Cincinnati Chili

6 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes

Cincinnati Chili made with the authentic Skyline Chili recipe served over spaghetti with onions and shredded cheddar cheese!

Classic copycat recipes are some of my favorite to cook in the kitchen. With this recipe we love the chili and pasta mashup!

Cinncinati Chili Cincinnati Chili recipe

I was in Cincinnati this year for work and as I do with every trip I made sure to go enjoy the dish the place is famous for. This recipe was one I thought I was going to be trying for the sake of saying I’d eaten it.

Shocker, it was GOOD. Like immediately jot down that I need to go home and make this good.

Now, I won’t pretend to understand the city’s heart and soul that goes into this recipe because I am in fact a Californian, but I will tell you that armed with the actual recipe I am happy to recreate it here for you.

When I found the actual recipe it made a lot of sense to me but I was still surprised at the addition of unsweetened chocolate to the recipe. I have made many savory recipes with this ingredient but in general I don’t see it in a lot of recipes used by companies as the ingredient is more expensive than most use.

Cincinnati Chili Four Ways

This recipe doesn’t cut any ingredient corners though, or flavor ones for that matter. This may be my new favorite chili! Even more than the Wendy’s Chili I have grown to love and make non-stop in the winter months.

Serve up this Cincinnati Chili over spaghetti with raw onions, cheddar cheese and even add oyster crackers to the mix for the ultimate in experiencing what Cincinnati Chili has to offer!

Plus the chili isn’t just served on noodles. They also top hot dogs with the chili and it’s a great way to enjoy the city. Cincinnati Chili Dogs (or The Cincinnati Cheese Coney) is a popular option for those who want to enjoy a handheld meal with the famous chili.

How To Order Cincinnati Chili!

If you’re local and stop by to buy your chili you need to learn the ordering system just like you have to at Pat’s Cheese Steaks. So let’s learn the ropes:

  • Two Way: Chili topped on Spaghetti
  • Three Way: Cheese and Chili on Spaghetti
  • Four Way: Cheese, Onions, Chili and Spaghetti
  • Four Way Bean: Cheese, Beans, Chili and Spaghetti
  • Five Way: Cheese, Onions, Chili, Beans and Spaghetti

Looking for more chili recipes?

Cincinnati Chili with Noodles

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Cincinnati Chili

Cincinnati Chili made with the authentic Skyline Chili recipe served over spaghetti with onions and shredded cheddar cheese!
Yield 6 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Course pasta
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 2 pounds lean ground beef , 85/15
  • 2 yellow onions , finely chopped
  • 15 ounces tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1/2 ounce unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 5 whole allspice berries
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pound spaghetti cooked
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese shredded


  • Add the ground beef to a skillet on medium high heat, cooking and breaking it apart until browned.
  • Add in the onions, tomato sauce, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, chocolate, chili powder, salt, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, cloves, allspice berries, and bay leaf and mix together well.
  • Lowe the heat to a simmer and cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, adding water if it gets too dry.
  • Serve over cooked spaghetti with onions and cheddar cheese.


This recipe was printed in the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1981 and is the authentic recipe for Cinncinati Chili (except I don't boil the meat).


Calories: 699kcal | Carbohydrates: 68g | Protein: 53g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 133mg | Sodium: 1315mg | Potassium: 1093mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 755IU | Vitamin C: 9.9mg | Calcium: 338mg | Iron: 6.4mg

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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  1. I lived in Cincinnati for 20+ years. Every Wednesday was Skyline Chili Day in downtown Cinti for executives & regular workforce. It was a noisy, crowded environment & lots of fun.
    This is the first recipe that I have found that actually has the right ingredients. I use Allspice & cloves in the powdered form. When using the berries/cloves in the whole form, do they break down for eating purposes?

  2. May I ask a clarifying question, please? Are the allspice berries, cloves, and bay leaf added whole and then removed, Or ground in a spice grinder and then added?

  3. you don’t have beans listed in the recipe while when you listed the 5 way chili as having beans with it. That has got to be confusing to people.

  4. You say you do not boil the meat but I don’t see where your recipe says to boil the meat. Sorry for the confusion.

    1. The original recipe that was posted in the Enquirer states that the meat is boiled but I wanted you to know that I didn’t boil mine. Hope this clears up the confusion. Enjoy!

  5. I made this today for the first time. It is so delicious! The only things I changed is using a tad less than 1/4 C of chili powder and substituting cocoa powder for chocolate. I will definitely make this again…and again. Thanks!

  6. Can I replace the chocolate with coco powder? Also can I replace the whole cloves and whole allspice berries for anything? Thanks! Excited to try this.

    1. Because this is a copycat, I haven’t tested it using any substitutions. I have other chili recipe on the site without these specific ingredients if you’d like to try them instead. Hope this helps.

  7. Does it actually take 1/4 cup of chili powder?? Was that a typo? That just seems like a lot to me, but if that is what it calls for I will make it that way. Just wanted to check first.

    1. Nope, not a typo. It does seem like a lot but it balances out with all of the other ingredients. You can always cut back the first time you make it and add to your liking. Enjoy!

    2. Original Cincy chili recipe (Skyline) has NO chili powder and the ground beef is boiled and put in the fridge overnight so you can skim the fat off the top the next day. The recipe has evolved over the years as new restuarants open and close.

  8. I may be wrong but being from Cincy it used to be made by boiling the ground beef and continue to stir and press it until it is in small grains.
    I don’t know where you got this recipe but I don’t think it is authentic.

  9. As a Midwest native I can confirm this is insanely delicious! Also, usually served with parmesan on the side. Bonus points for pepper sauce.

  10. I was excited to read this recipe – as I am from Cinci. Sadly, the very first step is wrong. The thing that gives Cinci chili its unique texture is the fact that you add the raw hamburger directly to the water and break it up with a fork. This makes it very fine – finer than you could ever get the meat by browning.

  11. My family is from Cincinnati, so I was raised on this delicious chili!! There are several different variations of Cincinnati chili like Gold Star, Emperess Chili and Camp Washington (this one is a little spicer). They are all similar but Skyline is my favorite! You can buy the packets and frozen meals as well as the cans in certain grocery stores. There Is nothing like it!!!

  12. This is so different than other chilies I’ve seen. Also, so interesting about the chocolate! I’ve had it (and liked it) in other savory recipes before though so I can understand how it would enhance the flavors in this one. Mmm!

  13. This couldn’t look any more perfect! I know for sure this would be a huge hit in my house!

      1. That is incorrect. Allspice is a separate spice that is made from grinding Allspice Berries which are small, dark-colored buds. They are about the size of 3/16” in diameter.