Slow Cooker Cincinnati Chili cooks up the distinctive style of chili in your crock pot to put atop a pile of spaghetti buried in cheese.
Slow Cooker Cincinnati Chili
by Sue Lau | Palatable Pastime
Slow Cooker Cincinnati Chili is my recipe of the day with the blogging group Soup Swappers. We get together monthly to post our fav soup and stew recipes as a group, based on topic. Today we are sharing chili recipes to get ready for chili month.
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Since moving to Cincinnati from Dayton Ohio a few years ago now ago, I have become a huge fan of the local foodie favorite: Cincinnati chili. I have been making it for years as well as noshing on 5-way chili when we go out to any of our favorite chili establishments here.
Cincinnati Chili Spices:
- Chili Powder
- Black Pepper
- Cayenne Pepper
- Ground Cloves
This, after all, is not a typical chili, but one born of Greek flavors and sensibilities. It is not meant to taste like a Texas bowl of red, not meant to be compared. They are two quite different animals, and each deserves to be taken on their own merit. And as Mediterranean-come-Middle Eastern food is concerned, Cincinnati chili tastes exactly right. Each chili for its own purpose and place, and nobody need feel threatened that one will displace the other. The world, as we know it, chili lovers, needs all the chili we can muster!
Slow Cooker Cincinnati Chili
History of Cincinnati Chili:
Cincinnati chili was born in the ‘Nati, made by an immigrant from Kastoria Greece who came to the city and subsequently worked as a cook at Empress Chili, a long time Cincinnati establishment. At some point, Nicholas Lambrinides, the immigrant, opened his own restaurant serving chili using the recipe he developed that reflected his Greek culinary heritage. That restaurant, Skyline Chili, was so named because it was located on a ridge that overlooked the city of Cincinnati, which rolls with scattered hills near the Ohio river, near Kentucky and Indiana.
Since that time, in 1949, the chili has been oft duplicated (even by myself right here) and enjoyed by many.
The Ways of Cincinnati Chili
This is a chili that will bring up a bit of controversy as to whether spaghetti or beans belongs with chili. But let’s be perfectly clear: serving this chili that way is only one way of many ways. It is perfectly acceptable to eat this naked in a bowl. Perhaps with a splash of Louisiana hot pepper sauce and a few oyster cracks.
There are many ways to serve Cincinnati chili, as I am sure you have heard. There is the 3-way, 4-way, 5-way, and now even a 6-way (following Guy Fieri’s visit to Blue Ash chili for his show Diner’s Drive-Ins and Dives, which tops the spaghetti with another final ingredient: deep-fried jalapeno pepper rings). But I will sum the ways up for you here, so you can enjoy this any way you wish:
1-way: Naked Bowl of chili, no beans, no nuttin’ (but meat in chili sauce)
2-Way: Chili with cheese or chili with spaghetti
3-Way: Chili, cheese and spaghetti
4-Way: a 3-Way with onions or beans added
5-Way: a 4-way with onions and beans
6-Way: a 5-way with topped with crispy jalapeno coins
Here in the ‘Nati we don’t even stop there. Try Cincinnati chili inside a tortilla to make a burrito, on top of a loaded baked potato, on top of Coney dogs, on French fries for chili-cheese fries, over omelets or hash browns at breakfast, or simply in a bowl without the noodles altogether.
And to top all of it off, serve any of this with the traditional oyster crackers and Franks hot sauce for the full effect.
Whichever way you like it, I am sure you will enjoy this recipe, even if you’re a down home Texan. (if you’d just give it a try!)
Getting Ready for National Chili Day
- A Day in the Life on the Farm: Chicken Chile Verde
- Karen’s Kitchen Stories: Instant Pot Spicy Turkey Chili
- Sneha’s Recipe: Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Bell Pepper Soup
- Magical Ingredients: Garbanzo Chili Verde
- Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice: Turkey, Stout, & Sweet Potato Cincinnati Chili
- Our Good Life: Six Can Chili
- Palatable Pastime: Slow Cooker Cincinnati Chili
Other Cincinnati Recipes You might also like:
Heirloom and Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese and Arugula (Maisonette Restaurant)
Heirloom Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese and Arugula is a simple and delicious recipe from the former Maisonette restaurant of Cincinnati.
Chicken Schnitzel with Dunkelweizen Sauce (Mecklenburg Gardens Restaurant)
Chicken Schnitzel with Dunkelweizen Sauce tops crisp schnitzel chicken with a lemony artichoke-caper sauce flavored with German Dunkelweizen beer.
Hanky Panky (Retro Cincinnati Local)
Hanky Panky is a traditionally Cincinnati style appetizer with meat and cheese on toast that is also sometimes called a Polish Mistake.
