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Cincinnati-Style Chili

Cincinnati is often called "The Chili Capital of America" for its 100+ chili parlors, all serving a version of Cincinnati's distinctive brand of chili. It's actually more a topping than a stew. Traditionally served over spaghetti or a hot dog, Cinicinnati chili is also unique in its eclectic blend of spices and the addition of unusual ingredients like cocoa (or chocolate) and molasses. Kidney beans, chopped onion, and grated cheddar cheese are the favored toppings, and oyster crackers and a bottle of hot sauce are served on the side. The good citizens of Cincinnati consume more than 2 million pounds of chili each year, and for good reason. Try out some Cincinnati chili yourself, and you'll be a fan, too.


  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 pounds ground beef
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 can (16 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 2 1/4 ounces Glace de Viande Gold® dissolved in 6 cups hot water
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 chipotle chili, minced
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • Cooked spaghetti
  • Cooked red kidney beans
  • Chopped onion
  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • Oyster crackers
  • Hot sauce


  1. In a heavy soup pot, cook the onions in the oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they are softened, 5-10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for one minute. Add the beef and cook, stirring and breaking up the lumps, until is thoroughly browned.
  2. Add the chili powder and remaining seasonings and cook the mixture for one minute. Stir in the tomato sauce, cocoa, molasses, diluted Glace de Viande Gold®, vinegar, and chipotle, and add salt and pepper to taste. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 1/2 hours, or until the chili is thickened but soupy enough to be ladled. The chili may be made up to 3 days ahead.
  3. To serve, ladle it over individual bowls of spaghetti and top with kidney beans, onion, and cheese, and with the crackers and hot sauce on the side.
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