Instant Pot Chicken Cacciatore Recipe

Chicken cacciatore is the type of dish you order out. Making it at home may feel like biting off more than you can chew — pun intended. But now, Jamie Monkkonen, who blogs and shares recipes at Vibrantly G-Free, has created a recipe for an Instant Pot version of chicken cacciatore that transforms this fancy-feeling meal into an accessible dish anyone can cook up, and in well under an hour. 

For those who don't know, as Monkkonen explained to Mashed, "The term 'cacciatore' refers to a spicy tomato sauce with herbs and vegetables. A chicken cacciatore is therefore a cacciatore sauce with chicken. Traditionally, a variety of vegetables are cooked into the sauce and they can be changed based on personal preference." In this recipe, Monkkonen uses bell pepper, onion, and mushrooms.

You'll also need a splash of wine for the recipe, and a bit to drink, with Monkkonen saying, "I love making it on a Friday or Sunday evening with a glass of wine. It's perfect for guests or a nice family meal."

Shop for your chicken cacciatore ingredients

For this dish, you will need boneless, skinless chicken thighs, with Monkkonen explaining about why she chose this part of the poultry, "The fat from the chicken thighs adds a rich flavor to the overall dish." But she also notes, "You could also make this dish with chicken breasts." No matter what, she adds, "When making this dish in the Instant Pot, the one thing you want to avoid is cooking chicken with the skin on. In a pressure cooker, the skin turns rubbery and needs to be removed before serving."

In addition, buy or gather from your kitchen the following ingredients to make this Instant Pot chicken cacciatore: flour, salt and pepper, olive oil, red and green bell peppers, sliced mushrooms, yellow onion, dry white wine, garlic, tomato paste, smoked paprika, dried basil, a can of diced tomatoes, which you will drain the liquid out of, and finally, shredded mozzarella cheese. You can serve the dish over pasta, so pick some up if you'd like.

Prep your chicken

We asked Monkkonen if there is a way to mess up this simple recipe, and she noted again how important it is to "remove the skin and trim the extra fat before cooking the chicken." 

Once you complete that step, the next step to making a meal that will taste like you spent hours over the stove to prepare it — except you seriously didn't — is to get your chicken ready to sauté. So, in a shallow bowl, mix together your flour, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. This is what you will dredge each chicken thigh in. Just be sure to shake off any excess flour mixture to prevent burning. 

Meanwhile, if you forget to remove the chicken skin, don't panic, with Monkkonen telling Mashed, "You can remove the skin after cooking. Just use a slotted serving spoon to eliminate extra liquid, and scrape the bottom if the 'burn' message on the Instant Pot appears."

Sauté the chicken in the Instant Pot

Now, set your Instant Pot to "sauté" at the "normal" heat level. Once the pot is warm, pour olive oil to coat the bottom. Then, Monkkonen instructs home cooks to carefully add the chicken thighs, being sure they are arranged in a single layer. You only need to cook the chicken for about a minute and a half on each side at this stage, with the goal of the outside of the chicken turning a lovely shade of golden brown. You will cook the chicken again, so it will not be fully cooked at this point.

Then, remove your chicken from the Instant Pot and set it aside while we turn our attention to cooking the other elements of this rich and satisfying shortcut dish. 

Cook the chicken cacciatore's veggies

First, dice and slice your veggies. So, the peppers are diced, along with the onion, and you will mince your garlic. If your mushrooms are not pre-sliced, go ahead and slice 'em. You'll keep the Instant Pot's "sauté" setting at the "normal" heat level. Now, add all your veggies except the garlic, simply stirring occasionally for just three to five minutes, or until they begin to soften. "If sticking occurs, add splashes of water in very small amounts to deglaze the pot," advises Monkkonen.

Next up is making your sauce.

Make the chicken cacciatore sauce

To make your chicken cacciatore sauce sing, first, add the dry white wine to the Instant Pot, allowing the alcohol to sizzle out. Monkkonen notes this process will take just a minute or two. But what if you are serving this dish to kiddos? "As long as you allow ample time for the alcohol to sizzle out, the final alcohol content should be near zero and is safe to serve to children," notes Monkkonen. "If you would like to omit the alcohol, save the equivalent amount of liquid when you drain the tomatoes and simply substitute it for the wine."

