Light ‘n Easy Cincinnati Chili

Holy crap. Amazing dinner recipe to share with you all tonight! But I’ll get to that in a second…


Sorry to leave ya’ll hangin’ with no post this afternoon (Yes, I like to pretend that you all just impatiently wait at your computer screen for a “New Post” update everyday. I know I’m obnoxious, and obviously kidding, but hopefully you’ve caught onto that humor by now, tehehe).

I didn’t end up getting home from work until about 2:00pm this afternoon, and by the time I got in, all I wanted to do was eat something besides my arm and not worry about taking a picture of it. Actually, no pictures of food were taken today up until dinner, but if you’re curious…breakfast looked a little somethin’ like this and lunch looked a whole lot like this – random, snacky, and colorful.

Workout for today was another repeat of last Wednesday’s workout, using four sets instead of three again (yowsahs!), plus a Tabata class with about 60% effort…

Confession: Unless I really feel like sweating, if you’re not facing me with the move, then I’m probably not doing it. Winking smile


Alright, enough of that…let’s get to this DINNER.

If you guys remember, last week I mentioned that I was going to be participating in the BOLD Lean Beef Challenge. While I knew I wouldn’t be able to do a week straight of meals incorporating beef (because for one, I’d get bored, and two, I never cook dinner 7 nights a week…ever), I thought it’d be fun to try and have it two nights a week. Jay thought this was very fun.


Tonight, I decided to try a new-to-me recipe known as Cincinnati Chili. This is something I had never even heard of, really, but the ingredient list immediately captured my attention. Would you believe that there is cinnamon in there? And even cocoa powder?


I know. Wild, isn’t it? But seriously, this chili is totally up there on my list of favorites now, right next to Mal’s Famous Chili, of course.

So in the midst of my findings with this whole Cincinnati Chili thing, I also discovered that it is often ordered 5 different ways. Being my first attempt and all, I decided to hold off on the 5-way and opted for the 3-way: chili over spaghetti with cheese. Hubby got the real spaghetti because he won’t come within a foot of anything else, but I lightened my portion up a bit by serving it over a generous bowl of spaghetti squash. Wow oh wow…




I’m so excited there’s leftovers.


I’m already in my cozies for the evening (who am I kidding, I’ve been in them since about 2:05 this afternoon) and am ready to relax and *hopefully* get myself to bed at a decent hour. We’ll see how that goes.

Question for the Evening:

Am I the only one who has never heard of Cincinnati Chili? What rock have I been living under for these past 28 years?!?

Anyone out there ever had Cincinnati Chili?


  1. says

    I’ve heard of it … but I also lived in Ohio for almost 2 years. 😉 This looks super yummy. I really don’t ever get sick of chili recipes. I love it any time during the year, and with lots of different ingredients! :)

  2. Briana says

    My dad has made the BEST Cincinnati Chili for as long as I can remember! We always serve it over spaghetti, too. The only problem is that I can’t enjoy it now that I’m a vegetarian. I’m sure I can find a vegetarian substitution, but it won’t be the same as my dad’s!

  3. Annie says

    I do wait in front of the screen for you!! hahaha, I keep on checking my google reader! lol I love your blog :)

  4. says

    Yum! That looks really good, I have never heard of Cincinnati Chili. I would have to leave leave out the cinnamon.. I think I might be the only person who can not stand the smell or taste of cinnamon :) also, I would have never thought to serve it on spaghetti squash, great idea!

  5. says

    The Cincinnati chili recipes come from the fast food chain, Skyline Chili-originated in Cincinnati, Ohio-go figure! 😉 they’re all over Ohio and people are crazy about it there!

  6. Lauren says

    I believe Cincinnati Chili was created by Skyline Chili, a Cincinnati-based restaurant. It’s all the rage in southwest Ohio. I prefer the chili on a coney dog with lots of cheese!

  7. Allison says

    I live about 25 minutes south of Cincinnati on the other side of the Ohio River in Kentucky. I’ve only been here for a few years, but I quickly discovered that Cincinnati style chili is a big deal around here, with Skyline and Gold Star being the big chain restaurants. You can spice it up with hot sauce. All the restaurants serve oyster crackers with the chili spaghetti too. The first time I tried it, I wasn’t sure if I liked it. Then I went through a period where I loved it. I don’t eat it anymore though. It just lost its appeal for me. Another food item you will only find in Cincinnati is goetta. It’s a mixture of oats, pork, and spices rolled into a log. You slice it and fry it in a skillet. Most people eat it for breafast. My dad makes a low fat version with ground turkey. It’s definitely an aquired taste! :)

  8. says

    Haha I have heard about it because I had to go to Kentucky/Ohio for work a year ago, but before that I had never heard of it!! I didn’t have it while I was there because it’s definitely not healthy how they make it but I would love to try it with lean ground beef!!

