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Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore is a classic comfort food recipe that we modified and made in the crockpot to create delicious set-and-forget version of the Italian classic. Chicken breasts (or thighs/bone chicken pieces) are seared then cooked in the most delicious rich herb tomato sauce filled with mushrooms, bell peppers and onions.

Served with pasta, this lovely meal has big and beautiful flavors, and brings such cozy and comforting vibes. So filling and so elegant in taste, flavors, and preparation!

Closeup of chicken cacciatore topped with mushrooms, bell peppers and parsley

Looking for more easy and delicious Italian dinners on the blog? Check out my recipes for Spaghetti and Meat Sauce, Lemon Chicken Piccata, Classic Lasagna, Garlic Parmesan Chicken Pasta and Spinach Lasagna.

Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore

There’s something magical about this slow cooker chicken cacciatore – the Italian flavors, the nooks and crannies of meat that is soaked with rich tomato herb sauce, and the tender vegetables that surround it. A simple but flavorful dish that warms the heart and stomach.

This English translation of “Chicken Cacciatore”in Italian means hunter’s chicken, a rich tomato based Italian stew where the most flavorful and tender chicken is infused with herbs and spices as it cooks slowly in tomato and vegetable rich sauce.

The slow cooker makes it super easy to get a delicious Chicken Cacciatore dinner on the table. You really don’t need to work too hard to get some pretty fancy tasting Italian food with very little effort.

I love making slow cooker chicken cacciatore because everything cooks in one pot, there’s no babysitting or stirring involved, and you can set it, forget it, and take care of the million of things you have going on. Or even leave the house!

Quick and easy to throw together in the morning, or even the night before, this Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore recipe is actually ready for you after a busy or long day..

Hello dinner in style with minimal efforts!

If you don’t have a slow cooker or crockpot, today’s crockpot chicken cacciatore can easily be made on the stovetop – however you will have to babysit it and it will take about 40 minutes of your time from start to finish.

To make slow cooker chicken cacciatore, you will need a at least a 6 qt slow cooker to fit all the ingredients. You will want to season and sauté chicken on the stovetop first, before bringing the large pot onto the stovetop to cook everything.

While sautéing the chicken brings an extra step to this slow cooker chicken cacciatore recipe, it is an important step to really bring incredible flavors to the chicken, so avoid skipping this step! It’s only an extra 10 minutes and it is so worth it!

Chicken cacciatore in slow cooker, submerging in tomato based herb sauce, along with bell peppers and mushrooms


This delicious slow cooker chicken cacciatore recipe calls for a couple of classic Italian ingredients:

  • Chicken breasts – while this recipe calls for boneless chicken breast, you can use bone-in chicken thighs or chicken pieces. If you are looking for the most flavor, use chicken thighs. Because chicken breasts are usually very thick, half them lengthwise. This will produce a thinner slice of chicken – which will have larger surface area that will lock in the seasonings when pan fried, and will therefore be more flavorful.
  • Red wine – this will be cooked down so it will not be very alcoholic and most of the alcohol will be evaporated in the cooking process. Red wine does add a deep rich flavor to the sauce, and is very much needed! Any dry red wine such as Merlot, Pinot Noir, or Cabernet Sauvignon work great. Avoid sweet red wines for this recipe.
  • Red bell pepper – you can use any color color bell peppers
  • Onion – white or yellow onions work great. Slice or dice them into smaller pieces.
  • Crushed tomatoes – if you cannot find crushed tomatoes, you can use canned diced tomatoes or whole tomatoes, and crush it up a little.
  • Tomato paste – do not substitute with anything else! This give a nice deep tomato flavor as well as a thick consistency to the sauce.
  • Mushrooms – I use white mushrooms for this but any other types work as well. Wash and slice before adding to the slow cooker.
  • Garlic cloves – the slow cooking process will cause the garlic to be soften and dissolve. Avoid substituting for garlic powder. Fresh garlic is the best for this.
  • Dried oregano – Other herbs such as basil or Italian seasoning can be used as well

How to Make Chicken Cacciatore in the Slow Cooker

Step 1: Season and Sear Chicken

First, we will season both sides of the halved chicken breasts with a seasoning combination of salt, black pepper and dried oregano.

Because we are slow cooking Chicken Cacciatore, we are going to want to sear the chicken for a short few minutes in vegetable oil in a skillet to lock in those seasonings and spices, and to create some crispy texture on the outside of the piece of chicken. This will help keep the chicken flavorful and prevent it from coming out bland.

We are not looking for the chicken to be fully cooked so let it sear in vegetable oil for only 1 minute or so on one side in medium high heat, then flip and sear the other side.

Step 2: Slow Cook the Chicken Cacciatore

Next, grab a slow cooker that is at least 6 qt or larger, then add canned crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and seasoningsred wine, fresh thyme, garlic, and salt – into the crockpot. Stir to mix.

Nestle seared chicken into sauce in the slow cooker, add vegetables such as bell pepper, mushrooms and onions, and gently push vegetables into the sauce and around chicken. Vegetable doesn’t have to be fully submerged.

Top everything with a few sprigs of fresh thyme, then cover with the crockpot lid.

Uncooked chicken topped with mushrooms and bell peppers and a fresh twig of thyme.

Cook on high heat for 3 hours in the slow cooker, or low for 6 hours.

When Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore is done, give it a stir.

Discard the thyme sprigs, and then taste the sauce. Add salt to taste, this will help open up the flavors in the sauce.

