Cincinnati Chili Recipe – A Delicious Heartwarming Favorite

Cincinnati chili is a dish that has been beloved by many for decades. With its unique blend of spices, ground beef, and tomato sauce, it’s no wonder why it’s become a staple of American cuisine. While there are many variations of this recipe, I am here to share with you a quick and easy Cincinnati chili recipe that will leave your taste buds wanting more.

As a culinary explorer, I’ve traveled all over the world in search of new and exciting flavors. But sometimes, the best meals can be found right in our own backyards. This simple Cincinnati chili recipe has been passed down through generations and is sure to become a family favorite.

Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a beginner cook, this recipe is easy to follow and requires minimal ingredients. So, gather your pots and pans and let’s get cooking!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Simple Cincinnati Chili
Simple Cincinnati Chili

Are you a fan of chili? If yes, then you must try out the mouth-watering Cincinnati chili recipe. This easy Cincinnati chili recipe is perfect for novice and experienced cooks alike.

One of the reasons why you’ll love this recipe is because it is quick and hassle-free. You can have this delicious dish ready in no time, without compromising on flavor. Moreover, Cincinnati chili is the perfect comfort food to warm up a cold winter night or after a long day at work.

Another reason why you’ll love this recipe is its versatility. The Cincinnati chili is incredibly flexible with several ingredient modifications and variations that allow you to keep things interesting every time you make it. Plus, it’s not only tasty but also healthy because of the lean ground beef and kidney beans.

Moreover, the sweet notes of cinnamon – an unexpected ingredient in chili – blend harmoniously with other spices and create a unique flavor that will leave your taste buds craving for more. Whether you prefer it 3-ways or 5-ways, with or without spaghetti, there’s a version out there for everyone.

Lastly but definitely not least, Cincinnati chili is an extremely satisfying meal to serve up to family or friends. The flavors are so diverse that virtually everyone can find something they like about it – whether it’s the spiciness or the fragrant aroma of herbs and seasonings.

So, if you are looking for a quick and easy dinner solution that will captivate your taste buds, look no further than Cincinnati chili. You won’t be disappointed!

Ingredient List

Sure, here are 10 unique photo captions for the Simple Cincinnati Chili recipe:
Sure, here are 10 unique photo captions for the Simple Cincinnati Chili recipe:

Here’s what you’ll need to make this Easy Cincinnati Chili Recipe:

Meat and Vegetables

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

Sauces and Seasonings

  • 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Beans and Cheese

  • 2 cans (15 oz each) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • Cheddar cheese for serving

Olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

These ingredients can be easily found in any grocery store. You can also adjust your spice levels by adding more or less chili powder to suit your taste. Make sure to use lean ground beef to keep the dish healthier as well.

The Recipe How-To

Now that you have assembled all the ingredients for this delightful Cincinnati Chili, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and cook it. Don’t worry! This recipe is quick and easy for anyone to make, even if you’re a newbie in the kitchen.

Step 1 – Cook Ground Beef

Begin by heating 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 pounds of lean ground beef to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until browned.

Step 2 – Add Onion & Garlic

Add 1 chopped onion to the pan and continue cooking until the onion is soft and translucent, usually taking around 5 minutes. Next, add 4 cloves of minced garlic and cook it for another minute or two.

Step 3 – Tomato Sauce & Paste

Add 1 (15-ounce) can of tomato sauce, 1 (6-ounce) can of tomato paste, and 4 cups of water to the skillet. Stir until everything is combined.

Step 4 – Spices & Seasonings

It’s time to spice things up! Start with adding 2 tablespoons of chili powder, followed by 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder, and finally, a packet of your favorite chili seasoning mix. Stir everything until well-combined.

Step 5 – Kidney Beans

Now that the seasonings are well mixed into your chili base, add in two cans of kidney beans (pinto beans will work too!) before bringing it all to a gentle simmer. Let everything cook over medium-low heat for about an hour or two, stirring occasionally.

And voila! Your very own homemade Cincinnati Chili made with nothing but fresh ingredients and lots of love! From here, it’s time to serve your delicious creation on top of your favorite pasta dish with some shredded cheddar cheese, diced onions, beans, spaghetti or chili beans – as we call them in Cincinnati!

Enjoy your meal!

Substitutions and Variations

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to put your own spin on this classic Cincinnati chili recipe, there are a few substitutions and variations you can try.

