Bite into the Savory Flavors of Cincinnati Chili Burgers

Welcome to the world of bold flavors, where your taste buds will be transported to the Queen City with this Cincinnati Chili Burger Recipe. Whether you are a fan of chili sliders or want an entirely new burger experience, this recipe will definitely satisfy your cravings.

This perfect combination of a chili recipe and a classic burger recipe produces an explosion of flavors in every bite that you won’t find in any other burger. The rich and savory flavor of Cincinnati style chili is not just your typical tomato-based sauce; its ingredients include ground cinnamon that brings depth to the dish, minus the spiciness. And paired with juicy hamburger patties topped with shredded cheddar cheese, it’s a match made in culinary heaven.

As someone who loves exploring new recipes, I can confidently say that this Cincinnati Chili Burger Recipe is one of my favorites. So, let’s get started and take a culinary journey to Cincinnati together.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Cincinnati Chili Burgers
Cincinnati Chili Burgers

Are you a burger fanatic looking for a new recipe to add to your collection? Look no further! This Cincinnati Chili Burger recipe is going to be your new go-to for burger night.

This dish brings together the best of two worlds- juicy burgers and bold Cincinnati chili. It’s also a versatile recipe, perfect for serving at casual gatherings like backyard BBQs or tailgating parties.

What makes this recipe stand out is its unique blend of flavors. The chili powder and ground cinnamon add a warm and peppery kick, while the tomato sauce and chopped onions bring a brightness to the dish. The sharp cheddar cheese completes it all, adding creaminess and tanginess that go oh-so-well with the spices in the chili.

The best part about this recipe is its ability to satisfy everyone’s taste buds. You can have it as spicy or mild as you want simply by adjusting the amount of chili powder used. Plus, by using lean ground beef, you’re cutting down on calories without sacrificing flavor.

This recipe also offers multiple ways to serve it- sandwiched between burger buns, as sliders for small bites, or even on top of a bed of spaghetti for those seeking pasta perfection. And if you’re feeling extra adventurous, try topping it with some kidney beans and chopped green onions for some added texture and freshness.

You won’t regret testing out these Cincinnati chili burgers- they’ll have you coming back for seconds and thirds!

Ingredient List

Get Your Shopping List Ready: Here’s What You’ll Need

Before you embark on making these flavorful Cincinnati Chili Burgers, check your pantry and make a shopping list of the following ingredients.

  • 2 pounds ground beef (80% lean, 20% fat)
  • 1 can (15 oz) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 lb spaghetti, cooked and drained
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Empress chili or Cincinnati chili seasoning mix
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup green onion, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Make sure to get fresh high-quality ingredients for a bold Cincinnati chili taste. If you’re feeling adventurous, try making Cincinnati-style chili from scratch using the above ingredients. Chase it up with some refreshing drinks and sides such as beer and fries.

The Recipe How-To

Now let’s get to the most exciting part, making our Cincinnati Chili Burgers! This recipe is super easy to follow and doesn’t require any fancy techniques or equipment. Just grab your favorite spatula and let’s start cooking!


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 15 ounce can of tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup of ketchup
  • 2 pounds sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 cups of Cincinnati-style chili
  • 1/4 cup diced green onion


  1. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, chili powder, and water. Mix until well combined.
  2. Divide the mixture into four equal portions and form each portion into a patty.
  3. Preheat your grill or frying pan to medium-high heat and cook each patty for about 3 minutes on each side, or until they are cooked to your desired level.
  4. Heat up the Cincinnati-style chili in a medium-sized pot over low heat on the stovetop.
  5. To assemble each burger, place one cooked patty on a bun bottom, then top it with two tablespoons of shredded cheddar cheese, two tablespoons of heated Cincinnati-style chili, and one tablespoon of diced green onion. Add the top bun, and repeat for the remaining burgers.
  6. Serve immediately with additional toppings such as diced tomatoes, chopped onions, or kidney beans if you desire.

