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Cincinnati Chili

Sara Bir
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings


  • Large Pot
  • Wooden Spoon or Silicone Spatula


  • 2 lbs ground beef 80:20 or lean (see instructions)
  • 1 can tomato paste 6 oz
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 can tomato sauce 8 oz
  • 1 large onion yellow or white, minced
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 2 tsp kosher salt Any salt will do if kosher is unavailable
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 oz unsweetened chocolate

Serve with:

  • oyster crackers
  • finely shredded cheddar cheese sharpness based on preference (mild or medium is most common)
  • 1 can small red kidney beans 15.5 oz, drained and warmed
  • yellow onion minced, amount varies based on how much you like
  • 1 box spaghetti


  • Heat the pot over medium-high heat. Add tomato paste and scrape the pan to ensure that the paste cooks evenly. Cook until paste begins to brown and emit a rich fragrance, approximately 1 to 3 minutes.
  • Remove pot from heat and add ground beef and water. Mix into a sludge. Return to heat and bring to a simmer, stirring into a paste. Add all ingredients except vinegar and chocolate.
  • Simmer gently based on preference. At minimum simmer for 1 hour, but you can go up to 3 hours. The flavor will become stronger as time progresses, so taste occasionally to find your favorite.
  • The next two steps are for 80:20 ground beef. If you want to skip these steps use lean ground beef instead.
  • OPTIONAL STEP 1: Cool, then refrigerate overnight in airtight container.
  • OPTIONAL STEP 2: Scrape solidified fat off surface of chili
  • Bring to a rapid simmer, then add vinegar and chocolate.
Keyword chili, comfort food, spaghetti