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Easy Spaghetti with Chili (Cincinnati Chili)

Spaghetti with Chili, or Cincinnati Chili, features a meaty chili served over tender spaghetti and topped with sour cream and cheese. It’s a unique and hearty dish perfect for a cool evening!

Bowl of chili spaghetti with shredded cheese surrounded by checkered towel, silverware, bowl of cheese, and crackers.

Spaghetti with chili, or Cincinnati Chili as we called it growing up, is one of my favorite dinners.

It’s so, so easy to throw together, tastes amazing, fills you up, and makes the best leftovers.

Plus, it’s so unique! How often do you eat chili on top of spaghetti??

While I’ve never had an authentic recipe, this one is pretty fabulous and I think your family will love it.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Spaghetti with chili sauce ingredients including ground beef, beans, tomatoes and pasta.

Cook and stir 1 pound ground beef and 1 cup chopped onions (or substitute onion powder) in a large saucepan until beef is brown and onions are tender; DRAIN off fat.

Black skillet filled with cooked ground beef next to kitchen prep bowls.

Stir in 1 tablespoon chili powder; 1 teaspoon salt; 2 (14 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained, 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, undrained and 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce.

Cincinatti chili ingredients in large black skillet with wooden spatula.

Cook uncovered over medium heat, about 10 minutes or until thickened. 

While the chili sauce is simmering, COOK 1 package spaghetti noodles as directed on package and DRAIN.

Cooked spaghetti in large metal stock pot next to pan of chili sauce.

Spoon the chili over the hot spaghetti and top each serving with shredded cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream.

Recipe Tips and Substitutions

Fork and spoon twirled around some spaghetti with chili all in green bowl.

The original recipe only calls for one can of whole tomatoes. I like to add two cans of diced tomatoes because it stretches the sauce and because the tomatoes are already broken up! My mom will often use a quart-sized jar of canned tomatoes for this recipe, so that’s why I use 2 cans of diced tomatoes.

I find that 1 tablespoon of chili powder still keeps this recipe pretty mild, so if you want to up the spice, add 2 more teaspoons of chili powder and a few shakes of crushed red pepper.

If you’re not a big onion lover like me, you can substitute 3 tablespoons of dried minced onion or 1 tablespoon onion powder.

I substitute ground turkey for ground beef whenever I make this Cincinnati-style chili recipe.

Try one of these substitutes if you don’t have the ingredient on hand:

Add a drizzle of olive oil to the pot after you’ve drained the noodles and stir them around to keep them from sticking together.

I’ll also make this recipe without the spaghetti when we’re in the mood for a good chili.

Make sure you check out the posts on how long leftover chili and leftover spaghetti will last in the refrigerator.

More Like This

Pan of Cincinnati chili with wooden spatula next to pot of spaghetti.

Want more pasta dishes? You’ll love these!


Fork and spoon in green bowl of Cincinatti chili topped with cheese and sour cream.
What is Cincinnati Chili and how is it different from classic chili?

While they share similar ingredients, Cincinnati Chili and traditional chili are quite different.

Traditional chili is more like a stew, generally served on its own or over rice, whereas spaghetti chili has the consistency of a sauce and is typically served over noodles.

As you might guess, this recipe was invented in Cincinnati Ohio, all the way back in 1922.

Brothers, Tom and John Kiradjieff, created this dish based on a traditional meat stew from the Mediterranean. This Americanized version is a soupier, Tex-Mex variation loved by millions!

What can I use in place of tomato sauce in chili?

If you’re running low on tomato sauce, you can substitute with equal parts tomato paste and water and add seasonings as desired. You could also blend a can of stewed tomatoes and add water as needed.

What are the different “ways” to serve Cincinnati Chili?

2-Way: Chili sauce on spaghetti.
3-Way: Chili sauce on spaghetti, topped with shredded cheddar cheese.
4-Way: Chili sauce on spaghetti, topped with shredded cheddar cheese and onion.
5-Way: Chili sauce on spaghetti, topped with shredded cheddar cheese, onion, and beans.

My family loves 5-Way Chili Spaghetti + Sour Cream, and you can add even more toppings as desired.

Alternatively, you can also serve this chili sauce over hotdogs with mustard and relish.

I hope your family loves this delicious spaghetti with chili! If you make it, be sure to take a picture and tag me on Instagram with @ashcroftfamilytable and use the hashtag #ashcroftfamilytable!


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Fork and spoon twirled around some spaghetti with chili all in green bowl.

Easy Spaghetti with Chili Sauce (Cincinnati Chili)

The Ashcroft Family Table
Spaghetti with Chili Sauce (or Cincinnati Chili) features a meaty chili served over spaghetti and topped with sour cream and cheese. Yum!
4.67 from 3 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings
Calories 565 kcal


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 28 ounces canned diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 15 ounces canned kidney beans, undrained
  • 8 ounces canned tomato sauce
  • 16 ounces spaghetti noodles
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Sour cream


  • Cook and stir ground beef and onions in a large skillet or pan until beef is brown and onions are tender; drain off fat.
  • Stir in chili powder, salt, tomatoes, beans, and tomato sauce.
  • Cook uncovered over medium heat, about 10 minutes or until thickened. 
  • While the chili sauce is simmering, cook the spaghetti as directed on package and drain.
  • Spoon chili over hot spaghetti.
  • Sprinkle each serving with cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 565kcal | Carbohydrates: 75g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 940mg | Potassium: 871mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 637IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 86mg | Iron: 5mg
Keyword chili and spaghetti, cincinnati chili recipe, cincinnati chili spaghetti, spaghetti with chili sauce
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