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Cincinnati-Style Chili

My husband had this type of chili when visiting a friend in Ohio and was thrilled when I made it at home. Serving it with spaghetti, cheese, onions and beans makes it what Cincinnatians call five-way. —Tari Ambler, Shorewood, Illinois
  • Total Time
    Prep: 35 min. Cook: 6 hours
  • Makes
    10 servings


  • 2 pounds extra-lean ground turkey
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cans (8 ounces each) no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/2 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 package (16 ounces) whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1-1/4 cups shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
  • 1 medium onion, chopped


  • In a Dutch oven coated with cooking spray, cook turkey, onions and garlic until turkey is no longer pink. Transfer to a 3-qt. slow cooker.
  • In a large bowl, combine tomato sauce, broth, vinegar, chocolate and seasonings; pour over turkey mixture. Cook, covered, on low 6-8 hours.
  • Cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain. Remove bay leaf from chili. For each serving, place 3/4 cup spaghetti in a bowl. Top with about 2/3 cup chili, 3 tablespoons kidney beans, 2 tablespoons cheese and 1 tablespoon chopped onion.
Nutrition Facts
1 serving: 388 calories, 6g fat (3g saturated fat), 47mg cholesterol, 523mg sodium, 52g carbohydrate (9g sugars, 10g fiber), 37g protein.

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  • mersidoe
    Mar 2, 2017

    I've never been to Cincinnati, but I stumbled on a Cinncinati Chili recipe years ago, and it became a favorite. Since then, I did more research, and a friend of mine gave me a can of the real thing, Skyline chili, which they sell in Cinncinati (and by mail order.) Not sure how close this recipe is to the real thing, but it's close, and it's really, really good. I love the flavor that the chocolate adds. I also increased all the other spices just a bit, and it came together beautifully.The "real thing" calls for boiled hamburger, and I could never bring myself to do that. However, I can certainly simmer in a crock pot, and I think that's one of those reasons why this recipe tastes so authentic. I made my batch with half ground turkey, and half hamburger beef.Serving the chili over spaghetti with cheese, onions and beans is also part of the Skyline chili tradition. It seems counter intuitive to serve chili over noodles, but it works! My Cincinatti friend also supplied oyster crackers (for the chili) and Peppermint Patties for dessert - again, part of the tradition.Some day I'd like to go to Cincinatti and have the real thing, but in the meantime, I'll keep making this recipe. It's a keeper!

  • 12Knights4Mari
    Feb 16, 2017

    I've always wanted to try this ever since I saw it on one of those cooking shows (Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, I believe). I love chili and I was sure I would love this but that was not the case. The combination of spices was weird, and so was the aftertaste. It did not seem to pair very well with spaghetti due to the fact that the chili didn't adhere to the pasta so it was a bit of a struggle to get the pasta, chili, beans & onions on the fork together at once. The cheddar added nothing special to the dish, either. You would have to add a ton of it to be able to taste it.My husband would not even try it (not a chili fan to begin with) so I was stuck eating it myself. I finally ditched the spaghetti, added some beans and ate it my usual way, with a big dollop of sour cream and crushed tortilla chips.

  • pajamaangel
    Jul 27, 2016

    I didn't really care for the cinnamon, allspice and cloves in this chili. Just a preference. I won't make this again.

  • Angel182009
    Aug 28, 2015

    I'm from the Cincinnati area and this taste just like it! So delicious and simple to make. I will be making this regularly. I left out the chocolate and cider vinegar because I was out.

  • anselr
    Dec 6, 2014

    Loved it! Reminded us of some we've had at a restaurant chain and was just as good. Will definitely make again!

  • heatherbeaver
    Oct 30, 2014

    Was not my cup of tea. The chocolate in it was too overpowering.

  • rebelwithoutaclue
    Oct 21, 2014

    All the right ingredients except for true Skyline Chile you need boiled ground beef. Let the chili chill for 12- 24 hours and remove the beef fat from the top. Great on hotdogs with some diced onions. Real Skyline chili has no chili powder but this is a really fine recipe you submitted.

  • rwippel
    Nov 4, 2013

    I use to work at Skyline chili when I was younger so I like to think I know a thing or two about Cincinnati chili :) this was very good. And I loved that it's on the lighter side. It's also low in sodium so I gave the recipe to my mother. She made it for my grandfather, and they loved it too. Great dish!

  • havingfunwithmyfamily
    Oct 31, 2013

    Wow! What a wonderful spin on the usual chili recipes. I loved the idea of serving chili over spaghetti noodles, and loading it with my favorite chili toppings! I was definitely intrigued by the sweet spices, and chocolate in chili. They gave it a wonderful exotic flavor. The only changes I made was adding sliced mushrooms with the onions and garlic, and adding a little extra broth. Delicious! I can't wait to make it, again!

  • CatMurphy
    Oct 14, 2013

    This chili recipe is delicious! I usually make Texas style chili, so I was a little apprehensive over using the cinnamon, allspice and cloves. Trust me, it adds such a depth in flavor. My company had to have the recipe.