Cincinnati Chili

Chili in progress...

Cincinnati Chili is my favorite type of chili.  It’s a sweeter chili with a different flavor profile than the Oklahoma chili I often eat.  A few people have asked about what goes in it, so I thought I’d post my recipe.  This recipe started with one I found online years ago, but I’ve lost both the original print out and the url.  However, I’ve ended up tweaking it enough that it’s pretty much mine at this point.

I only add cheese on top.  Wikipedia will tell you about other traditional additions.


1 Tbsp oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
spoonful of minced garlic
2 lb. ground beef (no leaner than 90/10)
1/4 cup chili powder
cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp brown sugar OR molasses
1 bay leaf
1/2 square (1 ounce) unsweetened chocolate
1 tsp. vanilla
20 oz. beef broth
15 oz. tomato sauce
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
shredded sharp cheddar cheese
cooked spaghetti (I use homemade buttermilk pasta, though that’s a different post.)

1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat.  Cook onion until tender, 5 to 7 minutes.

2. Add beef.  Cook until brown.  DO NOT DRAIN.

3.  Add everything else. Stir to mix. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to low heat. Cover and simmer for 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally.

4. Cool and refrigerate overnight.  (This step is option, though highly recommended.)

5. Remove bay leaf.  (If refrigerated) Reheat gently over medium heat. Serve over hot spaghetti. Top with cheese.

*The spices with no measurements are to the cook’s taste.  Some recipes have 1 tsp. each of cinnamon and cumin and 1/4 tsp each allspice, cloves, and nutmeg.  I like more allspice, cloves, and nutmeg.  Truth be told, I haven’t actually measured any of these in years.  I just start grinding spices until it starts smelling good.

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