Monday, March 14, 2016

Cincinnati-Style Chili

We love chili at the Cafe, don't we? I think I've shared at least three different recipes so far, and I'm only one of the baristas around here.

I was introduced to Cincinnati-style chili when I was in college. A friend from St. Louis made it for a bunch of us. I couldn't believe he served it on spaghetti! I've learned a lot since then. :)

The idea behind this chili, whether you like it "two way" or all the way up to "six way" (my personal favorite!), is that you keep layering on the toppings. Stop at any number you want to!

Cincinnati-Style Chili

First layer: Cook enough spaghetti to serve the number of people who will be eating. I like to break the spaghetti noodles in half before cooking. They're more manageable that way.

Second and Third layers: Now for this to be a true Cincinnati-style chili, the chili should be cooked without beans. Just hamburger, tomato sauce, and chili seasonings. I cook my beans in my chili, so the second layer (chili) and the third layer (beans) are together in the same ladle. I use my Savory Chili recipe for this dish. You can find that recipe here.  Or you can use your own favorite chili. You can even use some canned or frozen chili from the grocery store.

Fourth layer: Cheese. Not just any cheese. Sharp cheddar cheese, grated. I used Tillamook, our favorite!

Fifth layer: Diced onion. I think the sweet white onions make this dish sing, but you can use your favorite.

Sixth layer: Garlic. Mmm, I love garlic! Just put a clove in your garlic press and scatter it over your bowl of chili. Or, if you're in a hurry, use a dash or two of garlic powder.

One great thing about this dish is that it will serve a crowd. Just set up a buffet, starting with the spaghetti, and let people file along, putting on whatever toppings they wish.

There is spaghetti underneath all that yumminess.
I promise!
The only thing that could make this meal more delicious is ice cream for dessert, don't you think?

I'll have a "Salty Dog" with chocolate ice cream, please! (By the way, you can find my recipe for this delightful treat here.)

Let's talk - Have you ever had Cincinnati-Style chili? How do you like yours?


  1. That looks wonderful, Jan. The whole spaghetti thing is going to take some time to wrap my head around.

    I love Tillamook. I love it more than ice cream.

    1. I wasn't sure about the spaghetti until I tried it, but now I love it!

      And yes, Tillamook is the best. We buy the big size from Sam's. I won't tell you how quickly it disappears!

  2. We love Cincinnati style chili-spaghetti! But when I make it I use a special Cincinnati style seasoning packet (with cinnamon and maybe cocoa and other things that make it taste very different). You cook the beef in water and tomato paste with this packet of seasoning until it cooks down and thickens. Then we serve it over spaghetti and top with beans and the rest like you do. It's amazing! I'll share that recipe sometime.

    When we were back in NE Kentucky for a family funeral a couple of years ago, we found a fast food restaurant called Gold Star Chili. It was AMAZING. It was right beside our hotel, so we ate there twice. :)

    1. Gold Star! That's the other chain I was trying to think of. Since I could only remember Skyline when I was writing the post, I decided not to mention either of them.

      When we lived in Lexington, KY, there was always a running debate about which of the two restaurants was better. I liked both :) But since you had to drive to Cincinnati to enjoy either one (at least you did 10 years ago, when we lived there), they were both rare treats.

      And yes, I've tried making the chili with the Cincinnati style seasonings (with cloves, cinnamon, cumin and allspice), but my family likes my savory chili too much. The cloves, etc. add a different texture to the flavor, don't they?

    2. Jan, I don't remember any texture from the cloves. But I think cooking the beef in water changes the texture some.

      My boys love the stuff. But my daughter doesn't. She prefers regular chili.

    3. Sorry - not physical texture. I've been watching too many cooking shows with my daughter! I meant that it adds a different dimension to the flavor. Does that make sense?

    4. Oh, yes! LOL I thought you meant a crunch or something. hahaha

  3. I've never heard of Cincinnati Chili but is sounds good. I'd sub the spaghetti for whole wheat penne noodles though. Having a love affair with them right now. :-)

    And I'm all for having dessert any day. Today is National Pie Day and I made lemon meringue in honour of such an important occasion. And woooooot -- my pie crust didn't shrink this time. You guessed right -- I'd stretched it too much to fit the pan. This time I gently draped it. La-de-da but it was a fine looking pie crust. Even used spelt flour and it worked beautifully. Love that recipe.

    1. Yay for your successful pie making!

      I should make pie for dessert tonight. But then I'd eat it. Hmm. That's a quandary.

  4. I love all kinds of chili! This sounds delicious!

  5. I had no idea Cincinnati chili existed! I looked at your chili recipe, Jan, and it sounds wonderful. Love oregano in chili :-)

    Nancy C

  6. I've never heaerd of Cincinnati chili and I've never had chili on spaghetti. I usually have it with rice. I'm curious about the difference in texture and how it impacts the taste.

  7. I fell in love with Skyline Chili (Cincinnati) when I saw it on Fox & Friends, and then went online and ordered it from Amazon... It doesn't taste like chili.

    It tastes like our "hot sauce" up here, the famous sauces that are served on burgers and dogs. So that was my first wake-up call... and the Skyline Chili Dip has now become a crowd-pleasing favorite.

    Like Jan said, their chili is simply seasoned meat and tomato sauce and spices/herbs but it is beyond good.

    It is amazing.

    I've never done it on spaghetti, but that's huge in Cincinnati and Big and Rich even mentioned it in their song "Comin' to your city, gonna grab a bowl of that Skyline Chili!"... I am in love with the stuff!