This easy Cincinnati chili is made with, as main ingredients, ground beef, onions, spices, and dark chocolate, and is served on spaghetti and smothered with cheese. (You heard us right.) And folks are calling it the best Cincinnati chili they’ve ever had.
- Quick Glance
- 20 M
- 1 H, 40 M
- Serves 8
In a large pot, heat the oil and sauté the onion over medium heat until translucent. Add the ground beef and cook until browned. (If you feel you must, go ahead and skim most of the fat rendered from the beef, but we encourage you to leave it and skim it after the chili has simmered. Fat equals flavor, don’t you know.)
Stir in the chili powder, cumin, allspice, cloves, bay leaves, cayenne, and tomato purée. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the beef stock and stir. Simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour. If desired, skim any fat from the surface of the chili.
Add the chocolate and vinegar and stir until combined. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Season the Cincinnati chili with salt and pepper. (For instructions on how to serve Cincinnati chili, look at the headnote above. Originally published January 20, 2014.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
This Cincinnati chili is the very best that I’ve ever had and my wife is in complete agreement. Try it for yourself—whether you've had Cincinnati chili or not, you’ll fall in love with it. Having recently moved from Cincinnati, I’m thrilled to report that this chili recipe, while not an exact copy of the Skyline and Gold Star chili of Cincy, is in my estimation, a perfect tribute. The only difference is that there’s perhaps a bit more chocolate and no cinnamon.
It may be tempting to skim the fat at the beginning, but a bit of fat won't kill you, and it’ll be far easier to remove after it cools and rises to the surface. I served this wonderful chili over spaghetti with finely grated sharp Cheddar cheese. I also prepared all-beef hot dogs in butter and traditional cheese coneys. Put your hot dog on a bun, add a nice squirt of yellow mustard, a generous amount of chili, some finely grated onion, a mountain of grated cheddar, and a bit of hot sauce, if you please.
This chili, like most one pot concoctions, improves dramatically with age.
This is a fabulous Cincinnati chili recipe that's incredibly simple to make. I loved that the most preparation I had to do was chop an onion. The magic is really created during the nearly 1 1/2 hours of simmering time. The end result was a luscious, velvety chili with a hint of chocolate.
After browning my lean beef, there wasn't that much fat in the pan, so I just left it in, and I think it lent a richer flavor to the chili. All in all, this is a delicious recipe, and you can make it in a cinch. What I especially like about it is that it's not too heavy. A bowl of bean-laden chili can be a lot to get through, so I prefer this bean-less recipe. My boyfriend and I needed a little bit more spice, so if we make it again, we'll definitely double, if not triple, the amount of cayenne pepper. However, it’s lovely without the heat as well—it just depends on personal preference.