How much fat is in Chicken Cacciatore?

Chicken cacciatore is a classic Italian chicken dish that consists of chicken thighs or legs braised in a tomato-based sauce with vegetables like onions, carrots, celery and bell peppers. It’s a hearty, flavorful meal that’s relatively easy to make. But many people wonder just how healthy chicken cacciatore is, especially when it comes to the fat content.

What is Chicken Cacciatore?

Chicken cacciatore literally translates to “hunter’s chicken” in Italian. It’s thought to have originated as a hunter’s meal made with whatever ingredients were on hand after a day of foraging and hunting. The dish likely originated in the Italian region of Lazio and was later popularized in the United States when Italian immigrants brought their recipes over.

Traditional chicken cacciatore contains just a few simple ingredients:

– Bone-in chicken thighs or drumsticks
– Onions, carrots, celery and bell peppers
– Canned diced or crushed tomatoes
– White wine or chicken broth
– Italian seasoning herbs like oregano, basil, rosemary
– Olives, mushrooms and garlic are also common additions

The chicken is browned and then slowly braised in the tomato sauce along with the vegetables until very tender and flavored, usually for 45 minutes to an hour. The end result is a rustic, easy one-pot meal with lots of rich tomato flavor.

Nutritional Breakdown of Chicken Cacciatore

The exact nutrition of chicken cacciatore depends on the specific ingredients used in the recipe, as well as portion size. But in general, a serving of chicken cacciatore contains:

– 200-300 calories
– 15-25g protein
– 10-15g fat
– 15-20g carbohydrates

Chicken thighs are higher in fat than chicken breasts, which accounts for most of the fat content. A 3 ounce boneless, skinless chicken thigh contains about 5-8g of fat depending on whether it’s trimmed of excess fat. Chicken legs have a similar fat content.

The vegetables, tomato sauce and seasonings add key vitamins, minerals and antioxidants like lycopene from the tomatoes. So chicken cacciatore can be a nutritious main dish option as part of a healthy diet when reasonable portion sizes are eaten.

Total Fat in Chicken Cacciatore

The specific fat content of chicken cacciatore will vary depending on:

– Cut of chicken used – chicken thighs vs drumsticks vs breasts
– Skin on or off – chicken skin adds significant fat
– Use of olive oil or other cooking fat
– Extra ingredients like olives, mushrooms, etc.

A typical 6 ounce serving of chicken cacciatore made with skinless chicken thighs contains about 10-15g of total fat. Chicken cooked with the skin on can add 3-5g more fat per serving.

Here is a more detailed breakdown of the total fat content from different serving sizes of chicken cacciatore:

Serving Size Total Fat (g)
3 oz (85g) 5-8g
4 oz (113g) 7-10g
6 oz (170g) 10-15g
8 oz (227g) 13-20g
10 oz (283g) 16-25g

As you can see, a serving of 6-8 ounces provides around 15-20g of fat, which is considered a moderate fat food.

Saturated, Trans and Unsaturated Fat

In addition to looking at total fat content, it’s also important to consider the types of fats found in chicken cacciatore. The main types are:

– Saturated fat – Found primarily in animal products like meat and dairy. Should be limited to less than 10% of total daily calories.

– Trans fat – Occurs naturally in small amounts in meat and dairy, but also created industrially by hydrogenating oils. Should be limited as much as possible.

– Unsaturated fats – Found in plant oils and fatty fish. Includes monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that are considered heart healthy fats.

The chicken thigh meat contains some saturated fat – around 2-3g per serving. Using olive oil to cook the dish also adds some monounsaturated fat. And a small amount of saturated fat comes from the cheese that is sometimes added.

In general, chicken cacciatore prepared with olive oil contains mostly healthy unsaturated fats from the chicken and oil, along with smaller amounts of saturated fat. There is minimal trans fat.

Here is the typical fatty acid profile of chicken cacciatore:

– Saturated Fat: 2-5g
– Trans Fat: 0g
– Monounsaturated Fat: 5-8g
– Polyunsaturated Fat 1-2g

So the fat in this dish comes mainly from healthy unsaturated sources, which is beneficial as part of a balanced diet.

Ways to Reduce Fat in Chicken Cacciatore

For people looking to lower the fat and calories in chicken cacciatore, there are a few simple substitutions to try:

– Use boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead of thighs/drumsticks
– Remove skin from chicken before cooking
– Use cooking spray or broth instead of oil for sautéing
– Increase vegetables and tomatoes to make it more vegetable-based
– Use reduced-fat cheese sparingly or leave it out
– Serve smaller portions of 4-6 oz chicken

Making one or two of these simple swaps can reduce the total fat per serving by 25-50%. You can still keep the delicious flavor of the dish while lowering the calories and fat significantly.

Comparing Fat to Other Chicken Dishes

Compared to other popular chicken dishes, chicken cacciatore is moderate in its fat content:

– Chicken cacciatore: 10-15g fat per 6oz serving

– Baked chicken breast: 3-5g fat

– Fried chicken thigh: 15-25g fat

– Chicken parmesan with pasta: 15-20g fat

– Grilled chicken salad: 5-10g fat

So chicken cacciatore is higher in fat than a simple grilled or baked chicken breast. But it’s significantly lower in fat than fried chicken or chicken parmesan.

The tomato-based sauce helps keep the fat content lower compared to chicken cooked in high-fat sauces like alfredo or creamy gravies. So enjoyed in reasonable portions, chicken cacciatore can be part of healthy diet.

High-Fat Ingredients to Limit

While chicken cacciatore is not an extremely high-fat dish overall, there are a few optional ingredients that can add more fat if used excessively:

– Chicken skin – Adds 3-5g fat per serving

– Olive oil – Use minimal amounts or cook with broth instead

– Heavy cream – Some recipes call for adding cream, which significantly increases fat

– High-fat cheese – Opt for part-skim mozzarella or small amounts of parmesan

– Pancetta or bacon – Pork products add about 5g fat per ounce

– Butter – Adds 7g fat per tablespoon if used to sauté veggies

Sticking to boneless, skinless chicken along with minimal added fats from oils, cheese, cream or pork products will keep the fat content down.

Is Chicken Cacciatore Healthy?

Chicken cacciatore made according to a classic recipe and enjoyed in moderate portions can be a healthy meal option as part of a balanced diet. It provides lean protein, vitamins and minerals from the vegetables in the sauce, and primarily healthy fats from olive oil.

To make the healthiest versions, opt for the following:

– Boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
– Minimal olive oil – use broth or water to sauté
– Load up on vegetables like onions, carrots, peppers
– Use part-skim mozzarella cheese sparingly
– Avoid heavy cream or butter
– Watch portion sizes – stick to about 4-6oz chicken per serving

Made with simple, whole food ingredients and reasonable fat content, chicken cacciatore can be a nutritious way to enjoy the flavors of Italian comfort food.


Chicken cacciatore is a hearty Italian chicken dish that’s flavored with a tomato-based sauce and vegetables. A typical serving contains around 10-15g of fat, primarily coming from the chicken thigh meat and olive oil used to prepare the dish.

There are several ways to tweak the recipe to lower the fat content, like using chicken breast instead of thighs, removing the skin, increasing the veggies and avoiding high-fat ingredients like heavy cream.

Moderately portioned, chicken cacciatore can be enjoyed as part of healthy diet that includes a variety of lean proteins and produce. Just be mindful of higher-fat add-ins that can increase the calories significantly.

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