Homemade Cincinnati Chili Recipe
Homemade Cincinnati Chili Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Homemade Cincinnati Chili Recipe

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The chocolate in this recipe threw me off at first, but now it's the only way I make chili. You'll find layers of delicious flavor in this heartwarming dish. It's well-worth the time it takes! —Joyce Alm, Thorp, Washington
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 25 min. Cook: 5-1/2 hours
MAKES:10 servings
Test Kitchen Approved
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 25 min. Cook: 5-1/2 hours
MAKES: 10 servings


  • 3 pounds ground beef
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped onions
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 cans (16 ounces each) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) tomato sauce
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Hot cooked spaghetti
  • Shredded cheddar cheese and sliced green onions, optional


  1. In a Dutch oven, cook beef and onions over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Drain.
  2. In a 5-qt. slow cooker, combine the beans, tomato sauce, broth, chili powder, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, chocolate, cinnamon, cumin, salt, oregano, pepper and cloves. Stir in beef mixture. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until heated through.
  3. Serve with spaghetti. Garnish with cheese and green onions if desired. Yield: 10 servings.
Originally published as Cincinnati Chili in Simple & Delicious

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Reviewed Dec. 16, 2013

"I was born in Cincinnati and I am still here. Yes we love our chili. Beyond that I'm not crazy about the beans on my chili separate, but to each his own. I have been making this chili forever and I put the beans in the chili. I say eat your chili how you want, what is it going to matter....LOL. Fresh cut onions on the chili is the best, but I also cook the chili with very finely minced onions also. If you ever come to Cincinnati the best is Skyline, Gold Star is ok if you like a strong taste of cloves which I do not. Everyone enjoy your chili whatever way you like it."

Reviewed Sep. 21, 2013

"First, I have to admit, I've never been to Cincinnati! But I decided to try this recipe after seeing a special on Cincinnati chili - I was definitely intrigued. That said, I didn't love it. It was OK, but the cinnamon flavor just seemed weird to me. I guess I'll just have to travel to Ohio and try the real thing before I make up mind completely!"

Reviewed Jan. 27, 2013

"oh forgot wanted to say-since we eat grass-fed organic ground beef it is expensive so I use only 1 pound of ground beef and one pound dry soaked beans or 4 cans of organic beans. I have used a mix of black beans and kidney before too-this works good too."

Reviewed Jan. 27, 2013

"I just saw I already reviewed this in 2011-see still lovin' it lol!!!"

Reviewed Jan. 27, 2013

"I grew up eating chili over spaghetti that my Mom called Cincinnati Chili but she used a box mix of seasonings called Cincinnati Chili and yes browned the beef in a fry pan. I eat a diet of minumum processed foods since 2010 and this recipe is so good-we have made several times in past couple years bc it tastes like Mom's without using a proceesed food packet. My whole family loves this chili and I have made it for others from Church and they all loved it and we had a Pastor tell us that his kids ate it even and they won't normally eat chili. I don't see why anyone would get bent out shape about authenticity but I am not from nor ever been to Cincinnati and if this how the locals act-never really want to go there lol!"

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