Next, add the minced garlic, tomato paste, your smoked paprika, dried basil, and the remaining salt and pepper. You will mix the sauce well and allow the elements to cook, stirring constantly, for about one minute or until the garlic is deliciously fragrant and your mouth is watering! 

The final step before you add your chicken back to the mix is to add the canned diced tomatoes — just be sure not to use the crushed version. And definitely drain out the liquid from the diced tomatoes first, with Monkkonen noting if you don't, this is another way you might accidentally mess up this simple meal. Finally, turn off the "sauté" function.

Add the chicken back in and cook

You will mix your sauce a final time before gently nestling the just-cooked chicken thighs back into the Instant Pot. Monkkonen instructs home cooks to go ahead and scoop some of the veggie mixture on top of the chicken. Use a spatula to scrape off any food bits that got stuck to the bottom of the pot, or, as she notes, "The Instant Pot may shut off with the 'burn' message."

Now, set the Instant Pot to "pressure cook" for 15 minutes on "high" pressure, with the recipe's creator telling Mashed, "The role of the pressure cooker is to bring out the rich flavors in the sauce so it has the 'simmered for hours' depth of flavor."

Meanwhile, Monkkonen notes, "While I think this dish tastes best when the 'sauté' function is used to cook the chicken and vegetables, it is also an option to toss all the ingredients in and simply pressure cook." In this case, you will cook the dish for a total of three minutes more.

Shred the chicken and serve

When the dish is finished cooking, go ahead and release the pressure of the Instant Pot. The final step before enjoying your hearty creation is to shred or break the chicken into bite-size pieces, with Monkkonen recommending using two forks. If you so desire, stir in the shredded mozzarella cheese just before serving the meal. Monkkonen likes to serve her chicken cacciatore nice and hot, over freshly-cooked pasta. 

Cutting carbs? The pasta is optional. As she told Mashed, "Because of its stew-like texture, this chicken cacciatore can absolutely be eaten without pasta. It's also fantastic served with potatoes or rice." No matter how you enjoy your meal, we're betting any leftovers that happen not to be eaten taste even more delicious and full of flavor!

Instant Pot Chicken Cacciatore Recipe
4.9 from 18 ratings
Chicken cacciatore is a classic Italian comfort food dish and an Instant Pot makes putting this family-friendly recipe together easier than ever.
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
30
minutes
Servings
6
servings
Instant Pot chicken cacciatore served
Total time: 40 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1-¼ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, rinsed and pat dry
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1-¼ teaspoons salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced
  • ½ green bell pepper, diced
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • ¾ cup yellow onion, diced
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¾ teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Directions
  1. In a shallow bowl, mix together flour, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Dredge each chicken thigh in the mixture, shaking off any extra flour to prevent burning.
  2. Set the Instant Pot to "sauté" with the "normal" heat level. When warmed, add olive oil to coat the bottom. Then add the chicken thighs in a single layer. Allow to cook for about 1½ minutes on each side, or until the outside of the chicken turns golden brown. Then remove from the Instant Pot and set aside. They will not be fully cooked at this point.
  3. While still on the "sauté" function with "normal" heat, add red and green bell pepper, mushrooms, and yellow onion to the instant pot. Sauté, stirring on occasion, for 3 to 5 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften.
  4. Add wine to the Instant Pot and allow the alcohol to sizzle out (1-2 minutes). Then add garlic, tomato paste, paprika, basil, and remaining salt and pepper. Mix well and allow to cook, stirring constantly, for about one minute or until garlic is fragrant.
  5. Then add canned diced tomatoes and turn off the "sauté" function. Mix well before nestling the chicken thighs in the mixture and scooping some of the vegetables on top. Set the Instant Pot to "pressure cook" for 15 minutes on high pressure.
  6. When finished cooking, release the pressure. Shred or break the chicken into bite-size pieces with two forks. Stir in the mozzarella cheese just before serving. Serve hot over freshly cooked pasta.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 381
Total Fat 21.8 g
Saturated Fat 8.8 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 127.4 mg
Total Carbohydrates 14.0 g
Dietary Fiber 3.0 g
Total Sugars 5.5 g
Sodium 728.1 mg
Protein 31.1 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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