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Cincinnati Chili

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Rating: 5/5
4 reviews
1 comment

ready in: 30-60 minutes
serves/makes:   8

recipe id: 29692
cook method: stovetop

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2 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons cumin
3 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon salt
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 can (12 ounce size) tomato paste
1 can (15 ounce size) tomato sauce
4 cups water
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (optional)
4 bay leaves
1 ounce block unsweetened baking chocolate
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)


Add olive oil to a large (4-6 quart) pot over medium high heat. Add ground beef and the next 8 ingredients. Stir while cooking until meat is lightly browned. Add the tomato paste and tomato sauce along with the water, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves and chocolate. For more "fire", add the ground cayenne (careful).

Bring to boil then reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Stir, occasionally to prevent sticking. Serves six to eight with listed accompaniments.

cook's notes

This is a delightful spin on more traditional Chili recipes. This type of chili was originally developed by Greek immigrants. The Cincinnati Chili parlors (Empress, Gold Star, Skyline, etc.) are ubiquitous institutions of Cincinnati and Indianapolis. There are no beans in this chili and it is usually served over spaghetti.

To Serve: Cincinnati chili lovers order their chili by number "3, 4, or 5-way". Make this a fun meal; cook spaghetti, shred some cheddar cheese, chop some onions, open a can of kidney beans. Let your guests (family) create their own final product.

3-Way. Serve chili on deep sided plate or shallow bowl over cooked and drained spaghetti. Top with finely shredded cheddar cheese. This is called a three-way.

4-Way. Sprinkle chopped raw onions on chili before adding cheese.

5-Way. Add cooked beans (kidney) to the top of the chopped onions before adding cheese.

We hope you enjoy it!

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481 calories, 34 grams fat, 18 grams carbohydrates, 28 grams protein per serving. This recipe is low in carbs.
Show full nutritional data (including Weight Watcher's Points ®, cholesterol, sodium, vitamins, and diabetic exchanges)

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comments & reviews

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Guest at

REVIEW: 5 star recipe rating
This recipe is a huge hit around my house. I am not a chili eater, so my family does not get to enjoy chili very often. However, I am a Cincinnati Chili lover and this recipe is requested over and over by my family. I am always happy to make it!!

Guest at


Try 1/2 tsp cardamom and 1/2 tsp mace in lieu of the worcestershire. The Cardamom is EXPENSIVE but even that small amount makes the difference.

Guest at

REVIEW: 5 star recipe rating
This is very close to the holy grail. I agree with boiling the meat rather that browning. Also, I never have believed that the original recipe could contain worcestershire -- makes no sense from an greek immigrant perspective -- but the concept is right -- something is missing without something like this. I just tried substituting balsamic vinegar for the the regular vinegar and worcestershire. I think it's close -- anybody else ever try this?

Guest at

REVIEW: 5 star recipe rating
Cinci Chili is awesome! I prepare this by boiling the meat (ground turkey) then adding all the additional ingredients. It sounds strange, but then the beef or turkey becomes very tender. Try it. Mmmmm Cinci chili...

Guest at

REVIEW: 5 star recipe rating
Cincinnati is the best Chili. We eat it as a 3-way and we also make chili dogs. It's great!!

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