Cincinnati Chili

Total Time:
1 hr 5 min
40 min
25 min

6 to 8 servings

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 6 -ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons chopped unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon cider or red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 12 ounces cooked spaghetti
  • 1 19 -ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 pound grated cheddar cheese
  • Oyster crackers, for serving

Heat the oil in a medium Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium heat. Add half the chopped onions and the garlic and cook until soft, stirring, about 5 minutes. Add the chili powder, paprika, cumin, allspice, coriander, cinnamon, cayenne and cloves. Cook, stirring, until fragrant. Add the beef and cook the mixture, stirring, until the beef is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon salt.

Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, bay leaf and 1 1/2 cups water; simmer the mixture, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thicker. Add the chocolate, vinegar and Worcestershire and cook until the mixture is thickened but still soupy, about 15 more minutes.

Discard the bay leaf and season the chili with the freshly ground pepper. Divide the spaghetti among bowls and top with the chili, beans, remaining onion and cheddar. Serve with the oyster crackers.

Photograph by Ellie Miller

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3.6 34
Never heard of Cincinnati Chili but my significant other had eaten it in the past, found this recipe, and asked if I could make it. We both thought it was terrific. I didn't add any extra salt (plenty of that in the tomato sauce), added a tablespoon of brown sugar, and used beef broth for half of the liquid called for in the recipe. Wonderful consistency, fabulous taste. Oh - I also cut back on the cayenne pepper. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Any reference to Skyline Chili makes me gag. Skyline chili was written up in our local newspaper a few years agoi as a great tasting chili witrh a greek influence. So my wife and I went to try it out. Worst chili Iever tasted. Some years later I was working in a city that had Skyline restaurants and decided to give it another try ( I love chili ). Same results...terrible. Skyline looks to me like the McDonalds of chili houses, not a gourmet chili house. In 1962 J took my first job and it was in Cincinnati. At that time there were lots of mom and pop independent chili restaurants all over Cincinnati and I ate at chili often and I enjoyed that chili which was a little different at each restaurant. There was no Skyline as of yet. If Skyline is Cincinnati chili then I guess there is no more real cincinnati chili sad to say. I know everybody's taster is different and most people here seem to like the Skyline stuff. so I am in the minority but that is my opinion. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I love this extremely flavorful version of Cincinnati Chili, but no, it is not like the versions you might find at Skyline or Camp Washington. I followed everything exactly as it was written except I didn't add beans (just my preference), but I would also make the suggestion of cutting down the salt. In the future I will add salt to taste after it has been cooking awhile. It is also key to mince the onions because otherwise it can get a bit chunky. I also suggest getting finely shredded cheddar cheese, which is the style that is normally served (allows for easier and consistent melting while eating). Please note, calling Cincinnati Chili, "Chili" is a slight misnomer. In describing it to people, I prefer to call it a sauce, just because people have a preconceived notion of what chili is, and they get turned off by it. Keep an open mind people! item not reviewed by moderator and published
My family really liked this version. However, it was a bit too salty. The recipe calls for a tablespoon of salt and when I make this again I will use about half of that. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Love Food TV Network, picked up the magazine jan/feb 2013 and came upon this chili, cooking it now. Am happy to have googled this recipe online as I have just noticed 3 INGREDIENTS are missing from the magazine. BAY LEAF and WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE and unsweetened chocolate, it is unfortunate had to come upon that, but it is US that keep you going ratings and all. big faux pas. Looking forward to the end result Cheers!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Side by side taste comparison with Skyline Chili - not even close. Followed recipe exactly; Food Network recipe looked like dark mud and it was grainy. Tastes more like a strong Greek meat sauce over spaghetti - not appetizing at all. I lived in Cincinnati for 20 years, ate plenty of Skyline, was really hopefully I could make something similar to bring back the memories. Disappointed. Stick with the real thing -- item not reviewed by moderator and published
I'm a big fan of chili, all types, but have never had Cincinnati Chili. This recipe was easy, most of us have all the spices in our cabinets, so get them all out,and follow the recipe to the exact letter! I did add two cans of dark red kidney beans and two cans of the chopped tomatoes. I topped it with sharp cheddar and oyster crackers. Excellent! Great meal for a crowd and game day! Freezes well too. Talk about comfort food!!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
My Grandmother lived in Cincinnati for years. She handed down a recipe to my mother, which I lost. This, however is just as I remember Cincinnati chili. It is great!!! I do suggest the first time you try this you stick strickly to the recipe. After that if you feel you need to make changes, do so. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I substituted 2 cups beef broth for the water. I also omitted the canned tomatoes for an extra small can of tomato sauce. I also used 2TBS. unsweetened cocoa powder because I didn't have the chocolate. Everything else I did the same . Amazingly delicious !! Everybody loved it. Thanks for the recipe! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is a winner: I found a new way to enjoy chili,thanks to Guy F. It came out fantastic,with a small amount of changes. I had no chocolate ,I forgot to buy it.Secondly I added a chili mix along with most of the other spices. With my left over chunky tomato sauce which I made already weks ago,I added it with a small amount of water and the W. Sauce too. Had enough to freese for another meal to. I enjoyed mostly taht the beans went on top with the cheese and onions. I will make this again. Thanks item not reviewed by moderator and published
So did you actually make this recipe? We understand you are not a fan of Skyline restaurants and their chili but what about this recipe? item not reviewed by moderator and published
The "darkness" and "graininess" probably came from the chocolate. If you make this recipe again, leave out the chocolate. (I'm pretty sure that Skyline does not use chocolate in their version of Skyline chili.) It's important for everyone to note that Cincinnati chili is NOT Skyline chili. Skyline chili is just a version of Cincinnati chili. There are many ways to make the traditional Tex-Mex chili that most people think of when they think "chili," and the same is true for Cincinnati chili. item not reviewed by moderator and published

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