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Cincinnati Turkey Chili

Cincinnati Turkey Chili

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This classic Cincinnati dish gets a healthy treatment by using turky. Try serving it over spaghetti for an unconventional way to enjoy chili.


Try adding hot sauce, chopped jalapeño or chipotle chili powder. Try adding a can of black beans or swapping the kidney beans for chickpeas or pinto beans.


  • 4 Ounces spaghetti
  • cooking spray
  • 8 Ounces lean ground turkey
  • 1 1/2 onions, chopped and divided
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 Teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 Teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 Cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • One 15-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • One 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 Cups shredded sharp Cheddar


Calories Per Serving449

Folate equivalent (total)73µg18%

Riboflavin (B2)0.3mg20.2%


2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground turkey (80 percent lean)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
12 ounces spaghetti
8 ounces shredded Cheddar
Thinly sliced green onions, for topping, optional

Recipe Summary

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 quart water, or amount to cover
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ (1 ounce) square unsweetened chocolate
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 5 whole allspice berries
  • 1 bay leaf

Place the ground beef in a large pan, cover with about 1 quart of cold water, and bring to a boil, stirring and breaking up the beef with a fork to a fine texture. Slowly boil until the meat is thoroughly cooked, about 30 minutes, then remove from heat and refrigerate in the pan overnight.

The next day, skim the solid fat from the top of the pan, and discard the fat. Place the beef mixture over medium heat, and stir in the onions, tomato sauce, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, chocolate, chili powder, salt, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, cloves, allspice berries, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 hours. Add water if necessary to prevent the chili from burning.

Recipe Summary

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound uncooked spaghetti
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup kidney beans
  • ½ cup olives
  • ¼ cup chopped onion

Brown beef and onion in a large skillet over medium high heat. Place browned mixture in a large pot and stir in the tomato sauce, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, cinnamon, vinegar, chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, over low heat for 1 1/2 hours.

When meat mixture has about 20 minutes cooking time left, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente drain and set aside.

Serve meat mixture over cooked spaghetti topped with cheese, beans, olives and chopped onion.

Cincinnati Turkey Chili - Recipes

Serving Size 2 tbsp dry mix

Servings 8

Amount Per Serving Calories 70 % Daily Value * Total Fat 2g 4 % Saturated Fat 1g 5 % Trans Fat 0g Cholesterol 0mg Sodium 5mg 1 % Potassium 244mg 7 % Total Carbohydrate 11g 4 % Dietary Fiber 5g 20 % Sugars 0g Protein 4g 8 % Vitamin A 8 % Vitamin C 2 % Calcium 4 % Iron 10 % Vitamin D 0 %

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Cincinnati Chili


1 quart cold water
2 lbs ground beef (I used 1 lb. each of ground round and ground chuck).
2 cups crushed canned tomatoes
2 yellow onions, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 whole bay leaf
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt


1. Put your ground beef in a food processor and pulse several times. Add beef and water to a 4-quart pot. Bring to a simmer while stirring until the ground beef is in very small pieces. Simmer for 30 minutes and add all the rest of the ingredients.

2. Simmer on low, uncovered, for 3 hours (longer is better, all day is best!). Add water as needed if the chili becomes to thick (I did need to do this several times, especially because I cooked mine all day).

3. Refrigerated the chili overnight, and the next day remove the layer of fat from top before reheating and serving (I really did not have any major fat to skim and I served it the same day).

Cincinnati Turkey Chili Spaghetti Squash Boats

There is no such thing as a mid-weekday that can’t be brightened up CHEESE. And chili. And squash. And more cheese.

Eat and repeat until Friday rolls around.

Friends, if you’ve been looking for a justifiable excuse to eat all the gooey cheese while at the same time staying semi-healthyish, I’ve totally got every reason you need here today.

It comes in the form of chili. Cincinnati-style chili made healthy by use of the exalted spaghetti squash. And cheese.

These squash boats. Guys, they are EVERYTHING. Everything you could ever ask of an innocent little spaghetti squash. Everything you could ever want in life. I’m freaking out over these, can you tell? There’s no slowing down a girl’s excitement over things like this.

