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Cincinnati Style Chili Recipe – Skyline Copycat

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Are you looking for a quick and easy dinner idea for the family?  You’ve got to try serving 3-ways with this Cincinnati style chili recipe!

Cincinnati, Ohio is my hometown and one of the things it’s known for is the chili.  In fact, I enjoy Cincinnati style chili at least once a month, usually visiting Skyline Chili to get my fix.

I do enjoy making the chili for the family also.  It’s perfect for feeding a lot of people and is very inexpensive to make.

Here’s the recipe I use, which I’m confident you will also love.

About Cincinnati Style Chili

This is not your typical tex-mex type chili, so don’t expect it to taste like that.  This is a new adventure for your tastebuds to enjoy.

In fact, it’s more of a sauce then a chili, since it’s served with spaghetti or hot dogs, or in a chili-cheese burrito.  However, many people do enjoy a bowl of Skyline chili with crackers and hot sauce so, to each their own.

History of Cincinnati Style Chili

Skyline Chili is the most popular Cincinnati style chili restaurant in Cincinnati.

Founded in 1949 by Nicholas Lambrinides, a Greek immigrant.  He loved the Cincinnati skyline that could be seen from his first chili restaurant, hence the name, Skyline Chili.

The recipe for Skyline Chili is a family secret and is actually kept in a bank vault.  The recipe in this post is a copycat recipe, as close to Skyline as you can get on your own.

How To Enjoy Cincinnati Style Chili

I recommend serving this chili over spaghetti, then topping with shredded cheddar cheese.  This is known in Cincinnati as a 3-way.  You can add onion to make it a 4-way, then kidney beans for a 5-way.

This Cincinnati style chili also makes a great chili dog, or coney, as we call it!  Just top your favorite hotdog wih the chili and shredded cheese for a cheese coney.  Add mustard and onion for even more flavor.

Cincinnati style chili is easy to make and is a very low-cost dinner idea.  Give it a try and let me know what you think!


Cincinnati Style Chili Recipe - Skyline Copycat

A Cincinnati tradition, Skyline Chili is a delicious take on Cincinnati style chili, with the perfect combination of spices.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 8


  • 2 pounds Ground Beef
  • 2 cups Chopped Onions
  • 4 cups Beef Stock
  • 2 cans Tomato Sauce
  • 2-3 tbsp Chili Powder
  • 2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 ounce Unsweetened Chocolate grated
  • 2 tsp Instant Minced Garlic
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Red Pepper or Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Allspice
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Cloves
  • 1 Bay Leaf


  • In a large skillet over medium heat, add ground beef and onions. Saute until onions are translucent and beef is no longer pink. Drain.
  • Return to skillet and reduce heat to low. Pour in the beef stock and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Mix in the tomato sauce, chili powder, apple cider vinegar, Worchestershire sauce, unsweetened chocolate or cocoa powder, minced garlic, cinnamon, cumin, salt, red or cayenne pepper, allspice, cloves and bay leaf.
  • Simmer uncovered for one hour.
  • Remove the bay leaf and spoon off the layer of grease on the surface.


Serve over spaghetti and top with shredded cheddar cheese for a traditional Cincinnati style 3-way.  You can also serve as a cheese coney by serving over a hotdog, topped with onion, mustard, and shredded cheddar cheese.
Keyword chili, easy, hot dog, quick, spaghetti

Have you tried Cincinnati style chili before?  What is your opinion – did you like it?  Leave your answers and feedback in the comments section below.

Thanks for reading!  Don’t forget to share this on Pinterest.  It really helps my blog grow, allowing me to continue providing free content for you to enjoy!

Looking for something fun to do with the family after dinner?  Check out these 10 Fun Backyard Games which are perfect for entertaining everyone.

cincinnati style chili 5 way with text overlay

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I became a widow in 2010 and it changed my life. I started my own blog and online business, learning a lot along the way. Now my mission is to help others live a savvy and abundant life, with no regrets!

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