EASY Chicken Cacciatore Recipe - pressure cooker

EASY Chicken Cacciatore Recipe - pressure cooker

The liquid will appear to magically increase while pressure cooking this recipe, but – don’t worry – no one snuck into the pressure cooker to add more! Let me explain.

This recipe uses a lot less than the usual 1 1/2 cups of liquid, that’s because we’re calculating the juice that will be released by the chicken as part of the cooking liquid. By the time the liquid we do add in the pressure cooker starts boiling, the meat will begin releasing its own juice that the cooker can use to build and maintain pressure.

In fact, even though at the end of the recipe the liquid in the cooker appears to increase it’s just the juice from the ingredients that didn’t evaporate away – as they would have in conventional cooking.

No-liquid Pressure Cooker Recipes

So if meat releases so much liquid, wouldn’t it be better to just not add any at all?!?  In fact, some stovetop pressure cooker recipes do exactly that.  Let me explain why it’s not a good idea to follow these no-liquid-added recipes making the rounds in your electric pressure cooker.
  • Electrics require more liquid to build and maintain pressure than stovetops – mainly due to the type of valve being used.  So an electric pressure cooker won’t be able to start building pressure until more liquid is released.
  • The meat will be unevenly cooked – scorched (or burned) on the bottom and lightly steamed on top.
  • The scorching of the meat will encourage other ingredients to stick and burn to the base of the cooker – making a lot of clean-up, especially for those stainless steel liners!
  • Most importantly, the heating element could overheat and either shut down the cooker preemptively or, depending on the model, burn-out a fuse damaging the electric pressure cooker permanently.

So remember to always have a little bit of liquid in the cooker to get the steam-building process started and be aware that however much liquid you add, it will appear to have multiplied by the end of the recipe!

Pressure Cooker Accessories Pr. Cook Time Pr. Level Open
4 L or larger none 10 min. High(2) Natural

4.6 from 5 reviews
EASY Pressure Cooker Chicken Cacciatore
Nutritional Information
(per serving)
  • Serves: 4-6 Servings
  • Serving size: ⅙th (about a drumstick plus sauce)
  • Calories: 193
  • TOTAL Fat: 10g
  • TOTAL Carbs: 7.5g
  • Sugar Carbs: 3.1g
  • Sodium: 655.1mg
  • Fiber Carbs: 1.5g
  • Protein: 17.4g
  • Cholesterol: 70mg
Recipe type: pressure cooker
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
For an equally delicious alcohol-free recipe replace the wine and water with any kind of stock.
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 to 8 bone-in chicken drumsticks (1½ to 2 pounds), or a mix of drumsticks and thighs
  • ¼ cup (60ml) red or white wine
  • ¾ cup (190 ml) water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 springs fresh thyme (1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 sprig rosemary (1/4 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 (14-ounce - 400g ) can whole stewed tomatoes in purée
  • ½ cup black olives (about 2.5 ounces), pitted
  1. Preheat the pressure cooker (by pressing brown/sauté mode).
  2. Add the olive oil and brown the chicken on all sides.
  3. Arrange in a somewhat even layer and then add the following ingredients: wine, water, salt, bay leaf, onion, garlic powder, thyme, and tomatoes. Do not stir.
  4. Close the lid and set the valve to pressure cooking position.
  5. Electric pressure cookers and stove top pressure cookers: Cook for 10 minutes at high pressure.
  6. When time is up, open the pressure cooker with the Natural pressure release.
    Electric pressure cookers: Disengage the “keep warm” mode, or unplug the cooker, and open the lid when the pressure indicator/lid-lock has gone down (about 15 minutes).
    Stovetop pressure cookers: Move the cooker off the burner and wait for the pressure to come down on its own (about 10 minutes).
  7. Mix the contents well, remove, and discard the bay leaf and let stand uncovered for 5 minutes.
  8. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, arrange the chicken and tomatoes on a deep serving dish. Drizzle the chicken with cooking liquid and sprinkle with black olives and remaining herbs before serving.
  9. Save any extra cooking liquid to use in place of stock for a recipe, such as risotto.


CONTINUE to next lesson.

EASY Chicken Cacciatore Recipe - pressure cooker EASY Chicken Cacciatore Recipe - pressure cooker

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  1. Laura

    Bravo, what a good sounding preparation for this dish. Our family recipe background has always included a bit of red bell pepper with our herbs and onions, do you think adding a half of a pepper sliced would alter the liquid balance much?

    Thank you for the constant stream of sensible and delicious advice I have gained from you. Just last week I came across the manual/recipe book that came with my electric PC and realized I am always on here versus using their manual!

    Looking forward to more wonderful dishes down the road,


  2. The smallest chicken legs I could find were HUGE. Six of them weighed over 2.5 lbs. Would I need to increase the time?

    1. Actually, I looked at the package again and there are only 5 chicken legs. That means each one weighs about 1/2 lb.

    2. Are they drumstick and thigh attached? If so, yes the time should be increased about 5 minutes. If they are just drumsticks (my those birds are big) then there is no need to change the cooking time. Also, don’t change anything else from the recipe. Since you’ll have more chicken they will release more liquid. ; )



      1. Thanks, Laura. No, they are not thigh/drumstick, only drumsticks. I told my husband they looked like small turkeys, LOL! All the chicken pieces at my local stores are huge like this, and this was the smallest package I could find. Thank you on the advice. I’ll let you know how it comes out.

