Cincinnati Chili is a unique culinary experience combining ground beef, onions, garlic, tomato sauce, and chili powder with cocoa, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, brown sugar, and vinegar. The ending result of this unusual chili is a most enjoyable taste bud exploding experience. You really need to try this chili and you don’t need to go to Cincinnati, Ohio to do it.
What is Cincinnati Chili?
Cincinnati chili originated with immigrant restaurateurs in the 1920’s who were trying to expand their customer base by moving beyond narrowly ethnic styles of cuisine. Ingredients for this chili might include ground beef, stock, tomato paste, cinnamon, other Mediterranean spices and sometimes chocolate in a soup-like consistency. Toppings include cheese, onions, and beans.
My version of this wonderful chili contains a little bit of cocoa, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and cayenne. It is an unusual combo but it is so delicious. You will find it almost impossible to stop eating it! I serve it on spaghetti sprinkled with cheddar and onions. However you can garnish with whatever you like. As they say wear what you dig.
How do you make Cincinnati Chili?
This chili is so easy to make. First simmer your ground beef and beef broth in large pot or Dutch oven breaking up the beef as it cooks. Make sure you skim off any fat that floats to the top. Sauté your onion and garlic in a separate skillet. Stir the sautéed onion and garlic, tomato sauce, chili powder, cocoa powder, cumin, ground cinnamon, ground cayenne pepper, ground cloves, ground allspice, cider vinegar, Worcestershire Sauce, tomato paste and brown sugar in the pot with the beef. Simmer uncovered for 2-3 hours. Finally serve over cooked spaghetti with shredded cheddar and finally diced onions or however you like to garnish it.
Ways to serve Cincinnati Skyline Chili
- 2-Way Chili – The chili mixture is served on spaghetti. Yummy!
- 3-Way Chili – Top the chili and spaghetti with shredded cheddar cheese. Super yummy!
- 4-Way Chili – Top the whole caboodle with onions. Oh my heavens!
- 5-Way Chili – Top the whole kit and caboodle with kidney beans! Heavens to Betsy!
- Coney dog – Top a hot dog in a bun with Cincinnati chili, shredded cheese, diced onions, and a little mustard.
This is a weekend meal as it needs to simmer in the Dutch oven for several hours. However it is well worth the time and the effort. It is just that good! Cincinnati Chili makes for awesome leftovers. This is one of those dishes that tastes even better the next day as the flavors have all had time to meld with each other.
Other ground beef recipes you will love!
- Homemade Sloppy Joes
- Ground Beef Stroganoff (Hamburger)
- Savory Sweet Swedish Meatballs
- Classic Patty Melt
Cincinnati Chili Recipe
Cincinnati Chili is a unique blend of ground beef, onions, chili powder, cocoa powder, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice. It is traditionally served in a bowl over spaghetti noodles with shredded cheddar and oyster crackers.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 150 minutes
- Total Time: 2 hours 50 minutes
- Yield: 8
- Category: Main Meal
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
- 4 cup low sodium beef broth
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 8 ounces of spaghetti cooked according to package instructions
- 2 cups shredded cheddar
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
- Combine beef broth and beef in large heavy stock pot or Dutch oven uncovered. Bring to a low boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Skim off scum and fat that floats to the top.
- In small skillet melt butter over medium heat. Add onion and saute until soft adding garlic that last minute of cooking. Add cooked onion and garlic, tomato sauce, chili powder, cocoa powder, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, cloves, allspice, cider vinegar, Worcestershire Sauce, tomato paste and brown sugar. Simmer uncovered for 2-3 hours. Season with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.
- Serve over cooked spaghetti. Garnish with cheddar and onions.
Keywords: Cincinnati style chili, best chili in Cincinnati, Cincinnati chili 5 way, Cincinnati chili spaghetti
This post was originally published April 4, 2016 and was republished June 15, 2020 with new content.