing can come in super handy on these weeks when you feel like you just can’t slow down. Thanks so much, my friend!

    1. I agree with you 100%, Kelly! That slow cooker has saved us so many times when you look at the week ahead and just groan. You know those weeks that I’m talking about, right? That’s when the slow cooker comes out! Slow cooker meals don’t have to be boring, though! This cacciatore is delicious. 🙂

  7. 5 stars
    I’m all about long simmering times on the stove — curling, not so much. 😉 Ha!
    Really, this sounds delicious, especially sitting on top of the linguine. Perfect. And I’m totally opting for the Parmesan.

    1. Noooo…you should totally come out curling sometime, Valentina! I promise it will change your opinion of the game. 🙂 (Or if nothing else, then we’ll at least have fun…haha!) And, yes, I’d opt in for that Parmesan, too. In fact, give me double! Thanks so much, my friend!

    1. Pull out that slow cooker, Alexandra! This recipe couldn’t be easier to make, and it’s awesome that it just slow cooks its way to a delicious dinner throughout the day. 🙂 Perfect for the chilly days that are coming your way!

  8. 5 stars
    Another fab recipe for my slow cooker. And although we’re supposed to be in Spring here, it’s a howling gale outside. As you say a slow cooker simmering away on the kitchen worktop is one of the best things about cold days. This should be simmering away here TODAY! Thanks David!

    1. Thanks so much, Neil! I know it’s officially Spring here, too, but Winter is hanging on stubbornly. Some days it’s warming up, but we’re still chilly at night. Slow cooker meals like this Chicken Cacciatore are still very much appreciated in our house right now! 🙂 Hope you had a great weekend, my friend!

    1. I’m all about chicken thighs when it comes to the slow cooker. So much flavor! When it comes to grilling, though, I typically go chicken breasts. Speaking of grilling, it’s almost warm again (at least up here). Haha! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating