Cincinnati Chili

Cincinnati “Skyline” Chili is one of my favorite meals to get when I go to my hometown in Columbus, Ohio. (Go Bucks! :)) If you have never had the privilege of dining at Skyline Chili you are missing out! This fast food chain serves up hot buttery spaghetti smothered with delicious chili and topped with a mound of shredded cheddar cheese, diced onions and red kidney beans. For those of you from Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, or Florida you know this meal as a “5-Way-Chili” I also love using this chili recipe to make cheese coneys as well. Top a hotdog with chili, mustard, diced onions and shredded cheddar cheese. This Midwestern chili recipe is probably nothing like the chili you are used to. Cincinnati chili is seasoned with cocoa powder, chili powder, cinnamon, allspice, and oregano. Tomato paste adds richness and color, while dark brown sugar gives it a molasses tang. For a true Cincinnati chili experience, serve the chili over spaghetti and top with cheddar cheese, onions, beans, and oyster crackers.

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Cincinnati Chili

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  • 2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped fine (about 2 cups)
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups plain canned tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, or to taste

  • 1 pound spaghetti, cooked, drained, and tossed with 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained, rinsed, and warmed
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped fine (1 cup)
  • oyster crackers

  1. In a large saucepan, bring 2 quarts of water and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil. Add the ground beef, stirring vigorously to separate the meat into individual strands. As soon as the foam from the meat rises to the top, about 30 seconds and before the water returns to a boil, drain the meat into a strainer and set it aside.
  2. Using the same pot, rinse and dry the pot and set over medium heat; add vegetable oil. Once the oil is warm, add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and browned around the edges, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the chili powder, oregano, cocoa, cinnamon, cayenne, allspice, black pepper, and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until the spices are fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the broth, water, vinegar, sugar, and tomato sauce, scraping the pan bottom to remove any browned bits.
  3. Add the ground beef and increase the heat to high. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chili is deep red and has thickened slightly, about 1 hour. Add the hot sauce and adjust the seasonings to taste.
  4. Divide the buttered spaghetti among individual bowls. Spoon the chili over the spaghetti and top with the cheese, beans, and onion.

Source: Porter House

This entry was posted in Main Dish, Pasta and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Cincinnati Chili

  1. LOVE Cinci chili! I just leave out the pasta, but the other accoutrements are present and accounted for! And um, you’re a Luckeye fan? Mon Dieu… I thought I liked you, but… haha 🙂 GO NITTANY LIOINS!!

  2. I had never had Cincinatti Chili until I made it a few months ago…we loved it! I’ll definitely be making it again. =)

  3. I have always wondered about Cincinnati chili. Yours looks great and I love the spaghetti. I can’t wait to try this!

  4. I live in lexington and a lot of my friends are from nky or cinci and are obsessed with this stuff haha ill have to share this recipe!

  5. My extended family is from Cincy (going this weekend!) and I always make a special trip to Skyline when I’m there. I make this chili a lot at home too, but I prefer mine as a 4-way (no beans). Yum yum yum.

  6. beth says:

    mmmm, cincinnati style chili…. *drools on keyboard* your pictures look sooo tasty that i will have to try this recipe. the closest skyline chili to me is 30 minutes away and only occasionally do i make it up there. i think i might just start making this recipe instead!

  7. Megan says:

    Too funny. I posted a chili recipe today that is the exact opposite… Texas chili. But I did put it over egg noodles. I’m not a huge fan of beans in chili, but I love the idea of the buttery spaghetti with this.

  8. Jenny says:

    That chili looks incredibly delicious. It’s such a hearty, low calorie meal. I love it

  9. Peggy says:

    We’re fortunate enough to have a Skyline Chili here in Louisville… it’s definitely a different and unique take on chili! And you definitely can’t forget to add that tabasco sauce! =)

  10. Michelle says:

    Wow that’s quite the combination. I have to say I’ve never heard of it before. Your pictures sure do make it look appealing though!

  11. muppy says:

    what a strange mix! I have plenty of minced beef in the freezer, I will add this to my list of meals to cook 🙂

  12. How are you skinny? I mean really. There is too much yumminess going on here to have any kind of portion control!!!

    • Christina says:

      Hahaha…sometimes it is hard! Since there is only two of us, I usually cut the recipe in half. When I make/bake desserts I have one bite, take a picture, blog about it, then give them away! I usually bring them into my work or my husband takes them to his. Needless to say, our coworkers love us! That one bite/piece is just enough to fulfill my cravings and if I give them away, I can’t eat anymore of them! 🙂

  13. zerrin says:

    Never had Cincinatti Chili before! But I already have all ingredients in the kitchen, so what am I waiting for? Will try it very soon as I am impressed by the picture of it! Sounds healthy too!

  14. I am from the North East and have never seen chili like this before!!! It looks very interesting and all the spices that go into the chili sound so unique and delicious!

  15. Cakewhiz says:

    I have had regular chilli…but this looks even better with more ingredients and flavors!

  16. lena says:

    it’s my first time hearing this chilli , cocoa powder in there? sounds interesting though and i really think that this sauce makes the pasta stands out!!

  17. Does the hot sauce give it a lot of kick?


  18. Lucie says:

    I’ve always wondered what Cincinnati chili actually looks like–thank you for showing me! It looks super yummy!

  19. muppy says:

    I made this lastnight for dinner. I really liked it, i have never really cooked with these flavours before, thanks for teaching me! (again)

  20. Chris says:

    Love Cincinnati Chili! It’s a good thing that I know how to cook b/c i crave this stuff every now and then and the frozen and canned versions of Skyline just don’t do it for me (I’m from North Carolina). I found that I’m more of a Gold Star fan and it’s nice that I can get their mix when I go and visit my girlfriend in Cincinnati. Btw, Dixie Chili is very good too. I agree, people whom are ignorant about this stuff (as well as Graeter’s ice cream) truly are missing out. It’s worthwhile to get out and try different foods like this.

    • Christina says:

      Mmmmm…Graeter’s….my favorite ice cream ever!! I have never been to a Gold Star or a Dixie Chili before….I think I need to search them out next time I head to Ohio. I bet I would love it! 🙂

  21. Pingback: Crockpot Chicken Tacos | Sweet Pea's Kitchen

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