Satisfy Your Taste Buds with This Cincinnati Chili Recipe

Are you tired of the same old chili recipe? Are you looking to explore regional cuisines and expand your culinary horizons? Then look no further! I am thrilled to share with you an authentic recipe for Cincinnati chili, a beloved dish from the city of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Cincinnati chili sets itself apart from other chili recipes in many ways. It features a unique blend of spices and ingredients, including cinnamon, allspice, and even unsweetened chocolate. It’s also served over spaghetti, topped with cheese, onions, and sometimes even beans.

But what truly makes this recipe special is its rich history and cultural significance in Cincinnati. This chili has been enjoyed in the city for over 75 years and has become a staple of the local cuisine. It even sparked a famous “chili war” between two rival restaurants, which still exists today.

So come along on this culinary journey with me as we dive into the heart of authentic Cincinnati chili. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Authentic Cincinnati Chili
Authentic Cincinnati Chili

If you’re looking for a hearty and flavorful chili recipe to warm up your taste buds, authentic Cincinnati chili is the perfect choice. You’ll love this recipe because it’s not your typical bowl of chili – it’s a unique flavor profile that sets it apart from other styles.

One of the key differences between Cincinnati chili and other chilis is its use of warm spices such as cinnamon and allspice, which adds a delightful complexity to the dish. The sweetness from cinnamon and the earthiness from allspice blend beautifully with savory beef, creating an unforgettable flavor combination.

Another reason to love this recipe is its versatility – it can be enjoyed in various ways. Traditionally, Cincinnati chili is served over spaghetti with shredded cheese on top, but it’s also delicious poured over hot dogs or baked potatoes. You can even add some jalapeños or sour cream for extra flavor!

Not only is this recipe easy to make, but it also requires simple ingredients that you might already have in your pantry. Ground beef, tomato sauce, tomato paste, onions, garlic cloves, apple cider vinegar, chili powder, cumin and Worcestershire sauce are just a few of the staples needed to create an authentic Cincinnati chili.

In addition, this recipe can be customized based on your preference for spice level or texture. If you prefer milder chili, you can adjust the amount of chili powder to your liking. If you like more texture, finely chop onions and mix them into the ground beef when cooking.

Overall, if you’re looking for something different than standard Texas-style chili and want a dish that will wow your taste buds with its unique flavor profile, then look no further than authentic Cincinnati chili.

Ingredient List

“Melt-in-your-mouth spaghetti topped with Cincinnati chili sauce and savory toppings.”

Here are the ingredients you will need for this authentic Cincinnati chili recipe:

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef (80/20)
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (6 ounce) tomato paste
  • 1 can (8 ounce) tomato sauce
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Note: If you’re looking to make a Texas-style chili, this is not the recipe for you. Authentic Cincinnati chili is known for its unique blend of spices and is often served over spaghetti. Gold Star and Skyline Chili are two popular Cincinnati chili restaurant chains that serve up their own versions of this iconic dish.

The Recipe How-To

“A signature dish of Ohio – this Authentic Cincinnati Chili is a must-try!”

Cincinnati Chili Recipe How-To

Now that you have gathered all your ingredients, let’s get started with the authentic Cincinnati chili recipe. The cooking process is simple and straightforward, and it will take you around an hour to complete.

  1. First, take a large pot or Dutch oven and heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add 2 small sweet onions (finely chopped) and three minced garlic cloves. Sauté for 3 to 5 minutes until the onions are translucent.

  2. Next add 2 pounds of lean ground beef to the pot and cook over medium heat until fully browned.

  3. Once the beef is cooked, drain excess fat from the pot then add 4 cups of water and stir in one (6 oz) can of tomato paste, 1 can (8 oz) of tomato sauce while scraping any browned bits.

  4. After these ingredients have been mixed thoroughly, add 1 cup of chili powder, 1½ teaspoons of salt, 2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground allspice, a pinch of ground cloves, 1 tablespoon ground cumin and 2 bay leaves.

  5. Mix well with a wooden spoon or spatula then bring to boil over high heat.

  6. Once boiling, turn down the heat to low and let simmer partially covered for 45 minutes stirring occasionally.

  7. Remove the bay leaves after your chili has simmered for at least 30 minutes.

  8. And there you have it – an authentic Cincinnati Chili recipe that serves six people!

Serving Cincinnati Chili

Congratulations! You have successfully made one of the most popular comfort foods in Cincinnati. Serve this delicious chili on top of a bed of spaghetti with Oyster crackers or some shredded cheddar cheese sprinkled on top or simply serve it in a bowl with your favorite toppings like chopped onions, sour cream, or jalapeños.

