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Cincinnati Chili Recipe

User Rating 4 Star Rating (7 Reviews)

By Chef Paul Sturkey

Try this hearty Cincinatti chili five ways like the locals do. It is also wonderful on hot dogs and french fries.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes


  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 2-1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 quart cold water
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Lea & Perrin Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • Salt and pepper to taste


In a heavy gauge pot, heat oil, add beef until brown. Add onions and water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Add tomato paste, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, chili powder, bay leaves, cinnamon, allspice, cayenne pepper, and cocoa. Let simmer 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper to taste. Remove bay leaves before serving.

In Cincinnati the true enthusians have their Chili 1 to 5 ways:

1. Plain
2."Two Way" - Spaghetti and Chili
3."Three Way" - Chili, Spaghetti, and Cheddar Cheese
4."Four Way" - Chili, Spaghetti, Cheddar Cheese, and Onions
5."Five Way" - Chili, Spaghetti, Cheddar Cheese, Onions and Kidney Beans

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Source: Chef Paul Sturkey
Reprinted with permission.

User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 3 out of 5
True Cincy Chili, Member cdp0166

True Cincy chili does contain onions when cooking the beef. However, the onions should be FINELY grated (I use the old stand-by box grater). The meat and onions are essentially boiled in water until you can't even see that the onion is there. Let it sit in the fridge overnight, skim the fat off the next day, then add the other ingredients. The other ingredients, by the way, NEVER include chili powder! Allspice, crushed red pepper flakes, cumin, worscestershire, cocoa powder (or unsweetened chocolate), cayenne pepper, and cider vinegar do the trick. If you want it hotter, add finely diced chipotles in adobo as a ""7th"" topping. I also prefer to make extra spices and reserve a little bit of tomato paste in which to simmer my beans before serving.

10 out of 13 people found this helpful.

See all 7 reviews

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