Cincinnati Chili Recipe
Cincinnati Chili Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Cincinnati Chili Recipe

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4.5 10 12
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Cinnamon and cocoa give a rich brown color to this hearty chili shared by Edith Joyce of Parkman, Ohio. "This dish will warm you up on a cold day," she says.
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. Cook: 1-3/4 hours
MAKES:6-8 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. Cook: 1-3/4 hours
MAKES: 6-8 servings


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 4 medium onions, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cans (16 ounces each) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Hot cooked spaghetti
  • Shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, chopped tomatoes and green onions

Nutritional Facts

1 cup: 421 calories, 16g fat (6g saturated fat), 75mg cholesterol, 443mg sodium, 38g carbohydrate (7g sugars, 11g fiber), 32g protein


  1. In a Dutch oven, cook the beef, pork and onions over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Drain. Add the beans, tomatoes, vinegar, cocoa and seasonings; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1-1/2 hours or until heated through.
  2. Discard bay leaves. Serve with spaghetti. Garnish with cheese, sour cream, tomatoes and onions. Yield: 8 servings.
Originally published as Cincinnati Chili in Taste of Home February/March 2000, p57

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Reviewed Sep. 14, 2014

"I just made the chili & did not use spaghetti. Since it was thick I added an 8 oz. can of tomato sauce & a can of water plus another tablespoon of chili powder. It was good but a little heavy on the cocoa so I will cut that back next time I make it & perhaps add a little more sugar."

Reviewed Sep. 12, 2013

"This is not supposed to be your typical "chili." In Cincinnati, Ohio, it is known as 5-way chili. Toppings are added on top of the sauce and can be eaten in any number of ways. Beans are a topping and not cooked in the meat sauce. It is served over spaghetti. Other optional toppings are chopped onion and shredded cheddar cheese. The sauce is great, even if you think the spices sound weird. You have to try this!"

Reviewed Feb. 4, 2013

"This traditional Cincinnati Chili recipe won the 2000 chili cook-off at work. I've been using it ever since! It works particularly well with 2 pounds of venison. The spices work to complement the flavor of the meat and disguise any gaminess. Venison is a smart and healthy choice because it is so lean."

Reviewed Sep. 22, 2011

"This is a regular "fall" recipe in our household. Even the kids love it. It's different but very flavorful and makes a generous batch-ideal for having people over for dinner."

Reviewed Jul. 12, 2011

"a great way to eat chili. This recipe makes a big batch and is very filling with the noodles and toppings."

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