Dutch oven chili recipe

Dutch Oven Cincinnati Chili


20 Min


3 Hrs



Deliciously hearty, this Cincinnati Chili is a unique chili recipe served over spaghetti and topped with cheese, onions or beans. Also great for chili dogs!

Cincinnati chili is a beloved American classic with a unique twist that sets it apart from traditional chili. It's a flavorful, hearty dish that's simmered to perfection in a Dutch oven.

Cincinnati chili, often referred to as "Cincy chili," is a culinary gem that hails from the heart of the Midwest. What makes it distinctive is its delightful melding of flavors, blending the comforting warmth of chili with a touch of Mediterranean influence. It's a dish that speaks to the city's rich immigrant history, with its origins dating back to Greek and Macedonian immigrants in the early 20th century. A Dutch oven is the perfect vessel to bring this concoction to life, as it allows the flavors to mingle and develop slowly, creating a chili that's both comforting and uniquely complex.

To embark on your Cincinnati chili adventure, gather your ingredients. You'll need ground beef, a mix of spices like cinnamon, allspice, and cloves (which provide that distinctive Cincinnati flavor), tomato sauce, water, and finely chopped onions. The secret is in the spices – they're what give Cincinnati chili its unforgettable aroma and taste. Start by browning the beef in your Dutch oven, breaking it into fine crumbles. Once it's cooked, add in the spices, onions, tomato sauce, and water, stirring gently to ensure everything is well combined. Then, cover your Dutch oven and let the magic happen as your kitchen fills with the intoxicating scent of Cincinnati chili simmering away.

As your chili simmers in the Dutch oven, it transforms into a mouthwatering concoction. The cinnamon, allspice, and cloves create a warm, fragrant backdrop for the savory beef and onions. This slow-cooking process allows the flavors to meld, intensifying the richness of the chili. It's this slow simmer that distinguishes Cincinnati chili from other varieties, giving it a unique, slightly sweet, and spicy profile. You'll find yourself drawn to the Dutch oven, lifting the lid every so often to marvel at the transformation taking place inside.

When your Cincinnati chili is ready, it's time to enjoy. Typically, it's served over a bed of spaghetti, creating a delightful dish known as a "three-way." Top it off with a generous sprinkling of finely shredded cheddar cheese, and you've got a "four-way." If you add diced onions or kidney beans, it becomes a "five-way." The beauty of Cincinnati chili is its versatility – you can customize it to suit your taste. As you take your first forkful, you'll experience a symphony of flavors and textures, the spices mingling with the creamy cheese and perfectly cooked spaghetti. It's a dish that's uniquely Cincinnati, yet universally adored, and cooking it in a Dutch oven is your passport to this delightful culinary journey.


2 lbs ground beef

2 cups beef broth

2 cups water

1 large onion, diced

1 - 15 oz can tomato sauce

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon all-spice

1 teaspoon cumin

3 Tablespoons chili powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 Tablespoon cocoa powder

2 bay leaves

3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 lemon, squeezed


Dutch Oven Cincinnati Chili

Step 1

In a large Dutch oven, add ground beef, broth and water, bring to a boil and stir your beef until it separates into little pieces, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes.

Step 2

Once beef is cooked, add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 2 1/2 hours or until thickened. Juice lemon over sauce and stir.

step 3

Serve over spaghetti or hot dogs.

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