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

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3.5 26 24
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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
Featured In: Root Beer Recipes
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: 310 calories, 15g fat (5g saturated fat), 70mg cholesterol, 662mg sodium, 22g carbohydrate (14g sugars, 4g fiber), 23g protein.


  1. In a large saucepan, cook the beef, onion and green pepper over 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

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Wildfiremustang User ID: 1330024 241215
Reviewed Jan. 6, 2016

"Very good and different."

rebelwithoutaclue User ID: 4288906 227638
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'!!!!!"

lmmanda User ID: 1101093 226701
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!"

MicheleinOhio User ID: 6248725 218412
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."

mindysmama User ID: 6929696 218406
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."

jofritz User ID: 4355205 174928
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!"

Candon User ID: 6763924 169742
Reviewed Dec. 11, 2013

"this has become a favorite dish in my family. Use different noodles, corn bread and the like to keep it interestiing"

hotballer65 User ID: 6447144 171055
Reviewed Dec. 11, 2013

"Not even close to Cincinnati style chili !"

shecooksalot User ID: 5888460 103422
Reviewed Dec. 10, 2013

"A good, different way to have chili for us, but a little too much kick for our family."

stevie_b User ID: 5864456 103420
Reviewed Sep. 28, 2013

"I've tried this recipe a couple of times and find it to be a pretty good chili. I liked it because it is a bit different...certainly not your average beef and bean chili. What it is NOT is any kind of Cincinnati chili. Authentic Cincinnati chili has no adobo chilies in it because they're too smokey and it always includes cinnamon and sometimes chocolate. Cincinnati chili is always served over spaghetti, some add beans on top, some add cheese on top and some include chopped onions too."

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