Rabbit Cacciatore


Rabbit, browned first in olive oil, then braised with onions, garlic, red bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, and herbs.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

The first time I had rabbit, I was 19, visiting a friend’s grandparent’s ranch in Cuernavaca, Mexico. They raised rabbits, among other things, and I was asked to go outside and pick out a few from the hundreds in their pens.

Not knowing why I was asked to perform this task, I picked out the cutest ones I could find. An hour later I was mortified when I went in the kitchen and saw those rabbits, skinned and sticking out of a huge steaming pot on the stove!

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The menu for lunch that day was rabbit stew, and we were having a feast with my friend’s extended family. White linens, silver, fine china, 20 people assembled at an impressively long dining table.

Out of politeness, and my complete lack of fluency in the language (if I had been more fluent I might have found a way out of this situation) I took a bite.

It was absolutely delicious. From that point on, I loved rabbit.

People often compare the taste of rabbit to chicken. I think it has the texture of chicken, particularly of chicken thighs or legs, but it really doesn’t taste like chicken. It has its own wonderful taste.

Years ago it was much more common to cook rabbit, and more easy to find it at a butcher shop. But these days, in the era of chicken and supermarkets, you likely need to go to a specialty market to find some.

This rabbit recipe is an easy to make cacciatore, or a “hunter style” stew, which is typically made with either chicken or rabbit.

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Rabbit Cacciatore Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-5

Whole rabbit is much more difficult to part out than a whole chicken. If you can, have your butcher cut it for you.


  • One 2 1/4 pound rabbit, cut into 6 to 8 pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves (or 1 Tbsp dried)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (Wondra flour works great)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 3 cups of chopped, very ripe tomatoes (or canned plum tomatoes)
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 16 salt-cured olives, black or green, pitted


Before you start, cut the rabbit into pieces, or have your butcher do it for you. Hank Shaw has an excellent guide here: How to Cut up a Rabbit.

Whole Rabbit, ready to be cut into parts rabbit cut into pieces

1 Brown the rabbit pieces: Sprinkle the rabbit pieces generously with salt and pepper. Rub half of the thyme leaves into the pieces, then sprinkle with flour to lightly coat.

sprinkle rabbit pieces with herbs and flour

Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium high. Place the rabbit pieces in the pan in a single layer. Do not stir.

Cook for 2-3 minutes on one side until lightly browned, then turn the pieces and brown on the other side for a minute or two more. Remove the rabbit pieces to a dish to set aside.

brown rabbit pieces for cacciatore

2 Add onions, then garlic, bell pepper, mushrooms, rosemary, thyme: Reduce the heat to medium. Add onions to the pan, cook for 1 minute. Then add garlic, bell pepper, and mushrooms, cook for a couple minutes more. Add the rosemary and the remaining thyme.

3 Add the rabbit back into the pan. Cover with chopped tomatoes and bay leaf.

Reduce heat to medium low; cover the pan and cook for 35 minutes.

add tomatoes for the rabbit cacciatore simmer rabbit

4 Uncover the pan, add the olives.

5 Boil off excess liquid: Increase heat to high and cook for several minutes to boil off excess moisture and reduce the sauce.

When the liquid has reduced by half, check the seasoning, add salt or pepper to taste, remove from heat and serve.

Serve with rice, pasta, or potatoes.

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Recipe adapted from a chicken recipe by Georgeanne Brennan.

Rabbit Recipe Hunters Stew

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

11 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Clayton

    Truly a 5 out of 5 star recipe! Very easy to make and it tastes like it’s coming out prestigious restaurant kitchen! Amazing. Thank you!


  2. Linda

    This was so delicious! I didn’t add the olives, but I don’t know how it could have been better! I rave about this recipe all the time! I don’t have rabbit tonight so I’m trying it with boneless skinless chicken thighs instead.


  3. Barbara

    I was skeptical, but it was delicious! We recently started raising meat rabbits so I’ve been trying to find good recipes and this one has been the BEST so far.


  4. Lee

    Great recipe. I made it more of a Cajun spiced dish. Added some extra veggies I had a taste for. Oh, and instead of simmering it i baked it with the tomatoes ontop…it came out fantastically! I will definitely make this a go to dish.


  5. Jennifer

    Found frozen rabbit for Easter in Texas at HEB!
    Will definitely search out other sources, but loved that it was the whole sectioned rabbit w/giblets!

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