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Cincinnati Chili – So Weird, So Wonderful

Cincinnati Chili – So Weird, So Wonderful

Yes, it’s weird. And yes, it’s absolutely wonderful. Cincinnati chili is a keeper, and we have the ultimate recipe for you.

Cincinnati chili is a one-of-a-kind culinary creation that hails from — wait for it — the city of Cincinnati, Ohio! This global center of gastronomy (hint, potential irony here) has brought to the world a dish that is one of the most popular Internet searches of the last few years. Go figure.

But you know what. The thing is… Cincinnati Chili, is pretty fucking good.

Let’s take it from the top.

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Imagine a bowl of chili, but instead of being served alone, it’s spooned over a bed of spaghetti and topped with a trifecta of toppings, think shredded cheese, onions, oyster crackers and beans. This dish is often served in a “five-way” format, where all the toppings are present, but can also be customized as a “four-way” or “three-way” depending on your preference. It’s confusing, I know, but the true magic of Cincinnati chili lies in its secret blend of spices, which includes cinnamon, allspice, and a hint of chocolate, giving it a distinct flavor that sets it apart from traditional chili.

This dish is a beloved local favorite, and can be found at many restaurants and chili parlors throughout Cincinnati and the surrounding area – but we’ve developed the perfect “Cincy at Home” recipe for you right here at Honest Cooking.

Homemade Cincinnati Chili
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Homemade Cincinnati Chili

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4 from 2 reviews

  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 people 1x


Yes, it's weird, and yes, it is absolutely wonderful. Here's how to make the iconic Cincinnati Chili.


  • 2 lbs ground beef, or pork / beef mix
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate shavings
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • shredded cheese to top
  • oyster crackers
  • rest of the chopped onion
  • black beans


  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, brown the ground beef over medium-high heat until it is fully cooked. Drain any excess fat.
  2. Add 2/3 of the chopped onion and garlic to the pot and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.
  3. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and cayenne pepper. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, or until the spices are fragrant.
  4. Stir in the tomato paste and beef broth, and bring the mixture to a simmer.
  5. Reduce the heat to low and let the chili simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until the flavors have melded together and the chili has thickened.
  6. Stir in the dark chocolate chips and let them melt into the chili.
  7. Season the chili with salt and pepper, to taste.
  8. Serve the chili over cooked spaghetti, topped with shredded cheese, the rest of the onions, oyster crackers, and beans.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Main Courses
  • Cuisine: American
View Comments (2)
  • Deberían revisar la traducción de las recetas, ya he encontrado errores en otras. En este en particular aparece chocolate rallado en lugar de queso, Un cocinero no experimentado podría estropear la comida-

    • Hi Jorge, not sure what is unclear about the recipe – it says that the chocolate shavings go in the chili, and the cheese on top? And yes, this recipe does contain chocolate, so nothing will be ruined :D

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