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Rootin’-Tootin’ Cincinnati Chili

Yes, there's root beer in this spicy chili, and it adds a nice touch of sweetness. Serve over spaghetti and let everyone add their own favorite toppings. —Holly Gomez, Seabrook, New Hampshire
  • Total Time
    Prep: 25 min. Cook: 30 min.
  • Makes
    4 servings


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 small green pepper, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup root beer
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • Hot cooked spaghetti
  • Optional toppings: crushed tortilla chips, chopped green onions, and shredded cheddar and Parmesan cheeses


  • In a large saucepan, cook the beef, onion and green pepper over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Drain. Add the tomatoes, root beer, chili powder, tomato paste, chipotle peppers, cumin and bouillon. Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Serve with spaghetti. Garnish with chips, green onions and cheeses if desired.
Nutrition Facts
1 cup: 310 calories, 15g fat (5g saturated fat), 70mg cholesterol, 662mg sodium, 22g carbohydrate (14g sugars, 4g fiber), 23g protein.

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Average Rating:
  • aug2295
    Oct 31, 2020

    Spicy and flavorful for sure. Idk what this should be called except delicious!

  • Cindy
    May 3, 2019

    I enjoyed this recipe, even if everyone is upset about the name. I added about 4 Tablespoons of tomato paste, it was a nice change, speaking of change how about changing the name as to not upset people that have had Cincinatti chili... How about Spicey Chili Spaghetti sauce?

  • Wildfiremustang
    Jan 6, 2016

    Very good and different.

  • rebelwithoutaclue
    Jun 9, 2015

    A real big stretch to call this Cincinnati Chili. There is NO chili powder in Cincy chili, no tomatoes. The ground beef is boiled and chilled overnight. Where is the chocolate un-sweet square, vinegar, cinnamon Worcestershire, all spice and cloves. Not even close to the 1946 original recipe. Root beer can go in a lot of things but not if you are looking for the original 'Skyline Chili'!!!!!

  • lmmanda
    May 21, 2015

    As written, I give this 4 stars. I though it was a little too sweet with the root beer so I added an additional 1t or so of tomato paste, I decreased the chili powder due to the fact my husband doesn't like spicy foods (I used about 2t). I also added a bay leaf since the last "reviewer" mentioned "real" Cincinnati chili is made with it. I also did not use chipotles with adobo sauce, I used chipotle salsa to taste. I also added salt since it just didn't taste quite right. After these additions, I would give it a 5 star rating. I served it with spaghetti and cheese. To those who rated it 1 star due to it's lack of authenticity, I think you are doing a disservice to those of us who use these ratings to determine whether or not We want to make a recipe. I don't care if it is authentic, I just want to know if it tastes good!

  • MicheleinOhio
    Jan 20, 2015

    Please take the word Cincinnati out of the title for this chili. It is nothing like Cincinnati Chili. CC has 1lb grd beef & 1 lb grd pork boiled in water. Then you add chopped up onions, bay leaves, tomato paste, salt & pepper. It is usually served over vermicelli and topped with kidney beans, onions and shredded Colby cheese. This used to be called a Hay Wagon. Now it's called a 5-way.

  • mindysmama
    Jan 20, 2015

    I have lived all my life In Cincinnati and that's a long time. This chili was good but I can assure you that it is not Cincinnati Chili. I grew up on Cincinnati chili as well as my kids and grands. I know what I am talking about. Good but nowhere near Skyline, Dixie, Empress or Gold Star which are all true Cincinnati Chili.

  • jofritz
    Oct 6, 2014

    This is okay but please don't call it "Cincinnati" chili! We lived in Cincy and this is definitely not the same!

  • Candon
    Dec 11, 2013

    this has become a favorite dish in my family. Use different noodles, corn bread and the like to keep it interestiing

  • hotballer65
    Dec 11, 2013

    Not even close to Cincinnati style chili !