When it is done, chicken cacciatore should be fork tender. It will be submerged in that rich tomato herb sauce that is not too thick or too thin, and very flavorful. Bell peppers and mushroom should have soften and its flavors permeated throughout the sauce.

A bowl of chicken cacciatore topped with tomatoes, bell peppers and mushrooms. Spaghetti on the side

Step 3: Serve with Pasta

I highly recommend serving this slow cooker Chicken Cacciatore over a bed of pasta – spaghetti, linguine, penne, or rigatoni works great with this recipe.

Spoon sauce all over the pasta so pasta is coated in sauce as well – there should be plenty to go around!

A bowl of spaghetti pasta topped with chicken cacciatore

Stove Top Directions

If you choose not to cook Chicken Cacciatore in the slow cooker, no worries! It can also be cooked on the stovetop.

This method requires you to babysit it more while it is cooking, and it takes about 40 minutes from start to finish.

Here are the instructions:

  1. First, season and sear chicken in a large pot. You may have to sear in two batches. Remove chicken and set aside.
  2. Sear garlic, onions, red bell peppers, mushroom in the pot until they are soft.
  3. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, red wine and sugar. Bring to a boil.
  4. Submerged chicken into the sauce, and let it cook covered on medium low for 20-30 minutes, or until chicken is fully cooked and vegetables are soft. You may need to stir occasionally throughout the time.
  5. Add salt to taste, then serve it on top of pasta!

Tips and Tricks

  • Browning Chicken: While it may seem like an unnecessary step, browning the chicken before adding to the slow cooker can add more depth of flavor to the final dish.
  • Adding Other Vegetables: Other veggies such as carrots, broccoli, green beans work great as well!
  • Thicken Sauce: If you want your sauce to be thicker, add use corn starch to thicken it at the end.
  • Use Fresh Herbs: I like to add fresh herbs such as thyme to the slow cooker, instead of dried herbs. I use dried herbs to make the seasoning for the chicken, but fresh herbs has a more potent flavor and can really bump the flavor profile of the sauce up a few notches.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Storage: Store Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore in an air tight container. Store chicken and pasta separately if possible. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Reheating: Reheat Chicken Cacciatore in the microwave or the stovetop. If sauce is frozen, defrost in the refrigerator completely before reheating.

A bowl of chicken cacciatore with a bowl of pasta in the background

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best type of red wine to use?

When picking out wines, note that you don’t need to get an expensive wine, but I won’t get the cheapest wine either. My rule for cooking with wine is this: cook with wine that you would not mind drinking, because cooking does not take away the quality in old or bad wine. Cooking it does slowly take out the alcoholic content.

Why do you pan sear the chicken first? Can I skip this step?

This step will help lock in the seasonings into the chicken. It is an important step to make sure chicken is flavorful and not bland, so do not skip this step.

I would like my sauce thicker. What should I do?

You can thicken the sauce with corn starch. After chicken is done cooking, remove chicken from slow cooker. Bring 1/4 of liquid from the slow cooker into a small bowl, and combine with 2 tsp of corn starch. Mix until corn starch is fully combined, then bring liquid back into the slow cooker. Stir and cover. Cook on high for 10-15 minutes to thicken sauce.

Other Yummy Chicken Recipes

More Slow Cooker Recipes

A large pot of chicken cacciatore made in the slow cooker

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

This Italian classic is made in the slow cooker for an easy dinner recipe. Seasoned chicken breast is cooked in an herb and wine infused tomato sauce, combined with bell peppers, onions and mushrooms. Best served over pasta.
4.75 from 27 votes
Print Pin
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 25 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 77kcal
Author: MinShien


  • 4 pieces chicken breast halved lengthwise
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp salt plus more for sauce to taste
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 8 oz white mushrooms sliced
  • 2 bell peppers sliced
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 28 oz canned crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 5-6 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2-3 springs thyme


  • Combine oregano, salt and black pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle over halved chicken breasts on both sides.
  • Heat skillet with vegetable oil under medium high heat. Once oil is hot, sear chicken breast on one side until slightly brown (about 1-2 minutes), then flip and sear the other side (another 1 minute or so). Remove chicken once the other side is lightly browned and set aside. The goal is to sear seasonings into the surface of the chicken – chicken does not need to be fully cooked. Cook in two batches if skillet is not big enough.
  • Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, red wine, garlic, and sugar to slow cooker. Mix to combine.
  • Add slices of chicken breast to slow cooker, and nestle them into the sauce. Then add onions, bell pepper, mushrooms, and then top with a very sprigs of fresh thyme. Use a spoon to submerge the ingredients into the sauce as much as possible (okay if not fully submerged).
  • Cook on high for 3 hours.
  • Remove lid and add salt to taste. Salt will open up the flavors of the sauce.
  • Discard thyme and garlic pieces. Serve chicken with (lots of) sauce over a bed of pasta. Enjoy!


Calories: 77kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 1040mg | Potassium: 541mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1232IU | Vitamin C: 50mg | Calcium: 58mg | Iron: 2mg
Did you make this recipe?Take a pic and tag me at @joyous.apron, or hashtag #joyousapron on Instagram!

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4.75 from 27 votes (26 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    After cooking all day, my kitchen smelled so good that I couldn’t wait to dive into this meal. It tasted absolutely delicious and my family couldn’t wait to inhale the leftovers which is a rarity in my house.

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      I’m so glad your family enjoyed this recipe!