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Cincinnati Chili

Cincinnati Chili

What Superbowl Party would be complete without a steaming hot bowl of Cincinnati Chili with all of the fixings?  This regional favorite is a much-loved dish that can be served on spaghetti or hot dogs.

Plate of Cincinnati Chili - 5 way with the chili over spaghetti, with beans, onions, a mound of cheddar cheese.

Complete your Superbowl party menu with Ridiculously Good Fried Pickles, Toasted Ravioli, Garlicky White Bean Dip, and Crudite, Game Day Reuben Dip with rye crisps or crackers, and Glazed Bacon Wrapped Onion Rings.

Cincinnati Chili

This chili recipe is a take on the classic Skyline Chili recipe. Skyline is a very popular restaurant chain that started in Cincinnati. It isn’t like any kind of chili that you’ve already enjoyed.  

The chili is comprised of meat and spices, no beans unless you add them later. It’s richly flavored with chocolate, cinnamon, and cardamom, and served on a bed of spaghetti and topped with your choice of cheddar cheese, onions, kidney beans, with oyster crackers and hot sauce on the side.  You can also get the chili and toppings on top of a Coney Island hot dog.  

History Of Skyline Chili

This luscious dish was brought over from Greece by Nicholas Lambrinides who watched his mother make the Mediterranean-style stew for years.

After working at Empress Chili, another Cincinnati chili establishment, he opened the first Skyline Chili restaurant in 1949.

The restaurant had a lovely view of the Cincinnati skyline, hence the name.  His recipe is a highly guarded secret and remains unchanged.  It’s said that the original recipe is stored in a bank vault.

Plate of Cincinnati Chili - 5 way with the chili over spaghetti, with beans, onions, a mound of cheddar cheese.

Skyline Chili Serving Options

Skyline adds to the fun by offering their chili up in your choice of “ways”.  It’s basically the combinations of toppings you want on your chili:

  • 2-way:  Spaghetti, chili
  • 3-way: Spaghetti, chili, cheddar cheese
  • 4-way: Spaghetti, chili, cheddar cheese, onions OR beans
  • 5-way: Spaghetti, chili, cheddar cheese, onions, AND beans (also known as ‘the works”)

You can also get just a bowl of chili, with no spaghetti, and with or without the cheese.  Oyster crackers and hot sauce are offered no matter which “way” you go.

Ingredients Needed

The ingredient list is long, using 9 different spices, but most of the ingredients you probably have on hand.  Also, the recipe is so delicious that it’s worth the extra ingredients, and it’s pretty easy to put together.

  • Ground beef – I use very lean ground beef to minimize the fat in the chili.  You could use an 80/20 blend and either refrigerate the chili to remove the solidified fat or skim the fat as you cook the chili.  Another option is to use ground turkey.
  • Beef broth – I use low or no sodium.  Water can also be used.
  • Yellow onions and garlic
  • Brown sugar
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Worchestershire sauce
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder – some people use bittersweet baking chocolate.  Both are equally good.
  • Dried oregano, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, ground cloves, cayenne pepper, ground allspice, bay leaf
  • Salt

Plate of Cincinnati Chili - 5 way with the chili over spaghetti, with beans, onions, a mound of cheddar cheese.

Steps To Make This Recipe

  1. Crumble the ground beef in a pot and pour the beef broth over it.  Boil this mixture, breaking up the meat until it’s a fine mince.  Skim off the fat that rises to the top.
  2. Add in the remaining chili ingredients and bring the mixture to a boil. 
  3. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for an hour and a half.
  4. Set up your toppings bar and get the party started. 

If you enjoyed this recipe, here are a few more chili recipes to try:

Print
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Plate of Cincinnati Chili - 5 way with the chili over spaghetti, with beans, onions, a mound of cheddar cheese.

Cincinnati Chili


  • Author: Millie Brinkley
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 10 1x

Description

What Superbowl Party would be complete without a steaming hot bowl of Cincinnati Chili with all of the fixings?  This regional favorite is a much-loved dish that can be served on spaghetti or hot dogs.


Ingredients

Scale

For the chili

For serving:

  • Canned kidney beans
  • Cooked spaghetti
  • Chopped onions
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Oyster crackers
  • Hot sauce

Instructions

In a large Dutch oven, place the ground beef and beef broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring and breaking up the beef with a fork until it is a fine texture.

Allow the mixture to boil until the meat is thoroughly cooked – about 30 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and use a spoon to skim off any excess fat from the top.  Alternatively, you can place the pot into the refrigerator for several hours or overnight to skim the solid fat off of the top.

Return the pot to the stove using medium heat.  Add the onions, tomato sauce, vinegar, Worchestershire sauce, garlic, cocoa powder, oregano, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves,  cayenne, allspice, and bay leaf.  Stir until well combined.

Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and continue to cook for 1 ½ hours, stirring often to prevent the mixture from sticking. You may need to add additional beef broth or water as needed.

Serve with a variety of toppings.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
  • Category: Main Dish - Beef
  • Method: Simmer
  • Cuisine: Regional

Keywords: Cincinnati chili, copycat recipes, Skyline Chili, game day recipes, Superbowl, beef recipes, regional cuisine, chili recipes

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