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One of the great things about crockpot slow cookers is that you can put your dinner together early in the day, pop it in the crockpot, and then you can pretty much ignore it for the rest of the day. But after several hours when dinner time rolls around, it’s ready. Wonderful! This crockpot chicken cacciatore recipe is probably my favorite way to use the convenience of a crockpot, and it creates a delicious dinner that everyone enjoys.
This slow cooker chicken cacciatore also uses chicken thighs, one of the more economical meat options in the grocery store, making this a frugal way to serve up dinner too. Win-Win!
How to make sauce for Chicken Cacciatore
What makes this easy recipe so yummy is the sauce that you put over the chicken in the slow cooker. The sauce I use has the traditional chicken cacciatore flavors of tomatoes and bell peppers with some Italians herbs and just a hint of white wine. This version is adapted from a recipe I found in a cookbook called Family Feasts for $75 a week.
To begin making the sauce I combine two 6 oz cans of tomato sauce with a ½ cup of white wine and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. If you prefer not to use wine, you can substitute in chicken or vegetable broth instead.
Then I flavor it up with a variety of my pantry spices. I use some paprika, oregano, basil, salt, celery salt, and some crushed red pepper flakes. I also add in a bit of minced garlic and some brown sugar.
Finally I add in a few chunky ingredients to the sauce. I stir in some diced green pepper and a can of sliced mushrooms. Now my sauce is ready to go and it was super easy to mix together too!
How to Cook the Chicken Cacciatore in a Slow Cooker
Now that the sauce is ready, I prepare the other items to put in the slow cooker – the onions and the chicken thighs.
For the onion, I cut one onion into slices, cut those slices in half, and then break apart the rings. This gives me some nicely sized, yet still somewhat slim slices of onion.
For the chicken, I always purchase the bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs for this recipe because as mentioned earlier, it’s one of the cheaper cuts of chicken you can find in the store. I purchase the the 3 to 4 lb packages that have eight thighs in a package. I then prefer to pull most of the skin off the chicken thighs before adding them to the slow cooker, but you may wish to leave it on.
Once I have my onion and chicken ready in addition to the sauce, I layer things up in the slow cooker. (I’m using a 3 qt slow cooker for the photos shown here).
First, I put half the sliced onions in the bottom of the crockpot. Next, I add half of the chicken thighs and cover them with half of the sauce. Then I repeat these steps, layering in the rest of the onion, adding the remaining chicken, and covering everything with the remaining sauce.
Then it’s time to put the lid on the crockpot and let it all cook together on low for 7 to 9 hours (or on high for 3 to 4 hours). At the end of this time the chicken is cooked and flavorful, and everything is warm and saucy!
We always enjoy our chicken cacciatore over rice but it can also be served over noodles. I prepare a vegetable to go with it and dinner is served! And as you can see in the photo below, the meat will be moist and tender and will literally be falling off the bone.
Chicken Cacciatore for Dinner Parties Too!
Not only do I like this crockpot chicken cacciatore on busy days to have a family dinner that’s ready and waiting, I’ve also learned that it works well to serve to guests at dinner parties too. It’s something you can prepare ahead, makes a large batch, and has comforting flavors that folks enjoy. If making this for guests, I usually use my larger 6 quart slow cooker so that if I want to serve things up buffet style, guests can easily spoon their own piece of chicken from the slow cooker.
This post was first published in November, 2012 and updated in May, 2023
Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore
- Slow Cooker (at least a 3 qt size)
- 8 Bone-In Chicken Thighs (3 to 4 Lb Package)
- 1 Medium Onion – cut into slices & separate the rings
- 2 6 oz cans Tomato Paste
- 1/2 cup White Wine (can substitute chicken broth)
- 1 Tbl Olive Oil
- 2 Tbl Brown Sugar
- 3 tsp Paprika
- 2 tsp Dried Oregano
- 1 tsp Dried Basil
- 1 tsp Minced Garlic (jarred or fresh)
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Celery Salt
- 1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- 1 Green Pepper – Diced (About a generous 1/2 cup)
- 1 4 oz Can Sliced Mushrooms – Drained
Make The Sauce:
- To begin making the sauce, combine the tomato paste, white wine, and olive oil in a medium mixing bowl and stir to combine.
- Next, stir in the spices & flavorings (the brown sugar, paprika, oregano, basil, minced garlic, salt, celery salt, and red pepper flakes).
- Then stir in the diced green pepper and the drained can of mushrooms.
Layer in the Slow Cooker:
- Note: I always like to remove the skin from my chicken thighs before putting it in the slow cooker, but you may also leave the skin on if you wish.
- Add half of the sliced onion to the bottom of the slow cooker. Place four of the chicken thighs over the onion and cover with half the sauce.
- Repeat with the remaining ingredients (the rest of the onion, the remaining 4 chicken thighs, and top with the rest of the sauce).
- Cover the slower cooker and cook on low for 7 to 9 hours, or on high for 3 to 4 hours.
Serve the Chicken:
- When the chicken is done cooking, serve over cooked rice or noodles.