Cincinnati Chili Test 9 Coming Up

I’m trying to come up with a ‘clone’ recipe for Skyline Chili — so far I haven’t even come close. This could be a lifelong quest.

I’m in the planning stages to brew up batch number 9 of my attempt at a clone of Skyline chili. Here’s the recipe I’m going to use. It’s a slowly evolving one. We’ll see how it turns out.

2.5 lbs lean ground beef (extra fine grind if possible)
2 quarts water

1 can tomato paste – (8 oz)

1 oz bitter chocolate
2 whole cloves
1.5 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground allspice

1.5 tsp ground cumin
2.5 tbsp chili powder (dark)
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper (powdered)
4 tsp salt
2.5 tbsp ground black pepper
3 tbsp white vinegar
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tbsp granulated garlic
4 bay leaves
1 tsp onion powder
3 tsp turmeric
2 tsp ground coriander
3 tbsp yellow mustard

Cooking Instructions

Add raw ground beef to cold water and put on high heat and mix in well — will turn to a thick ugly red liquid. Do this before adding other ingredients. May need to add water if it’s too thick.

Add other ingredients — mix in and bring to a boil

Boil for 15 minutes with lid off

Simmer lightly for 3 hours with lid on or barely ajar

Remove cloves and bay leaves if possible once done

Version 9 Notes

Yellow mustard find was a good one — helps to make that Skyline aftertaste right.
With the mustard can cut back on the turmeric
Cut back on the cinnamon, allspice — too sweet
Perfect heat level

Ric’s notes:

Sounds very nice!! The only things I can suggest is try
vanilla about 1-2 Tbsp, and 1-2 tsp of lemon juice.
Do you skim the grease / fat off the top??
Personally I would suggest keeping the cinnamon as is and
cutting back / removing Cayenne Pepper. The ONLY reason
I say this is I doubt that the original skyline recipe would
have used Cayenne Pepper. It just doesn’t strike me as a
Greek ingredient from that time period.


Finally! Someone who realizes that Cincinnati Chili (God’s own food, by the way) does NOT contain chopped onion! (much less green peppers or any of the other nonsense I’ve been finding on line) I can’t tell you how happy I am to find this recipe. I’d love to be updated if there’s a version 10. Thanks a million.


Thanks to Josquin to pointing me toward this website. I finally had the chance to try this chili recipe last evening, and have been walking on a cloud of satisfaction ever since. I’ve only had the chance to eat Skyline chili once – last spring, acutally – and liked it very well, mainly for its similarity to the flavor of the chili sauce at Coney Island Hot Dogs on Main St. in Fort Wayne, IN. This recipe is also most carefully guarded and was of course also developed by Greek restaurant guys sometime close to 1910. My grandfather used to grab coneys there as he went by on his paper route as a kid; he was born in 1908. My entire family agreed that this recipe was incredibly close in taste to theirs, and that this was great cause for rejoicing, since we pine away for Coney Island here in St. Paul. Happy, happy. At Coney Island, the chili is mainly served on the dogs, but you can order “chili soup,” which consists of a bowl of the stuff and a packet of crackers. They don’t do the whole spaghetti, bean, cheese, etc. thing there (but we do at home). They do spend countless hours hand chopping onions. OK this is long now, but thank you so very much for your hard work on the recipe. I’ve been trying to come up with something like it for years.

Do you use prepared yellow mustard (i.e., French’s or the like) or do you use yellow mustard powder? Would love to try this, but don’t want to start off on the wrong foot.

As a former Columbus OH resident and Skyline addict, I read your recipe with great interest – even as I dine on canned mail-order skyline at my San Carlos abode.

Once someone told me that a bar serving skyline-like product exists near fisherman’s wharf (in San Francisco). Have you heard of this yourself?

And speaking to the person in the Florida Keys, doubtless you know about the Skyline Chili restaurants in Fort Myers and Naples Florida, no?

Lastly, perhaps we could have a west-coast Skyline Chili party where I (we?) can watch you do your magic with your carefully crafted recipe!

Ok, really lastly, the best part of making your own Skyine: often (forgive me) Skyline Chili restaurants inconsistently serve their chili; some insist on giving you super-soupy servings. When you control the kettle, you regulate the soupiness!


Hey, thanks for putting up this recipe. I’m trying to make it right now. I might make a few adjustments as I go along. I’ll let you know how it all goes.

Ok, I made my first batch using this recipe. Only thing I modified much was 2 tbsp of chili powder, no cayenne, and no corriander. I think I also let up a little on the pepper.

Anyway, it all worked great. It’s not QUITE skyline, but it’s real close. The one thing I definetly don’t have right are the hotdogs. Just not sure which ones to get for connies. Anyone have suggestions?

I think this #9 is almost on the money. Just keep playing around with the measurements. Mine had a little too much heat at the end of each bite. Not sure what was goind on there.

I want to first say that this clone was really fantastic and the best of several that I have tried. It will abate the crave and kudos to all of the posters for your input. We are not there yet and I want to throw out a couple of ideas. I live in the Cincinnati area (16 yrs) and am hooked on the stuff, I still remember the first time, the first day in Cinci when I walked into a strange place to eat and asked “What’s a three way?”. That being said… here goes. I bought a can of the stuff, and checked the label. No chocolate listed, this would be a must for those allergic. Ingredients listed that were not in the clone version were corn starch (for thickening, a recommend to the clone) and yeast (why I have no idea, maybe some flour also?). Spices and natural ingredients are the catch all for the “secret recipe”. Tasting the clone versus the canned version, contrary to a previous post, I felt that the clone needed the amount of cinnamon indicated plus an amount of another sweetener, perhaps dark brown sugar. I did omit chocolate from my cooking project and added vanilla and lemon juice per Ric’s recommendation. Once again, I am grateful for past and future input, this is a labor of love, in search of the holy grail. Roger

An addendum: yeast is dried torula yeast, per the ingredient listing on the frozen variety of Skyline.

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