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Crock Pot Cincinnati Chili

Crock Pot Cincinnati Chili

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CrockPot Cincinnati Chili. We are huge fans of Cincinnati style chili. It's so good and so easy to make.

Barry and I are huge fans of Cincinnati style chili. It’s GOOD stuff, man. It’s not your typical chili…it’s got a different taste to it – and you eat it with NOODLES. Being such a big proponent of all things noodle, I was destined to love this dish. Noodles and me, we’re tight.

Don’t be thrown off by the cinnamon in this dish…it’s special. I like special food. That’s because I’m special. Yep – I said it.

CrockPot Cincinnati Chili. We are huge fans of Cincinnati style chili. It's so good and so easy to make.

Ground venison

I bought a Cincinnati cookbook when I was visiting my relatives up there (Hi Amy and Ben!) just so I could have a genuine Cincinnati chili recipe. There are different ways and styles with it – if you eat at Skyline Chili, you’ll notice a different flavor than if you eat at Gold Star Chili.

Barry and I prefer Skyline.  I adapted the recipe in the cookbook to be made in the crock pot…it’s also adapted just a bit based on what I have on hand at the house. Oh yeah – and I used venison instead of beef…cause that’s how I roll. Booya.

CrockPot Cincinnati Chili. We are huge fans of Cincinnati style chili. It's so good and so easy to make.

Kitchen help

Annie has this thing with stirring…if I am stirring in the kitchen and she’s somewhere else, she can hear it…and she comes running. It’s a sixth sense with her. Anyway, I let her help me stir this before cooking it. She did well…and then I laid down the camera and she sloshed some over the side. She’s a rambunctious stirrer like her Mama.

CrockPot Cincinnati Chili. We are huge fans of Cincinnati style chili. It's so good and so easy to make.

My noodle is cooked!

You can use whatever type of noodles you want to use. I used whole wheat linguine…because I like flat noodles. I’m weird like that. I like angel hair pasta too – but I didn’t have any. Sad. Actually, I like all pasta, who am I kidding? If it’s pasta, I’ll eat it. Amen.

When your chili is done, boil the noodles – you want them to be nice and hot when you slop that chili on them. Oooooooh baby!

CrockPot Cincinnati Chili. We are huge fans of Cincinnati style chili. It's so good and so easy to make.

Beautiful noodles!

Now, here’s the thing. Cincinnati Chili can be served 5 ways. This dish is considered 5 Way Chili because that’s how we roll.

1 Way = Plain Chili

2 Way = Pasta with Chili

3 Way = Pasta, Chili, and Cheese

4 Way = Pasta, Chili, Cheese, and Kidney Beans

5 Way = Pasta, Chili, Cheese, Kidney Beans, and Onions

CrockPot Cincinnati Chili. We are huge fans of Cincinnati style chili. It's so good and so easy to make.

Chili on noodles

I just threw the beans and onions in the crock with the meat to cook. The cheese and pasta come later.

Start off by putting your noodles in the bottom of a bowl. Add your chili on top…look at that beautiful steam!

CrockPot Cincinnati Chili. We are huge fans of Cincinnati style chili. It's so good and so easy to make.

Top with cheese

Put cheese on the top of that and you have 5 Way Chili! If one of the ways doesn’t float your boat, just leave them out. But really…5 Way is the best. I know what I’m talking about.

It’s beautiful man. Just beautiful. NOTE: This might not be the best dish for you to eat if you’re nursing an already gassy baby. Ahem. *Cough* BUT, it just might be worth it…..

For daily meal inspiration, follow @stacymakescents on Instagram.

CrockPot Cincinnati Chili. We are huge fans of Cincinnati style chili. It's so good and so easy to make.

Comment Policy: I love hearing your thoughts and input on what I write. Since I write about what works at my house, what pleases my handsome hubby and darling children; I'm sure we'll disagree sometimes. In those cases, do what's right for you and yours. As with any form of communication, please only post comments that move the discussion in a positive direction.

About Stacy

Stacy is the author of Crock On: A Semi-Whole Foods Slow Cooker Cookbook and Keep Crockin': A Poorganic Slow Cooker Cookbook, and a stay-at-home and homeschooling mom to her three children, Annie (June 2009), Andy (August 2012) and Eli (September 2014). After an “awakening” in March 2011, her family switched to a more natural, whole foods diet. She likes to blog about how to live on less than you make and how to eat good food while doing it. Her passion is teaching others how to save money and she tag teams with her husband in this endeavor. At Stacy Makes Cents you’ll find information on how to save money in the kitchen, how to have fun with your kids, and how to be thrifty in all areas of life. Her passion is teaching others how to live debt free. Make sure to follow her on Facebook, Youtube, Pinterest and more to keep up with her daily antics.


