Cincinnati "Skyline" Chili

Cincinnati chili with onions
Sheridan Stancliff / Getty Images
  • 4 hrs 21 mins
  • Prep: 21 mins,
  • Cook: 4 hrs
  • Yield: 6 servings
Ratings (148)

This famous chili recipe was created by Nicholas Lambrinides, a Greek immigrant who founded a popular chain of chili restaurants in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1949. The inventor's Greek roots can clearly be seen in the unique blend of spices. As you'll see, this chili is quite different from the more common southwest-style chili you're probably used to. The secrets to this recipe are the long slow cooking as well as the overnight refrigeration, which allow for all the excess fat to be removed. I've also included the five ways to order this wonderfully different chili in a restaurant, which is usually served over spaghetti pasta.

What You'll Need

  • 1 quart water (cold)
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 cups crushed tomato
  • 2 yellow onions (diced)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves (ground)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Optional: cooked spaghetti pasta to serve chili over

How to Make It

  1. Add beef and water to a 4-quart pot. Bring to a simmer while stirring until the ground beef is in very small pieces. Simmer for 30 minutes and add all the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Simmer uncovered on low for 3 hours. Add water as needed if the chili becomes too thick.
  3. Refrigerated the chili overnight; the next day, remove the layer of fat from the top before reheating and serving.

The Cincinnati "Skyline" Chili Ordering Code

  1. Just the chili
  1. Chili served over spaghetti noodles
  2. Chili, spaghetti, and grated ​cheddar cheese​
  3. Chili, spaghetti, cheese, and onions
  4. Chili, spaghetti, cheese, onions, and beans

All are served with oyster crackers.

Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
Calories 438
Total Fat 19 g
Saturated Fat 7 g
Unsaturated Fat 8 g
Cholesterol 135 mg
Sodium 916 mg
Carbohydrates 21 g
Dietary Fiber 5 g
Protein 47 g
(The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)