Cincinnati Chili Recipe

Cincinnati Chili Recipe1

Years and years ago my sweet friend, Barb, introduced me to Cincinnati Chili. I remember it like it was yesterday! I fell in love :-)

We used to be able to buy a seasoning packet at the grocery store that you just added the water, tomato paste and ground beef.  But when I moved from NC to NH and couldn’t find it anywhere here! At first, I would send Barb money and she would mail me a few packets. she was a good friend!   They were about $2.50 a pack too!   I started to feel a little annoying continuing to ask her to do this so I took an empty packet to my local grocery store to see if they would order it for me.  No luck there.

So, long story short, I got the nerve to try to make it myself.  I scoured the internet for recipes. I read and read and read reviews, ideas, substitutions to try and get the true flavor I wanted.

After much trial and error, I have mastered it! You have no idea how excited my entire family was when I did. We had gone without a weekly favorite for several years. Years people.  So it was a very happy day!

You just have to try it if you never have.  It has such a unique flavor. And the smell that fills your house while cooking is divine.  Every time I make it, they come through the door with an “AHHHH, I know what we are having for dinner smile”.



1 (6 oz) can of Tomato paste

1/2 square (.5 oz) of baking chocolate

1/4 cup of chili powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp of garlic powder

1 tsp of cumin

1/4 tsp of allspice

1/4 tsp of ground cloves

1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes

1/8 tsp of black pepper

2 TBSP of apple cider vinegar

5 cups of water

1 1/4 lb of lean ground beef


1. Add the 5 cups of water in a large cooking pot.

2. Add the tomato paste and chocolate and heat of medium heat stirring to mix about 3 minutes. (I press the tomato paste with a fork)

3. Add the all other ingredients

4. Next, crumble the raw ground beef into the pot. I break it into small pieces and then stir to break it up more. Then I press it against the sides of the pot to continue to crumble it. It will become very fine which is what you want.

Cincinnati Chili Recipe

5. Turn heat up to bring to a boil.

6. Once boiling, turn the heat down to med-low, so it is at a slow boil.

7. Cook uncovered for 1 to 1 1/2 hours stirring occasionally. You will want it to thicken substantially. I have coked it for up to 2 hours.

8. Serve over Thin spaghetti.

Optional toppings for traditional Cincinnati Chili

2-way: chili and spaghetti

3 -way: chili, spaghetti, and cheese

4-way: chili, spaghetti, cheese, and onions

5-way: chili, spaghetti, cheese, onions, and beans


Cincinnati Chili Recipe


  1. says

    I had to comment, this was AMAZING!!! We always bought the packets but definitely making this from now on. My 9 year old made it by herself!

  2. says

    I have this simmering right now and ohhhh wow does it smell good!!! I’ve lived in Cincinnati my whole life and am a Cincinnati chili lover… so happy to be making it at home, and with no packets or expensive cans!

  3. Melody Moore says

    I grew up eating this. My mom actually worked at Skyline Chili. She made this all the time! We all loved it! This recipe is pretty darn close to hers! Good job 😉

  4. Melody Moore says

    I grew up eating this. My mom actually worked at Skyline Chili. She made this all the time! We all loved it! This recipe is pretty darn close to hers! Good job 😉

  5. Diane says

    Have been looking for a good skyline chili type recipe for years! Can’t wait to try this. Perfect fall/winter meal. Thanks for sharing, can’t wait to try this!


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