And I’ve absolutely been counting down the seconds til just the right time to share them with y’all chili and cheese lovers. The time is NOW.

So my mom and I are not-so equally obsessed with these spaghetti squash boats. I tried to tell her that I love them more, but she insists that SHE loves them waaaay more than I do. Not likely, Mom.

The second time I made these last week was to photograph them, and since I do my photography in the mornings, they sat all day in the fridge in the basement unknown to everyone in the world except me. Except I nearly forgot that they were even there.

My mom and I decided to do the grocery shopping that afternoon and I swear, if I hadn’t noticed the spaghetti squash in produce aisle, I would have completely spaced out Mom’s and my new favorite dinner patiently waiting for us at home.

Once I realized this I was like, “MOM! Do you know what’s going to be our dinner tonight??”

“You made those squash boat thingies again, didn’t you.”

“Okay, split up so we can cover more ground faster. HUSTLE, Sarah! We need to get home!”

I’m not even kidding or exaggerating, guys. These spaghetti squash boats are really, really, really just all that awesome.

And you’re probably going to love them with all your heart and soul, but again, not even close to as much as Mom and I do.

Would it help my cause if I said pretty please make these squash boats NOW?? Mid-morning snack, lunch, dinner, dessert, midnight snack—it can totally fit into any of your desired meal categories.


In a large pot, heat up the olive oil on medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté until the onion is translucent.

Add all of the spices, salt and pepper and cocoa powder and stir to combine. Cook for 5 minutes, allowing the spices to toast up and release their aroma. Pour the water in the pan and use a wooden spoon to loosen the cooked spices from the bottom of the pan.

Add the meat to the pan and stir to combine. Sauté until the meat is browned through.

Add the tomato sauce and rice vinegar, stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer the chili for 1½ hours, stirring every 5-10 minutes (if you want to use a slow cooker, pour the complete mixture into your slow cooker after adding the tomato sauce and vinegar and set it on high for 3 hours).

When the chili is done cooking, you have a choice of serving styles. You can go the true Cincinnati 3-way, or take it West Coast and pour it over corn chips. For the Cincinnati 3-way, pour the chili over cooked spaghetti and top it generously with shredded cheddar cheese and diced onions. For West Coast, pour the chili directly in the bag of chips along with the cheddar cheese and onions and eat it right out of the bag.

Reader Interactions

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We love chili at our house! Have a HUGE collection and a board dedicated to chilis on Pinterest. Thanks for adding another one for me! Best Wishes for a Very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!

I have lived in Cincinnati for a long time and always on the look out for favorite recipes that keep me from having to eat out! I can’t wait to try this and see how it compares! Folks in town either like Skyline (the original) or Gold Star chili, with a few who like both!

Skyline is more of a sit-down restaurant where a waitress takes your order and brings a little bowl of oyster crackers and drinks while you wait for your order. Customize your chili like a native! A 3-way is chili, cheese and spaghetti. A 4-way is chili, cheese, spaghetti and onions OR beans. A 5-way is all five. Skyline sells some really good garlic bread that goes well with this.

But there are other ways to enjoy this chili! There is the Cheese Coney – hot dogs in a bun with a smear of mustard (or without!) and onions (if you like), topped with chili and cheese. YUM! They also sell French fries or a baked potato topped with chili, toppings to preference and cheese. I don’t find their cheese all that sharp – we use mild cheddar.

I’m right there with your little one on the chili- she is one smart chick! I can’t wait to try this recipe!

Do you add 2 cups of water to the chili? I only did 1 cup, and it seems pretty thin.

I did use 2 cups of water, but you can definitely cut it down to 1 if you want. The longer the chili cooks, the thicker it will get.

Skyline chili has the beans and onions under the shredded cheese, a little different than your photo.

I remember when Bob’s Big Boy carried an iteration of this on their menu! I made it for my husband sans the cinnamon (which he only likes in pumpkin pie), and I used chopped white onions on mine only as well. So delish! I was blessed to get a “take care” box during lockdown from our HOA. It was an unexpected blessing that had everything except the fresh meat in it!

Watch the video: Turkey In The Straw (May 2022).


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