The process for Classic Chicken Cacciatore is sped up with the Instant Pot, but the flavor of this classic Italian dish remains the same! Made in a rich, hearty tomato sauce seasoned with capers, tomatoes, peppers, and onions, this Chicken Cacciatore recipe is easy and delicious!
Chicken Cacciatore is a classic Italian dish, made when chicken is simmered in a rich tomato sauce. This dish is comforting, hearty, and delicious. But it also takes HOURS to make.
Unless of course, you use an Instant Pot. Then Chicken Cacciatore is made in just 30 minutes.
That's right 30 minutes is all the time you need for this Instant Pot Chicken Cacciatore!
Chicken thighs are quickly braised with a rich sauce made with tomatoes, wine, capers, and garlic. This quick version of Chicken Cacciatore tastes amazing and makes a comforting family meal. It is perfect for weeknight meals, but elegant enough for company.
Ingredients for Chicken Cacciatore
This recipe features all the traditional players from the classic recipe. But I do have a few recommendations on which ingredients to use and how to substitute them if needed.
- Chicken: I really recommend using bone-in, skinless chicken thighs. Chicken thighs are a bit more rich and flavorful than chicken breasts, but they still cook up really fast. I also love to leave the bone in the chicken, as it helps to flavor this dish. You can certainly use boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, but you will need to slightly decrease the cooking time. I do not recommend leaving the skin on the chicken as it will make the sauce greasy as it pressure cooks.
- Peppers: Use any color of sweet bell peppers you like. I love to use a combination of red, yellow, and green to really make this dish colorful.
- Onions: A sweet onion, yellow, or white onion all work well for this recipe.
- White wine: The wine adds incredible flavor to this dish. I recommend a dry white wine such as a chardonnay or pinot grigio. If you do not drink, feel free to use additional chicken stock in place of the wine.
- Chicken Stock: You will need a bit of chicken stock in order for this recipe to have enough thin liquid for pressure to be reached. Feel free to use water if needed--this dish has so much flavor, it is not necessary to open up a carton of chicken stock unless you have it on hand.
- Mushrooms: I prefer baby Bella mushrooms over button mushrooms for their flavor, but feel to use button mushrooms. You can even omit the mushrooms if you are not a fan.
- Capers: Capers add the perfect salty, briny finish to this dish. If you happen to not like capers, you can omit them, but keep in mind you may need to finish with additional salt.
- Diced Tomatoes: I love to add Italian Style diced tomatoes, as their flavor pairs beautifully with Chicken Cacciatore. However, plain diced tomatoes work as well. Be sure NOT to drain the tomatoes--you need that liquid for pressure to be reached.
- Balsamic Vinegar: This sounds odd, but by finishing this dish with vinegar, the flavors really pop and the overall finish is mouthwatering. Feel free to use red wine vinegar if you don't have balsamic on hand. Do not use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
How to Make Chicken Cacciatore in Instant Pot
I love making Chicken Cacciatore in the Instant Pot because of how fast it cooks up--without sacrificing ANY flavor!
This recipe works for a 6 quart or 8 quart Instant Pot and can be cut in half for a 3-quart pressure cooker as well.
Step One: Saute the Peppers and Onions
Turn instant pot to saute and heat for 2-3 minutes, or until your pressure cooker reads hot. Once heated add in your peppers and onions and saute until just beginning to soften. Then add the garlic and saute for just 30 seconds to 1 minute longer, being careful to not burn the garlic. You can skip the step of sauteing the vegetables if you are short on time, but I do love the flavor it develops in just a few extra minutes.
Once you have sauteed the garlic, add in the wine if using. Keep the instant on saute for just a minute or two, allowing the wine to reduce. Be sure to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the inner pot to ensure you do not get a burn warning.
Step Two: Add Remaining Ingredients
Once the wine has evaporated by about half. Turn off the Instant Pot. Stir in the chicken stock, oregano, salt, pepper, capers, and mushrooms into the pepper mixture. Nestle the chicken thighs into the sauce. Sprinkle the thighs with salt and pepper and then pour the diced tomatoes over the chicken thighs.
Step Three: Pressure Cook
Close lid on the pressure cooker, being sure vent knob is placed towards the sealed position. Cook on high pressure for 9 minutes. Remember it will take about 10 minutes to come to pressure.
Step Three: Finish Dish
Once cook time has elapsed, allow pressure to release naturally for at least 10 minutes. This keeps the chicken super moist and tender. Once you open your pressure cooker, check the internal temperature with a digital thermometer of the chicken to be sure it has reached 165 degrees. Stir in the vinegar and serve!
Tips and Notes for Chicken Cacciatore
- Chicken Cacciatore is delicious served over steamed rice or noodles. This recipe produces a lot of rich sauce, and rice or noodles work well to absorb it all.
- To serve this dish to my children, I often remove the meat from the chicken bones and dice it up and stir it back into the sauce. It makes it much more appealing to the kids! I also let them pick out the mushrooms and peppers!
- Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 3 days. You and freeze leftovers for up to 3 months if desired as well.
More Favorite Instant Pot Chicken Recipes
- Instant Pot Chicken Wings
- Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken
- Instant Pot Orange Chicken
- Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
- Instant Pot White Chicken Chili
Instant Pot Chicken Cacciatore
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- 1 green pepper diced
- 1 red pepper diced
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- ½ cup dry white wine such as Riesling or Chardonnay
- ⅓ cup chicken stock or water
- 15 ounces diced tomatoes Italian style, or regular style
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons capers
- 1 cup sliced baby bella mushrooms optional
- 8 chicken thighs bone-in, skinless
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar optional
- salt and pepper to taste
- Turn instant pot to saute and heat until hot.
- Add in oil to Instant Pot and add in onions and peppers. Saute for 2-4 minutes, or until onions begin to soften. Add in garlic and saute for another 30 seconds.
- Add in the wine and deglaze Instant Pot, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Let the wine cook off for 1 to 2 minutes. Turn the Instant Pot OFF.
- To the inner pot, add in chicken stock, oregano, mushrooms, capers, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir to combine and then nestle chicken thighs into the sauce. Sprinkle chicken with a bit of salt and pepper. Pour the tomatoes over the chicken thighs.
- Close lid on pressure cooker, being sure vent knob is placed towards sealed position. Cook on high pressure for 9 minutes.
- Once cook time has elapsed, allow pressure to release naturally for at least 10 minutes. Open Instant Pot. Check the internal temperature with a digital thermometer of the chicken to be sure it has reached 165 degrees. Stir in balsamic vinegar to finish this dish.
- Serve chicken with sauce over noodles or rice.
- Chicken: I prefer bone-in, skinless chicken thighs for this recipe. If you use Skin on Chicken, you will need to sear the chicken before proceeding with the recipe for best results (you can sear right in the instant pot, before sauteing the peppers and onions.) If you use boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, decrease the cook time to 6 or 7 minutes on high pressure (depending on the size of your chicken.)
- I recommend a dry white wine such as a chardonnay or pinot grigio. If you do not drink, feel free to use additional chicken stock in place of the wine.
- Be sure to NOT to drain the tomatoes--you need that liquid for pressure to be reached.
- Feel free to use red wine vinegar if you don't have balsamic on hand. Do not use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
- If after cook time has elapsed, your chicken has not reached 165 degrees, place lid back on pressure cooker and cook for 1 to 2 minutes--it won't take as long to come to pressure the 2nd time!