      2. I made this recipe last night and it came out GREAT. The chicken was the most tender and moist of any other recipe I have ever made. It was a tight fit for those huge drumsticks, but I managed to get them all in the bottom with just the ends sticking up a bit. My husband loved it and I will be making it again, but I am going to try to find smaller drumsticks the next time. Besides making it harder to brown them all and to fit, they were just kind of scary looking, LOL!

  3. In the U. S. almost all the chicken is water chilled after slaughter. This causes the chickens to retain a lot of water which is then released into the pot. The labels actually say they can retain between 10-12% water.

    After reading what’s in this water that they chill the chickens in, I don’t really want it in the rest of my food, so I finally found some air chilled chicken. I am going to try it the next time I make this recipe.

    However, I have read that air chilled chicken takes less time to cook than water chilled chicken. Would I need to adjust the timing on this recipe? Thank you.

    1. Also, this recipe calls for cooking the drumsticks for 15 minutes, but the cooking time chart says to use 10 minutes. Why is there a difference and how would I know in the future which time to use for other recipes using drumsticks? Thank you.

      1. Ann, you caught an error, thank you! The correct timing should be 10 minutes with Natural Release and 15 minutes with normal/slow normal – the extra time is to make up for the time the chicken is not cooking during the Natural Release. ; )

        I recorded the finger typing in the times four months after recording the recipe – the recipe was used in the intro to the series. By the time I recorded my hand on the panel, I probably figured I was going to use Normal instead of Natural.

        I’ll correct the recipe here – but there isn’t much I can do about the video!!! Thankfully, bone-in dark meat chicken is pretty forgiving so no damage is done by following the mistaken cooking time. But, I hope it’s clear now why the timing here didn’t match with the chart!!!



        1. OOOHHH, that makes sense. I just couldn’t figure it out. Thank you for the quick reply.

  4. Hi! Thanks for sharing this! I suggest that mushrooms get included, What do you think? How about maybe adding a dozen or two of fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced?
    I am curious to know why the number of servings is not included in your recipe.
    Thank you.

    1. The servings are written in the “Nutritional Information” box next to the recipe. Of course, you can add what you like but you need to be aware of how much extra liquid those mushrooms are going to throw out.

      The more ingredients you add the more “alla Contandina” and less “al Cacciatore” the recipe becomes. Too many, and you’ll get a chicken Minestrone.



  5. Hi again! Forgive me! I now see that the number of servings appears in the box of Nutritional Information, as being 4 to 6. Duh! Which is ridiculous, IMO! I eat that much chicken all by myself!
    So, let me then ask you why you neglected to recommend an Italian bread to sop up that wonderful gravy? LOL! You must include this on your list of ingredients, don’t you think?
    And how about a wine?
    I just discovered a great Italian red blend that I intend to pair with this recipe. Yum!
    Let me know if you want me to provide the label information for you.
    Thank you.
    P.S. Your web site rocks!

    1. The beauty of these recipes is that Laura has tested them all herself and knows exactly what works and what doesn’t. Anyone is free to experiment with the ingredients, but you may not always get the same result. I have lots of different pressure cooker cookbooks and I have checked out many other sites. I have found this site and the recipes on it plus the ones in Laura’s cookbook to always come out the way she says they will. I can trust the times she says, unlike many other sites where the times vary substantially. Also, other sites just gather recipes from anyone or have lots of other contributors and put them on a recipe site. This site is not like that. Only the recipes that Laura herself has tested appear here.

      Of course, anyone is free to serve with bread or wine of your choice or any other side to accompany the main dish. The variations are limitless depending on a person’s particular tastes. I think the serving size of 4-6 is pretty standard in most recipes I have seen.

    2. Hi Robin,
      What Ann said.
      To which I would add:
      This is a Pressure Cooking website. NOT a menu planning website.
      What you choose to pair with the dish to make it a meal is entirely up to you

      Laura shows you how to cook something. If you follow her directions it should work.
      (I will admit I have had a few fails, but I have mostly been able to work out what I did wrong. Or what ingredient was significantly different because of regional variations.)
      If you deviate from her directions, then accept you will need to make other adjustments too. I do both regularly. With time you will get a feel for what will work and what won’t. But start by following the recipes as close as you can with you local set of ingredients.

      As for serving sizes… Laura feeds a family of four. My guess is she had leftovers when she served it. Looking at the ingredients, ( I haven’t tried this particular recipe) I would halve it for my wife and I, and still expect leftovers. We work on 100 grams (about 1/4 pound) of meat per person when working out serving sizes

  6. I’d like to prepare this dish, but once in awhile all I have are boneless thighs (I have a boatload of them in the freezer). What would the cook Y release times be then?


  7. My comment is the same as Michell’s above. What is the cooking time for boneless thighs?

  8. Hi Laura, this is my first time using my Insta Pot! It was awesome. I think the trick is to follow the recipe while learning and play around with ingredients once I get my bearings.

    Love this website!

    1. Welcome Faithwl. BTW, it’s “Instant Pot”.



  9. I made this again last night and it was just as great as the first time I made it. This time I served it over rice and we really enjoyed it. It old my husband it’s just the perfect recipe for us. I have managed to find air chilled chicken legs and they are normal size instead of the giant ones at the regular grocery store. I just love your recipes! Since I got my Cuisinart PC, I rarely cook anything any other way.

  10. In step 8 it says, “sprinkle with black olives and remaining herbs before serving.” What are the remaining herbs? Just the fresh or dry rosemary, right? That’s the only thing I don’t see going into the pot before it cooks.

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