Firstly, if you’re not a fan of ground beef, you can replace it with ground turkey or chicken for a leaner option. You could also try using lamb or pork for a richer flavor.

If you’re looking to switch up the beans in this recipe, kidney beans can be replaced with black beans, pinto beans, or navy beans. You can also omit them altogether for a low-carb option.

Feeling like something subtler? If you don’t like cinnamon, replace it with cumin or smoked paprika for a different taste sensation.

Want some additional heat? Consider adding some diced jalapenos or crushed red pepper flakes to the recipe.

If you want to try something truly unique, substitute beef broth with stout beer for a richer flavor. Alternatively, add cocoa powder for depth and richness.

Finally, when it comes to serving Cincinnati chili, there are endless possibilities. Top your spaghetti with shredded cheddar cheese, chopped onions, or even hot sauce for some zing. Add in some garlic bread or tortilla chips for dipping into your chili.

Remember that cooking is all about experimenting and trying new things. Take these substitution recommendations as inspiration and create a version of Cincinnati chili that’s uniquely yours!

Serving and Pairing

 Ladle me up! This chili recipe is a Cincinnati classic.
Ladle me up! This chili recipe is a Cincinnati classic.

When it comes to serving Cincinnati chili, the possibilities are endless. The classic way is to serve it over a bed of spaghetti, with plenty of shredded cheddar cheese on top. For an authentic Cincinnati experience, go for the “four-way” or “five-way” chili, which adds beans and diced onions to the mix. Some people even like to sprinkle a touch of cinnamon on top for an extra layer of flavor.

If you’re looking to mix things up, there are plenty of other ways to enjoy this hearty dish. You can use it as a topping for hot dogs or baked potatoes, or spoon it over tortilla chips for some Cincinnati-style nachos. It also makes a great base for chili cheese fries or a chili omelet.

In terms of pairing, a classic beer is the perfect choice for this dish. An ice-cold lager like Budweiser or Yuengling is a great choice, but you could also opt for a darker beer like Guinness or even a local craft beer.

For those who prefer wine, a bold red like Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah pairs well with the rich flavors in this chili. And if you’re looking for a non-alcoholic pairing, try serving it with some cornbread or crackers for added crunch and texture.

No matter how you choose to serve and pair it, this easy Cincinnati chili recipe is sure to satisfy any craving for comfort food.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Hungry yet? Get cozy with a bowl of this hearty chili.
Hungry yet? Get cozy with a bowl of this hearty chili.

So, you’ve cooked your delicious Cincinnati chili, but now you have leftovers? Don’t worry; I’ve got some tips on how to store and reheat it properly.

Make-Ahead: If you’re planning ahead, you can make the chili up to two days in advance. After cooking and cooling it completely, transfer the chili to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator.

Storing: To store your Cincinnati chili, place it in an airtight container or freezer bag, and make sure to press out all the air from the container or bag to prevent freezer burn. It will last up to three months in the freezer.

Reheating: When you’re ready to reheat your Cincinnati chili, there are a few ways to go about it. First, take the chili out of the freezer and allow it to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Once it’s fully thawed, you can reheat it on the stovetop over medium heat until heated through. Alternatively, you can reheat in the microwave for quick and speedy cincy chili.

If you’re short on time and don’t have time for thawing or reheating on the stove or microwave, consider using a slow cooker. You can add your frozen chili into the slow cooker and set it to low heat for about 6 hours until heated through. This method allows you more freedom while preparing other dishes since you don’t have to watch over it as closely.

Remember that pasta tends to absorb liquid as it sits in sauce in your fridge/freezer. Therefore, if your Cincinnati-style chili has no moisture left after being stored or reheated, add water or broth gradually until desired consistency is achieved while reheating.

Overall, homemade Cincinnati chili is incredibly versatile when it comes to storing and reheating. Properly stored leftovers can be an easy meal for another day with minimal effort required when reheating them later while still retaining odor and taste that made this dish so special.

Tips for Perfect Results

 Take a closer look at these mouthwatering chili toppings.
Take a closer look at these mouthwatering chili toppings.

When it comes to making a good Cincinnati chili recipe, there’s no denying that it requires a bit of finesse. Nonetheless, there are some helpful tips that I’ve learned along the way to ensure that I always end up with a delicious, hearty pot of chili.

First off, it’s important to choose the right cut of ground beef. While some may be tempted to go for the cheapest option available, lean ground beef is what really makes a difference in the texture and overall flavor of the dish. Opting for ground chuck or sirloin will produce the best results.