This recipe pairs well with cornbread or homemade fries. If it’s summer time or if you don’t mind grilling in winter go ahead and enjoy it between hot dog buns as a “chili dog,” topped with cheese, onions and mustard!

Additional Tips:

  • If you would like your chili thicker, reduce water by half.
  • Like Skyline Chili, this recipe calls for finely diced onion – if you prefer larger chunks go ahead and add them at step 4.
  • This authentic Cincinnati chili recipe is perfect when made in bulk for parties or when feeding large families.

We hope that you enjoyed this traditional Cincinnati-style chili recipe!

Substitutions and Variations

“A blend of warm spices and meaty goodness make this chili recipe irresistible.”

When it comes to making chili, there are a plethora of variations and substitutions that one can try in order to make the recipe their own. Authentic Cincinnati chili may be a beloved recipe for some, but for others, it may be too unique.

One substitution to consider is using turkey or chicken instead of beef to make a leaner and healthier version of the dish. Vegetarian and vegan options can also be achieved by swapping out the meat for plant-based alternatives like lentils or textured vegetable protein.

Additionally, tinkering with the spice blend can create a new flavor profile entirely. For example, increasing the amount of cumin or adding in smoked paprika can give the chili a smoky taste. Removing cinnamon from the recipe can help tone down its sweetness and emphasize its savory side.

If you’re looking for a spicier dish, adding in more chili powder – or even experimenting with different types of chilis – might do the trick.

Some people enjoy serving Cincinnati-style chili over noodles, while others prefer it over rice or even french fries. And don’t forget about toppings – shredded cheddar cheese, diced onions, and sour cream are just a few popular choices.

Finally, incorporating other ingredients into the chili can create a whole new experience. For example, consider adding cocoa powder to give the dish more depth or using beer instead of water to add another layer of flavor.

Ultimately, when it comes to substitutions and variations in chili recipes, the possibilities are endless. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find what combination works best for you!

Serving and Pairing

“Be ready to relish the fusion of Mediterranean and American flavors in every bite.”

Cincinnati chili is traditionally served in one of two ways: as a “three-way” over a bed of spaghetti, topped with shredded cheddar cheese, or as a “coney” on top of a hot dog bun with diced onions and more shredded cheese. Experiment with both to find your favorite!

For the three-way, boil 1 lb. of spaghetti until al dente, and divide among plates. Spoon Cincinnati chili on top of the spaghetti, add a generous sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese, and enjoy! Some people like to also add diced onions or a dollop of sour cream.

For the coney option, place hot dogs in buns and top with Cincinnati chili, followed by a sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese and diced onions. Serve immediately.

To round out your meal, I recommend serving this dish with a crisp green salad or some steamed vegetables. A glass of beer or red wine also pairs nicely with the savory flavors of Cincinnati chili.

If you’re feeling creative in the kitchen, try making Cincinnati chili cheese fries by swapping out the spaghetti for french fries! This indulgent dish is perfect for sharing at a party or enjoying as a weekend treat.

No matter how you choose to serve it, this authentic Cincinnati chili recipe is sure to become a crowd favorite at your dinner table.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

“Perfect for cold winter nights, this hearty chili will warm you up from the inside out.”

Authentic Cincinnati chili recipe is a great choice for meal prepping. This chili recipe can be made ahead and stored in the fridge or freezer, making it perfect for busy weekdays or weekend gatherings. Once you prepare the chili, allow it to cool down to room temperature before storing it. To store, transfer the chili into an airtight container and keep it in the fridge for up to 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

To reheat Cincinnati chili, you can use a stovetop, microwave, or oven. When reheating on a stovetop or oven, add an extra splash of water to loosen up the sauce consistency as it may have thickened when stored in the fridge or freezer.

If you prefer to reheat in the microwave, it’s best to transfer chili into a microwave-safe dish and cover it loosely with a paper towel. Reheat on high for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally so that it heats evenly. If the chili seems dry after reheating, add some water to get it back to its original consistency.

To enjoy this Cincinnati chili recipe at its best, serve hot over your favorite pasta with shredded cheese and chopped onions as toppings. This savory and hearty dish will be a huge hit at any party or family gathering!

Tips for Perfect Results

“From the fragrant aroma to the rich, bold taste, enjoy the flavors of Cincinnati chili right in your home.”

To make the best authentic Cincinnati chili, some tips and tricks will help you achieve perfect results. Here are my top tips to take your recipe to the next level:

1. Go for Lean Meat: The secret of making the best Cincinnati chili is using lean ground beef. I recommend 80/20 beef which will give the right balance of flavor and texture.

2. Make it a Day in Advance: Like many stew-like dishes, it tastes better the next day after cooking. So, plan ahead and make it a day in advance.

