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Carrie’s Cincinnati Chili

Every time we had a gathering or company, folks would request my cincinnati chili. My husband convinced me to enter it in a local chili contest, and I won third place! It's quick and easy. If I don't have fresh garlic, I use minced garlic in the jar. —Carrie Birdsall, Dallas, Georgia
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. Cook: 6 hours
  • Makes
    6 servings (1-1/2 quarts)


  • 1-1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 can (29 ounces) tomato puree
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) whole tomatoes, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Hot cooked spaghetti
  • Shredded cheddar cheese, optional
  • Additional chopped onion, optional


  • In a large skillet over medium heat, cook beef and onion, crumbling meat, until beef is no longer pink and onion is tender, 6-8 minutes; drain. Transfer to a 3- or 4-qt. slow cooker. Add next 11 ingredients.
  • Cook, covered, on low 6-8 hours. Discard garlic clove and bay leaves. Serve on hot cooked spaghetti; if desired, top with shredded cheddar cheese and additional chopped onion.
  • Freeze option: Before adding toppings, cool chili. Freeze chili in freezer containers. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Heat through in a saucepan, stirring occasionally; add water or broth if necessary. Serve as directed.
Nutrition Facts
1 cup: 315 calories, 14g fat (5g saturated fat), 70mg cholesterol, 644mg sodium, 19g carbohydrate (9g sugars, 4g fiber), 23g protein.

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  • Eegee
    Nov 28, 2020

    Bet your chili tastes great but it is far from being Cincinnati chili, lol Born and raised there.

  • Hobo1334
    Jun 26, 2020

    This is not Cincinnati style chili in no way shape or form. Just because you add a few spices that aren't in most chili recipes does not make it so. The most glaring mistake is that you do not ever brown the ground beef, the beef is added to the liquid and spices as it's heating up to a boil in the pot and you stir it briskly to break it apart with a fork so that it's all uniform leaving no clumps of beef. In addition, there are no chunks of any kind of anything in Cincinnati style chili everything is finely minced or pureed including onions and tomatoes. Beans can be added, but here in Cincinnati folks usually eat the chili ladled over a bed of spaghetti called a 2-way, adding cheese on top makes it a 3-way, the addition of chopped onions or beans make it a 4-way or 4-way bean and if you add both onions and beans it's a 5-way. We also like our chili ladled onto a hotdog in a bun with a line of mustard, and topped with finely shredded cheddar cheese and onions if you like them. We call them coneys. I'm sure your chili tastes fine to you and many others, but it is not Cincinnati Chili.

  • Patricia
    Sep 7, 2019

    I live in the Cincinnati area, and love Cincinnati chili. But sometimes, it is simply too spicy for me. This recipe provides all the taste, and none of the stomach upset.

  • Cornelia
    Dec 6, 2018

    That is NOT Cincinnati style. She got it wrong at step 1 ...and made it worse with every single step there after.

  • rebelwithoutaclue
    Dec 2, 2018

    patsoh, I agree there are no tomatoes in Skyline Chili. My guess is that you could find some version of Cincinnati Chili that include tomatoes since there are dozens of recipes out there for CC. To be on the safe side, I would never include tomatoes in any chili recipe coming out of SW Ohio or N. KY.

  • patsoh
    Nov 30, 2018

    Cincinnati Chili does not have tomatoes in it. Check out Gold Star or Skyline. No tomatoes.

  • keytickler2003
    Nov 30, 2018

    I'm sure this is great, but as a Cincinnati native, I have a few suggestions. In the recipe I've used in the past for a Goldstar Chili clone, the hamburger was put into the pan with all of the other ingredients (not browned in a pan) and cooked several hours until it was fully done and of a crumbly, not chunky, texture). This gives it the true Skyline look. Also, I understand that a bit of cocoa or chocolate is added to give it a unique flavor. Quantity, however, is a closely-held secret.

  • frkeith
    Nov 30, 2018

    doesn't have the chocolate

  • Emily
    Oct 25, 2018

    I had Cincinnati Chili for the first time at Skyline Chili while on a road trip to North Carolina. I loved it so much, I made it when I got home! Thanks for the recipe.