Cincinnati Chili

Cincinnati Style Chili Copycat Recipe Cincinnati Chili

If you aren’t familiar with Cincinnati Chili, you should be! I must admit, this unusual chili, I was a bit taken aback. I grew up in Texas where chili meant meat, beans and spicy.

Cincinnati chili throws this idea on its head with the addition of cinnamon (yep, really), dark chocolate and a hint of cloves for a unique (and delicious) chili. In Cincinnati, there is a (somewhat fierce) division when it comes to this style of chili as people typically like one of the two main restaurants that serve it: Skyline or Gold Star.

After a while, the taste of Cincinnati Chili grew on me and my husband was already a life-long fan so I worked on figuring out a healthier copycat recipe. The flavors in Cincinnati style chili are healthy to begin with, as Cinnamon, Chili Powder and Cloves all have health promoting properties. Of all the recipes I’ve tried to make a healthy version of, this has been one of the easiest!

In Cincinnati, this chili is served with spaghetti noodles (never understood that) and topped with a mountain of cheese, onions and oyster crackers. We skip those additions and just top with chopped onions or a little raw cheese. Cincinnati Chili is not naturally spicy and it has become a kid favorite in our house. It is also delicious as leftovers or as a topping for eggs for breakfast. If you’re brave enough to add cinnamon to to your chili, give this recipe a try!

Cincinnati Chili Copycat Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A healthy copycat recipe of Cincinnati style chili with hints of cinnamon, cloves and dark chocolate. Try it!
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 6+
  • 2 pounds ground beef (preferably grass fed)
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 4 cups bone broth
  • 2 cups of tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of garlic powder or 4 cloves of minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • ¼ cup (non-spicy) chili powder
  • ½ bar unsweetened cocoa (about 2 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  1. Pour broth in to large stock pot and add ground beef.
  2. Bring to boil and simmer for about half an hour.
  3. Add diced onions, tomato sauce and spices and reduce to medium low heat.
  4. Simmer for at least two hours until chili has thickened. Add water if needed during this time.
  5. For best flavor, refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight and reheat.
  6. Enjoy!
Our favorite ways to serve are "1-way" with plain chili topped with onions or over eggs. This is also delicious over roasted cabbage "noodles."
Ever been to Cincinnati? Had the chili? Ready to try this recipe? Share below!

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