Skyline Chili Recipe

skyline chili recipe

Skyline Cincinnati Chili (Copycat Recipe)

skyline chili recipe

Copycat Skyline Cincinnati Chili recipe topped with ground beef and cheddar cheese. Make this Midwestern favorite at home for a fraction of what it costs at the restaurant!

Prep: 10min

Total: 1h20min

Yield: 10-12

Nutrition Facts: calories 242 cal


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 2-3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 ounce grated unsweetened chocolate, or 2 3/4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons instant minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper or cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 bay leaf or 1/8 teaspoon bay leaf powder
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Chopped onion, optional
  • Kidney beans, optional


  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, add ground beef and onions. Saute until onions are translucent and beef is no longer pink. Drain.
  2. Reduce the heat to low and pour the beef stock. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Mix in the tomato sauce, chili powder, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, unsweetened chocolate or cocoa powder, minced garlic, cinnamon, cumin, salt, red or cayenne pepper, allspice, cloves, and bay leaf or bay leaf powder. Simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour.
  4. Remove the bay leaf (if using) and spoon off the layer of grease on the surface.
  5. Serve over spaghetti noodles or on top of hot dogs. Top with cheese and other optional toppings. Enjoy!

Copycat Skyline Cincinnati Chili

skyline chili recipe

Homemade copycat Skyline Cincinnati chili… unique and flavorful, this regional delicacy is easy to make at home for way less than the restaurant charges!

Prep: 5min

Total: 95min

Yield: 6

Serving Size: 1 serving

Nutrition Facts: calories 171 kcal, Carbohydrate 7 g, Protein 21 g, Fat 6 g, Saturated Fat 2 g, Cholesterol 58 mg, Sodium 590 mg, Fiber 1 g, Sugar 3 g, servingSize 1 serving


  • 5 cups water
  • 6 oz can of Tomato paste
  • 1/2 oz baking chocolate (unsweetened – I use Baker’s brand)
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, (or less, depending on your desired heat level)
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/4 lb lean ground beef


  1. Add the water to a large pot. I like to use my dutch oven for this.
  2. Add the tomato paste and chocolate and heat over medium heat stirring to combine for about 3 minutes. (I stir with a whisk to really break up the tomato paste)
  3. Add chili powder, cinnamon, garlic powder, cumin, allspice, cloves, red pepper flakes, black pepper, salt, sugar and vinegar.
  4. Next, crumble the raw ground beef into the pot with your fingers, then use a potato masher, whisk or fork to break up the meat into very fine pieces.
  5. Turn heat to high to bring to a boil.
  6. Once boiling, turn the heat down to med-low.
  7. Cook, uncovered, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, at a low boil.. stirring occasionally until sauce has thickened quite a bit.
  8. Serve over thin spaghetti or a hot dog.

Skyline Chili Recipe (SECRET INGREDIENTS) | Copycat Skyline | Copycat Recipe


What does skyline put in their chili?

Unsweetened Chocolate or Cocoa Powder – The secret ingredient that makes Skyline chili a cut above the rest. Chocolate or cocoa powder enhances the flavor of chili like no other. Cinnamon, Cumin, Allspice, Cloves, Red or Cayenne Pepper, and Bay Leaf – These warming spices make chili more cozy and comforting.

What kind of beans are used in Skyline Chili?

Description: This classic Cincinnati dish starts with a foundation of spaghetti noodles coated in Skyline’s secret blend of seasonings. A heaping spoonful of kidney beans goes on next, followed by Skyline’s “original, secret-recipe chili,” some chopped onions and a heaping mound of finely shredded aged cheddar.

What makes Cincinnati chili different?

Traditional red chili often includes cumin, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder, though it’s not limited to these spices. Cincinnati chili, on the other hand, has a sweeter edge with spices like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice. Some recipes also use cocoa powder.

Does Skyline add chocolate to their chili?

Skyline founders say their secret ingredient is: chocolate! the secret since no hint of chocolate is present.

About the author

Helen is an author and editor at, who has a passion for writing about recipes. She loves to experiment with different ingredients and cooking techniques to create delicious and unique dishes.

Among all the foods, pizza holds a special place in her heart, and she loves exploring different variations and toppings to create the perfect slice. Through her writing, Helen hopes to inspire others to get creative in the kitchen and share their love for food with the world.

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