Sauerkraut Cabbage Rolls (St. Augustine’s Church; Waynesville Ohio)
Sauerkraut Cabbage Rolls, made in a slow cooker, are styled after the cabbage rolls made at the Waynesville Ohio Sauerkraut Festival.
Green Lantern Pizza (Dewey’s Pizza from Cincinnati Metro/Oakley)
Vegetarian pizza with red sauce, mozzarella, goat cheese, artichokes, mushrooms, pesto and garlic.
Slow Cooker Cincinnati Chili
Slow Cooker Cincinnati Chili
- 1 slow cooker
For the Chili:
- 2 pounds lean ground beef
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 rib celery (chopped)
- 1/2 red bell pepper (diced)
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon mild paprika
- 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa
- 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 1-1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 28 fluid ounces tomato puree
- 1-1/2 cups beef broth
For the 5-Way:
- 16 ounces thin spaghetti or vermicelli (cooked and drained)
- 2 cups dark red kidney beans
- 1/2 cup minced onion
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese (finely shredded)
- oyster crackers (optional)
- Frank's hot pepper sauce (optional)
- Brown beef in a skillet with the onion, celery, red bell pepper, and garlic until cooked and crumbly; drain off any excess fat.
- Place meat into the slow cooker.
- Add the chili powder, sugar, paprika, cocoa, cinnamon, cumin, allspice, salt, pepper, cloves and ground red pepper to the meat, stirring to mix.
- Stir in the vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, tomato puree, and beef broth and stir again.
- Cover cooker and cook on low for 8 hours.
- Serve chili on a bed of spaghetti with desired toppings or other presentation you choose.
- Serve with oyster crackers and hot sauce if you like.
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This post has been updated from January 18, 2015 to reflect new photography.
I love chili, and have heard of Cincinnati Chili and never had it. I need to get on this!
Be prepared for the different flavors- it is more akin to moussaka than Texas style chili. But oh so good!
This is one of those dishes that as we drive through Ohio (Im a Michigan girl) I always want to stop and try, but never have. I am going to make up a pot and finally know what Ive been missing. Yum!
Always good to be able to make your own recipe of anything. If you do get down here, we like SKyline and Blue Ash chili.
I’m a fan of all sorts of chilis! I’ll take a bowl of your 3-way, please 🙂
Comin’ right up! 🙂
Chili over spaghetti – who would have thought . . .
Not just the idea of chili mac, but the spices are a real departure–way in the direction of Greek foods such as moussaka if you like that sort of thing. We love it! ~s
I was hoping someone would make Cincinnati Chili. Saving this so I can make it soon.
I hope you enjoy! ~s
There used to be a restaurant here, Skyline Chili. It was the only place we could get delicious Cincinnati Chili. Now there’s Hard Times. But, this recipe looks super tasty and I won’t have to go out for good Cincy chili. YUM!
Great thing about the ‘nati is that you can’t throw a rock without hitting a chili parlor. 🙂
I never knew there was so many ways to do Cincinnati Chili! This looks so good!
There are a few more if we get into breakfast foods. Between ‘Nati chili and goetta it is quite an array of unusual foods. ~s
This looks EXACTLY like the traditional Cincinnati chili I’ve had before! YUM!!! Great photo!
Thanks! Tastes pretty darm close too, if I must say so myself. ~s
I’d take Cincinnati chili just about any way! Especially with the jalapenos on top.
I’ve had the one with the jalapeno coins, and being a bit of a chile head, you can imagine how much I loved it!
Well, I am a native Texan and I love Cincinnati Chili! I also love a good Texas bowl o’ red, but I say they can peacefully coexist! Along with New Mexico’s pork chili – that stuff is delicious too. I’ll admit to still being a bit fuzzy about how all the numbered ways to order it works, but I think it’s so yummy. I love that you made yours in the slow cooker!
Glad we agree that there is always room for every kind of chili (until we are so stuffed we can’t take another bite!)
Well I live right next door to you (Michigan) and have never heard of this chile with Mediterranean flavors but you can be sure that I am going to try it!!!
I hope you like it! ~s
My mother used to make Cincinatti Chili and we’re from Chicago. Great stuff. You’re looks fantastic!
I’ll take a 6 way oh my yumminess! I love all the spices!
Too many choices! I’ll start with a 3 way and work my way up! 😉
Made this delicious chili today in my crockpot. Loved the idea of serving this thick and hearty chili on top of spaghetti noodles. Nancy : )
I loved this recipe when you first posted and wanted to make it and then it slipped my mind. I’m printing it out this time so I don’t forget again.
Last time I posted the cheese melted when I was taking pictures. *rofl* I made sure I avoided that this time. I grated the block cheese in the food processor with the fine shred disk so it has the proper height like Skyline. It is a cheese bomb.
Sounds amazing and spot on flavors! I would love to make a vegetarian version of the same and would it with spaghetti or as such! YUM!