One of America's favorite regional dishes is Five-Way Cincinnati Chili. If you've never had this delicious dish, add it to your weeknight menu. I promise it will bring smiles to your dinner table!
If you’ve never heard of Cincinnati Chili you’re not in the minority. This American Classic is a regional American dish that has been finding its way to dinner tables across the country.
And after you sample this deliciousness, you’ll understand why.
This post was sponsored by Mirum. The thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
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What is Cincinnati Chili?
Cincinnati chili started out as a Mediterranean-spiced meat sauce used as a topping for spaghetti (two-way) or for hot dogs (coneys). Both dishes were developed by Macedonian immigrant restaurateurs in the 1920s. To make ordering more efficient, the “Way” system of ordering was created.
In 2013, Smithsonian named it one of “The 20 Most Iconic Foods in America“.
What do I need to make Cincinnati Chili?
Let’s start by gathering the ingredients we need to make a Cincinnati Chili Five Ways. In Chef Speak this is called the Mise en Place which translates into Everything in its Place.
Not only does setting your ingredients up ahead of time speed up the cooking process, but it also helps ensure you have everything you need to make the dish.
Do I have to use Beans in my Cincinnati Chili?
No, you don’t. If you’re not fond of beans leave them out. It will just be a four-way style of this iconic dish.
You can also swap the beans I used with your own favorites.
What other toppings can I add to my Cincinnati Chili?
Creating dishes that you enjoy eating is what cooking at home is all about. Adding your own special touches is what makes cooking fun. And the more fun you have in the kitchen the more likely you are to be spending time creating deliciousness for your friends and family.
Some of my favorites are:
- Sour cream
- Pickled jalapenos
- Roasted corn
- Roasted Mushrooms
Do I have to use spaghetti to make this dish?
No. you don’t. You can use a variety of pasta shapes, rice, your favorite grain, zoodles (zucchini noodles) or spaghetti squash.
Using your favorite brand of chili makes this dish an easy weeknight dinner. If you’d like to make your own chili you can find my favorite recipe here -> Four Bean Beef and Beer Chili. Just omit the beans from the recipe.
Putting the dish together is pretty easy. This is the “Two-Way” version, simply spaghetti and chili.
To make this “Three-Way” add the beans. If you’re not a fan of beans skip this step. If you add cheese instead of beans, that will be another version of “Three-Way”.
Classic “Four-Way” adds Cheese to the spaghetti, chili and beans.
But when it’s time to go for the gusto, add chopped onions to create Cincinnati Chili “Five-Ways”.
For one of the most flavorful dishes of pasta, you’ll ever enjoy, mix everything together. And add a little extra cheese….sigh.
More recipes you’ll love!
- Italian Bolognese Sauce
- Spaghetti and Meatballs
- Restaurant Style Spaghetti Sauce with Sausage
- Wild Boar Ragu with Pappardelle
Cincinnati Chili 5-Ways
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup sweet onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 8 ounces dark beer or your favorite root beer
- 2 pounds ground chuck or ground sirloin if you prefer a leaner beef
- 16 ounces heavy crushed tomato
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon corn masa or fine cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
Cincinnati Chili 5 Ways
- 2 cups cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 large sweet onion chopped
- 1 pound linguine cooker per directions on box
- 1 cup kidney bean or chili beans
- 1 cup pinto beans or beans of your choice
- 4 cups beef chili from my recipe or your favorite brand
- In a large skillet or pot add the chopped onions, garlic and olive oil. Sauté for a few minutes until the onions are lightly cooked.
- Add ground meat and begin the browning process. You may need to add additional olive oil.
- Brown all the meat continuously stirring to break up the meat. ( you may find a heavy wire whisk helpful in breaking up the chunks)
- When the meat is browned begin adding in your seasonings including brown sugar( remember you can always add more after its cooked for awhile).
- Add crushed tomatoes and beer combining all of the ingredients.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer and allow to simmer for 1 – 2 hours, stirring so the chili won’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
- If the chili begins to get too thick you can add chicken stock or water to get it to the consistency you like.
- Taste and re-season to your taste.
Cincinnati Chili 5 Ways – Assembly
- Cook pasta per instructions on the box
- place pasta on the plates, top with chili, beans, chopped onions and shredded cheddar cheese and enjoy!