Almost Cincinnati Style Chili Recipe

My love affair with chili is well documented. Any type, any where, any time, count me in for the palate pleasure that is meat and beans with a kick! Cincinnati Style Chili, made most popular by the Skyline Chili franchise, has always peaked my interest, mainly because it was so uncommon in Florida where I grew up and also because it generally comes with lots of different toppings!

I am not sure why I haven’t attempted making this mysterious dish until now. Maybe it is because there is no way in hell I can sell Ryan on a) Chili and b) Chili with different seasonings served over spaghetti! Well, my friend Amanda’s post set my craving over the edge, and last Sunday, while Ryan napped off our drive home from a beautiful Racepoint weekend, I took to the kitchen, all the while thinking of how to sell this dish to him (I called it Cincinnati Spaghetti, that worked well enough.)

Amanda’s recipe was amazing, but I had to make a few alterations for my household. First, I cut down the recipe by one-third. I had my bets hedged that I would be doing the majority of eating on this recipe. Second, I decided to eat mine over brown rice due to the amount of pasta currently on the week’s menu (this is sacrilege for Cinci Chili, I know! But it was delicious!). Lastly, I mixed the parsley and beans into my rice so I could serve the rest of it beans and parsley free.

This was delicious! It was so spicy and so different from anything else I make! It was a really nice change, and something I will absolutely add to my rotating menu. Next time I will make sure to plan a little better though so I can have mine the good-ole-fashioned pasta style!

Cincinnati Style Chili over Brown Rice

Adapted from Tales from a Kitchen Misfit’s blog


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Vidalia onion (chopped)
  • 2 Large cloves of garlic (chopped)
  • 1 lb ground beef (I used 90% ground beef)
  • 1/2 ounce square of unsweet baker’s chocolate (chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp ground all spice (I used Jamaican all-spice for an extra kick)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional or adjust for more or less heat)
  • 1/4 tsp finely chopped whole cloves
  • 14 oz beef broth
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1.5 tsp packed brown sugar
  • 3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 servings of cooked brown rice
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 14 oz kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
  • Shredded SHARP cheddar for topping


  • In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Add onions and cook until they start to become translucent
  • Add garlic and cook for 1 minute
  • Add ground beef
  • Cook until well browned (do NOT drain)
  • In a separate bowl, mix together chocolate, allspice, cinnamon, cayenne, and cloves
  • Pour spice mixture into beef, stirring well
  • Let cook for another 3 minutes
  • In the same bowl used for the spices, mix together vinegar, chili powder, oregano, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce
  • Add the vinegar mix to the beef and stir well
  • Add broth and tomato paste to the pan and mix well
  • Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer (medium-low)
  • Simmer uncovered for about an hour, stirring frequently
  • Every 10 minutes, skim fat off the surface
  • In a large bowl, combine rice, beans and parsley
  • Pour 1 Tbsp of olive oil over the rice and stir
  • When sauce is done, place 1 serving of rice in individual bowl and spoon sauce over the top
  • Sprinkle with sharp cheddar
  • Enjoy!

5 Replies to “Almost Cincinnati Style Chili Recipe”

  1. For some reason, I always thought the differences lied just in serving it over spaghetti. I didn’t know there was also a difference in the way the chili itself tasted. That said, I LOVE cocoa in my chili. It’s become a standard part of the flavor blend of my chili base. Generally I tweak it a bit every time to include different veggies or meats but the standards are usually a bit of bacon (does wonders for flavor), onion, garlic, chili powder, basil, oregano, cinnamon, brown sugar, cumin, tomatoes and tomato paste, and dijon mustard. The blend works so well and adds so much flavor.

    Last time I made it with pumpkin & ground beef and it was so delicious:

  2. ya cincinnati chili is way different than regular chili.we order skyline chili freezer packed all the time since we used to live in cincinnati and miss the chili so much, its more brown than your typical spaghetti/chili sauce. like its supposed to have no red in it which is difficult, cuz you have to use tomato (paste,) right? weve tried to make it several times before. we always get the beef too chuncky compared to the real deal. i think the beef is supposed to be blended up in a blender. so next time im gonna do that and i want to try this recipe since it doesnt call for much tomato

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