Slow Cooker Cincinnati Chili is packed with flavor, with a touch of cinnamon and spice. Serve topped with chopped onion and finely shredded cheddar cheese in the traditional style. I first made Cincinnati chili about four years ago after hearing several people from Cincinnati rave about it. A friend gave me a can of Cincinnati chili so I could try it, and I used that as a sample to come up with a version that was pretty close to it, but with a lot less salt.
It took a number of tries before I got the recipe very close to true Cincinnati chili. There are a lot of different spices and ingredients that work together to create the unique flavor profile for Cincinnati chili.
Although I could figure out the basic ingredients, it wasn’t until a Cincinnati chili enthusiast friend who is also an incredible food scientist told me the secret ingredients. He said there was probably a touch of cloves and vanilla in the chili, so I revised my original recipe and came up with this more flavorful Slow Cooker Cincinnati Chili.
This has become one of my family’s favorite recipes and my youngest son has requested it for his birthday dinner several times. Our family tradition has been that the birthday boy gets to choose whatever he wants for dinner. I remember making this Cincinnati chili with all the fixings for his 13th birthday several years ago. This chili freezes well, so don’t be afraid to make the whole recipe.
Slow Cooker Cincinnati Chili Recipe
- 3 pounds lean ground beef I used grass-fed
- 8 cups water
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 4 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons ground allspice
- 1/2-3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 8.8 ounces tomato paste Two 4.4ounce tubes
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 4 cups water
- cooked spaghetti
- fine shredded Cheddar cheese
- chopped onions
- cooked red kidney beans
- Place ground beef and water in a large pot, breaking up pieces. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 20 minutes. Drain meat and place in food processor; pulse until meat is a fine consistency (do not overprocess). Transfer to a slow cooker; add remaining ingredients. Cook on low for 8 hours.
- Spoon chili on top of cooked spaghetti and top with some shredded cheese, onion and kidney beans.
Nutrition facts are for chili only.