Crock Pot Cincinnati Chili (aka Skyline Chili)

Cincinnati Chili

Steven Mark Needham / Corbis / Getty Images

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 6 hrs
Total: 6 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
710 Calories
30g Fat
54g Carbs
56g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 710
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 30g 38%
Saturated Fat 11g 56%
Cholesterol 139mg 46%
Sodium 1197mg 52%
Total Carbohydrate 54g 20%
Dietary Fiber 10g 37%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 56g
Vitamin C 18mg 92%
Calcium 169mg 13%
Iron 9mg 50%
Potassium 1470mg 31%
*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 popular chili is also known as "Skyline Chili," a Cincinnati specialty. The unique chili was created in 1922 by Athanas Kiradjieff, a Macedonian immigrant who opened a hot dog stand—the Empress—in Cincinnati. A variety Middle Eastern spices provide the seasoning for this tasty chili mixture. The Empress "five-way" chili included a base of spaghetti topped with layers of chili, onions, beans, and shredded cheese. Accompaniments included oyster crackers and a couple of hot dogs topped with cheese. Not a small lunch!

This version is cooked low and slow in the crock pot, making it an excellent choice for a busy day. It's a good dish to fix on a snowy weekend. Throw it together in the slow cooker and enjoy winter activities with your family. 

The chili mixture makes a tasty hot dog sauce, too.


For the Spice Mixture:

For the Chili:

  • 2 pounds ground beef

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted or low-sodium beef stock

  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes

  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, crushed

  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa

  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 pound thin spaghetti

  • Onions, chopped, for garnish

  • Shredded cheddar cheese, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Combine the whole allspice, cloves, and bay leaf in a small cheesecloth garni bag or make a cheesecloth bag to hold them.

  2. Place a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef and cook while stirring and turning until it is browned and no longer pink. Drain the ground beef thoroughly and transfer it to the slow cooker. Discard excess fat.

  3. Add the beef stock to the slow cooker along with the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, the large chopped onion, chili powder, garlic, kosher salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, red pepper, cocoa, Worcestershire sauce, and the cheesecloth bag with spices.

  4. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours; add the drained kidney beans the last hour.

  5. About 15 minutes before the chili is done, cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water following the package directions. Drain well.

  6. Serve the chili over the hot drained spaghetti and top each serving with chopped onions and shredded cheese.

  7. The sauce may also be used as a chili dog sauce.

For Serving

  • Two-Way Chili—The chili mixture is served on spaghetti.

  • Three-Way Chili–The chili and spaghetti are topped with shredded cheddar cheese.

  • Four-Way Chili–Chopped onions are added to the topping.

  • Five-Way Chili–Kidney beans are added to the toppings. The above version includes kidney beans, but feel free to leave them out and add them to the layered toppings.


  • If desired, replace the whole allspice with 1/4 teaspoon of ground allspice and replace the whole cloves with 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves.