Authentic Cincinnati Chili Recipe -
Authentic Cincinnati Chili Recipe
  • READY IN ABOUT 12 hrs

Authentic Cincinnati Chili

Recipe by  

"This was handed down to me by Mom, a Cincinnati native. Skimming the fat makes this a healthier version than most, and gives it the right consistency. I like mine 4-way, with spaghetti, raw chopped onions, grated mild cheddar, and oyster crackers!"

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 10 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    15 mins
  • COOK

    3 hrs 30 mins

    11 hrs 45 mins


  1. Place the ground beef in a large pan, cover with about 1 quart of cold water, and bring to a boil, stirring and breaking up the beef with a fork to a fine texture. Slowly boil until the meat is thoroughly cooked, about 30 minutes, then remove from heat and refrigerate in the pan overnight.
  2. The next day, skim the solid fat from the top of the pan, and discard the fat. Place the beef mixture over medium heat, and stir in the onions, tomato sauce, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, chocolate, chili powder, salt, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, cloves, allspice berries, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 hours. Add water if necessary to prevent the chili from burning.
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Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Apr 07, 2010

This is the actual recipe from Skyline. It was printed in the Cincy Inquirer in the early 70s. I use ground turkey instead of beef and the flavor and texture are the same (my wife says my version is better!). May need to make a batch soon!

Most Helpful Critical Review
Dec 30, 2010

I have been using for 3-4 years now and have never had incidence with a 5-star recipe before. I created an account SPECIFICALLY to review this recipe. I had Skyline chili yesterday and this chili has a hint of the same flavor, but it is not the same recipe. I followed this recipe exactly and neither my husband nor I could finish our bowls. I'd try one of the Skyline seasoning packets or another recipe on this site.

Feb 08, 2011

I grew up in Cincinnati and our chili of choice was Gold Star. For close to 20 years I have been searching for a decent Cincy chili recipe to no avail...until I found this one! I did augment the recipe to make it more like Gold Stars. (Skyline is more "earthy" than I like) I added hot water every 1/2 hour or so- maybe 1/2 cup every time to mellow it out and keep it from getting too thick. I also added ~ 2 teaspoons of light brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cardamom, and 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves. The result was more like Gold Star's chili recipe which is my preference. Thank you for posting this quells my craving at least until I make the trip back home to Cincinnati!

Dec 07, 2009

followed all the directions but only let it cool in fridge for 3 hours. great idea to get that fat off! was the best Cincinnati Chili recipe and i've tried a bunch! thanks so much , my family loves this stuff!

Dec 11, 2010

Tastes JUST like Skyline Chili! We don't live in Ohio anymore, so this was a perfect taste of home. Wouldn't change a thing- don't even miss the fat! I had grabbed ground allspice instead of the berries-- so FYI- 1t. of ground=5 berries-- so you need 1t. ground allspice if you don't have berries.

Jul 13, 2010

This was awesome and tasted soooo much like the real thing, but without the grease! I did not have whole cloves or the allspice berries, so I used 1 1/2 tsp of ground. I did take another's advice and used beef broth instead of water, and it was saltier than I'd like. I will use water next time! THANK YOU THANK YOU Melissa for this great recipe!!

Oct 07, 2010

I live in Milwaukee, WI and I used to work at a chili restaurant in the Third Ward that specialized in Cincinnati Chili. I fell in love with it but unfortunately the owner of that place is bat- crazy... so I'd advise not going there. This recipe tastes exactly like the stuff at the restaurant! Exactly! And the part that's better? Since you skim the fat, your leftovers don't have a thick orange layer on top when they come out of the fridge! There's no point in using lean ground beef since you'll boil the fat out so just buy the cheapest one. Enjoy!

Nov 23, 2009

I'm from Cincinnati and enjoyed Skyline chili my whole life. This recipe is the closest to the original Skyline taste and texture of any I've tested. Great recipe - Great chili.


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  • Calories
  • 225 kcal
  • 11%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 10.1 g
  • 3%
  • Cholesterol
  • 59 mg
  • 20%
  • Fat
  • 12.6 g
  • 19%
  • Fiber
  • 3.1 g
  • 12%
  • Protein
  • 19.1 g
  • 38%
  • Sodium
  • 674 mg
  • 27%

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

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