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A healthy and easy dinner is on the table with just 10 minutes of prep! There’s no need to sauté the meat or stand over the stove. Instead, this Dump-and-Bake Chicken Cacciatore recipe uses the oven to braise boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a thick, rich tomato sauce with plenty of fresh vegetables. A perfect family-friendly weeknight meal!

Chicken cacciatore in a cast iron skillet with a serving spoon

If you’re not interested in standing in the kitchen slaving over your next supper, then a baked chicken cacciatore recipe is bound to become your new favorite dish. You get all of the delicious taste of a juicy, tender piece of meat that has simmered in a flavorful tomato sauce — without any of the work!

What is Chicken Cacciatore?

Cacciatore means “hunter” in Italian, and refers to a meal that’s prepared “hunter-style” with onions, herbs, and usually tomatoes, bell peppers and wine (source).

A classic Chicken Cacciatore recipe typically involves sautéing bone-in, skin-on chicken parts in a skillet, removing the chicken, and then sautéing vegetables in the same pan. The seared chicken is then returned to the pan with the vegetables and braised slowly in a tomato sauce for about an hour.

The end result is great, but many of us just don’t have time for all of that! Instead, I’ve found a shortcut to achieve all of the flavors that you love from a traditional cacciatore with one single step!

Overhead shot of chicken cacciatore in a skillet and on a plate garnished with fresh basil

How to make a healthy Chicken Cacciatore recipe:

First, season boneless, skinless chicken breasts with salt and pepper and place in a baking dish, large oven-proof skillet or Dutch oven.

Boneless skinless chicken breasts raw in a cast iron skillet

In a separate bowl, stir together the rest of the ingredients:

  • onion
  • bell pepper
  • a can of crushed tomatoes
  • mushrooms
  • tomato paste
  • red wine
  • garlic, rosemary, basil and Italian seasoning
Vegetables and tomatoes in a glass mixing bowl

Pour the tomato mixture over the chicken.

Chicken cacciatore in a skillet before baking

Finally, bake the chicken at 400 degrees F for about 45 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. I like to leave the dish uncovered, which allows the sauce to thicken nicely.

Long overhead shot of baked boneless skinless chicken cacciatore recipe in a skillet with fresh herbs

Garnish the chicken and sauce with fresh herbs, if desired, and serve!

Chicken Cacciatore recipe on a blue and white dinner plate with a fork and pasta

What to serve with Chicken Cacciatore:

Italian-inspired sides are traditionally served with Chicken Cacciatore. Here are a few options that go best with the dish:

Spaghetti on a fork with a plate of chicken cacciatore

Cook’s Tips and Recipe Variations:

  • Baking time will vary depending on the size and thickness of your chicken. I used three very large chicken breasts, which required about 45 minutes in the oven. The type of baking dish that you use can also impact the amount of time that your meat needs in the oven. For instance, meat cooks faster in a cast iron braiser (as shown in the photos), than it does in a glass or ceramic baking dish. As a result, baking time suggested is merely an estimate. To know exactly when your meat is done (and to avoid over-cooking or under-cooking the chicken), I highly recommend using a meat thermometer. You know that the chicken is perfectly cooked through when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  • Substitute boneless, skinless chicken thighs or chicken breast tenderloins for the boneless, skinless chicken breasts. If using chicken thighs or tenderloins, decrease the baking time to about 25 minutes.
  • You can bake this easy chicken cacciatore recipe in a casserole dish, in a Dutch oven, or in a large oven-proof skillet.
  • Have leftovers? This chicken cacciatore recipe will last in the fridge for up to 3 days. To keep it fresh longer, you can freeze the extra chicken and sauce in a tightly-sealed container for up to 3 months.
  • Want to prep ahead? Place all of the raw ingredients in the dish, as instructed, cover and refrigerate overnight before baking. Alternatively, you can prepare all of the ingredients in a dish, wrap tightly, and freeze for up to 1 month before baking. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, allow the dish to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking, and then bake as instructed.
  • Don’t want to use the red wine? You can substitute with beef broth or balsamic vinegar.
Overhead shot of plate full of spaghetti and chicken cacciatore

Even more easy chicken recipes that you might enjoy:

Chicken cacciatore in a cast iron skillet with a serving spoon

Dump-and-Bake Chicken Cacciatore Recipe

4 from 1 vote
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 45 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
Servings 4 – 6 people
Calories 261.3 kcal
Thanks to this Dump-and-Bake Chicken Cacciatore recipe, a healthy and easy dinner is on the table with just 10 minutes of prep!

Ingredients
  

  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or substitute with chicken thighs or chicken tenders)
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • 1 small red or green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons minced or grated fresh garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary (or 2 teaspoons dried rosemary)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf
  • For serving: rustic bread, rice or cooked pasta

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray, or use a large oven-proof skillet, Dutch oven or braiser.
  • Season chicken with salt and pepper on all sides, and place in prepared baking dish.
  • In a separate bowl, stir together remaining ingredients. Pour tomato mixture evenly over the chicken.
  • Bake, uncovered, for 40-45 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. If using chicken tenders or boneless chicken thighs, decrease the baking time to about 25 minutes. Remove bay leaf; season the sauce with salt and pepper (to taste). Serve chicken and sauce with bread, rice or pasta, if desired.

