Authentic Cincinnati Chili, made famous by Skyline, has the perfect medley of unexpected spices and is served over spaghetti with piles of cheddar cheese. This easy chili recipe can be made in a slow cooker, instant pot, or on the stove for a family friendly meal!
What is Cincinnati Chili?
Cincinnati Chili is an Mediterranean spiced meat sauce served over spaghetti or hot dogs. Spices such as cinnamon, allspice, ground cloves, cumin, ground cloves, and chili powder give it an unique taste, similar to moussaka or pastitsio.
Originally Cincinnati Chili was developed by Macedonian restaurant owners in the 1920’s, but has since been made famous by Skyline “chili parlors” popular in Ohio.
How to Eat Cincinnati Chili
Traditionally the toppings are specified by the “ways” system.
Two-way: spaghetti topped with chili
Three-way: spaghetti, chili, cheese
Four-way onion: spaghetti, chili, cheese, onions
Four-way bean: spaghetti, chili, cheese, kidney beans
Five-way: spaghetti, chili, cheese, onions, kidney beans
Additionally hot sauce and oyster crackers are served along side Cincinnati chili.
How to Make Cincinnati Chili
This authentic Cincinnati Chili Chili recipe can be made in a crock pot, instant pot, or on the stove. All the techniques are easy, but the fastest method is using an instant pot.
- Assemble all your ingredients and spices. Cincinnati Chili uses a variety of spices, so it’s best to set them out first to make sure none are missed.
- Mix together spices, broth, and tomato sauce in the slow cooker. Add the ground beef, breaking up with spoon. Cook on High for 6 hours or Low for 8 hours.
Tips for Making Cincinnati Chili
- Make sure to use lean ground beef, especially in the slow cooker. For the instant pot and stove top, it’s easier to drain off the excess grease.
- The consistency of Cincinnati Chili is typically thinner than a traditional chili, more like a meat sauce.
- If you need to thicken the chili use more tomato paste or simmer without a lid to cook it down.
- Cincinnati chili is the perfect freezer meal. Cool completely then freeze serving size amounts in freezer ziplock bags.
Try Other Unique Chili Recipes!
- Buffalo Chicken Chili – The perfect amount of spice, a smooth creamy base, lots of tender chicken, and takes only 10 minutes to prepare.
- Chorizo Chicken Chili – Tender chunks of chicken, a chorizo red sauce, beans and secret ingredient spices.
- Pulled Pork Chili – Smoky chili nails essential savory, sweet and spicy chili flavors with pulled pork, apples, chipotles, and pumpkin.
Intimidated by using an Instant Pot? Learn in minutes with this Easy Start Instant Pot Guide full of tips, hacks, and tricks.
SAVE THIS CINCINNATI CHILI TO YOUR PINTEREST BOARD!
- 2 cups beef broth
- 8 ounce can tomato sauce
- 6 ounce can tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 pounds LEAN ground beef
FOR SERVING: cooked spaghetti or hot dogs
TOPPINGS: lots of shredded cheddar cheese, chopped onion, and kidney beans
SLOW COOKER INSTRUCTIONS:
- In a slow cooker mix together everything except ground beef. Add ground beef to slow cooker, breaking up meat with spoon.
- Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 6 hours. Serve on cooked spaghetti or hot dogs with desired toppings.
- Using sauté function, cook ground beef and onion together for about 8 minutes, or until beef is browned. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds more. Hit CANCEL and drain any liquid.
- To the instant pot add the remaining ingredients EXCEPT TOMATO PASTE. Stir to combine and secure on lid with valve sealed.
- Cook on HIGH PRESSURE for 20 minutes then use quick release. After valve goes down, take off lid and stir in enough tomato paste for desired thickness. Serve on cooked spaghetti or hot dogs with desired toppings.
- Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Bring to boil, then simmer UNCOVERED for 1 hour or until chili has reduced and thickened. Serve on cooked spaghetti or hot dogs with desired toppings.
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