Cincinnati "Skyline" Chili

Cincinnati "Skyline" Chili
The Spruce
Ratings (158)
  • Total: 4 hrs 21 mins
  • Prep: 21 mins
  • Cook: 4 hrs
  • Yield: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
438 Calories
19g Fat
21g Carbs
47g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

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.


  • 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

Steps to Make It

  1. Add beef and water to a 4-quart pot.

  2. Bring to a simmer while stirring, until the ground beef is in very small pieces.

  3. Simmer for 30 minutes and add all the rest of the ingredients.

  4. Simmer uncovered on low for 3 hours.

  5. Add water as needed if the chili becomes too thick.

  6. Refrigerated the chili overnight; the next day, remove the layer of fat from the top before reheating and serving.

  7. Serve as detailed below and enjoy!

The Cincinnati "Skyline" Chili Ordering Suggestions

  • Just the chili

  • Chili served over spaghetti noodles

  • Chili, spaghetti, and grated ​cheddar cheese​

  • Chili, spaghetti, cheese, and onions

  • Chili, spaghetti, cheese, onions, and beans

**All are served with oyster crackers.**