Cooking Tips:

  • For an extra kick of spice, add a pinch of cayenne pepper to your burger mix or additional chili powder to taste.
  • If you’re not a fan of sharp cheddar cheese, feel free to substitute it with any other type of cheese you like.
  • You can also make these burgers in advance and freeze them for a quick meal option later on.

Now that you’ve got all the details for making these delicious Cincinnati Chili Burgers, what are you waiting for? It’s time to fire up your grill or frying pan and get cooking!

Substitutions and Variations

Hey, do you like to switch things up in the kitchen? Well, good news! There are a variety of ways to customize this Cincinnati Chili Burgers recipe to make it your own.

First of all, if you don’t eat meat, don’t worry – this recipe can easily be adapted for vegetarians. Simply swap out the ground beef for vegetarian ground meat or make it with kidney beans instead. The tomato sauce can also be substituted for vegetable broth or even ketchup if you prefer a sweeter taste.

Feeling spicy? Add in some hot sauce or cayenne pepper to give it an extra kick! Alternatively, if you’re not a fan of spice, you can always reduce or omit the chili powder and cinnamon altogether.

If you’re looking for a healthier option, try swapping out the beef for lean ground turkey or chicken. You could also use whole wheat buns to make it more nutritious.

Lastly, if you want to get creative with your toppings, go for it! I love adding some sliced avocado or even jalapeños on top of my burger. Sharp cheddar cheese is always a good choice too.

Remember, cooking is all about experimentation and having fun. Don’t be afraid to try new things and see what works best for you.

Serving and Pairing

Once you’ve cooked up your bold Cincinnati chili burgers, it’s time to think about how best to serve and pair them for maximum enjoyment.

For starters, I recommend serving these burgers on a toasted bun. The toasted bread will give the burger a nice crunch that will complement the softness of the meat patty. You can also add some ketchup or shredded sharp cheddar cheese to the burger for added flavor.

As for what to serve with these burgers, I recommend a side of crispy french fries or onion rings. The crunchy texture of these sides complements the soft and juicy burger patty, and brings a wonderful balance of flavors to your meal.

To drink, you could go with a bold red wine like Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon to match the richness of the chili flavor. For non-alcoholic options, try pairing this meal with an icy cold beer or even just some water with lemon.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you could even try serving your Cincinnati chili burgers like the locals in Cincinnati do – on top of spaghetti! Known as chili spaghetti, this unique dish is essentially pasta topped with Cincinnati-style chili and is a favorite in the area.

However you choose to serve your chili burgers, they are sure to be a hit at any gathering or dinner party. So why not embrace the Queen City spirit and dig in?

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

Now, let’s talk about making this bold Cincinnati Chili Burgers recipe ahead of time or storing and reheating the leftovers. Trust me; you’d want to have some of these burgers saved for later.

To make ahead: You can make the patties a day ahead and keep them covered in the fridge. But, if you’re making the chili a day before, it’s ideal to store it separately in a sealed container in the fridge.

To store: If you have any leftover burgers – which I doubt – store them in an airtight container, separately from the chili sauce. Keep them in the fridge for two to three days or freeze them for up to six months.

To reheat: Reheating is as crucial as cooking. To reheat this burger, place it in a preheated oven at 350°F/180°C for 10-15 minutes until heated through thoroughly. Also, don’t forget to reheat the Cincinnati Chili sauce separately on medium heat on a stovetop until it’s steaming hot.

You can serve your leftover burger bits by topping your favorite pasta — usually spaghetti with Cincinnati chili sauce — making another version of Cincinnati Chili Spaghetti or Cincinnati-style Hamburger Helper.

Now that you know how to preserve this queen city delight let’s head off to our next section!

Tips for Perfect Results

Preparing the ultimate Cincinnati Chili Burgers Recipe requires minimal effort and can be done by anyone. But if you’re looking to take your burger game to unprecedented heights, then I’ve got some tips for you. Here are some recommendations that will ensure that your Cincinnati Chili Burgers Recipe is flawless.

First thing’s first, when preparing the chili mixture, keep in mind that it should be a little soupy. Take this into account when adding the tomato sauce and paste to your chili, as it will thicken as it cooks.