  9. Shelby says

    Yes! I’ve heard of it! I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, and I am not embarrassed to admit that I am a Skyline Chili-fanatic. It’s honestly an addiction, and since moving away from Cincinnati I’ve always made sure to bring back a can of skyline or two to have available in my pantry when cravings hit. Your version looks delicious as well!

  10. says

    I live 30 minutes from Cinci and have had Cincinnati chili all my life! The addition of cinnamon and cocoa is definitely strange, but once you try it you know how well the flavors go together. My favorite chain restaurant that serves chili in this style is Skyline. You have to order a three-way though, which is spaghetti, chili, and a pile of cheese!
    Jana @ Newly Wife Healthy Life recently posted..Double Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese-Buttercream Frosting

  11. Lily says

    i am a Cincinnati native and i love it…(skyline chili > gold star chili) but am so used to people who don’t live in Cincinnati HATING the chili because its so different! i’m glad to know we aren’t crazy haha! but it is amazing and is sooo good…everyone needs to try it!

  12. says

    Yes! I’m from KY so I’ve known about Skyline Chili (or your Cincy Chili) for a long time- and going to school in Ohio just intensified it. I have to say though that I never really wanted to eat it, but I’m tempted to make it at home now after seeing this!

  13. Annie says

    nope, never heard of it! I’ll have to try it! Cococa sounds a little weird but eh, I love trying new things so I’ll definitely make it!

  14. says

    I am from Cincinnati! The famous chili was invented by Skyline Chili and everyone in Cincy is nuts for it! I have so many childhood memories there as kid! I don’t go too often but occasionally I do go for their outstanding oyster crackers (unlimited with every meal). Next you should try “Skyline Dip”:
    Caroline recently posted..I’m Back!

  15. says

    I am from Cincinnati! The famous chili was invented by Skyline Chili and everyone in Cincy is nuts for it! I have so many childhood memories there as kid! I don’t go too often but occasionally I do go for their outstanding oyster crackers (unlimited with every meal). Next you should try “Skyline Dip”:
    You’d almost make people mad if you didn’t serve this at parties in Cincy!
    Caroline recently posted..I’m Back!

  16. Rachel says

    We actually have a place near us called Hard Times Cafe where you can order different kinds of chili, including Cincinnati. I usually get it four ways, with spaghetti, chili, cheese and sour cream! YUM :)

  17. Vicki says

    This is my first time commenting (love your blog), but I had to because I live near Cincinnati and Cincinnati Style chili is great! I’m so glad you liked it! The cocoa and cinnamon are certainly different, but definitely worth trying. My boyfriend and I make it a lot but we used ground turkey. Makes us feel a tiny bit better about covering the chili with cheese :)

  18. Kelley says

    I am from Cincinnati and only eat chilli this way. So glad to see you gave it a try! It’s yummy!!! Love your blog!!!

  19. says

    Kevin is from Cincinnati and we don’t pass up Gold Star (which is just like Skyline, but we are Gold Star lovers) whenever we go. It’s SO good! We haven’t tried making it at home for ourselves, but we definitely love getting it when we visit Ohio. :)
    Gabby recently posted..OXO Salad Spinner Giveaway Winner!

  20. says

    I LOVE Cincinnati Chilli! Ironically the only time I had it was during college when I lived outside Albany, Ny! No one in New England ever has heard of it and when I mention it has cinnamon the response is usually, “ewwww”. Yum yum yum!

  21. says

    I went to college just outside Cincinnati so of course I know about Cincinnati chili! I love chili 5-way so even though I don’t make traditional Cincy chili at home I always serve it over pasta with cheese. And, of course, include the onions and the beans :-)
    Erin recently posted..A New Balance

  22. Hannah R. says

    I just recently hear of Cincinatti Chili but have never tried it until tonight. I just made this. So good! I made mine with diced chicken because I didn’t have any ground beef on hand and it tastes great, thanks for sharing:)

  23. Melody says

    I grew up eating it. My mom called it skyline chili also, she worked at the Skyline restaurant, where it was made. Now I make it for my family. Our recipe is a bit different from yours. & now I make it with lean ground turkey or chicken. With all those spices you really can’t tell. I’m craving it now :) guess you know what that means :-)

  24. says

    That’s a cincinnati chili? That’s what we call spaghetti sauce in my parents’ house! Haha. From Poland.. I guess everyone makes things differently and sees them differently as well. Although you DID use it the way we do, except we use spaghetti noodles. Although not always.

  25. Laura says

    Yep, about to make this again!! This is my number one go-to recipe. Made with real beef for the hubby, fake ground crumbles for me! So bomb!!

    • Courtney says

      I’m so glad you’ve been liking it, Laura! I actually almost added it to our meal plan this week but think we’re going to have it next week instead. :)


  1. […] a recipe I like and is easy to make, I make it over and over again.  This is one of those recipes: Light ‘n Easy Cincinnati Chili.  The secret ingredients are cinnamon and cocoa powder.  Sounds weird, but this chili is amazing! […]

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