Authentic Cincinnati Chili


This Cincinnati chili recipe was handed down to me by Mom, a Cincinnati native. Skimming the fat makes this a healthier version than most, and gives it the right consistency. I like mine "4-way," with spaghetti, raw chopped onions, and grated mild cheddar, plus oyster crackers!

close up view of Authentic Cincinnati Chili on top of pasta, topped with cheese in a bowl
Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
3 hrs 30 mins
Additional Time:
8 hrs
Total Time:
11 hrs 45 mins


  • 2 pounds lean ground beef

  • 1 quart water, or amount to cover

  • 2 onions, finely chopped

  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce

  • 2 tablespoons vinegar

  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • ½ (1 ounce) square unsweetened chocolate

  • ¼ cup chili powder

  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

  • 5 whole cloves

  • 5 whole allspice berries

  • 1 bay leaf


  1. Place ground beef in a large pan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil, stirring and breaking up beef with a fork to a fine texture. Slowly boil until meat is thoroughly cooked, about 30 minutes, then remove from heat and refrigerate in the pan overnight.

  2. The next day, skim the solid fat from the top of the pan, and discard.

  3. Place pan with beef over medium heat, and stir in onions, tomato sauce, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, chocolate, chili powder, salt, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, cloves, allspice berries, and bay leaf.

  4. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 hours. Add water if necessary to prevent the chili from burning.

The Different "Ways" to Serve Cincinnati Chili:

2-Way: Chili + spaghetti. 3-Way: Chili + spaghetti + shredded cheddar cheese. 4-Way: Chili + spaghetti + diced onions + shredded cheddar cheese. 5-Way: Chili + spaghetti + red kidney beans + diced onions + shredded cheddar cheese.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

225 Calories
13g Fat
10g Carbs
19g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 10
Calories 225
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 13g 16%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Cholesterol 60mg 20%
Sodium 674mg 29%
Total Carbohydrate 10g 4%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 19g
Vitamin C 9mg 46%
Calcium 49mg 4%
Iron 3mg 17%
Potassium 515mg 11%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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