Made completely in the instant pot with a handful of ingredients, this instant pot chicken cacciatore is loaded with fall-apart tender chicken in a hearty vegetable sauce. – incredible served over a bed of pasta!
If you’re looking for a new way to kick pasta night up a notch, this chicken cacciatore is absolutely the way to do it!
It’s conveniently made entirely in the instant pot in only an hour, but don’t let that fool ya – this sucker tastes like it simmered on the stove all day.
So what does cacciatore actually mean? In Italian it means “hunter” and quite literally means a “hunter-inspired” meal made from braised meat and hearty vegetables in a rich tomato wine sauce.
Traditionally, chicken cacciatore is served over a bed of pasta or creamy polenta for a hearty, rustic Italian dinner.
This dish definitely has a humble feel to it since it’s made with simple ingredients, but it tastes anything but humble!
This Instant Pot Chicken Cacciatore features…
- Fall-apart tender chicken thighs
- A flavorful red wine red sauce with soft sweet peppers, mushrooms, and onions
- Made completely in the instant pot in about an hour
Making the Instant Pot Chicken Cacciatore
(scroll down to the bottom of post for the full recipe)
Ingredients You Will Need
- Bone-in chicken thighs
- Olive oil
- Unsalted butter
- Sweet pepper
- Bay leaf
- Dried oregano
- Red wine
- Crushed tomatoes
Choosing Your Chicken
We recommend bone-in chicken thighs for this recipe because we find it makes for the most tender chicken once cooked.
If you don’t have bone-in thighs on hand, boneless thighs or breasts would work fine in its place! Searing and cook time would stay the same per recipe instructions.
Tips for Perfect Chicken Cacciatore
- Sear chicken thighs – brown the chicken on both sides in butter and olive oil.
- Brown vegetables – let the vegetables cook until just slightly tender – they will continue cooking in the sauce, so don’t overcook them here.
- Reduce wine – allow the wine to cook until it is about reduced in half. This step builds a lot of flavor in the sauce!
- Cook sauce with herbs – dried oregano, a few sprigs of fresh thyme, and a bay leaf bring so much herby flavor into the sauce. Make sure you discard the thyme sprigs and bay leaf after cooking!
- Cook cacciatore on high pressure – set the vent closed and cook on high pressure 15 minutes.
- Release pressure naturally – allow the instant pot to de-pressurize naturally for 15 minutes.
- Shred chicken – remove the chicken from the instant pot and use forks to pull the chicken from the bone, discarding the skin and bones.
- Add fresh basil – don’t skip the fresh basil on top! It adds one last little burst of flavor.
What to Serve with Chicken Cacciatore
We love this chicken cacciatore served over hot egg noodles or linguine. It’s also incredible piled over a bowl of creamy polenta!
Freezing Chicken Cacciatore
This chicken cacciatore freezes extremely well, so feel free to freeze any leftovers for a quick weeknight dinner.
Allow sauce to cool completely, then transfer to plastic containers and freeze up to 2 months.
To serve from frozen, thaw completely in refrigerator then reheat on stove or microwave until sauce reaches 165F on a kitchen thermometer.
It’s the juicy, fall-apart tender chicken and hearty vegetables that really make this dish. And the sauce? It’s got the perfect background of rich red wine and flavorful herbs.
Just a comfort food dream we’re living here, you guys. You’ve just gotta try this one!
Save this recipe using the ‘save to recipe box’ button below. If you make it, please let us know! Leave a comment + star rating below, or take a photo and tag it on Instagram with #wholeandheavenlyoven.
More instant pot favorites to try next time!
Instant Pot Chicken Cacciatore
- 1-1/2 lbs bone-in chicken thighs (about 4 medium thighs)
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium sweet pepper, diced into 1/2-in cubes
- 1 medium sweet onion, diced into 1/2-in cubes
- 8 oz button mushrooms sliced into 1/2-in pieces
- 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- Fresh minced basil for topping
- Cooked pasta or polenta for serving
- Pat chicken thighs dry with paper towels and season well on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Heat a 4-qt instant pot using BROWN/SAUTE function. Add butter and olive oil to instant pot and swirl to evenly coat bottom. Add chicken thighs to instant pot and sear 3-4 minutes on each side until a deep golden brown. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- Add pepper, onion, and mushrooms to drippings in instant pot and saute 3-5 minutes until tender. Add garlic and saute 1 additional minute until fragrant. Add red wine and cook until reduced in half. Turn off instant pot.
- Add crushed tomatoes, bay leaf, oregano, and thyme to instant pot and stir until combined. Arrange chicken thighs in instant pot.
- Seal lid onto instant pot and set vent to closed. Cook chicken on high pressure 15 minutes, then turn off instant pot and let release pressure naturally for 15 minutes.
- Release any remaining pressure from instant pot and remove lid. Remove bay leaf and thyme from instant pot and discard. Remove chicken thighs and use a fork to pull chicken from the bone and shred. Discard bones and skin.
- Add chicken back to instant pot and season sauce with salt and pepper to taste if needed. Top cacciatore with fresh basil and serve over cooked pasta or polenta warm. Enjoy!