This easy and scrumptious chicken cacciatore recipe is a simple family-favorite dinner that will have everyone asking for a repeat. Saucy noodles and ultra juicy, herby Italian chicken all in one pot. Can’t beat that!
Why This Recipe Works
Delicious — This recipe is so, so, so, so tasty. I want to stop writing this post and make this dish for dinner, I’m not even kidding. How can you go wrong with chicken, pasta, veggies, and Italian spices all coming together in the slow cooker? You simply can’t.
Easy — A lot of slow cooker chicken recipes SAY they’re easy but then you read the instructions and they tell you to brown the meat first, or cook the onions or some kind of extra step that makes that “easy, one-pot-meal” a disappointment full of more dishes and steps than you really signed up for. This one though, toss most of the ingredients all in the CrockPot, cook, and put the spaghetti right in that sauce at the end (no need to boil separately). Doesn’t get any easier!
Great for picky eaters — You might think, sure it’s easy and you say it’s tasty but there are some ingredients in there (ahem, mushrooms, olives, tomatoes) that certain people in my family hate so there’s no way they’ll eat it. Well, I’m here to tell you that this recipe is devoured even by my pickiest eater (my husband). He’s a mushroom, olive, and tomato hater and yet loves this dish. That right there is the ultimate test.
Healthier option — This classic chicken cacciatore deliciousness is a healthier version than you might see in other recipes because there’s no oil or butter to cook the chicken in. All the flavors marinate together in the slow cooker for hours to bring you a delicious meal without extra fat and calories. Serve over zucchini noodles for a carb-free meal.
This ingredients list may look long, but you probably have a lot of it on hand and it’s a cinch to put this slow cooker chicken cacciatore together.
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts (or thighs) — Any brand of chicken you enjoy will work fine in this chicken cacciatore dish.
- Flour — All-purpose flour is great in this dish and helps to thicken the sauce up a bit when whisked with water.
- Can diced tomatoes — I use just plain diced tomatoes, but you could also use the low-sodium version or a can of Italian-seasoned tomatoes for a bit more flavor.
- Sliced mushrooms — Raw mushrooms work well here. If you’re in a pinch you can use jarred but I’d not put them in until the end when you put in the pasta as they are already cooked.
- Kalamata olives — My personal favorite part of this dish. Kalamata olives are tangy, salty, and make for a great texture and taste with every bite.
- Capers — Capers are a must-have in chicken cacciatore, but you can leave them out if you like. Any brand of capers (drained) will be fine.
- Minced garlic — I use jarred, minced garlic but you can mince your own or use frozen too.
- Salt and pepper — Add as much or as little as you like.
- Italian seasoning — I use a name-brand Italian seasoning but you could make your own (a dash of basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and/or parsley) or use Herbs de Provence.
- Thin spaghetti noodles — I like the thin spaghetti noodles because they cook a bit quicker. But if you only have regular spaghetti (or even fettuccine) you can use that too, it just might need to cook an extra couple of minutes.
- Chicken broth — I use low-sodium chicken broth and then add salt in at the end if it’s not salty enough.
- Fresh baby spinach — I prefer fresh spinach in this dish because it cooks up less than frozen and has way less water in it. If you use frozen, be sure to thaw it out first and squeeze out all the excess water that you can before adding to the slow cooker.
- Tomato paste — Any brand of tomato paste is great. Adding tomato paste gives more of a rich, tomatoey depth of flavor than you’d get with just a can of diced tomatoes. It also helps thicken the sauce as well.
Here’s How You Make It
- First, lightly grease your slow cooker. Then, add ½ cup of water to the slow cooker and whisk the flour into the water to create the chicken cacciatore sauce base.
- On top of the roux, arrange the chicken in a single layer, then top with the tomatoes, mushrooms, olives, capers, capers, garlic, salt and pepper, Italian seasonings, and chicken broth. Put the lid on and cook on low 6-7 hours or 3-4 hours on high.
- Last step — uncover the slow cooker, add the spaghetti noodles, spinach, and tomato paste and stir to combine. Add the lid back on and let the spaghetti cook for another 15-20 minutes. Do one final stir and serve. Top with cracked black pepper, fresh thyme, and grated parmesan cheese if desired.
Expert Tips and Tricks
- Looking for toppings? Me too, I’m always all about the toppings. I prefer to add fresh, cracked pepper, lots of fresh, grated parmesan, and some fresh herbs (thyme, basil, or parsley) to the top.
- This slow cooker chicken cacciatore will keep in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Keep in mind, though, that the longer it’s in the fridge, the thicker the sauce will get as the pasta absorbs it.
In Italian, “cacciatore” means “hunter.” Therefore something made “cacciatore” is made “hunter-style” which used to mean whatever the hunter caught that day — rabbit, pheasant, other wild birds, etc. and a sauce of onions, tomatoes, veggies, and herbs. Of course, nowadays we just substitute chicken rather than hunting for wild game, but the rest remains about the same!
1. Use zoodles or other veggie pasta instead of spaghetti.
2. Shred the chicken, put it back in the slow cooker, then add the pasta for the last 20 minutes of cooking if you like your chicken shredded.
3. Add white beans for added protein and texture.
4. Use kale or another hearty green instead of (or in addition to) the spinach.
5. Add a little spice with a teaspoon of crushed red peppers at the end or on your serving if no one else likes spice.
More Recipes to Try
Did you make this tasty pasta dinner? EXCELLENT! Please rate the recipe below and be sure to tag me on social when you share a photo – I love getting to see your CDLC creations!
Healthy Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore
- 3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts - OR chicken thighs
- ½ cup water
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
- ½ cup sliced mushrooms
- ½ cup kalamata olives
- ¼ cup capers
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt - or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper - or to taste
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 8 ounces thin spaghetti noodles
- 2 ½ cups chicken broth
- 2 cups packed fresh baby spinach
- 12 ounces tomato paste - (one 12-ounce can OR two 6-ounce cans)
- Lightly grease slow cooker. Add water to the slow cooker, then whisk in flour.
- Arrange chicken in the slow cooker in a single layer, then top with tomatoes, mushrooms, olives, capers, capers, garlic, salt and pepper, Italian seasoning, and chicken broth. Cover and cook for 6-7 hours on low OR 3-4 hours on high.
- Uncover slow cooker, add spaghetti noodles, spinach, and tomato paste, stir to combine. Cover and cook another 15-20 minutes. Stir again and serve topped with cracked black pepper, fresh thyme, and grated parmesan cheese if desired.