Mouth-watering Skyline Chili copycat recipe

When it comes to comfort food, nothing beats a hot and hearty bowl of chili. And if you’re a fan of Skyline Chili, then get ready to fall in love with this copycat recipe. This Skylike Chili recipe is sure to take your taste buds on a journey to Cincinnati, Ohio, where the famous Skyline Chili originated.

While the traditional Cincinnati chili is made with ground beef and a unique blend of spices, this copycat recipe replicates that taste while adding a few twists of its own. This recipe incorporates delicious ingredients such as cocoa powder, Worcestershire sauce, and apple cider vinegar to give it that signature flavor we all know and love.

As a culinary explorer, I’ve tried my fair share of chili recipes over the years, but this one has stood out as one of my favorites. And I’m not alone – everyone who tries this Skylike Chili raves about the warm and comforting flavor that just hits the spot.

So, whether you’re feeling nostalgic for your hometown or simply want to try something new and delicious, this Skyline Chili copycat recipe is perfect for any occasion. Get ready to experience the authentic flavor of Cincinnati in your own kitchen!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Skylike Chili - Skyline Chili Copycat
Skylike Chili – Skyline Chili Copycat

As a culinary explorer and lover of Skyline Chili, I am excited to share with you my Skylike Chili recipe, a copycat version of the famous Cincinnati delicacy. This hearty chili is loaded with flavors that will surely tantalize your taste buds.

What makes this recipe special, you may ask? It includes a secret ingredient – baking chocolate! The unsweetened Baker’s brand chocolate gives Skyline Chili its signature taste, and my recipe replicates it perfectly. You won’t be able to tell the difference between the original Skyline chili and this recipe.

In addition to the chocolate, this recipe uses a blend of spices: ground cloves, ground allspice, bay leaves, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, garlic powder and chili powder. The combination of these aromatic spices creates an explosion of flavors that make you feel like you are in Cincinnati.

The recipe also features lean ground beef and kidney beans as the main protein sources. The chili is garnished with chopped onions and cheddar cheese. When served over spaghetti noodles or on top of hot dogs (chili cheese coneys), it transforms into a hearty meal that is perfect for those cold winter nights.

This Skylike Chili recipe can easily be made in an Instant Pot or on your stove top. It is simple to follow and takes less than an hour to prepare. I guarantee that once you try this chili recipe, it will become a staple in your meal planning rotation.

So don’t wait any longer! Try my Skylike Chili copycat recipe today and experience the magic of Skyline Chili right in the comfort of your own home!

Ingredient List

 A hearty bowl of Skylike Chili to warm up your soul
A hearty bowl of Skylike Chili to warm up your soul

Here’s what you will need to make this Skyline Chili Copycat Recipe:

Ingredients 1:

  • 2 pounds of lean ground beef

  • 4 cups of water

  • 1 can (15 oz) of tomato sauce

  • 2 cans (8 oz) of tomato paste

Ingredients 2:

  • 4 cups of chopped onions

  • 2 cups of beef stock

  • 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon of chili powder

  • 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon of ground cumin

  • 2 teaspoons of instant minced garlic

  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of salt

  • 3/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

  • 3/4 teaspoon of ground allspice

  • A pinch (about 1/8 teaspoon) of ground cloves

  • A pinch (about a dash) of cayenne pepper

Note: If you want to try the original Cincinnati-style chili, add a square (about an ounce) of unsweetened baking chocolate. Use a baker’s brand for the best results.

Now that you have all your ingredients ready, it’s time to learn how to make this chili recipe!

The Recipe How-To

Preparing a chili can be an exciting and messy affair, especially if you are following the Skyline Chili Copycat Recipe, my culinary explorer friends. But worry not, for I have put together a list of simple steps that will guide you on how to make the copycat recipe at home. So grab your aprons, roll up your sleeves, and let’s get started!


The first thing we need to do is gather all the ingredients in one place. Make sure you have:

  • 2 pounds of lean ground beef
  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 cans (8 ounces each) of tomato sauce
  • 1 can (6 ounces) of tomato paste
  • 4 cups of chopped onions
  • 2 tablespoons of chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of instant minced garlic
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of cocoa powder
  • ¾ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon of ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • And finally, for the Skyline touch, some grated Cheddar cheese and kidney bean to top off.


