HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


What if we made Chicken Cacciatore with boneless/skinless chicken breast?

Would it be the same? We made the most delicious Chicken Cacciatore over the weekend and would like to try it again with boneless chicken breast and wondered how close it would be? Anyone try this? Thanks, Richie

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. IMO there is not enough fat content in breast meat..also, without the bones, you lose a lot of flavor...use bone-in thighs for the best flavor...they cost way less too..

    1. No, it won't be the same. You won't have the same depth of flavor in the sauce because of less browning, less simmering, and less fat. The meat will not taste as good because breasts are inferior for simmering.

      1. It's not going to be the same. It will be close, it will have chicken and all the great veggies etc. however the sauce will not be the same.
        A braised dish relies on the bones and skin of the browned meat to add body to the sauce. The skin adds fat (obviously) and the bones and cartilidge break down in the cooking liquid and thicken the dish.
        A good compromise would be to use skinless, but not boneless pieces. Thighs would give a little fat to the sauce and if cooked well, they should fall off the bone.
        Culinary Vixen

        1. I have two thoughts:
          1) if you could do it with a boneless/skin on chicken breast and take the skin off after you brown it off, you'd get a lot of the flavor while being able to control the amount of fat (insofar as you could also pour off as much of the fat in the pan as you wanted to).

          2) there's really no reason it wouldn't be nearly as delicious if you went with totally boneless/skinless. One way to make sure it remains very close to the original dish would be to use some homemade or really excellent stock (some of the markets around here in SF make their own and they're pretty good) in the sauce. That unctuous quality you can only get from the bones is what I think you'd miss most using boneless/skinless breasts but the stock would help replace that.

          Ok, I actually have a third thought, boneless/skinless chicken thighs are always preferable in my mind to breasts....but, if you're really working to reduce fat in the recipe, the breasts are the way to go. If, however, you're looking to make the recipe just flat out simpler to do, then thighs are more forgiving of cooking time and in my opinion more tasty. Good luck!

          1. That's what I thought all of you would say. Thanks!

            1. I make mine using boneless/skinless thighs. My sister tried boneless/skinless breasts and was disappointed. (Not sure why).

              The recipe I use calls for roasting the thighs first. I get raves whenever I make this. Its from Sweet Basil, a restaurant in Needham MA.

              1. White meat does not "braise" as well as dark. Whenever I cook a coq I try to convince my family to try the dark meat so i can only make with thighs on the next go-round. Never works. They would rather eat chewey breasts than succulent thighs.

                1. So, what will happen if I make with breasts- but with skin & bone? will it still not be right no matter what?

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: pamd

                    My advice is do it and taste for yourself. Maybe you will be like the other Jfoods and like it, or you may be like Jfood and only want the thighs.

                    It will be a learning experience for you.

                    CI had a Coq recipe where they placed carrots between the thighs and the breasts in the pot. Never tried it butit's an interesting theory.

                    1. re: pamd

                      It's not bad when you do it with breasts that still have skin and bone. Go a bit heavy on the olive oil though.

                      1. re: marilyn9

                        Well, I made it last night with breasts (bone & skin on) & it turned out great.

                        Jfood - I only had breasts at home, no thighs, so I couldn't really compare, however, they were not dry or chewy at all. I simmered them (after initial browning) fully emerged in the sauce for an hour.

                        1. re: pamd

                          Good to know. Will add to the "Gotta Try List."

                          Thx for the feedback

                    2. It's a Catch 22. You need to cook the chicken long enough to infuse it with flavor, but breast meat (esp. w/out skin) will dry out if cooked too long -- even in liquid.

                      1. If you want to cut the fat, you could make it with thighs for the flavor. Then pound, bread, pan fry the breasts lightly in oil and then serve the sauce over. I'd rather just eat less of the thighs, as calories go, though.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: chowser


                          I am not a calorie counter person, but are you saying that a piece of breast, lightly breaded and sauteed is less in calories than a braised thigh in red gravy?

                          1. re: jfood

                            It's not comparing apples to apples because I'm talking about skinless chicken breast (very lightly breaded, though it's not necessary to do that and sauteed in very little oil) to thighs w/ skin which is what I'd use for chicken cacciatore. Depending on how you made it, you could add very few calories, or a lot. Calorie-wise, comparing skinless chicken breast to skinless thighs, it's 210 vs. 275 per cup, but the thighs have more saturated fat. Skin is probably one of the highest caloric/fat parts so you'd add that, too, if you had the skin. It's not a huge difference, skinless, so I'd rather eat the thighs, as I was saying, than go w/ the breast. But, the OP was asking about using chicken breast so I was going with that thought.

                            1. re: chowser

                              thanks c, i was looking for some ammunition to tell mrs jfood when she tells me not to eat the lightly breaded stuff.

                        2. I have done this experiment and have determined that I prefer skinless thighs w/bone left in because the thigh bones are what gives the sauce depth, if I have company I add skinless/ boneless breasts but take the breasts out after they are cooked and reintroduce them to the sauce before serving.