My all-time favorite chili with you, Cincinnati Chili. I grew up on this chili and this recipe for me was pretty darn close to the real stuff. Serve it with oyster crackers or put it on top of spaghetti for the true Cincinnati experience.
I was born in Cincinnati and grew up just outside of the city. Every time I go back to visit my family, I still get myself a chili dog or 3-way at Skyline. I'm not going to claim this to be the same recipe they use at the restaurants this is just my version and from a Cincy girl raised on this stuff, I think it was pretty darn close in taste and in my option the best way to make it from home!
The secret to really great Cincinnati Chili is cinnamon and cocoa. You also got to make your chili and meat extra ground up and thin. You don't need a special type of beef just work it well with a spatula until your beef is really broken down. My dad likes to call Cincinnati style chili meat soup because it's a lot thinner than regular chili. There are a few different ways you can eat this chili. In a bowl of course alone but the Cincinnati way is on top of hot dogs or spaghetti and topped with diced onions and lots and lots of cheese.
What is Cincinnati Chili:
Cincinnati chili is found in Cincinnati Chili and surrounding areas. You can get it from Goldstar or Skyline. Both Cincinnati Chili but with a slightly different taste. It's a Mediterranean-spiced meat sauce that is usually topped on hot dogs or spaghetti. It's traditionally not served with beans unless you order a 5-way which is 1. spaghetti 2. chili 3. cheese 4. onion 5. beans but as someone who has lived most of their life in Cincinnati, I have NEVER had this with beans. To me it isn't the same.
- Ground Beef
- Onion (chopped)
- Minced Garlic
- Chili Powder
- Ground Cinnamon
- Ground All Spice
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- Tomato Sauce
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Optional to serve with: Cooked Spaghetti or hot dogs
- Topping: Shredded Cheddar Cheese
How to make Cincinnati Chili:
Step one: Sauté your onions in a large pan.
Step two: Add beef and garlic and cook until beef is almost fully cooked. Add seasonings and mix together.
Step three: Next add in tomato sauce, cider vinegar, and water.
Step four: Reduce heat to low and let the chili simmer for an hour or two.
Step five: Place chili on top of spaghetti or hot dog and top with shredded cheese.
Here are a few more of my favorite chili recipes that I think you will love also!
No Bean Chili: This is more of the commonly know chili taste but with no beans. So if you want a hearty chili without the beans you have to try this one out.
Taco Chili: This one is a favorite of mine. My taco soup is my favorite soup so I wanted to play on that to make a chili recipe, perfect for winter!
Slow Cooker Turkey Chili: This one is a readers favorite and has great reviews. If you want a new basic chili recipe check it out.
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- 1 Onion (chopped)
- 1 pound Ground beef
- 1 tablespoon Minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon Chili powder
- 1 teaspoon Ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Ground all spice
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 1 ½ teaspoon Unsweetened cocoa powder
- 15 oz Tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon Cider vinegar
- ¾ cup Water
- Optional: Cooked spaghetti or hot dogs and shredded cheese
- Sauté your onions for 2-3 minutes on medium-high in a large pan. Add beef and garlic and cook until beef is almost fully cooked. Drain fat as needed. Add chili powder, cinnamon, allspice, salt, unsweetened cocoa powder, and mix together. Add tomato sauce, cider vinegar, and water.
- Reduce heat to low and let the chili simmer for 1-2 hours.
- Place chili on top of spaghetti or hot dog and the with shredded cheese.
I just made this and oh my gosh is it delicious! Definitely the best I’ve ever had. Thanks so much for sharing it!
I grew up in Texas and our chili is quite different but I've always loved Cincinnati chili. Made this for dinner tonight and both my husband and daughter loved it. You can't go wrong with MEAT SOUP!! Thanks for this easy dinner.
I'm so glad you liked it! My parents had a friend who lived in Texas but moved to the Cincinnati area and she would always say that's not chili, it's meat sauce. Haha!!
the spices make it chili to me...and if the picky eaters in our house give it a thumbs up, it's definitely a keeper!
So happy to hear that!
My husband has always been trying to get me to make Cincinnati Chili. DELICIOUS recipe! Adding this to our rotating meal plan.
I’m making this for a chili cook off at my husbands work. Can you give me an idea of how many this recipe will serve? I appreciate it!!
Hi, Lisa, this recipe has about 5 servings. Since it's a thinner chili it doesn't go as far. On the recipe card at the top, you will see serving and a pink 5. If you click on that you can change the serving to how many you will need and it will adjust the recipe for you! Hope that helps!!
What type of cheese can I buy that closely resembles the yummy Skyline Chili cheese that is to die for?
Hi Lisa! The closes that I get is buying a mild cheddar block and shredding it myself at home. The pre-shredded cheese has a very different texture then shredding it at home with a cheese grater. I hope you enjoy it!!
Do you drain the ground beef before adding ingredients?
Hi Rich, sorry that was not clear. Yes, I do drain the beef then add the seasonings.
I made this and followed recipe exactly. Love it! Thank you so much. Had this year’s ago and forgot all about it until I saw your recipe!
So glad you liked it Beth!! I appreciate you coming back to tell me =)
I am from outside Cincy also and my kids love my chili. Cincinnati Chili is the best!! But I add the water while I am browning the meat makes it nice and fine and I add half square of unsweetened bakers chocolate to mine and oregano/cloves/ red pepper and chili powder and always put a can of pinto beans in ours cause kids don’t like kidney beans! Pressure cooker for 20 minutes and done! Serve with spaghetti like you do and right- lots and lots of cheese! Yummy 😋
It's the best chili! Since we moved away I always make it myself or get a can from Kroger! I was pretty happy when Kroger started selling skyline and graeter's ice cream here!!
If I double the meat should I also double the other ingredients? Thanks.
Yes I would. It would have less of the flavor without it I think. Let me know how it turns out Samantha!
I love this recipe but double the amount of tomato sauce, which makes the perfect consistency to me. I summered with the cover off for about a 1/2 hour then covered it for the rest of the time. Delicious!
Yum!! This is my favorite way to have chili =) Glad you enjoyed it Gayle!
Question- this was pretty spicy for my younger daughter when following your recipe exactly. I had to add a little more tomato sauce and water.
Is the chili powder supposed to be one tablespoon?
Just want to confirm.
Yes, that is the correct amount. No problem using a little less though!
Hello! This looks great! For the apple cider vinegar, is it 1 teaspoon or 1 tablespoon? Thank you!
It's Tbsp. Edited the recipe sorry for the mistake! I hope you enjoy this recipe Valerie it's so yummy =)
Looks like a recipe I love except the one I have also add cloves
It's one of my favorites =) I have heard people adding cloves or bay leaves.
Sounds yummy! Printed and pinned.
Thanks Debbie! Hope you enjoy the recipe!