The Ultimate Cincinnati Chili Recipe: A Step-by-Step Guide

Learn how to make the ultimate Cincinnati chili with this step-by-step guide. This recipe is a family favorite and is perfect for any occasion.

The Ultimate Cincinnati Chili Recipe: A Step-by-Step Guide
The Ultimate Cincinnati Chili Recipe: A Step-by-Step Guide

The Ultimate Cincinnati Chili Recipe: A Step-by-Step Guide

Cincinnati chili, also known as Skyline chili, is a regional favorite in Cincinnati, Ohio. It's a unique type of chili that's served over spaghetti and topped with a mountain of shredded cheddar cheese. While it may seem like an odd combination to those who have never tried it, once you taste it, you'll understand why it's so popular.

If you're from Cincinnati or have ever visited, you've probably heard of Cincinnati chili. This unique take on chili features a meaty sauce that's thinner and sweeter than traditional chili, and it's often served over spaghetti noodles and topped with a mound of shredded cheese. While it may sound strange, this dish has become a beloved regional specialty, and it's a must-try for any foodie.

If you're ready to try making Cincinnati chili at home, we've got you covered with the ultimate recipe. Follow these step-by-step instructions, and you'll be enjoying a bowl of this comforting chili in no time.

There are many recipes available online that claim to replicate the taste of Cincinnati chili from street vendors. Some recipes include unique spices like cinnamon, allspice, and cloves, while others may use a combination of ground beef, tomato sauce, and chili powder.

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to make the ultimate Cincinnati chili:


  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can tomato sauce (15 oz)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese


  • In a large pot, brown the ground beef over medium-high heat until fully cooked.

  • Drain any excess fat from the pot and return the beef to the heat.

  • Add the water, tomato sauce, chopped onion, minced garlic, chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, allspice, cloves, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, and unsweetened cocoa powder to the pot. Stir to combine all the ingredients.

  • Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally.

  • About 20 minutes before the chili is done, cook the spaghetti according to the package directions. Drain the spaghetti and set it aside.

  • When the chili is done, remove the bay leaves and season with salt and pepper to taste.

  • To serve, place a serving of spaghetti on a plate, ladle a generous amount of chili on top of the spaghetti, and top it off with a mountain of shredded cheddar cheese.

  • Enjoy your homemade Cincinnati chili!


  • For an extra kick of flavor, add a dash of hot sauce to your chili.

  • You can also add kidney beans to the chili if you prefer. Simply drain and rinse a can of kidney beans and add them to the pot during step 3.

  • This recipe makes a large batch of chili, so you can freeze any leftovers for later.

  • To make the recipe healthier, use lean ground beef and low-fat cheese.

  • If you don't have any spaghetti on hand, you can also serve the chili over rice, hot dogs, or fries.

Now that you have the ultimate Cincinnati chili recipe, it's time to give it a try! Whether you're from Cincinnati or not, this chili is sure to become a family favorite. Give it a try and see why this regional specialty has become so beloved.