Cincinnati Chilli (Don’t Forget All The Makings)

This is the best and simplest chilli recipe ever – I have done it for many family and friends events and been asked for the recipe loads of times. Good or bad news first? OK. Bad: there is a long list of ingredients. Good: the cooking method is only three lines long.

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  • 400 ml cold water
  • 500g minced beef (lowest fat content you can get)
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 gloves garlic, crushed
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground all spice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 10g dark chocolate (max % cocoa solids)

What to do

  1. Place all the ingredients in a pan, breaking up the meat with a spoon as you stir it together.
  2. Bring to the boil, skim any froth off the top and reduce to a simmer.
  3. Cook for minimum 2 1/2 hours until deep and meaningful.

Tips / Pointers 

  • This is best cooked, chilled over night (or for a few days) and reheated.
  • In the US it is served with a range of accompanying toppings (makings) you add yourself. I like: red onion, diced red pepper, grated cheddar cheese, sliced red chilli, sweetcorn, greek yoghurt, pickled chillies and tortilla chips.
  • Pitta bread, rice or chunks of baguette are nice alongside it.
  • I also like to add kidney or pinto beans to the pot half an hour before the end.
  • If it’s too wet take the lid off for a while towards the end of the cooking time.
  • Sometimes I use diced beef not minced which works well but needs another 30 minutes cooking.
  • I found the original recipe in a book called “Joy of Cooking” which is an American classic and has been a best seller for 75 years. Website: here. The book is worth buying.

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