Cincinnati Chili Recipe {The BEST Cincinatti Chili}

Cincinnati Chili is loaded with ground beef, beans, and onions in the most unique sauce, served on a pillow of spaghetti. Both savory and sweet, this Cincinnati Chili recipe is a must for any chili lover!

plate of Cincinnati Chili with fork and spoon

Cincinnati Chili Recipe

This Cincinnati Chili Recipe is one of my Mom’s specialties. If you’ve never tried it, you’re truly in for a treat! It’s a little bit sweet (from sugar and yes, even cocoa!), a little bit savory (beef, cheese, beans…the good stuff), and a whole lotta yummy. 

Cincinnati Chili is something I grew up on! My Mom would make it and we would always ask for seconds. If you haven’t tried it before, today is the day! It’s slightly sweet, and SO flavorful. It’s an awesome comfort food for these cold Winter nights. Once you try it, you’ll be hooked. Cincinnati Style Chili is both unique and delicious, it makes the best lunch or dinner!

Cincinnati Chili is a unique alternative to traditional Chili. It’s a family favorite!


two plates of Cincinnati Chili on blue towel

Cincinnati Chili Ingredients

Cincinnati Chili has so many delicious ingredients! Here are a few that make this recipe special and unique:

  • Spaghetti
  • Cheese
  • Oyster Crackers
  • Beef
  • Worcestershire
  • Cinnamon (uh huh)
  • Sugar (YES, you read that right)
  • Unsweetened Cocoa (YEP)
  • Molasses (yup)
  • MORE!

Weird, right? This special type of sweetened chili has to be tasted to believed. Top make things even weirder, it’s traditionally served over spaghetti. I know you think I’m strange, but I know you’re gonna love it. 

Cincinnati Chili recipe topped with cheddar cheese on white plate

What is Cincinnati Chili?

Cincinnati Chili was first served in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1922. It is traditionally served on a bed of spaghetti piled high with cheese, beans, ground beef, onions, and oyster crackers. It is sweetened up with very unique flavors to chili like chocolate, cinnamon, cloves and allspice.


cincinnati chili plate on blue towel with oyster crackers

Tips for making the BEST Cincinnati Chili Recipe

There are hundreds of versions of Cincinnati Style Chili out there – and this is my mom’s (Susie’s).  Here’s what makes hers different:

  1. First, the ground chuck is boiled and drained. Boiling ground beef is an easy way to make sure the beef comes out into evenly cooked, small crumbles. I don’t do that for every recipe, but it’s great for this chili recipe.
  2. Also, onions and garlic for the chili mixture should be sautéed. Cook them in a skillet with 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil until fragrant and translucent.
  3. Then, always include the cinnamon, chocolate, cloves and allspice even if you choose to not use other ingredients. My mom uses molasses as well as 2 different kinds of Williams chili seasoning to give a rich, full flavor.

Close up of Cincinnati Chili with cheese and oyster crackers

How to Serve Cincinnati Chili

Different members of our family like their Cincinnati Chili garnished different ways! Some like it dressed to the nines (topped with beans, cheese, onions, and oyster crackers), but you can also keep things simple and just top with cheese. I like to top it with ALL the goodness. I’m a huge fan of toppings. And eating this chili atop a bed of cooked spaghetti is simply a must. I KNOW it sounds weird, but I promise you will love it!

Can This Cincinnati Chili Recipe Be Frozen or Used for Leftovers?

Yes! This chili is even better the next day. The flavors all have time to mix together for the ultimate combination of savory and sweet. It’s pure heaven. It should keep in the fridge for 3-4 days or can be frozen for 3-4 months if properly stored.

Cincinnati Chili is a delicious and unique Chili recipe atop spaghetti noodles and loaded with oyster crackers, cheese, beans, on onions. This Cincinnati Chili Recipe is both savory and sweet in all the right ways. This Cincinnati Style Chili is a must make for any Chili lover! 

More Delicious Chili Recipes

If you as big of a chili as I am, try a few of these amazing recipes:


plate of Cincinnati Chili with cheese and oyster crackers

See the recipe card below for full details on how to make this Cincinnati Chili Recipe. Enjoy!

Looking for more comfort food? Here are some Winter favorites!

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