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A plate of Cincinnati chili five way.

Cincinnati Chili

Cincinnati Chili is an easy midwestern classic and total comfort food. Slow simmered for hours and served one of five ways, it's perfect cold weather food!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep 15 minutes
Cook 3 hours
Total 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings 6 to 8 servings
Calories 182 kcal
Author Michelle


For the Chili

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 3 cups water
  • 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 medium yellow onion finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

For the Toppings

  • Cooked spaghetti
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • White onion diced
  • Chili beans


  1. In a large Dutch oven or heavy stockpot, stir together the ground beef and water until soupy.
  2. Stir in all of the remaining ingredients and bring to a rapid simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 3 hours.
  3. Serve over cooked spaghetti noodles (2-way), top with shredded cheddar cheese (3-way), chopped white onions (4-way), and/or canned, drained chili beans (5-way). Leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Recipe Notes

  • I used 85% ground beef and there was just a bit of grease when I stirred it at the end. I tend to like 85% for things like chili and meat sauce since it adds more flavor, but if you want to eliminate any grease, you may want to go with 90% lean.

Nutritional values are based on one serving without toppings

Nutrition Facts
Cincinnati Chili
Amount Per Serving
Calories 182 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 70mg23%
Sodium 821mg36%
Potassium 622mg18%
Carbohydrates 5g2%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 25g50%
Vitamin A 570IU11%
Vitamin C 4.9mg6%
Calcium 40mg4%
Iron 3.9mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.