Cincinnati Chili Recipe

5 from 25 reviews

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.


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 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 allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces of spaghetti cooked according to package instructions
  • Shredded cheddar (optional)
  • Finely chopped onions (optional)


  1. Melt butter in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to low the minced garlic. 
  2. Add the ground beef and beef broth and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the beef, breaking it up as it cooks. This will take 20-30 minutes.  Skim off any fat that floats to the top.  
  3. Stir in the tomato sauce, chili powder, cocoa powder, cumin, ground cinnamon, ground cayenne pepper, ground allspice, ground cloves, 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. 
  4. Serve over cooked spaghetti with shredded cheddar and chopped onions. 


  • Cook the ground beef over a low simmer, breaking it up with a fork or meat chopper.
  • Skim the fat off the top of the pot with a ladle. If you don’t want to waste anything, refrigerate what you skim off while the pot is simmering. The fat will solidify and be easy to remove, and you can return the rest of the broth to the pot.
  • Simmer Cincinnati Chili uncovered for 2-3 hours for the best flavor and consistency.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container on the stovetop over low heat or in the microwave at reduced power.
  • To freeze, first cool completely. Then, transfer to a freezer bag or freezer-safe container. Freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight. Reheat in the microwave at reduced power or on the stovetop over low heat.

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