  1. Begin the cooking process by heating a large skillet over medium-high heat on a stove.
  2. Add in the lean ground beef and cook until it is fully browned.
  3. Once it’s done, strain out any excess fat.
  4. Now transfer the cooked beef into an Instant Pot or a slow cooker if you’d like to go old-school.
  5. In the same skillet, sautee the onions until they turn translucent and then add them to the pot.
  6. Proceed with adding tomato sauce and paste, water, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, garlic powder, cocoa powder, cinnamon, allspice, cayenne pepper, salt, cloves and bay leaves.
  7. Until now we have been preparing Cincinnati-style chili but we’re aiming for Skyline Chili here. So here goes the secret ingredient – add no more than ¼ cup per 5 cups water of finely grated Baker’s unsweetened baking chocolate – this chocolate type gives Skyline that unique taste.
  8. Combine everything in Instant Pot/Slow Cooker or whichever method you prefer (put your lid on if using IP) and give it a light stir.
  9. Set the Instant Pot to “Manual” high-pressure mode for 50 minutes with “Natural Pressure Release” when done. For slow cooker method set it on high heat for 3 hours or low heat for 6 hours.
  10. Remove the bay leaves from the cooked mix before serving it

Substitutions and Variations

 Bon Appétit! Enjoy this Skyline Chili Copycat recipe at home
Bon Appétit! Enjoy this Skyline Chili Copycat recipe at home

Variety is the spice of life, and the same rule applies to cooking. You can always add your own twist to a recipe, fill it with new ideas, and make it your own. That’s why I love sharing substitute ingredients and variations of this Skyline Chili Copycat Recipe.

If you don’t have kidney beans on hand or just don’t like them, you can swap them for black beans or pinto beans. Both will work fine and won’t change the overall flavor of the dish. Also, if you are a vegan or vegetarian, you can replace the ground beef with textured vegetable protein (TVP) or tempeh to make a plant-based chili that still tastes delicious.

For those who prefer milder chili than this Skyline Cincinnati Chili Copycat Recipe, simply reduce the amount of cayenne pepper or exclude it entirely. If you want to make it spicier, add more cayenne pepper or even some hot sauce for an extra kick.

In terms of seasoning, cinnamon and cloves give this copycat Skyline Chili Recipe its signature taste. However, if you don’t have either spice at home or don’t like them, just omit them from this recipe. You can also experiment by adding smoked paprika or chipotle powder for a smokier flavor profile.

For the cheese topping, you can opt for any type of cheese that melts well. Though cheddar cheese is a classic choice here, try using provolone cheese for a tangy Italian twist that complements this chili perfectly.

Finally, if you want to switch things up even further from Cincinnati-style chili, try serving it over spaghetti instead of rice or with some classic Cincinnati-style toppings like oyster crackers or served as a Chili Cheese Coney just like the ones in Gold Star Chili Spaghetti restaurants across Cincinnati, Ohio.

Overall, feel free to be creative with the ingredients in this recipe and make it your own. Cooking is all about trying new things and discovering what works best for you!

Serving and Pairing

 The perfect blend of spices and meat in every bite
The perfect blend of spices and meat in every bite

Now that your Skyline Chili copycat recipe is ready, it’s time to serve it up! Cincinnati was the birthplace of this delicious chili, and the locals have traditionally eaten it over spaghetti, which is known as “chili spaghetti” or “spaghetti chili”.

You can also pair this Skyline Chili with a classic Cincinnati favorite, the chili cheese coney. This dish consists of a juicy hot dog topped with the savory Skyline Chili and a generous helping of grated cheddar cheese. Trust me; your taste buds will thank you.

Another delightful way to enjoy your chili is by serving it as a dip with tortilla chips or French fries. Just take care not to heat up the chips along with hot Skyline Chili since they may become soggy.

Moreover, if you want to add extra heat to your chili, cayenne pepper sauce or jalapeño peppers are great condiments to spice things up.

Also, consider pairing this hearty bowl of comforting goodness with a beer or soda for an amazing taste sensation.

In summary, there are so many ways you can enjoy Skyline Chili copycat recipe. Whether over spaghetti, on top of a hot dog as chili cheese coney or served as a dip alongside tortilla chips, this dish will surely satisfy any cravings you might have.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Toppings galore! Load up your Skyline Chili with your favorite fixings
Toppings galore! Load up your Skyline Chili with your favorite fixings

As a culinary explorer, I always prepare for the unexpected. So, I have some tips for you on how to make the Skyline Chili Copycat recipe in advance and store it. Trust me; you don’t want to miss the opportunity of reheating and enjoying a steaming bowl of chili when your cravings hit.

Firstly, let’s talk about making this copycat recipe ahead of time. You can prepare the chili up to three days in advance and store it in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Doing so will allow the spices to marinate into the meat and enhance its flavor even more. However, keep in mind that beans tend to absorb liquid over time, so you may need to add more stock or water when reheating.

When it comes to reheating the Skyline Chili Copycat recipe, there’s no need to worry because it’s incredibly easy. You can reheat your chili on low heat on the stovetop or better yet, use a slow cooker to reheat it over several hours. This method is my favorite since it allows all ingredients to blend together perfectly, giving you an even richer flavor than before.

If you’re someone who doesn’t like wasting food (who does?), then you’ll be happy to know that this chili freezes well. You can freeze the leftovers in an airtight container for up to three months without worrying about jeopardizing the flavors. Thaw frozen portions overnight in your refrigerator before reheating using one of the methods mentioned earlier.

