With Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals poised to take the 50 yard line at Super Bowl LVI this upcoming Super Bowl Sunday, hometown Cincinnatians know there’s only one Super Bowl recipe anyone really needs to worry about – their beloved Cincinnati chili.
A meat lover’s dream, Cincinnati chili is a unique regional dish boasting an unexpected blend of spices resulting in a rich, meaty chili sauce that is served over spaghetti noodles. Yes, you read that correctly. Spaghetti noodles.
While it may sound odd to some, in Cincinnati this stuff is loved like no other. Included among the Smithsonian’s 20 most iconic foods in America, Cincinnati chili is a culture all it’s own.
What is Cincinnati Chili?
With decidedly Mediterranean roots, Cincinnati chili is a true delicacy blending cinnamon, allspice, cloves, cumin, nutmeg, and chili powder into a thin meat sauce prepared with ground beef and tomato paste.
The resulting meat sauce is nothing at all like the chili recipes you’ve encountered before. For starters, it’s not spicy at all, but rather features a rich, savory flavor profile that is more tangy than it’s southern counterparts.
In addition to finding it served at the many dozens of chili parlors around Cincinnati, you’re sure to find Cincinnati chili being served en masse during this weekend’s big game.
But how is Cincinnati chili served? We’ve got you covered.
How is Cincinnati Chili Served?
Most often, you’re likely to find Cincinnati chili served as a mass of delectable meat sauce smothering a bed of spaghetti noodles.
From there there are a variety of ways to top and serve Cincinnati chili, based on whether or not you want yours with cheese, beans, onions or all of the above.
- Cincinnati chili two-way – Spaghetti topped with chili
- Cincinnati chili three-way – Spaghetti topped with chili then sprinkled with shredded cheese
- Cincinnati chili four-way – Spaghetti with chili, cheese and the addition of kidney beans
- Cincinnati chili five-way – Spaghetti smothered in chili, cheese, beans and onion
While some chili parlors define their “ways” slightly different, the basis is essentially the same.
Spaghetti plus sauce, plus some combination of cheese, kidney beans and white onion. Not to forget the oyster crackers that many love sprinkled atop their Cincinnati chili!
Alternately, you’ll also find Cincinnati chili served over hot dogs, called coneys, then sprinkled with cheese and onions.
The Best Cincinnati Chili Recipes
Ok, now that you’re fully invested in all things Cincinnati chili, are you ready to give it a try? We thought maybe!
We’ve rounded up 9 of the best Cincinnati chili recipes on the internet according to home cooks across the country. Here are our picks:
Many favorite home recipes for Cincinnati chili include the addition of chocolate along with the cinnamon and other spices – this is one of them!
Created to evoke the beloved Cincinnati chili of Skyline Chili, a chain of Cincinnati-style chili parlors, you can now make this internet-winning chili at home.
This version of Cincinnati chili may just end up being your favorite because it’s adapted for the Instant Pot while keeping all the authentic flavor.
Ever the fans for a good Instant Pot recipe, we love that this version of Cincinnati chili is ready in under an hour!
A handy one-pot recipe, this Cincinnati chili is perfect served over spaghetti, like the others, or a favorite poured over hot dogs.
Once you’ve combined the beef, tomato and spices, it simmers for hours leaving the house smelling incredible.
Dump all the sauce ingredients into a pot and let them bubble together and you’ll have this delicious version of Cincinnati chili.
This recipe is also great for prepping ahead and sticking in the freezer! We love that vibe.
This Cincinnati chili recipe is highly rated but our favorite part is that it includes tips for making it in the slow cooker, Instant Pot or on the stove!
However you decide to make it, the blend of sweet yet savory spices will have you going for seconds.
We are suckers for a good slow cooker recipe, so obviously we have to celebrate this Crockpot Cincinnati chili.
This recipe is also a copycat for the famous Skyline Cincinnati chili so it’s sure to be a game day favorite with friends and family.
Served the traditional way, over spaghetti and piled high with shredded cheese, this Cincinnati chili recipe is a guaranteed win.
This variation includes the addition of cocoa powder and cumin for an incredible, savory flavor you’re going to love.
Another homage to the midwestern classic, this version of Cincinnati chili comes highly rated by those who have tried the recipe.
As always, don’t forget the beans, cheese and white onion for topping your spaghetti or hot dog!
Swapping out the cocoa powder or unsweetened chocolate of other Cincinnati chili recipes, this one features bittersweet chocolate.
Along with the chili powder and addition of cayenne pepper, the flavor combination is irresistible.
If serving a big plate of chili meat sauce over spaghetti isn’t your style for Super Bowl Sunday, we’ve got a bonus recipe for you.
This loaded Cincinnati chili dip boasts all the flavors of Cincinnati chili in scoopable form. Grab the tortilla chips!