Cincinnati Chili

My recipe for Cincinnati Chili

Cincinnati Chili – Chili is a dish that has literally 100’s of different recipes. They vary by region, ethnicity, chili color, ingredients, and intangibles such as what to serve with your favorite type of chili.  There are multiple Chili cook-offs in every city every year. Nothing says comfort food in the US more than Chili.

Cincinnati postcard cinci
Cincinnati Chili postcard

Cincinnati Chili

The following link provides a very detailed explanation of Chili and its history.  Check it out and come back here for this recipe for Cincinnati Chili –

One of the most unique types of Chili is Cincinnati-style Chili. For those who grew up in Cincinnati or lived there for any significant length of time (15 years in my case), you can’t help but take sides in the Skyline ( vs Gold Star ( debate. There are as many Skyline/Gold Star locations in Cincinnati as there are McDonald’s. They all have a drive-thru, just like McDonald’s. And with one exception downtown by the stadiums, they don’t serve alcohol.

Cincinnati-style Chili is a little sweeter than most other chilis, being cooked in a combination of cinnamon and chocolate, among other spices. And when you order it, you specify which “way” you want your chili served.


  • 2-way = spaghetti, and chili
  • 3-way = spaghetti, chili, cheese
  • 4-way = spaghetti, chili, cheese, and onions OR beans
  • 5-way = spaghetti, chili, cheese, onion, AND beans
Chili 5 way
Cincinnati Chili 5-Way

Here is my easy recipe for Cincinnati-style Chili. I use ground turkey instead of ground beef (a lot less fat & grease), onions cooked in the chili instead of a topping (a little sweeter flavor), packaged spices instead of individually measured spices, and beans sauce instead of on top. (I was always a 5-way guy). And I brown the meat, instead of boiling it. Much quicker and has more texture.

Cincinnati Chili 5 way

Cincinnati Chili

Cincinnati-style Chili is a little sweeter than most other chili’s, being cooked in a combination of cinnamon and chocolate, among other spices. And when you order it, you specify which “way” you want your chili served.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Course: Soup, Stew
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chili
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 290kcal


  • No special equipment needed


  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 Onion chopped
  • 1 lb Ground Turkey
  • 2 Large Cans Tomato Soup
  • 2 Cans Dark Kidney Beans drained
  • 1 package Cincinnati Chili spices Available at many grocery stores in the prepackaged gravy section.


  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese for topping
  • Oyster Crackers
  • 1 lb cooked spaghetti
  • chopped green onions
  • Your favorite hot sauce


  • In a large pan, heat the oil
  • Sauté the chopped onions.
  • While the onions are cooking (after 3-4 minutes), add the ground turkey in the same pot as the onions.
    Chili in a pot
  • Cook until all pink has disappeared. Use a spoon to break up the meat into small pieces as it cooks.
  • Add the tomato soup and kidney beans and stir to combine.
    Chili in a pot
  • Open the spice package and stir into chili.
  • Simmer 15-30 minutes. If chili is too thick, just add some hot water.
  • If it’s too thin, let it simmer a little longer to cook down and thicken.
  • Serve with cheese on top
  • Add your favorite accompaniments.
    Cincinnati Chili 5 way 2



Cincinnati Chili spice packages – Available at many grocery stores in the prepackaged gravy section. If not, you can buy on Amazon. 


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 290kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 1190mg | Potassium: 100mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 850IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 19mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Approximate Cincinnati Chili Spice Ingredients

If you would rather use individual spices, here are the approximate measurements to use.

  • 1/2 oz baking chocolate (unsweetened)
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • One tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar

(Because this is “Cooking Secrets for Men” we use the pre-packaged Cincinnati spice mix. But feel free to experiment with different spices.)

Cincinnati Chili
Cincinnati Chili

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If you liked our recipe for Cincinnati Chiliyou should try our recipe for Curry Hummus Dip.

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14 thoughts on “My recipe for Cincinnati Chili”

  1. 5 stars
    I love this, Charlie! Thanks for posting. My son has been begging us to make Cincinnati Chili (he had a version at school), and now I have a recipe I trust! I love the way you listed all the different “ways.” Grazie!

  2. 5 stars
    I have been wanting to make a version of this (collected too many recipes already) I spent the first 16 years of my life in Dayton and the rest in Michigan so I know about this chili 🙂

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