Lastly, serving your Skyline Chili Copycat recipe with spaghetti or on top of hot dogs makes it Gold Star Chili Spaghetti or Cincinnati Chili Cheese Coney – yum! Now that you know everything about Making-Ahead, Storing, and Reheating this Skyline Chili Copycat recipe, enjoy the flavors of Cincinnati Ohio right at home!

Tips for Perfect Results

 Comfort food at its finest - Skylike Chili on a chilly day
Comfort food at its finest – Skylike Chili on a chilly day

As a culinary explorer, I have found some useful tips that can help you make the Skyline Chili Copycat Recipe a success every time. That’s why I’ve compiled them in this section for you.

1. Brown your ground beef properly

The first step in making an outstanding skyline chili copycat is properly browning your ground beef. You should use lean ground beef and cook it until it’s completely browned. This ensures that your chili will have the right texture and depth of flavor.

2. Use high-quality ingredients

The quality of your ingredients can make or break your skyline chili copycat. So it’s best to invest in high-quality spices, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and beef stock to get that authentic taste.

3. Add chocolate for depth of flavor

If you want to add extra depth of flavor to your skyline chili copycat, use unsweetened baker’s chocolate instead of cocoa powder. This Cincinnati-style ingredient will give your chili a unique flavor that hits all the right notes.

4. Allow time for the flavors to meld

To get the full authentic Cincinnati skyline chili experience, let your chili simmer on low heat for at least an hour before serving it. This step allows all the flavors to meld together and makes for one delicious bowl of chili.

5. Don’t forget the toppings

Skyline Chili is famous for its unique topping combinations such as spaghetti and shredded cheddar cheese. So when serving your copycat recipe, don’t forget to add those classic toppings.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to create a delicious and authentic Skyline Chili Copycat Recipe that will wow your family and friends every time!


As with any recipe, it’s common to have questions and concerns when trying something new. Here are some frequently asked questions about the Skylike Chili copycat recipe that I’ve encountered, along with my responses and suggestions to help you achieve the best possible results.

What gives Skyline Chili its flavor?

Skyline Chili has become a much-anticipated experience for those who live in or visit Cincinnati. The unique taste that sets this chili apart from others is created using a combination of seasoning ingredients, including cumin, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, vinegar, and cloves. The resulting flavor is both sweet and spicy, making it a one-of-a-kind culinary experience.

What is in skyline chilli?

For this recipe, you’ll need some savory beef, refreshing water, and tomato sauce made with a culinary blend of water and tomato paste. Other essential ingredients include dried yeast, spices, salt, dehydrated onion, garlic, paprika, and natural flavors.

What kind of beans are used for Skyline Chili?

The unique taste and consistency of Skyline Chili can be attributed to the blend of beans utilized in their recipe. Red kidney beans, great northern beans and pinto beans are mixed together to create the perfect combination for this beloved dish.

What kind of cheese does Skyline Chili use?

Our recipe will be using finely shredded cheddar cheese that has a mild flavor.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, I can boldly say that this Skyline Chili Copycat recipe is one of the most delicious dishes you’ll ever taste. With its unique blend of spices and savory meaty goodness, it’s no wonder that this Cincinnati-style chili has achieved such fame and popularity.

Whether you’re a seasoned cook or just starting out in the kitchen, the recipe instructions are easy to follow and provide helpful tips to ensure your chili is a success. And with an array of substitutions and variation options available, you can easily put your own twist on this classic dish.

So what are you waiting for? Gather up the ingredients from our comprehensive list and let your culinary exploration take you on a journey to Cincinnati and beyond. You won’t be disappointed with this Skyline Chili Copycat recipe – it’s a dish that will keep you coming back for more!

Skylike Chili - Skyline Chili Copycat

Skylike Chili - Skyline Chili Copycat Recipe

A copycat of Skyline Chili, true Cincinnati chili, except it's less greasy! I combine all the dry spices times ten and keep the "Skyline Spice Mix" in a jar cannister. One batch of chili will use 3/8 cup of spice mix. The spice mix is also tasty as a meat rub for steak, pork and chicken.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Fusion
Calories 241.5 kcal


  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 -3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 ounce grated unsweetened chocolate or 2 3/4 tablespoons cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons instant minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper or 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 bay leaves or 1/8 teaspoon bay leaf powder


  • chopped onion (optional)
  • finely shredded cheddar cheese (certainly NOT optional)
  • kidney bean (optional)


  • Brown ground beef and onion.
  • Drain.
  • Add beef stock to beef mixture and simmer 10 minutes.
  • Add remaining 13 ingredients, simmer uncovered 1 hour.
  • Remove bay leaf, skim off extra fat.
  • Serve over hot spaghetti, or hot dogs in buns for chili dogs.
  • Top with plenty of cheese and other optional toppings.

Your Own Notes


Serving: 227gCalories: 241.5kcalCarbohydrates: 7.6gProtein: 19.4gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 61.7mgSodium: 812.6mgFiber: 2.2gSugar: 3.6g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Cheese, Meat, One-Dish Meal, Very Low Carbs
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Recommended Recipes Just For You

None found