3. Respect the Spices: It’s essential to use high-quality spices when making Cincinnati chili as spices provide that unique flavor that makes this dish memorable. Try using fresh garlic cloves, cinnamon, chili powder, allspice, black pepper, salt, cumin, bay leaves, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce.

4. Don’t Skip Cinnamon: One crucial ingredient that sets Cincinnati chili apart from traditional Texas-style chili is the use of cinnamon. Adding cinnamon brings out the best flavors of beef and makes this recipe unique.

5. Keep an Eye on Liquid: The amount of liquid can be tricky in Cincinnati chili; if you add too much water or broth, you’ll spoil the consistency. If you see the chili getting too dry, use beef broth or canned tomato sauce to add moisture.

6. Invest in High-Quality Cheese: When it comes to serving Cincinnati Chili with cheese, use high-quality cheese instead of just any type of shredded cheese from a bag. Go for grated cheddar cheese or finely shredded Colby Jack which melts evenly on top of the chili.

By following these tips and tricks, you’ll make your own unique version of Cincinnati Chili that’s full of flavor and essential ingredients like garlic cloves and apple cider vinegar that’s guaranteed to be unforgettable!


Now that you’ve got the recipe and know what to expect, let’s go over some common questions about making authentic Cincinnati chili. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions that culinary explorers usually have when trying out this style of chili for the first time. These FAQs will guide you through any potential issues with the recipe, and help you understand the nuances of the Cincinnati chili-making process.

What is the original Cincinnati chili?

When examining the roots of Cincinnati chili, it becomes evident that it was not inspired by the traditional Texan chili, but rather by a Greek meal called pastitso. This Greek dish consists of layers of pasta, cheese, and meat topped with flavorful spices like cinnamon, allspice, and clove.

What are the ingredients in Cincinnati chili?

In this recipe article, I will be sharing culinary instructions, tips, and recommendations on how to make Cincinnati chili. The main ingredients used in Cincinnati chili will be featured in this recipe.

What is the difference between Skyline Chili and Cincinnati chili?

One thing that sets Cincinnati chili apart from others is the absence of beans in the sauce. Lambrinides, the creator of Skyline Chili, intentionally omitted beans in his recipe as he did not believe they belonged in chili. It’s worth noting that another well-known chili, Texas chili (or chili con carne), also does not contain beans.

What’s the difference between Texas chili and Cincinnati chili?

When it comes to chili, there are different styles with varying degrees of spice and complexity. Compared to Cincinnati chili, Texas-style chili is known for having a higher level of spiciness and complexity. If you crave a dish that packs a punch, then Texas-style chili is the way to go. However, if you prefer a milder flavor profile akin to your regular meals, then Cincinnati chili would be the better choice.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the authentic Cincinnati chili recipe that I have shared with you is a must-try! The balance of spices and ingredients in this recipe is what sets it apart from other chili recipes.

Not only is this Cincinnati chili recipe perfect for a cozy night in, but it can also be served at large gatherings, as part of a potluck or game day menu.

What’s more, this recipe is versatile and easily customizable. Feel free to adjust the spice levels to your liking or add your own unique twist to it.

If you are a chili aficionado or just someone who enjoys trying new dishes, I highly recommend giving this authentic Cincinnati chili recipe a go. Trust me; you won’t regret it!

So gather up your ingredients and get ready to tantalize your taste buds with some delicious Cincinnati-style chili. The rich aroma and the delicious flavors will leave you feeling satisfied and coming back for more every time. Enjoy!

Authentic Cincinnati Chili

Authentic Cincinnati Chili Recipe

I feel like this is pretty close to the real thing. Tastes more like Dixie Chili than Skyline or Goldstar, but if you live in an area that you can't get to a chili parlor, this will fix your craving!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Calories 302.5 kcal


  • 1 quart water
  • 2 lbs ground chuck
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 large sweet onions, chopped fine
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped


  • Crumble raw meat into cold water in medium stock pot. DO NOT brown meat.
  • Add all remaining ingredients and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
  • Lower heat and simmer for 3-4 hours.
  • Serve over spaghetti with cheddar cheese and onions, on hotdogs with mustard, cheddar cheese and onions, or in a bowl with cheddar cheese, onions and oyster crackers. I put a little hotsauce on mine!

Your Own Notes


Serving: 300gCalories: 302.5kcalCarbohydrates: 9.8gProtein: 21.5gFat: 19.9gSaturated Fat: 7.8gCholesterol: 78.2mgSodium: 1151.7mgFiber: 2.6gSugar: 4.5g
Keyword < 4 Hours
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Recommended Recipes Just For You

None found