|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 6 to 8|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 21g||26%|
|Saturated Fat 8g||38%|
|Total Carbohydrate 11g||4%|
|Dietary Fiber 3g||12%|
|Total Sugars 4g|
|Vitamin C 8mg||39%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
Most people outside of Cincinnati haven't had the chance to try this amazing chili unless someone in their household has attempted to recreate the beloved local recipe. The sound of meaty chili on top of spaghetti covered in generous amounts of cheese and possibly onions with oyster crackers on the side sounds like an odd combination. But don't say no until you've actually tried it. Our take on this recipe gives you the closest thing to the true recipe. It's up to you how you want to eat it, whether over a hot dog or cooked spaghetti.
This famous no-bean chili recipe was created by Nicholas Lambrinides, a Greek immigrant who founded a popular chain of chili restaurants called Skyline Chili in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1949. The inventor's Greek roots can clearly be seen in the unique blend of spices, although we will never know for sure what the delicious secret blend is because the original recipe has been in a protected vault since Lambrinides' death. What we do know is that unsweetened cocoa and cinnamon are key to the deep flavor of this meaty concoction.
Our recipe for Cincinnati chili only makes the meat sauce—it's up to you how you want to serve it. It's thinner in consistency than other versions of chili and is popular as a sauce over hot dogs too. A few big pluses: The long, slow cook and overnight refrigeration allows for all excess fat to be removed, and this recipe freezes beautifully and can be kept in the fridge for a few days.
1 quart water, more as needed
2 pounds ground beef
2 cups crushed tomatoes
2 medium yellow onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Gather the ingredients.
Add the water and beef to a 4-quart pot.
Bring to a simmer while stirring, until the ground beef is in very small pieces. Simmer for 30 minutes.
Add the crushed tomatoes, onions, garlic, vinegar, Worchestershire sauce, bay leaf, chili powder, cocoa powder, cayenne, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Stir well and simmer on low, uncovered, for 3 hours.
Stir occasionally to avoid ingredients sticking to the bottom or sides of the pot.
Add water as needed if the chili becomes too thick. Once the cooking time has passed, remove from heat and allow the chili to cool off, covered, to room temperature.
Keep covered and fefrigerate the chili overnight. The next day, remove the layer of fat that has formed on top before reheating and serving over pasta or hot dogs.
How to Serve Cincinnati Skyline Chili
There are a few ways in which you can eat your chili. All are served with oyster crackers on the side:
- Two-Way: Unseasoned cooked spaghetti with chili on top.
- Three-Way: Unseasoned cooked spaghetti with chili and lots of shredded cheddar cheese on top.
- Four-Way: Unseasoned cooked spaghetti, chili, lots of shredded cheddar cheese, and chopped onions or kidney beans.
- Five-Way: Unseasoned cooked spaghetti, chili, lots of shredded cheddar cheese, chopped onions, and kidney beans.
Although not common, you can eat just the chili with a side of oyster crackers. For hot dog lovers, you can add any of the topping configurations above. Mustard is a must if you're having a hot dog, but there is no wrong way to eat this flavorful chili.
How to Store and Freeze
- In an airtight container in the refrigerator, Cincinnati chili leftovers will last for up to three days.
- If freezing, the chili should be portioned out into individual bags or containers and used within three months. Defrost in the fridge before reheating.