Another key tip is to focus on layering flavors. This means taking the time to properly cook each ingredient before adding in the next one. For example, start by sweating your chopped onions until they’re soft and translucent before browning your beef. This will allow you to build depth and complexity into your chili.

Don’t be afraid to add extra spices and herbs too! While traditional Cincinnati chili recipes typically rely on cinnamon and chili powder for flavor, feel free to experiment with different spices like paprika or cumin depending on personal preference.

When it comes time to thicken your chili sauce, tomato paste is an excellent option as it adds richness without diluting the flavors in your pot. Likewise, simmering your chili over low heat for an extended period of time (at least 1-2 hours) can help meld all the ingredients together and create a more cohesive sauce.

Finally, make sure not to overcrowd your pot – especially if you’re doubling or tripling a recipe. Doing so can cause uneven cooking and make it more difficult to properly incorporate all the ingredients.

By following these tips for perfect results, I guarantee that you’ll end up with an irresistible bowl of Cincinnati-style chili every time!


Before wrapping up this Simple Cincinnati Chili Recipe article, it’s important to address some of the most commonly asked questions about Cincinnati chili. So, here are some FAQs that will help you understand the dish much better and make your cooking experience a smooth one.

What is the difference between Cincinnati chili and regular chili?

When it comes to chili, there are many different ways to spice it up. For a traditional red chili, there are some common spices used such as cumin, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. However, these are not the only options and you can experiment to find the perfect spice blend for your taste buds. On the other hand, if you want to try something different, Cincinnati chili has a sweeter flavor profile with spices such as cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice. Some recipes may even call for cocoa powder to add a touch of richness. So, depending on your preference, you can mix and match these different spices to create a unique and delicious chili.

What are the ingredients in Cincinnati chili?

In this recipe article, I will be sharing step-by-step instructions, insider tips, and personal recommendations on how to make a delicious bowl of Cincinnati chili using the main ingredients.

What are the three ways of Cincinnati chili?

This recipe features a delicious combination of flavorful spaghetti, savory chili, tangy cheese, and either onions or beans, depending on whether you choose to make the four-way onion or four-way bean variation. For the ultimate indulgence, go for the five-way, which includes all of these tasty ingredients. Get ready to dive in and savor the hearty goodness of this classic dish!

What is the difference between Skyline chili and Cincinnati chili?

When it comes to Skyline Chili, a prominent type of Cincinnati chili, you might notice that it does not contain any beans in the sauce. This sets it apart from other Cincinnati chili variations and was actually a choice made by the creator of Skyline Chili, who believed beans had no place in this dish. Interestingly, an authentic Texas Chili, also called chili con carne, also does not include beans in its recipe.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this Simple Cincinnati Chili Recipe is a quick and delicious way to bring the famous Cincinnati chili flavor to your own kitchen. With a perfect blend of spices like cinnamon, chili powder, and cocoa powder, it provides a unique taste that will tantalize your taste buds like never before.

Additionally, this recipe offers you various options to modify it as per your preferences. You can create a five-way version with your favorite toppings or add more beans for an extra kick of protein. As an added bonus, you can easily store and reheat it for later consumption or use it as topping for pasta or other dishes.

So, gather the ingredients and bring the taste of Cincinnati to your dining table with this easy Cincinnati chili recipe. Trust me; your family and friends will appreciate the endeavor and enjoy every single bite. Bon Appétit!

Simple Cincinnati Chili

Simple Cincinnati Chili Recipe

This is a simple recipe without a long list of ingredients, but it produces a rich, satisfying chili. My kids love this chili better than regular chili!!!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Calories 450.7 kcal


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 (1 1/4 ounce) package mild chili seasoning mix
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 8 ounces about 4 cups cooked spaghetti, cooked


  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • chopped onion


  • Cook ground beef in large saucepan until no longer pink; drain.
  • Add chili seasoning, cinnamon, beans and tomato sauce.
  • Add water to bring to correct consistency.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.
  • Serve over spaghetti, topped with cheddar and onions.

Your Own Notes


Serving: 256gCalories: 450.7kcalCarbohydrates: 39.3gProtein: 31.4gFat: 18.4gSaturated Fat: 6.9gCholesterol: 77.1mgSodium: 951.6mgFiber: 8.6gSugar: 6.8g
Keyword < 30 Mins, Beans, Meat, Spaghetti, Spicy
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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