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Easy Spaghetti with Chili Sauce (aka Cincinnati Chili)

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

Spaghetti with chili sauce on a dinner plate.

Spaghetti with chili sauce, 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.

FAQ’s

Cincinnati chili recipe in a pan.
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?

Authentic Cincinnati Chili is served in several variations:

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.

How to Make Spaghetti with Chili Sauce – Step by Step

Spaghetti with chili sauce ingredients on a table.

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.

Pan of cooked ground beef.

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 a pan.

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 a pot.

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

Delicious cincinnati chili recipe.

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 the 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.

Add a splash 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.

More Like This

Pan of Cincinnati chili.

Want more pasta dishes? You’ll love these!

I hope your family loves this delicious spaghetti with chili sauce! 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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Spaghetti with chili sauce on a dinner plate.

Easy Spaghetti with Chili Sauce (Cincinnati Chili)

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Spaghetti with Chili Sauce (or Cincinnati Chili) features a meaty chili served over spaghetti and topped with sour cream and cheese. Yum!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 (14 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, undrained
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce 
  • 1 (16 ounce) package spaghetti noodles
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Sour cream

Instructions

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

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 369Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 73mgSodium: 951mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 7gSugar: 8gProtein: 28g
Pinterest graphic with text and plate of spaghetti with chili sauce.
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