Lauren's Cincinnati Chili Recipe -
Lauren's Cincinnati Chili Recipe
  • READY IN 3+ hrs

Lauren's Cincinnati Chili

Recipe by  

"I have searched far and wide for a recipe that compares to Goldstar or Skyline chili, to no avail. Finally, I took a number of decent recipes and blended them together with the help of a former Goldstar Chili employee. It's still not the same, but it feeds my cravings. The most important things about the chili is how you prepare the beef and the cinnamon and chocolate. I recommend refrigerating the chili overnight. It always tastes better the next day."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 8 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    20 mins
  • COOK

    3 hrs

    3 hrs 20 mins


  1. Cook the beef and onion in a large skillet over medium high heat, breaking up beef into tiny pieces, just until meat is no longer pink. Drain and place in a large Dutch oven or slow cooker. Stir in the water, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, tomato sauce, and chocolate. Simmer over medium low heat for 3 to 5 hours.
Kitchen-Friendly View


  • Easy Cleanup
  • Try using a liner in your slow cooker for easier cleanup.

Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Dec 31, 2007

One of the best 'cincy-substitute" chili recipes I've seen. I know skyline uses a mild cheddar, but I've found if I use a bar of Kraft medium cheddar very finely shredded it somehow taste more like the real thing. Oyster crackers are a must, and I used a bit less chocolate. I like my chili 5-way so I used a lot of onions and kidney beans too. Yummy! I wish people would understand that it is meant to taste the way it does- it is based on a greek recipe. It is delicious, and to me I can't even make regular spicy chili without at least a dash of cinammon- it is not chili w/ out it. Skyline does serve hot sauce on the side so if you are into really hot chili, just add some tobasco and it is still counted as authentic. Also, true Cincy chili is meant to be served in your choice of 3,4 or 5-way. A basic 5-way is this: make the recipe. Heat some Kidney beans. Cook some spaghetti. Put spaghetti on plate and top with kidney beans, add "sauce" (this chili recipe), top with finely shredded mild or medium cheddar, and finely diced onions. Subtract toppings to arrive at a 3 or 4 way chili. Serve with oyster crackers and tobasco. That is how this recipe is meant to be used, and it is great as is. I guess you have to be a Cincy native or frequent visitor to get it... You can take the girl from the City but the cravings are always with you. So thanks for this recipe it will keep them at bay until my next visit :).

Most Helpful Critical Review
Oct 23, 2007

I made this chili for a chili cookoff at work; thinking if I made something "different" I might actually win or place well. Boy, the only thing I was is sorry. This chili is terrible; the spices over power anything else. I was very disappointed as it smelled so good when it was cooking. The longer the chili cooks the more powerful all the spices become. I will not make this again.

Mar 05, 2009

You should not brown the meat. Place raw ground meat directly into cold water. Use a whisk and blend the meat into the water so it's like soup. The chili is supposed to be watery, that's why it served with oyster crackers. So don't boil it down too much. Also the spaghetti is over cooked on purpose. Cook a good 20 minutes and do not rinse. Do not add oil or butter to the noodles. I know this seems wrong, but that's the way it's served.

Sep 03, 2007

The spices in this recipe over power the chili to the point that you can't enjoy it.

Oct 27, 2007

As a Cincinnatian, I serve this chili over spaghetti, with chopped onion, and kidney beans! Yum!!!!

Aug 19, 2009

Definitely a tasty recipe! To those who complained about the spices, you have clearly never tried Cincinnatti style chili! It is delicious and original, and has become my favorite "style" of chili. The recipe is meant to taste different than your average chili, and if you are expecting the "same ole, same ole" chili, try a more common recipe. Cincinnatti chili can't be beat :)

Nov 15, 2007

My husband is from Cincy, I lived there for a couple of years before we moved away. I had to cut the recipe in half to fit my ingredients and messed up slightly in execution. This recipe is very close to what I remember as Skyline's taste. Gold Star is somehow sweeter. My husband says 'there's still something missing' but it was really good and the smell drove me nuts all day while it was cooking. Will definitely do this again when I have the right ingredients! Note: This is not tex-mex chili. If you expect to find beans and green peppers or habaneros, look elsewhere. This is much more like a sauce you'd find in a Greek dish. If you're not from Cincy it's an acquired taste for sure. When I first tried it, I called it 'dessert chili'.

Sep 09, 2009

This was very good stuff! I think I made a version of this a few years ago and don't remember being all that impressed. But this time, with this recipe, I enjoyed it a lot, over four days. I think I'll still always prefer the Tex-Mex, blazing hot kind of chili, but this really grew on me. I used 96% lean ground beef, and a little over 2 lbs. of it (2.13 to be exact). I used two medium-sized yellow onions, and cut a 1-oz. baking chocolate square in half. I put it all in a slow cooker, and since it only has high and low settings (no medium-low), I cooked it on low for the full 5 hours. I served the results over spaghetti. The chili was pretty spicy, and watery, but that's the idea, I gather. The sheer variety of spices might have been lost on my particular palate, but it all tasted good. I'm going to make another batch tomorrow!


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  • Calories
  • 301 kcal
  • 15%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 11.1 g
  • 4%
  • Cholesterol
  • 78 mg
  • 26%
  • Fat
  • 17.1 g
  • 26%
  • Fiber
  • 2.7 g
  • 11%
  • Protein
  • 25.9 g
  • 52%
  • Sodium
  • 808 mg
  • 32%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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