When preparing the ground beef patties, don’t overwork the meat when forming them into patties or add any binding agents such as eggs or bread crumbs which may interfere with the final texture of your burger.

The ground beef you’re using in the recipe should also have an 80/20 lean-to-fat ratio. Anything leaner than that may result in a dry and chewy patty.

To get an even cook on your burgers, make sure to make the patties uniform in size and shape so they cook through evenly. Also, wait until they’re cooked through before flipping them.

When topping your burgers with cheese (because who wouldn’t want more cheese?), shred a sharp cheddar cheese for maximum flavor and meltability, adding it within the last minute of cooking time so it melts perfectly onto the burger while still maintaining its shape.

If hamburger buns aren’t your go-to for burgers, try serving them on top of spaghetti or pasta with kidney beans and sprinkle scallions on top.

Lastly, remember always to serve them hot and moist with ketchup or any other condiment of your choice.


As a culinary explorer, I know that sometimes unexpected questions can arise while preparing a recipe. That’s why in this section, I’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions about this Cincinnati Chili Burger recipe. So whether you’re making these burgers for the first time or you’ve prepared them before, I’ve got you covered. Let’s dive into some common concerns and queries.

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

When it comes to Skyline Chili and other Cincinnati chili, one characteristic that sets them apart is the absence of beans in the sauce. The founder of Skyline Chili, Lambrinides, intentionally left out beans because he felt they didn’t belong in chili. Similarly, a true Texas Chili, commonly referred to as chili con carne, doesn’t include beans in the recipe.

What is the famous Cincinnati chili?

In 1922, two brothers named Tom and John Kiradjieff revolutionized the food scene in Cincinnati by creating a unique blend of Mediterranean spices combined with spaghetti noodles, chopped onions, shredded cheese, and kidney beans outside the Empress Theatre. The restaurant they opened, Empress Chili, is now considered the pioneer of what is known as Cincinnati chili.

What is a hamburger with chili called?

A chili burger, alternatively called chili size or size, is a popular variation of a regular hamburger. It involves a beef patty topped with chili con carne, and can be served open-faced or with the chili on the side.

Bottom Line

So, there you have it – my mouth-watering Cincinnati Chili Burgers recipe, guaranteed to satisfy your craving for bold and flavorful food. Whether you are a fan of chili burgers, chili sliders or Cincinnati-style chili, this recipe is sure to awaken your taste buds and leave you wanting more.

As a culinary explorer and lover of all things delicious, I highly recommend following this recipe and experimenting with the various substitutions and variations I provided. Whether you opt to add kidney beans or shredded cheddar cheese, swap ground beef for ground chuck or try a vegetarian Impossible Burger version, the possibilities are endless.

In conclusion, don’t miss out on the opportunity to indulge in one of the best chili recipes out there. Perfect for game day parties, BBQ gatherings or weeknight dinners with loved ones, these Cincinnati Chili Burgers will leave everyone satisfied and begging for more. Give it a try and let me know your thoughts – your taste buds will thank me later!

Cincinnati Chili Burgers

Cincinnati Chili Burgers Recipe

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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 457.5 kcal


  • 1 lb ground chuck, beef (80% lean)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green onion, plus more for serving if desired
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 hamburger buns, toasted
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup


  • In a large bowl, mix the beef, green onions, chili powder, cinnamon, and a pinch each of salt and pepper until well combined. Form the mixture into 4 patties.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the patties and cook, turning once, until well-browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Place each patty on the bottom of a hamburger bun and top with cheese.
  • In a small bowl, mix the tomato and ketchup. Spoon a dollop on each burger and garnish with green onions if desired.

Your Own Notes


Serving: 217gCalories: 457.5kcalCarbohydrates: 26.5gProtein: 28.1gFat: 26.3gSaturated Fat: 11.2gCholesterol: 93.1mgSodium: 477.3mgFiber: 2.5gSugar: 5.6g
Keyword < 30 Mins, Easy, Meat
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