Homemade Cincinnati Style Chili

If you’ve never had Cincinnati Style Chili before, it’s delicious. If you’ve never had Homemade Cincinnati Style Chili before, you don’t know what your missing! It’s not traditional chili with beans and tomatoes in it. We used to live outside Cincinnati, and we love this chili. You can buy seasoning packets for this chili, but they are hard to find outside of Ohio, if available at all. We are less than 3 hours away from Cincinnati, and can rarely find the packets here.

Besides, the packets are expensive. And so many seasoning packets have wheat in them, not to mention other ingredients I try to avoid. Since I’ve had to stop eating wheat, and feeding my family less additives, this is a consideration for me. This recipe is so easy, though, a seasoning packet is really unnecessary.


Homemade Cincinnati Style Chili


4 cups cooked hamburger (2 pounds raw)

1 – 29 ounce can of tomato sauce

1 cup water

4 Tbsp. chili powder

1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

3/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1/4 tsp. basil

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. salt


Combine all ingredients in saucepan. Simmer for 3o minutes. You can also put all the ingredients into the crockpot on low for a few hours. Serve over spaghetti. Top with grated cheddar cheese, diced onions, and kidney beans, if desired. Some people also top with diced tomatoes. This recipe is enough chili for 2 pounds of spaghetti.

If you serve the chili on a hot dog, topped with cheese, you have a Coney.

I served the cheese in condiment cups. We use less cheese that way.

That’s my rice spaghetti in the picture.  :)

When cooking the hamburger, you need to stir often with a fork so you get small pieces. My favorite way to cook ground hamburger for recipes is to boil it. I know it sounds weird, but I found out about this on an email freezer cooking list about 10 years ago. You place your hamburger in the pan with a couple of inches of water in the pan.  You don’t want to boil it like spaghetti, though, so don’t completely cover it with water. While it’s cooking, keep stirring with a fork to break it up. You get the small pieces of meat that’s needed for this style of chili, or tacos, etc. Please be aware, when draining the hamburger, that there is grease in with the water, and it will clog your sink if your not careful. I run cold water in the sink, then drain the meat and leave the cold water running for a minute or two. That’s what works for me. Do so at your own risk. I can’t come unclog your sink for you.  :)  Since I can’t come, if you don’t want to chance a clogged sink, you can drain into a large bowl or pan, let it harden, then dispose of.


I like to keep cooked hamburger in the freezer in 2 and 4 cup bags. This is another recipe I can make quickly by starting with the cooked hamburger.

This Homemade Cincinnati Style Chili freezes great. I put the amount needed for one meal in a freezer container or bag, then freezer until needed. Just thaw and heat while your boiling your spaghetti.

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  1. This looks so yummy and easy! My husband loves chili in all its forms so I will have to try this for him. I am sure he will thank you! I would love it if you would share this on my link-up so my readers can benefit from your easy, frugal recipe. Thanks for sharing! (http://the-north-forty.com/2011/09/19/what-do-we-eat-link-up/)
    TyKes Mom recently posted..What Do We Eat: Monday (Link-Up)My Profile

  2. I love Cincinnati Chili! I grew up in a suburb of Cincinnati, and I grew up eating Skyline Chili. I have made it several times, but usually I wait until my family and I go back to visit, or someone brings us some when they come to visit us. My recipe is rather close to yours, but I plan on trying yours, and enjoying the walk down memory lane. I linked to you from What’s Cooking Wednesday. Thanks. You have a lovely blog.

  3. Have alwaysbeen curious about this chili. I’m going to have to give this a try now. Thanks.
    Carla recently posted..Perfect Eye of Round RoastMy Profile

  4. Love Skyline :) My husband is from Cincinnati so I have tried (and blogged) 3 different recipes…trying to get the EXACT same one. It took me a while to get used to the taste and I always dump a ton of cheese on it 😛

    Stopping by from TMT Tuesday.

  5. I have good friends who used to live in Cincinnati and who used to take us out for Skyline when we visited. I always try to stop at a gift shop to pick up a few packages of Cincinnati Chili mix when I swing through the airport there. I’ve tried other recipes, but have been disappointed. Good to have a recipe from a someone who knows what it’s supposed to taste like!
    Nancy recently posted..Chili Madness (Or, How to Get a New England Presbyterian To Shout, "Yee-Haw!")My Profile

  6. Very cool! I’ve heard of Cincinnati chili before, but never knew what it was exactly. I think my kids would love it!

    Thanks for linking up with Momtrends this week!

    ~Shannon, Food Channel Editor, Momtrends.com
    Shannon recently posted..Portable Toothbrush + Fashion= Violight SonicMy Profile

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  12. Charlotte says:

    Thanks for the recipe and the tip about running cold water so the sink doesn’t clog up. I’ve had that problem before.


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