How To Make Cincinnati Skyline Chili

Cincinnati Skyline Chili is a very unique and spiced chili from Cincinnati, Ohio. It is mainly eaten with hot spaghetti and any choice of toppings. It’s a way of life in Cincinnati and everyone loves it. Outsiders may consider it weird but once you taste it, you’d want to have more! Guess what? You can prepare it in the comfort of your home with the right ingredients and recipe.

What Makes Cincinnati Chili Different From Others?

You may be wondering what makes this chili so special to people in Cincinnati. Here’s what:

1. The seasonings: For a regular chili, you will find chili powder and cumin. In the Cincinnati style chili, however, it contains cinnamon, cloves, paprika, allspice, oregano, and maybe nutmeg. Worcestershire sauce is also an ingredient used for the chili.

2. No sauteing and browning: There’s no sauteing or heating on the Cincinnati chili recipe.

3. The toppings: The toppings are what make it extra special. There’s cheddar cheese, oyster crackers, and raw onion.

Different Ways To Serve Cincinnati Skyline Chili

As mentioned earlier, Cincinnati chili is mainly eaten with spaghetti. Here are different ways that it can be served:

  • Chili over spaghetti
  • Chili with spaghetti and cheddar cheese
  • Chili over spaghetti with cheddar cheese and diced onions
  • Chili over spaghetti with red kidney beans, cheddar cheese, and diced onions.

The Recipe

The preparation time for this recipe is 10 minutes and the cooking time is 3 hours, 30 minutes.


  • 2 pounds of ground beef
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 3 TSB. chili powder
  • 1 tsp.  cumin
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves
  • ¾ tsp. ground allspice
  • ½ tsp. cayenne
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 TSB. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 TSB. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 ounce of chocolate (Optional)


1. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add tomato paste to the dry pot and cook slowly. Ensure to scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon to avoid burning. Ensure to keep doing that until you see browned patches. Do not let it get burnt. This should take about 1-3 minutes.

2. Remove the pot from the heat. Add the ground beef and 4 cups of water. Mix well.

3. Return the pot to medium heat and allow to simmer, stirring as you go. Add all other ingredients apart from the vinegar.

4. Allow simmering gently for about 2-3 hours. Stir often. Remove from heat.

5. Allow to cool and then leave it in the fridge overnight.

6. Remove solidified fat from the top of the chili, warm (add the vinegar while warming) and serve hot.

You can decide to add chocolate if you so wish during the warming. However, note that it is not intended to make it sweet. Also, you can serve the chili without refrigerating overnight.

Serve however you want, with or without the toppings.