Cincinnati "Skyline" Chili

Cincinnati Skyline Chili. The Spruce
  • Total: 4 hrs 20 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 4 hrs
  • Yield: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
438 Calories
19g Fat
21g Carbs
47g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 438
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 24%
Saturated Fat 7g 36%
Cholesterol 135mg 45%
Sodium 916mg 40%
Total Carbohydrate 21g 8%
Dietary Fiber 5g 16%
Protein 47g
Calcium 120mg 9%
*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.
(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. Gather the ingredients. 

    Cincinnati Skyline chili ingredients.
  2. Add beef and water to a 4-quart pot.

    Add beef and water to pot. The Spruce
  3. Bring to a simmer while stirring, until the ground beef is in very small pieces.

    Bring beef and water to simmer. The Spruce
  4. Simmer for 30 minutes and add all the rest of the ingredients.

    Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot. The Spruce
  5. Simmer uncovered on low for 3 hours.

    Simmer chili for 3 hours. The Spruce
  6. Add water as needed if the chili becomes too thick.

    Add water to chili if too thick. The Spruce
  7. Refrigerated the chili overnight; the next day, remove the layer of fat from the top before reheating and serving.

    Finished Cincinnati Skyline chili. The Spruce
  8. 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.**