  1. Printed and in the menu book! Sounds yummy. :-)

  2. Cynthia Combest says:

    Now this looks great! I will try it. I love pasta too.

  3. So this is awesome. My in-laws (and clearly my husband) are all from Ohio and they RAVE about skyline chili. So I am going to surprise them with this. They always talk about 5 way whatever and I never got it. So now I can surprise them with this for my next Saturday night family dinner :) You rock :)

    • Oh no!!!!!!!!!!! You’re making my food for the in-laws?! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! I can’t take that pressure – I really can’t.

  4. Girlfriend, I am loving the way you roll! 5 way chilli, I am so doing this THIS WEEKEND! Thank you for sharing. I’ve not been reading your blogs for very long, but you certainly feel like your one of my girls from “back in the day” do keep up the good work, and thank you :o)

  5. My husband lived in Cincinnati for 8 years and this is something I HAD to learn how to cook when we got married. Made him happy!! Glad to have a crock pot version to try. Thanks for sharing!! hugs to you and your new baby

  6. Pinning this one! I lived in Columbus, OH for about 8 years and we used to love going to Skyline! Can’t wait to try this recipe. :)

  7. Oh I love chili on angel hair. Too bad we’ve yet to find a Gluten free angel hair :( I need to go back to looking for some!

      • Stacy, you seriously rock :) Now that I see the one brand I think they carry that brand at our sprouts, and we’re going there this weekend, so I’ll see fi they have the angel hair. The thing with gluten free is that you need to try it once before stocking up because it might not taste good!

        • I bought some of the Tinkinyada (sp?) but I have not tried it yet – I was curious since I knew that’s what you had to eat. :-)

      • Technically, it’s what my husband has to eat :) I’m glad he’s just intolerant to gluten and not celiac because I can still keep regular flours and pasta on hand for our toddler- helps stretch the budget a bit since we’re not buying enough gluten free for all of us! And our son doesn’t like the gluten free pasta anyways!

        Fortunately for us, our local store, HEB carries it’s own brand of gluten free pastas, which is what we’ve been using and it’s only $2 for 12 ounces- compared to the others we’ve seen, that’s not a bad price at all. BUT there are only 3 choices- regular spaghetti, spirals and a twisty type pasta. It’s a corn and rice blend and tastes very similar to regular pasta- except it tastes horrible warmed up! And don’t even think about making a pasta salad ahead of time with it- yuck!

      • I haven’t tried that kind before, so the first time around, maybe make a little extra to see if that kind is good leftover, but don’t expect it to taste as well when you try warming it up (have a backup for lunch, if you know what I mean!). It MIGHT taste fine the second time around but certainly don’t make it all the first time! Then you’ll know in future if it warms well. The brand we buy doesn’t, but we only tried one other brand before settling on our brand. Let me know how it goes!

  8. What is the non-crockpot version?

  9. Pinned it and making it for dinner tonight :)

  10. I was just browning some venison when I read this-really! It’s cooking now and I’m going to trust you on the cinnamon /allspice thing. Thanks!

  11. krista grandstaff says:

    I’m from Cinci…and I make this almost the same way, but I add a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder to it along with the cinnamon and allspice.. :)

    I’m in Texas now, and you would think I was feeding them poison…LOL..

    Everyone has their quirks!

    • I’ve added the cocoa powder too, but we prefer it without. :-) We’re weird like that.

      • Thanks for all the great recipes!! I’m from Cincinnati and have made this chili quite a bit and am always excited to see it get out into the world! Your recipe is very similar to mine though the quantities vary a little. Mine also calls for 1 t. cumin (which I always add b/c it’s the best spice in the world), 1/4 t. clove, 1/2 t. cayenne, and a bay leaf. I’ve never added cocoa powder, so don’t know how it compares, but do always add a half ounce of bittersweet baking chocolate to my chili, which def adds authenticity (I’m a Skyline girl, myself, but you should also check out Price Hill Chili when you’re in town next time – they are the original). I think I’m going to make this tomorrow. Thanks for the inspiration!

