Photo: Iain Bagwell; Styling: Ginny Branch 
Hands-on Time
25 Mins
Total Time
25 Mins
Serves 4

Cincinnati chili is a unique style that includes sweet seasonings like cinnamon and chocolate and is served over spaghetti. If you like pungent touches, you can sprinkle some chopped raw onion on top.

How to Make It

Step 1

Cook spaghetti according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain.

Step 2

While spaghetti cooks, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and garlic to pan; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add beef; cook 4 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Add chili powder and next 5 ingredients (through cinnamon); sauté 30 seconds. Add stock and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in beans; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Stir in vinegar. Arrange about 2/3 cup spaghetti on each of 4 plates; top each serving with 1 cup chili and 2 tablespoons cheese.

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Ratings & Reviews

altmegan's Review

June 02, 2014
Very good comfort food. I'm not a huge fan of chili unless it's really chunky, and I will try anything "served over spaghetti." I'd be willing to make it again because it's tasty and uncomplicated. Made a couple of changes to the recipe. I couldn't find unsalted chicken stock, so I used reduced sodium chicken broth instead and I forgot to add the vinegar at the end. Another note: If you like spicy chili, then this isn't your chili.

lperejma's Review

June 08, 2014

nancur's Review

April 16, 2014

LDombeck's Review

June 17, 2014
I've never had Cincy Chili, so I'm not sure how to compare. Mine turned out pretty soupy over the pasta. The flavor was good and spicy. I was glad I made it once, but won't do again.

sparklyredshoes's Review

May 04, 2014
This was very simple and was done in a pinch! It was good and i would make it again, but i would play with it a little bit to try to kick up the flavor. I accidentally substituted dark cocoa powder for the unsweetened because that is the one i had on hand.

preciousthings's Review

July 06, 2014
This was fast and easy for a weeknight meal and would be great for a pantry meal if you have frozen beef on hand. I used 8 oz of whole-wheat spaghetti instead of 6 and found it to be the perfect consistency (not too soupy.) I used 93%/7% ground beef which worked great, and when I calculated the nutritional information, came up with 488 calories/serving even with the extra 2 oz of spaghetti. I also added the cooked spaghetti to the pan with the chili and tossed it before serving rather than put the chili on top so everything was evenly distributed. Everything else,I kept exactly the same. (I did use a dark chocolate unsweetened cocoa powder rather than regular unsweetened cocoa powder and I liked it a lot.) Served this with a mixed green salad. It was good and I bet the leftovers will be great too after it sits for a while. As another reviewer said, this isn't spicy at all. If you want spice, add pepper flakes, hot sauce, chopped chiles, whatever.

PKFletcher's Review

July 27, 2014
I really liked this recipe and will make it again. I used ground turkey breast instead of ground sirloin and it came out great. I would definitely add more spice next time I make it.

brighteyes8's Review

May 29, 2014
I thought this was excellent, especially considering how easy it was to do -- it's a wonderful combination of flavors and textures and not too heavy. Made with Morton & Bassett chili powder (Cook's Illustrated top pick) and Hershey's cocoa and really think the good ingredients made a difference. Be sure to keep your spaghetti al dente. Served with a green salad and wine.

A Madison review

March 19, 2015
Very much enjoyed this.  Had previously used a boxed Cincinnati chili spice mix that is no longer carried in our local grocery so was delighted to find a recipe from scratch.  As a vegetarian, I substituted 1/2 pkg (6 oz) of "meat" crumbles for the ground sirloin and used my usual go-to, "Vegetarian No-Chicken Broth and also served it over whole wheat spaghetti.  I tend to use fire-roasted diced tomatoes for most recipes calling for diced tomatoes for enhanced flavor.  Looking forward to making it again!

Just ok

May 06, 2015
Cooking Light has so many great chili recipes.  This was ok, but nothing great.  I'll stick with the other ones I've saved over the years.