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A Nod to Skyline: Slow Cooker Cincinnati Chili

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting Cincinnati, Ohio, you’ve probably heard of or visited the famous Skyline Chili restaurant, home of, you guessed it, Skyline Chili. Skyline Chili is the restaurant’s signature dish. It’s a sweet-ish chili (they keep their recipe a secret) served over a bed of spaghetti with onions and a “mound” of shredded cheese. They even serve their top-secret cinnamon chili over hot dogs and in burritos. Are you hungry yet?

I’ve heard so much about this chili but had never tried it. I have visited Cincinnati once but never made it to Skyline (which I’m extremely upset about having now tried this Ohio delicacy).

The Test Kitchen is always looking for chili recipes to add to Hamilton Beach’s catalog and really, what’s better in the fall than a steaming bowl of chili? Apparently steaming chili served with pasta and topped with tons of cheese is better. Imagine that.

We took notes from Skyline’s tradition and served this semi-sweet (there’s a touch of cinnamon) chili over spaghetti and then topped the chili with freshly chopped, raw white onion and a pile of shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Make sure you have a few bags or blocks on hand. The more cheese the better when it comes to Cincinnati chili (and life, in my opinion).

Not only is this chili delicious, it’s comfort food like you’ve never had before. Serve Cincinnati chili as a filling family dinner or put it in front of a group of hungry football fans and prepare to transport directly to Skyline’s door.

Slow Cooker Cincinnati Chili

Yield: Serves 12
Author: Hamilton Beach Test Kitchen


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 pounds ground beef
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Cooked spaghetti
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Chopped white onion


  1. In a large skillet over medium-high, heat the oil.
  2. Add onion and garlic. Cook until onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in ground beef, cooking until browned, about 5 minutes. Drain fat if necessary.
  3. Add meat mixture to slow cooker crock with crushed tomatoes, broth, cider vinegar, chili powder, unsweetened cocoa powder, Worcestershire sauce, ground cumin, cayenne pepper, ground cinnamon, salt, black pepper, bay leaf and ground cloves.
  4. Cover slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 3 1/2 to 4 hours or LOW for 7 to 8 hours.
  5. Serve over cooked spaghetti with chopped onions and shredded cheddar cheese.

The travel-friendly design of the Set & Forget 6 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker secures contents en route to parties, potlucks, family gatherings and tailgating

More slow cooker recipes:



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  1. There should be no onion mixed in with the ground beef initially when cooking/frying. The only onion served with this should be the diced white onion that is an optional topping.

    Cincinnati born and raised.

  2. I went thru elementary school, Jr HIgh and High School in Cincinnati back in the 1950’s. I have a fondness for Cincinnati chili. I learned NOT to ever fry the ground beef or onion. The way I was taught the beef was cooked (gentle boil) in water, broken up fine with a fork….then in fridge overnight and degreased the next morning and then cook the next day with the sauces and spices. I like 4 way chili with the chopped raw onion on top when served…..not cooked with the meat.

  3. Right! The picture is correct. The onion is raw. Not sure how close this recipe is, we just go to Meijer and buy the canned version straight from Skyline.

  4. I have gotten the Cincinnati chili mix packets on ebay. Dump in crock pot and break up the ground turkey and let it cool on low several hours. Serve with sharp grated cheese and if course oyster crackers!

  5. Agree with the other comment about how the ground beef is cooked. You slow boil it. I live in cincy and make homemade Cincinnati style chili a lot.

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    a blog. Im endeavoring to kick start one on my website and
    I have to say
    its not easy at all. I do admire people like yourself who are
    able to reveal anything with ease. Keep up the nice work!

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