        • We’ve tried the cocoa in there…but I wasn’t really a fan, so that’s why I left it out. I didn’t see Price Hill when I was there! I’ll keep an eye out. :-) Thanks!

  12. Thanks, Stacy! I was in a dinner funk this week, didn’t follow my menu because nothing sounded good. You know what I mean about those menus?? Since I didn’t follow my plans, this is what I’m cooking tonight, and it DOES sound good!

    • I hope you like it! Now I’m nervous…..

      • I made it last night…really tasty! I cut the chili powder down to 2T. Had to serve it with asian rice stick noodles because it was the last gluten-free pasta alternative in the pantry. Not a bad combination. The recipe’s a keeper, the fam liked it!

  13. WOW!!!!! An actual homemade recipe for Cincinnati Chili! We used to have this when I was a kid, but we would have to get the packet of seasonings whenever we went to Cincinnati. Thanks!

  14. It’s in the crock pot now! I’ve only had Cinnci chili once, at Skyline, and I loved it. My husband always raved about it when he was on the road. So I’m surprising him with this tonight! I’ve never attempted making it before, but something tells me I can trust you! Can’t wait till dinner :-)

  15. Deborah Williams says:

    The chili looks great-but it looks beautiful in your blue Currier and Ives dish. I have the same set handed down to me by an aunt and have since collected several serving pieces. Country cooking and collecting antique country dishes are both passions for me. We live on a farm here in central VA and my husband keeps us in venison can t wait to try this recipe.

  16. Oh man, you are SO right about Cincinatti Chili being the best chili every! It’s the only kind of chili we make at our house! Love it!
    But, I’m super excited to try this because my recipe has Brooks Chili Hot Beans in it – and have you looked at the ingredients on those?! Not good! So I’d love to make it without using the canned chili beans, and in the crockpot – even better!

  17. This looks really yummy. I usually make chili around the fall of the year. I will have to try this recipe. Thank you! :)

  18. I live in Oklahoma and we’ve always referred to these as 3 ways. Chili, beans and spaghetti. Yum! Serve with a generous topping of shredded cheddar cheese.

  19. I made this for dinner last night. It was tasty, but I missed the oyster crackers and spicy sauce from Skyline. Since there’s plenty left over, I’ll be scouting out the crackers tonight. Any chance you know how to make their spicy squeeze bottle sauce?

  20. Ooo, I hadn’t thought to make Cincinnati chili in a crock pot… why didn’t I think of that? That’s why you’re writing the blog and not me! THANK YOU. Your recipe is different than mine. Mine includes unsweetened cocoa powder, and a bit of cumin and cayenne pepper (some like it hot, altho I back off the cayenne quite often!). Here’s the link if you’d like to try it: ENJOY!

  21. I’m making this now and didn’t read the directions very well at first! I was going to cook it while I was gone so the kidney beans will be added very late. If I add them earlier, would they taste bad, or lose texture? If I added them before I leave, they will be in for 5 hours. Thanks for any info! I’m a Cincinnati girl and I’m excited to taste this!

  22. Great idea! I love making chili (and we’re in Cincinnati and love our Cinci chili), but haven’t thought about making it in a crock pot.

    We also like ours with a dollop of minced garlic under the cheese. When I make it for my kids (and how mom made it for us when we were kids), we do an immersion blender on the beans — THEY DON’T KNOW THEY ARE THERE AND SO THEY EAT THEM, hahahahahahaha, we’re so tricksey like that.

    • Oooooooh, you are the sneaky one! :-)

    • Terry Ann says:

      I have a dear friend that used to blend raisins in her food processor for that yummy cinnamon filling inside her home-made cinnamon rolls! Her kids hated raisins but would scarf up those rolls…they never knew! She did the same thing with vegetables in spaghetti sauce!

  23. Marilyn (Ohio) says:

    After reading through your recipe, where is the 1 oz. block of unsweetened chocolate? I use a recipe from the Cincinnati Magazine, that is a compilation of several different recipes they put together. I think almost all recipes for this wonderful dish call for chocolate…..(how could THAT be wrong!)

  24. Brittany McClure says:

    Growing up in Cincinnati I have eaten this my while life, but your missing one ingredient…..cocoa!!! And a four way is either kidney beans or onions….

    • Ha!!! I get so many comments about the cocoa. I should have made a note in the recipe. We actually prefer it without the cocoa – that’s why I didn’t include it. :-)

  25. Next time you’re in cinci, hop across the river & try Dixie Chili! It blows gold star & skyline out of the water. I didn’t believe it til my native KY hubby took me 😉 any of the little local chili places are SO good!

