Bama Chili, served Cincinnati Style :)


If you’re looking for more classic Southern recipes, click here to go to a special section with a listing of some of my favorites!

First of all, let me say a few things about Cincinnati style chili and I want to apologize to all Cincinnati folks for not making it exactly like yours is, but I needed to adapt it for us non-native peeps so everyone could see how brilliant your serving method is.

True Cincinnati chili (which this isn’t) is a very unique flavor and unlike anything I have ever tasted before. I can fully see how, if you were raised on this stuff, you’d be left with a craving that only Cincinnati chili would fill. If you weren’t raised on it, though, you may need time to acquire a taste for it. This is what I experienced when I first took my family to Mullin’s Drive In in my hometown of Huntsville. I sat there with my hamburger and grits happy as a lark and the three of them forced down their meals while looking at me like I was crazy. Sometimes you just gotta be born there to appreciate it :).

But I guess I’ll start this post with how I ended up getting to try Cincinnati Chili. You see, it all began with my husband and myself agonizing over what to do for a family vacation and my son chiming in with “I know! Why don’t we go to Kentucky?”. We ended up heading out in that general direction with no particular destination in mind and came home having spent four of the most wonderful days together as a family. I am publishing a scrapbook of sorts on our Kentucky trip at the same time I’m publishing this recipe so be sure and click here to go visit that post and check out all of our Kentucky adventures.

Now, lets go back to the chili…

Although I’m gonna stick with the flavors of the chili I grew up with, the manner of serving this chili is absolutely brilliant and I couldn’t wait to make it at home with plain old Bama chili.

You’ll need: Tomato Sauce, Cumin, Chili Powder, and some ground beef, which we’ll see in the next photo.

I brown my beef all at once so it is sitting happily in the freezer just waiting on me whenever I need it.

Place all of your ingredients into a pot.

Fill up your tomato sauce can with water and add that as well.

Now give all of this a good stir and bring to a very light boil before reducing the heat and cooking, stirring every now and then, for about an hour, or until nice and thick.


Like this.

Serve over freshly cooked spaghetti noodles with toppings of your choice. Some suggestions are chopped onions, crackers, or…

A whole lot of cheese!

I LOVE how the noodles seem to take to the chili sauce perfectly and they are great for balancing out the chili spices. I can’t wait until fall gets here so I can have a big chili dinner for some friends!

Okay and to make this even easier…I had an idea of just going and buying a few cartons of 99 cents chili from Wendy’s and then making spaghetti. ~giggle~ Ain’t no shame in my game!

Bama Chili, served Cincinnati Style
  • 16 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 16 ounces of water (just fill up the empty tomato sauce can)
  • 1 pound ground beef, browned and drained
  • 1 tablespoon Cumin
  • 2 Tablespoons Chili Powder (more or less to taste)
  1. Place all ingredients in a pot and give a good stir. Bring just to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer, uncovered and stirring often, for about an hour. Serve over freshly made spaghetti noodles with toppings of your choice. Delicious!
  2. *This will make enough for two large servings or four smaller ones so you might want to double it if feeding a whole family.

“Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same.”

– Francesca Reigler, artist

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  1. Colleen says

    I love mine with RICE! I call it aloha style because living in Hawaii a year how I learned to eat it that way, but spaghetti sounds good too I will have to try that next time. I had Cincinatti chili with the cinnamon in it, not a fan…

  2. Brenda Melahn says

    Colleen — there are several chili “parlors” (funny name) in the Cincinnati area. One of them uses cinnamon, but the other 3 do not. We don’t like the cinnamon type either. Our favorite is Dixie Chili — been in the same family for about 70 years or more. When I moved from northern Kentucky, I had to order it online. Dixie Chili is only in northern Kentucky — not Cincinnati. Gold Star and Empress Chili don’t use cinnamon either. Only Skyline.

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