Tag Archives: chili

Cincinnati 5 Way Chili

I’m back with another great recipe for you all! This is something that my mom has made for years, and I was always excited to see it on the menu. If you’ve never been to Ohio or known anybody who has lived there, you probably haven’t heard of Cinnicinati 5 Way Chili. It’s a very unusual chili that has become famous at a restaurant in Ohio called Skyline Chili. Years and years ago, my mom saw the recipe in the newspaper and cut it out. Confession: I’ve never actually been to the restaurant that started it all!

Even though I loved this dish, I never tried to make it myself until a few weeks after I moved to Virginia. I’d always thought it would be too complicated and I didn’t have all the necessary ingredients. 5 way chili requires a lot of spices, which are expensive. When my mom was first married and would make this, she’d borrow the spices she didn’t have from her mom, who was also a fabulous cook. In fact, the original copy that she cut out of the newspaper still has her notes to herself about which spices she already had and which ones she had to borrow from her mom 🙂 So, keeping with tradition, my mom occasionally sends me “5 way Chili kits”, all the necessary spices premeasured and put in a plastic sandwich bag. Is she awesome or what?! In case you’re wondering, it’s called 5 way Chili because you can have it:

1 way (just the chili)
2 ways (the chili over spaghetti-I told you it was unusual!)
3 ways (over spaghetti with shredded cheddar cheese)
4 ways (over spaghetti with cheese, and chopped onions)
5 ways (over spaghetti with cheese, onions, and kidney beans)

Sound good? Well, here’s the recipe!

Cincinnati 5 Way Chili

You’ll Need:

1 lb ground beef or turkey

1 medium onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup water

1 cup BBQ sauce (I used Jack Daniels #7 recipe)

1 Tbs chili powder

1 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp tumeric

1/2 tsp allspice

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp ground coriander

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

1 tsp salt

1/2 oz unsweetened chocolate (I usually cut it in a few small pieces but it’s all going to melt anyway)

Optional: cooked spaghetti, shredded cheddar cheese, kidney beans, more chopped onion

my 5 way Chili Kit!


1. Cook onions, garlic and ground beef/turkey in a large pot until meat is thoroughly cooked

2. Drain any fat and return to pot

3. Add bbq sauce and water, bring to a boil

4. Add all the spices and chocolate, cover and simmer at very low heat for 30 minutes

5. serve with desired toppings and enjoy!

Note: There appear to be multiple versions of this recipe. if you google it, you get a version that is completely different from this one and calls for 4 hours of cooking and overnight refrigeration. Um, no thanks! i’ve never had 5 Way Chili at the actual restaurant, but I think this version tastes amazing!


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