Cincinnati Chili

I don’t know about you, but I’m always pulling out ground beef for dinner.

It’s just so easy, so versatile and my family always eats it up.

I have approximately 4 million chili recipes, but I have never made one “Cincinnati” style before.  I thought my kids would really like it because of the pasta (score!), and that I would like it because of the addition of cocoa and cinnamon.  Yes.  You read that correctly.  There’s just the tiniest bit of cocoa and cinnamon in Cincinnati Chili that gives it this great depth of flavor outside of your traditional flavors.  Now, I did not tell my family that I added these two secret ingredients as I didn’t want to taint their impression of it before they ate it…but between you and me, they never commented on those two specific flavors but all said it was delicious.  I consider that a huge WIN!  Now, I’m not a Cincinnati person, so this recipe is probably not authentic…it’s a Texas girl’s twist on a classic recipe that made for a quick and yummy dinner my whole family loved…and on a busy weeknight, that’s all I need in life 🙂 .


Cincinnati Chili

  • Author: Mix and Match Mama
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 1x


A Texas girl’s take on a classic recipe.  Quick, easy and delicious for those busy weeknights!



  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped, reserve some for garnish
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 (8 oz) can of tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
  • 1½ cups beef stock
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • shredded cheddar cheese to garnish
  • one pound of cooked and ready to eat spaghetti noodles


  1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, brown up your ground beef until browned and crumbly in a nice drizzle of EVOO.
  2.  Next, add in your chopped onion (reserve some for garnishing at the end).  Saute until the onion is tender (about five minutes). Stir in your chopped garlic and saute together about a minute together.
  3. After that, stir in your tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, diced tomatoes, stock, chili powder, cumin, cocoa powder and cinnamon.  Allow this mixture to come up to a bubble and then reduce the heat to medium-low and allow to simmer uncovered about 15 minutes stirring often.  Your chili will thicken up.
  4. When it’s time to eat, take each plate and add on some of your cooked and ready to eat spaghetti noodles.  Top that with a generous helping of your chili followed by your shredded cheddar and reserved onions.


It’s part chili, part spaghetti, part traditional flavors and part unique…it’s all together delicious!  You can substitute ground turkey for the beef if you like as well.

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  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog September 24, 2019 at 4:46 am

    Oh wow, this would make a great alternative for spaghetti bolognese! 🍝 Thanks for the recipe! 💕✨

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  • Erika Slaughter September 24, 2019 at 6:24 am

    This would please all my people-noodle fans and non noodle fans!

  • Carol September 24, 2019 at 6:42 am

    Is it bad that I could eat this right now and it is only 7:30 am. ? Love!, Love! me some pasta and this looks so good! Good that I always keep chicken and ground hamburger in the freezer. You are making dinner quick and easy this week. The taquitos were great last night. Added some sour cream and pepperoncini .

  • Debbie Ricks September 24, 2019 at 7:42 am

    Okay… that looks amazing!!! My daughter lives in Cincinnati now, she went to Cincinnati Christian University. And this is pretty much a staple when I visit her!!! Give me a 5 way ALL THE TIME!!!

  • Steph September 24, 2019 at 7:48 am

    We love Cincinnati Chili Dip too! Ohio girl here!

    • Mara September 24, 2019 at 11:21 am

      Cincinnati girl here. Chili Dip is AMAZING.

  • June Walke September 24, 2019 at 9:58 am

    This Cincinnati girl is smiling. We also make cheese conies – hot dog bun with mustard, hot dog, Cincinnati chili and shredded cheese. And if ever visit Cincinnati Skyline Chili is the best.

  • Sara September 24, 2019 at 12:18 pm

    I’m a third generation Cincinnatian and I can tell you that you did well!! Adding the onions means that you made a 4-way. If it’s just spaghetti and chili it is a 2-way. Adding the cheese makes it a 3-way (my personal favorite). Adding onions makes a 4-way and adding beans (usually kidney or chili) makes it a 5-way. There’s even a place in the Cincinnati suburbs (Blue Ash Chili) that adds fried jalapeno caps to make a 6-way. Cincinnati is full of chili parlors that were (mostly) founded by Cincinnati’s Greek immigrants. We REALLY love our chili!! My personal favorites (in case anyone is visiting) are Camp Washington Chili and Skyline Chili (a local chain). Thanks for featuring the Queen City of Cincinnati!!!

    • Mix and Match Mama September 24, 2019 at 12:22 pm

      Oh my goodness, I couldn’t love this comment more! Thank you, Sara!!

  • Andrea September 24, 2019 at 1:11 pm

    This recipe makes this Cincinnati-bred, California-livin’ girl so so happy!! Us Cincinnatians daydream about our chili when we are apart from it too long haha! Now you just have to come to our world famous Oktoberfest for some German food!

  • Shelby September 24, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    okay i love this! born and raised in Ohio + my daddy is from Cincinnati. my mom gave up trying to recreate my grandmas recipe years ago because it was never the same!!!
    they sell seasoning packets that we use for it now on Amazon!!!

  • Rachel de Nijs September 24, 2019 at 5:59 pm

    I’m a cincinnati girl living in japan now. And this makes me miss home 😉

  • Susy September 24, 2019 at 10:55 pm

    Yes! I use the Skyline recipe version and I’m 5-way all the way!
    Made a Leeky Chicken Soup in the slow cooker today with no recipe, but was reminded by you it’s “the method” as I switched up ingredients!

  • Kelsey Schaefer September 25, 2019 at 7:01 am

    Coming from a Cincinnati girl this recipe is awesome!! You stayed very true to the authentic Cincinnati chili!! Adding the cheese to the chili and spaghetti makes it a 3-way and that is my favorite!! Thanks for featuring Cincinnati!!

  • Tulip September 25, 2019 at 10:45 am

    Just like you I tweek it as well by throwing the spaghetti in while the chili is cooking. I have also use adobo sauce in it and beef stock. All good.

  • Annie H. September 25, 2019 at 8:19 pm

    Made this for dinner tonight! Eating low carb so served it over “zoodles” and topped with chopped onion, shredded cheese and sour cream!! Sooooo yummy!…. and filling!!

  • Annie S September 26, 2019 at 10:25 pm

    My mom grew up on the Kentucky side of Cinci and to me, chili isn’t chili unless it has cinnamon!! 🙂 Love this post!