There's nothing more delicious than classic Italian dishes - and nothing easier than adapting them to the slow cooker!
❤️ Why you'll love it
- A hearty, stew-like sauce fills you up on cold nights
- Fresh herbs add authentic flavor the whole family can enjoy
- The perfect sauce in which to dip your favorite crusty bread
Slow cooker chicken cacciatore is an Italian classic when it comes to comfort meals. The succulent chicken and spicy red wine sauce fill the house with a warm, welcoming aroma—it brings a sense of calm to even the busiest of evenings.
This is an overview of the ingredients. You'll find the full measurements and instructions in the green recipe card (printable) at the bottom of the page.
This is an overview of the instructions. Full instructions are in the green recipe card at the bottom of the page.
- Put all the ingredients except the pasta in the slow cooker, cover, and cook on low for 8 hours.
- Cook the pasta, drain and enjoy the cacciatore over the pasta!
Leftovers will last for about 4 days in the refrigerator—tightly covered or in an airtight container, of course. You can also keep it for 3 months in the freezer.
Expert Tip: Grease plastic Tupperware with olive oil to prevent the sauce from staining it!
Since this slow cooker chicken cacciatore recipe comes together so easily, I'd recommend making a double batch if you can fit it! Then, freeze half for another time. It makes preparing an already easy dinner even easier.
If frozen, let the flavorful tomato sauce thaw in the fridge, or use the defrost setting on your microwave. Then, warm the leftovers either in the microwave or on the stove over low heat, bringing them to a gentle simmer.
Cacciatore sauce is super versatile. Here are some swaps and substitutions:
- Skinless chicken breasts are a family fave. However, skinless chicken thighs are more flavorful and juicy. Often, dark meat is cheaper, too.
- Use rotisserie chicken to make the cooking process even faster. Let it simmer in the sauce to warm while you prep the pasta.
- You can add red bell peppers instead of yellow or green peppers.
- Instead of jarred marinara sauce, use hearty, homemade tomato sauce.
- You can add some tomato paste to amp up the flavor of the sauce or thicken a watery store-bought variety.
- Fresh garlic is more flavorful, but if you're looking for an easy recipe, you can use pre-minced, too.
- Feel free to mix in some other hearty vegetables as a healthier dinner alternative! Green beans, carrots, and peas are all good options.
- In some families, this classic dish includes black or green olives. If you like the briny flavor of olives, definitely stir some into the sauce!
- Red wine can be swapped with chicken broth if you don't use alcohol.
- Garnish with more fresh herbs or red pepper flakes. Whatever you do, don't forget the parmesan cheese! Pecorino Romano is good, too.
- You can also cook chicken cacciatore on the stovetop in a large dutch oven if you don't have a slow cooker. Let everything come together over medium heat until the chicken pieces reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
💭 Things to know
Expert Tip: No matter what part of the chicken you use, try to cut the pieces into even sizes. In chicken dishes, this helps the meat cook evenly, keeping it moist and tender.
- Using the base of your hand, smash a garlic clove under the thickest part of your knife to easily remove the peel.
- Chianti and Merlot are my top two picks for use in this delicious dish. However, I won't turn my nose up at a Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir.
- You can usually find diced veggies in the fresh produce section of the grocery store—a good idea if you hate chopping!
- Serve slow cooker chicken cacciatore over a thicker noodle, like linguine, to hold onto all the good sauce. Spaghetti works, too.
- Some people enjoy cacciatore over polenta, egg noodles, or zucchini noodles, especially if a family member has dietary restrictions.
- Leftovers? You can use this sauce in this leftover garlic bread casserole recipe!
The word "cacciatore" comes from the Italian "alla cacciatora," which means "hunter style." Originally, it was made from whatever ingredients a hunter found while he was out gathering dinner—wild mushrooms, rabbit or game birds, wild garlic, and other things. Then, it was mixed up and stewed!
It takes flavors from both northern and southern Italy. The classic Italian dish is herby, tomato-y, and slightly spicy. The chicken adds a juicy, savory element. With pasta, it's a perfect comfort meal.
Woah, slow down there, partner! Before uncorking your summery bottle of white wine, I'd recommend using chicken broth or stock if you need to replace the red. Most cacciatore recipes as well as other tomato-based dishes are best complemented by richer red wines.
Typically, you don't want to cook with your top-shelf, milestone-anniversary-worthy bottles of wine. However, flavor matters! Go for a mid-range bottle that you'd still enjoy drinking.
If you're going the stovetop route, definitely use an enameled stock pot or dutch oven. Cast iron can react poorly with acidic ingredients, like tomatoes.
