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Rootin'-Tootin' Cincinnati Chili Recipe
Rootin'-Tootin' Cincinnati Chili Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Rootin'-Tootin' Cincinnati Chili Recipe

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3.5 25
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Yes, there's root beer in this spicy chili, and it adds a nice touch of sweetness. Serve over spaghetti and let everyone add their own favorite toppings. —Holly Gomez, Seabrook, New Hampshire
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 25 min. Cook: 30 min.
MAKES:4 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 25 min. Cook: 30 min.
MAKES: 4 servings


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 small green pepper, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup root beer
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • Hot cooked spaghetti
  • Optional toppings: crushed tortilla chips, chopped green onions, and shredded cheddar and Parmesan cheeses

Nutritional Facts

1 cup (calculated without spaghetti and toppings) equals 310 calories, 15 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 70 mg cholesterol, 662 mg sodium, 22 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 23 g protein.


  1. In a large saucepan, cook the beef, onions and green pepperover medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Drain. Add the tomatoes, root beer, chili powder, tomato paste, chipotle peppers, cumin and bouillon. Bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Serve with spaghetti. Garnish with chips, green onions and cheeses if desired. Yield: 4 servings.
Originally published as Rootin'-Tootin' Cincinnati Chili in Taste of Home February/March 2010, p57

Nutritional Facts

1 cup (calculated without spaghetti and toppings) equals 310 calories, 15 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 70 mg cholesterol, 662 mg sodium, 22 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 23 g protein.

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Reviewed Jun. 9, 2015

"A real big stretch to call this Cincinnati Chili. There is NO chili powder in Cincy chili, no tomatoes. The ground beef is boiled and chilled overnight. Where is the chocolate un-sweet square, vinegar, cinnamon Worcestershire, all spice and cloves. Not even close to the 1946 original recipe. Root beer can go in a lot of things but not if you are looking for the original 'Skyline Chili'!!!!!"

Reviewed May. 21, 2015

"As written, I give this 4 stars. I though it was a little too sweet with the root beer so I added an additional 1t or so of tomato paste, I decreased the chili powder due to the fact my husband doesn't like spicy foods (I used about 2t). I also added a bay leaf since the last "reviewer" mentioned "real" Cincinnati chili is made with it. I also did not use chipotles with adobo sauce, I used chipotle salsa to taste. I also added salt since it just didn't taste quite right. After these additions, I would give it a 5 star rating. I served it with spaghetti and cheese. To those who rated it 1 star due to it's lack of authenticity, I think you are doing a disservice to those of us who use these ratings to determine whether or not We want to make a recipe. I don't care if it is authentic, I just want to know if it tastes good!"

Reviewed Jan. 20, 2015

"Please take the word Cincinnati out of the title for this chili. It is nothing like Cincinnati Chili. CC has 1lb grd beef & 1 lb grd pork boiled in water. Then you add chopped up onions, bay leaves, tomato paste, salt & pepper. It is usually served over vermicelli and topped with kidney beans, onions and shredded Colby cheese. This used to be called a Hay Wagon. Now it's called a 5-way."

Reviewed Jan. 20, 2015

"I have lived all my life In Cincinnati and that's a long time. This chili was good but I can assure you that it is not Cincinnati Chili. I grew up on Cincinnati chili as well as my kids and grands. I know what I am talking about. Good but nowhere near Skyline, Dixie, Empress or Gold Star which are all true Cincinnati Chili."

Reviewed Oct. 6, 2014

"This is okay but please don't call it "Cincinnati" chili! We lived in Cincy and this is definitely not the same!"

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