Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

Primal AviaryWho doesn’t love a meal that cooks itself? Especially when it’s easy, reliably delicious comfort food like chicken cacciatore? Throw this recipe into a slow cooker and come back hours later to a hearty dinner. Even better, this recipe serves 8, which should take care of more than one meal. Chicken cacciatore tastes great leftover the next day, and it also freezes well.

If you’re not familiar with chicken cacciatore, it’s classic Italian-American food. Tender chicken falls off the bone into a thick sauce of tomatoes, bell peppers, mushrooms and garlic. It’s flavorful—but in a mild “everyone’s gonna like this” sort of way.

A slow cooker is a perfect place to cook bone-in chicken thighs. The meat becomes tender and flavorful, never mushy and bland. Browning the chicken (and onion) before adding it to the slow cooker gives the dish better flavor and texture; it’s not strictly necessary, but if you have the time then it’s worth the effort.

Chicken cacciatore can be served over something—like gluten-free pasta, cauliflower rice or spaghetti squash—but it doesn’t need to be. This meal is plenty flavorful and filling simply served alone in a bowl.

Servings: 8

Time in the Kitchen: 20 minutes, plus 4 to 8 hours in a slow cooker



  • 8 to 10 bone-in, skinless* chicken thighs
  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced or finely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 28-ounce/794 g can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced (227 g)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Optional Garnishes: fresh basil or oregano, capers or black olives, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


*For this recipe, leaving the chicken skin on the chicken thighs tends to make the dish too oily

Season the chicken generously with salt. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat with a drizzle of avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil. When the skillet is hot, add chicken. Cook until lightly browned, about 4 minutes a side. Do not crowd the chicken in the skillet; brown in two batches if necessary.

Add the browned chicken to the slow cooker.

In the same skillet that the chicken was cooked, add the onions. Turn heat down to medium. Saute until onions are soft, 5 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Season lightly with salt.

Add onion and garlic to slow cooker. Add tomatoes, bell peppers, mushrooms, bay leaf and red pepper flakes. Mix well, so the chicken is completely coated in tomatoes.

Cover and cook on high 4 hours, or low 8 hours.

Primal Aviary

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13 thoughts on “Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore”

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  1. The asterik. Would like to see added: sandwich the removed chicken skins (seasoned) between parchment paper and bake to make chicken chips. (Vaguely recall a MDA recipe for this). Reserve cooked sauce to first serve with skin as a hors d’oeuvre.

    1. If the meat counter sold skin removed from skinless breasts and thighs, I would buy it by the pound!

  2. Thanks, I can’t wait to try this! Since the chicken thighs are skinless, is there a reason you couldn’t save some time by just using boneless, skinless thighs? Are the bones essential to the recipe?

    1. Not essential surely, but you would gain the benefit of the bones broth being cooked into the dish, adding flavor but also the goodness of bone broth.

  3. Or do the same recipe in an Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker and be ready to eat in an hour!

  4. I always love the Primal recipes, but as an autoimmune sufferer, if I could ask for one gift in 2018, it would be for more recipes that don’t include nightshades. There are some delicious recipes on this blog that are nightshade free (mostly breakfast and side dishes), but the majority of meat recipes include tomatoes and peppers. If there is any way you could throw a bone to the autoimmune community and gift us some nightshade-free entree recipes, that would be awesome!

    1. +1 nightshade-free. I normally sub in bone broth for tomatoes and add cauliflower and broccoli for more heft and flavor – worked out pretty well.

  5. Before dumping the tomatoes into the slow cooker, I would first stir them into the pan that cooked the chicken and the oniond to harvest any remaining fond for additional flavor. Keep stirring long enough to clean the pan, and THEN, into the slow cooker.

  6. Just made this and loved it SO much! The flavors are insane. Prepped it last night, heated some up at work today, and I couldn’t be happier.

  7. Brilliant flavors. My wife and daughter aren’t fond of bell peppers, but they loved this dish. Depending on your slow cooker, you may not need eight hours; I used my larger one that tends to run “hot” and six hours on low was plenty. I used crushed San Marzanos, and with the chicken juices, there was a little more liquid than I expected, but nothing a slotted spoon at serving couldn’t handle. Great over spaghetti squash.

  8. OMG – It’s in the slow cooker now and the smell is permeating throughout the house. I added a little bit of red wine and fresh rosemary. I can’t wait!!!