3-Way Cincinnati Chili

This is not your typical chili recipe. It is Cincinnati chili, which is a huge deal in southwestern Ohio, and not very well-known elsewhere. I grew up with this recipe. It’s full of spices and seasonings, which makes for a very rich, very meaty sauce. It’s served on top of a bed of cooked spaghetti, and then the top is liberally sprinkled with shredded cheddar cheese.

I’ll let you in on the secret: this sauce is super fast to prep. It’s simmered for a long time, but needs little supervision. And it tastes even better if you make it a day ahead. (It also freezes and reheats well.)  So, what are you waiting for?? Give this chili a try, and find out why Ohioans are crazy about it.


What you need:


  • 2 lbs. uncooked ground beef
  • 2 c. water
  • 2 c. tomato juice or sauce
  • 1 T. vinegar
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 T. dried onion
  • 2 T. chili powder
  • 1/2 T. pepper
  • 1 t. cumin
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1 t. allspice
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/8 t. cayenne
  • 1/8 t. garlic powder
  • 3 Bay leaves
  • 1 lb. spaghetti, cooked
  • shredded cheddar cheese, for serving


  •  large saucepan and spatula
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • stockpot and colander for cooking pasta

Time: 10 minutes prep, 2 hours cooking time.

Freezeable: Yes.

Serves: 8-10

Multiplying the recipe: This recipe is easily multiplied.

3-Way Cincinnati Chili:

In a large saucepan, brown the beef. Drain the fat. Add the remaining ingredients (aside from spaghetti and cheese). Simmer, with a lid on but tipped so that moisture can escape, for 2 hours. Stir occasionally. At the end of the cooking time, remove the bay leaf.

Serve over cooked spaghetti with cheese on top. To make 4-way chili, serve with chopped raw onions or beans. 5-way chili includes both onions and beans.



About Cooking for the Fam

Katie and Theresa are sisters-in-law who are passionate about food, passionate about family, and passionate about making and sharing food with their families. The Fam needs to eat. Make it good!
This entry was posted in Main Dishes, Meals and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to 3-Way Cincinnati Chili

  1. Pingback: 3-Way Cincinnati Chili | My Meals are on Wheels

  2. ohiocook says:

    Dinner is served!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. koolaidmoms says:

    Sounds delicious! I will have to give this a try soon!

    Liked by 1 person

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