Toasty bread rubbed with a little butter or extra virgin olive oil! This simple recipe includes protein and veggies in the sauce, so you really don't need other side dishes if you don't feel like making them!
However, green beans or a crisp leaf salad do complement the traditional Italian dish very well. Keep scrolling for my recommendations!
📚 Related recipes
- Covered in flavorful marinara, Baked Ricotta Chicken is creamy, cheesy, and tender—perfect for a weekly meal and great for date night, too!
- Million-Dollar Spaghetti Casserole tastes just like that—a million bucks! It's a real crowd-pleaser, and, despite the name, very cost-friendly.
- Spicy and rich, Creamy Vodka Sauce Pasta is a staple in Italian cuisine—and for good reason! This delicious dish is one you'll crave over and over.
🍽️ Serve with...
Or, choose one of these easy side dishes!
📞 The last word
Cozy, homemade Chicken Cacciatore is one of those dishes that makes you smile no matter how bad the day has been. Tender pieces of chicken and vegetables are simmered in a spicy sauce and then served over pasta for a homey, rustic meal that's hard to beat.
In the mood for beef? Try these super easy crockpot meatballs over your pasta instead.
If you click on the number of servings in the recipe card you can adjust the measurements up or down for the exact number of servings you need. Don't forget that you can click on "add to collection" to save it to your own, private recipe box!
If you love this recipe please give it 5 stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Slow Cooker Chicken CacciatorePrint Pin Recipe Save Go to Collections
- 2 pounds chicken, breast, thighs, or whole chicken cut up
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup green pepper, chopped
- ½ cup yellow pepper, chopped
- 1 ½ cups onion, chopped
- 10 ounces Ro*Tel diced tomatoes, 1 can
- 12 ounces marinara sauce
- ½ cup mushrooms, optional. Thickly sliced
- 2 tablespoons oregano, fresh or 1 teaspoon dried
- 2 tablespoons basil, fresh or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1 tablespoon thyme, fresh or ½ teaspoon dried
- 2 tablespoons fennel leaves, minced... optional
- ½ cup red wine, you may substitute chicken broth
- 1 pound pasta, linguine or spaghetti
I earn a commission from Instacart from qualifying purchases.
- Put all of the ingredients except the fresh herbs and pasta in the slow cooker.
- Cook on low for 8 hours.
- Add the fresh herbs about 10 minutes before you're ready to serve.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted water until a la dente (just tender - not overcooked)
- Drain well.
- Spoon sauce over cooked pasta and serve.
- Thighs will be more tender and flavorful plus they cost less than breast.
- Starting with a commercial pasta sauce speeds up the process.
- If you're really in a hurry use a rotisserie chicken. Cut it into serving pieces and let it simmer in the sauce while you are cooking the pasta.
- You'll find containers of chopped peppers, onions, and other vegetables in the produce section. They can be HUGE time savers.
- Add leftover vegetables. Carrots, green beans, and peas all work well in this cacciatore recipe.
- You can use chicken broth in place of wine.
- Leftover sauce will keep about 4 days in the refrigerator (tightly covered, of course) or about 3 months in the freezer.
Sign up for the emails and never miss another recipe!!We'll never share your email or send you spam. Pinkie swear.
First published August 20, 2012. Last updated August 19, 2022 for better images and editorial content.
What’s new? Check out my Restless Chipotle & Co. Store on Amazon where you'll find all kinds of nostalgic goodness! Thanks so much for being a part of Restless Chipotle!
Mmmmmmm I want a big plate of this! Pass some my way 🙂
Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet
Such great comfort food and I'll bet the addition of the fennel leaves is fabulous!
Karen @ The Food Charlatan
I love that excerpt from the Badger! It's perfect. And so is this cacciatore! I want some like right now!
Kimberly Ann @ Bake Love Give
This is absolutely my kind of comfort food. What a fabulous recipe.
I love comfort food and this chicken cacciatore looks perfect for a chilly winter night. What are fennel leaves? I often use braised fennel and fennel seeds and fronds, but don't think I've seen fennel with leaves on it.
Jenny | Honey and Birch
I never thought of Chicken Cacciatore as a meal of hunters until now - it's making me want it even more!!
Chicken cacciatore is a classic that never goes out of style, it's one of my all-time favorites. Can't wait to try your version!
Taylor@Food Faith Fitness
This looks amazing! Perfect comfort food 🙂
Thanks Taylor - it really is.
Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine
My mouth is watering too! How delish and so comforting!
It's so good. 🙂 Definitely comfort food.
Ali @ Home & Plate
Chicken Cacciatore is a great dish for this time of year. I love all the flavors of the veggies in this dish. Delicious!