Notes

  • Baking time will vary depending on the size and thickness of your chicken. I used three very large chicken breasts, which required about 45 minutes in the oven. The type of baking dish that you use can also impact the amount of time that your meat needs in the oven. For instance, meat cooks faster in a cast iron braiser (as shown in the photos), than it does in a glass or ceramic baking dish. As a result, baking time suggested is merely an estimate. To know exactly when your meat is done (and to avoid over-cooking or under-cooking the chicken), I highly recommend using a meat thermometer. You know that the chicken is perfectly cooked through when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  • Substitute boneless, skinless chicken thighs or chicken breast tenderloins for the boneless, skinless chicken breasts. If using chicken thighs or tenderloins, decrease the baking time to about 25 minutes.
  • You can bake this easy chicken cacciatore recipe in a casserole dish, in a Dutch oven, or in a large oven-proof skillet.
  • Have leftovers? This chicken cacciatore recipe will last in the fridge for up to 3 days. To keep it fresh longer, you can freeze the extra chicken and sauce in a tightly-sealed container for up to 3 months.
  • Want to prep ahead? Place all of the raw ingredients in the dish, as instructed, cover and refrigerate overnight before baking. Alternatively, you can prepare all of the ingredients in a dish, wrap tightly, and freeze for up to 1 month before baking. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, allow the dish to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking, and then bake as instructed.
  • Don’t want to use the red wine? You can substitute with beef broth or balsamic vinegar.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 of the chicken and sauceCalories: 261.3kcalCarbohydrates: 19.5gProtein: 39.7gFat: 2.6gSaturated Fat: 0.7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 88mgSodium: 498.8mgPotassium: 1259.7mgFiber: 4.8gSugar: 10.6g
Keyword: baked chicken breast recipes, chicken cacciatore recipe, easy chicken breast recipes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

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Comments

  1. If you don’t want to use your oven to keep your kitchen cool or to have a meal almost the minute you walk into the house or if you need your oven for other things – like roasted broccoli (which we like with this meal), then use your slow cooker.
    I have been making this meal sans the mushrooms in consideration of a daughter who does not like them, for 30+ years.

    1. Yes! I totally agree, Cathy — and I’ve done it this way as well. I even included a tip in the recipe notes above with instructions for the Crock Pot. Perfect solution on a hot day! 🙂

      1. Hi Blair, I have Read the instructions at least three times and cannot find any mention about doing this in the slow cooker. I have everything on my counter and I’m ready to go so if you can tell me where to find it or give me the instructions I’d really appreciate it. Thank you Donna

        1. Hi, Donna! I think that this would work perfectly fine in the slow cooker — the only real difference is that the slow cooker version will have a much thinner sauce since all of the liquid condensation from the pot will drop back down into the dish. When I bake it in the oven, I leave the dish uncovered to allow the sauce to thicken. If you don’t mind a slightly thin sauce, the Crock Pot should be a fine option. With chicken breasts, I usually start with about 4-6 hours on LOW or 2-3 hours on HIGH. Each slow cooker runs at slightly different temperatures, so it’s always best to keep an eye on the meat. Chicken breasts have a tendency to dry out if they’re overcooked in the slow cooker, so start with a shorter cooking time and then go from there. Hope that helps, but let me know if you have any other questions! 🙂

          1. How very sweet of you to take the time to give me the instructions in such a short time. I searched around your recipes and found the Chicken with Peppers so I kinda used that as my guide. I did saute the chicken first as suggested. I know the sauce will be thinner but maybe if I use fresh pasta it will soak up some of the liquid. Again, thank you for the instructions. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
            Stay safe.

          2. I made this yesterday in my slow cooker. The flavours were fabulous. The sauce was thin as expected but didn’t effect the meal whatsoever. Will definitely make this again, probably in the oven.

        1. Hi, Tammy! Yes, ma’am! You might want to add a little bit of beef broth, chicken broth, or water to thin the sauce slightly, but it will still taste good without the wine. 🙂

  2. Interesting but not Cacciatore style. First it is never baked, the chicken is first browned in olive oil and then removed from the pot. The vegetables are carrot, celery, onions, garlic and mushrooms. If you’re not using fresh tomatoes, get Italian plum tomatoes that are peeled, do not used crushed tomatoes. Saute vegetables, then deglaze pan with wine. Add tomatoes, crush the peeled tomatoes by hand being careful to remove any tomato skin that was missed in the canning process. The herbs typically used are rosemary and parsley if you want to make authentic Cacciatore. Return the browned chicken to the pot and cover. Simmer until done, typically 30-35 minutes. Some Italian chefs saute the chicken in vegetable oil, this is a normal variant and perhaps even more authentic. Add sea salt and cracked pepper to taste. NEVER USE BELL PEPPERS! It is just plain wrong. This is cooked on the stove top in a Rondeau Pot/Pan, it is just as easy as baking and will taste better. Remember this is a braised chicken dish, not baked.
    To make this dish the right way doesn’t require extra time or effort, just understanding the correct ingredients and cooking techniques. Marcella Hazan and Billy Parisi have more detailed instructions on how to make this.

    1. 4 stars
      While it is true that for authentic caccitore style, the dish is braised, the rest if your post makes little to no sense. You say authentic caccitore should never use bell peppers, but one of the two chefs you mention uses bell pepper in their recipe, as almost all recipes do. The other uses dried mushrooms, which are not a normal ingredient in caccitore. However, since caccitore is a dish heavily influenced by the region it is prepared, it is difficult to say any particular ingredient should or can’t be used. In fact, some authentic recipes don’t even use tomato! The style you describe in your post is more a northern Italy style with the carrots and celery, while the recipe on this page is more southern style. The only real misstep in the recipe on this page is not browning the meat before baking. However, although the flavor is much improved with browning the meat, it still tastes excellent without if you are that pressed for time. I have made it both ways myself, and in both cases been more than happy with the results, but the more “authentic” braised method added a solid half hour to my cook time, plus significantly more time in the kitchen, which this recipe aimed to avoid.