Cincinnati Chili I Recipe -
Cincinnati Chili I Recipe

Cincinnati Chili I

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"An unusual chili, with cinnamon, cloves, and even chocolate!"

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 8 servings Change Servings


  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 6 minutes.
  2. Add beef, in batches if necessary, and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until browned.
  3. Add chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, allspice, cloves, bay leaf, chocolate, beef broth, tomato sauce, cider vinegar, and red pepper. Stir to mix well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  4. It is the best if you now refrigerate overnight.
  5. Remove the bay leaf. Reheat gently over medium heat. Serve over hot, drained spaghetti. Top with shredded cheddar cheese.
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Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Oct 19, 2006

While the flavor of this chili is close to Skyline (not quite there though) the texture is all wrong. You do NOT brown the beef in a Cincinnati chili recipe, there are no "chunks" or bits of meat. You have to boil the raw beef in the broth first then add the rest of the ingredients once the meat has cooked down into a pasty-type consistency. Also the onions are meant to stay raw and be put on top of the finished dish.

Most Helpful Critical Review
Mar 15, 2011

This must be an acquired taste. We did not care for the blend of spices. I am from the west coast and like spicy sauces. My hubby is from N.Dakota and likes bland sauces. Neither of us could eat this. It was just weird.

Mar 22, 2008

I have been using this site since 2003 and this is the first time I've felt compelled to post. I traveled to Cincinnati for business for several years and always enjoyed Skyline Chili. Now I will intentionally get schedule layovers in Ohio to get my 4-way fix. This is the closest recipe I've ever been able to make - it was just delicious! I did boil my hamburger in the broth as other posters suggested - but I did continue to add 2 cups of broth as it boiled down. We boiled the meat for 2 hours and it had a pretty fine consistency at that point. We upped the cinnamon by 50% like others suggested and also shorted the chili powder by 1/4 (we ran out). Heavenly on spaghettini with finely shredded mild cheddar!! Can't wait to bring this to work for lunch. YUM!

Nov 15, 2003

Very, very good! This recipe is very true to what you will find in the Cincinnati Chili parlors. I reccomend you use 50% more cinnamon than in the recipe and a litle more chili powder. This is not the recipe to try if you are looking for a twist on a "traditional" chili, it is more of what most people would consider a "spaghetti sauce". It is best served over a plate of thin spaghetti, topped with finely chopped white onions ans mounded finely shredded mild cheddar cheese. The chili should be VERY hot when served this way so as to melt the cheese as you eat it. Traditionally it is served with oyster crackers used to soak up the left over juice after the spaghetti is gone. Enjoy!

Sep 09, 2007

This is without a doubt one of my all time favorite recipes from this site. I have adapted it to our tastes - no chopped onion while cooking (use onion powder for the smooth texture), and I cook the ground beef in an additional cup or two of broth then drain to remove the extra fat - I also have added more broth and just simmered until it all reduces and gets beautiful and smooth and thick. Also I add just a touch of molasses (maybe a tsp or two). Freezes beautifully, if you ever have any left - we never seem to. This has been a big hit at family gatherings, and we also like to serve it on hot dogs as a change from serving over spaghetti (sacrilege, I know, but it's GOOD! LOL).

Sep 11, 2005

This is very close to Skyline Chili (what I think of when I think of Cincinnati), except that Skyline chili doesn't have onions in it. Diced raw onion, beans, shredded cheddar are the traditional accompaniments, when the basic chili is served over hot spaghetti. You can use cocoa (3T) instead of the unsweetened chocolate in this recipe, you don't need the oil if you are serving the onions raw on top. My family prefers it with the chili powder halved, no cayenne, and all the other spices bumped up a bit -- including 1/4 t of ground cardamom.

Sep 24, 2006

Of all the Cincinnati Chili recipes I've tried (incl. the ones you get from the Airport in Cincinnati w/the "authentic" recipe, this is by far the most authentic. If you're looking for the taste of Skyline outside of Cinci, this is the recipe to try. It is not your traditional chili recipe if that's what you're looking for. This one is Greek in origin & is really meant to be more of a sauce to be served "3-way" (on spaghetti w/shredded cheddar cheese, 4-way (same as 3-way + chopped onions or red beans), or "5-way" (3-way + onions & red beans). It's the chocolate that gives it its richness & unique taste.

Sep 26, 2005

My grandma lived just outside of Cincinnati and had a chili recipe with nearly 100 ingredients that was AWESOME! This is pretty close to that and obviously a lot easier. I prefer to "boil the beef" in the beef broth with chopped onions or onion salt before adding the other ingredients. I also leave out the cayenne and bay leaf, use more chili powder, cumin, allspice, and add some sugar and worchestershire sauce.


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  • Calories
  • 427 kcal
  • 21%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 7 g
  • 2%
  • Cholesterol
  • 100 mg
  • 33%
  • Fat
  • 35 g
  • 54%
  • Fiber
  • 2.8 g
  • 11%
  • Protein
  • 22.2 g
  • 44%
  • Sodium
  • 659 mg
  • 26%

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

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