  26. A 4 way can be with beans or with onion! Just had a 4 way bean at Skyline last night! A 5 way is with both beans and onion! Just sayin’!!

  27. when making Cincinnati chili, the meat is never browned. it’s boiled. major fail!

  28. Susan Timmel Jones says:

    Never brown the meat, put it in the water, spice and liquid mixture and break up with your hands. That is how you get the fine texture of real Cincinnati chili! Yum!

  29. Dianne Gerrity says:

    I don’t like to cook so made this recipe because my husband likes to eat. It really didn’t go over well. Apparently my family doesn’t believe in cinnamon in chili.

  30. Brant - from CINCINNATI says:

    I just made this recipe and it is inedible as written. The dog wouldn’t even eat it, and he eats poop when given the chance. There has to be a mistake – I think it should be 4 teaspoons of chili powder, not 4 tablespoons.

    • Sorry you didn’t enjoy the recipe. We (and others, based on the comments) are fine with the 4 tbsp of chili powder, but I changed it to reflect your feedback. If you try it again with the lesser quantity, let us know how it turns out!

  31. Kimberly from Kentucky says:

    I’ve made this twice now. As written and then changed a bit for our tastes and both times it was consistently good. No, it’s no Skyline. However, it is the best recipe I’ve found. We’ve now changed it to make it a healthier option by substituting ground turkey for the beef and wheat noodles for the pasta. We keep the 4tbsp of chili powder because we like the kick. I found it to be delicious and I am so glad you shared it. Prior to finding this recipe I was on the verge of giving up finding a recipe I could make no matter where in the world we live. Now I have one. Thank you so very much!!

  32. Wendy Bryant says:

    We LOVE skyline chili. When we are close we will go out of our way to find a Skyline!! Thank you for the recipe!!!

  33. ouraislinn says:

    ok lived in cinci for 5 years, each chili place has different special ingredient, cinnamon, bittersweet chocolate (not cocoa), and red pepper cayenne. Mine has all three. updated to add more veggies, tomatoes, mixed beans, etc. Its great to experiment. (yes the hamburger is supposed to be boiled, but I fry mine.)

  34. Leah McClain O'Connell says:

    This tastes so much like the “real thing” that it’s CRAZY!! I didn’t have Worcestershire so I used soy sauce with brown sugar…..OMG!!!!! C R A Z Y good!!

  35. Leah McClain O'Connell says:

    One more thing….I did about 4 or so TEASPOONS of chili powder.

  36. Hey, sweetie, love your page, it is great, but this recipe, it is not Cincinnati Chili. :) Cincinnati Chili is only served over spaghetti, and Cincinnatians are very emphatic about that. The meat is boiled, not fried, I’m afraid. Also, Cincinnati Chili contains chocolate. Got to have it. Also, it should be 2 quarts of water, not 2 cups. Cincinnati chili is runny. I see you’re a Christian. My grandfather pastored the same church in Cincinnati for 52 years, until his death. Anyway, here’s a pic of our favorite Cincinnati chili spot, Delhi Chili. Our family has been going there (four generations) since the 1960’s. :)

    • This is my version of it. 😉 Been to Cinci many times and I really like it there. But of all the chilies we had there, we like this the best.
      Thanks for your comment!

    • Thanks DP, I’ve seen so many recipes for Cincinnati Chili, I often see the meat browned. The meat must be boiled. Add more water to the crock pot, crumble the raw meat in followed by all the other ingredients. I grew up in Delhi.

  37. Cincinnati Chili not all natural it has Worcestershire sauce which has MSG in it.

    • Not the one in my fridge. But feel free to move along to another recipe that is more fitting to your tastes. :-) I’ve seen bunches of options on Pinterest.

  38. I love that you love our Chili!! It is awesome! I made some today! I just started making it with lentils instead of beef too! It’s awesome! To any vegetarians out there!!! (I’m not! Lol)

  39. My husband is a big Gold Star Chili fan and we just started clean eating (I actually prefer to call it cleanER eating–we are doing 80/20). Anyway, we tried this last night and it was a hit! We used the original amount of 4 tbsp chili powder. I started with the smaller amount, but it was nowhere near enough to get that authentic Cincinnati chili taste. My super picky eater of a husband thanks you for one more recipe to add to our clean eating rotation! And all 4 of our kids liked it too!

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