Skyline Chili Recipe

I just love the change of seasons and one of the best things about moving from summer to fall is…Chili!  We LOVE chili at our house and we have several different recipes that we frequently whip up but there are a few that make our “favorites” list. 

My husband is from Cincinnati, where Skyline Chili is ‘The’ place to get your chili.  It’s served up in the form of a 3-way, 4-way, 5-way or coney.  Being from Maryland, I was a little unsure of this whole Skyline chili thing but I have to say that it didn’t take long to convince me. 

The problem for our family is…you can’t get Skyline Chili in Maryland, so we had to find a recipe that would work.  There are lots of recipes out there in the great big internet world and we’ve tried many of them.  Most tasted NOTHING like the original but we finally found one that worked and with a little adding of this and subtracting of that, we think we got it pretty close to the original!  So, I thought I would introduce it to all of you so that you could enjoy a new and exciting variation of chili this year.


  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 oz. grated, unsweetened chocolate OR 2 1/2 tbsp cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp bay leaf powder or 1 bay leaf

Optional Toppings:

    • chopped onions
    • finely shredded cheddar cheese
    • kidney beans
    • oyster crackers

Served over:

  • spaghetti noodles OR
  • hot dog on bun (best when bun is lightly steamed!)


  • Brown ground beef and onion; then drain.
  • Add beef stock and simmer for approximately 10 minutes.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and allow chili to simmer, uncovered for 1 hour.
  • Remove the bay leaf and skim off the fat.

How do I eat this stuff?

3-way, 4-way, 5-way:

    • Boil spaghetti and drain
    • top with chili
    • add one or more of the following: kidney beans, onions, chili
    • serve with oyster crackers on the side
    • ENJOY!

Cheese Coney:

  • Boil your hot dogs (you want smaller dogs rather than the big Ball Park franks in this case)
  • Lightly steam your buns (you can just toss them in the micro for a few seconds)
  • Put your dog in the bun and top with chili, onion and cheese.
  • For a really yummy treat…put a little mustard on the bun first!
  • ENJOY!

It may seem like a lot of effort but it is well worth it!  This is a perfect recipe for your next football party.  We can’t wait to hear your reviews!

Oh…and the next time you are driving through Ohio, be sure to find a Skyline Chili restaurant and get the real thing.  You can even visit their website and order some to have shipped directly to you.  There’s nothing quite like it.

Jennifer Kline – Wife, mother of three, Executive Editor of The Zone Magazine and Ohio State fan by marriage! (Sorry Maryland fans!)


Do you have a favorite chili recipe?  Send it to  If we use your recipe for an upcoming Tasty Tuesday blog…you get a prize.


About The Zone Magazine

The FREE, all digital, local magazine focusing on good news in Northern Baltimore County, Harford County & Southern PA. Visit our website.
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5 Responses to Skyline Chili Recipe

  1. OH My Goodness!!! I love this recipe! Thank you!!! I always just buy it but it sure would be a good surprise for me to make it “homemade” for the hubby!!!

    Thanks for sharing this!!!

  2. Pingback: Skyline chili Recipe! Use your mortar and pestle so I know its real | What Bris Cooking

  3. Sonya says:

    This recipe is awful. Followed it t a tee and it came out bland. I ended up trashing the whole pot and buying cans.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Tried this recipe – used extra tomato sauce (28 oz.) can – served on spaghetti with shredded cheddar cheese – family loved it. If your not from Cincinnati you may expect a traditional chilli taste which skyline is not. Its a very unique flavor but excellent for a change from the tradional sauces.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Hi this is Elizabeth from Arizona ,my parents are from Cincinnati and so I’m very very familiar with Skyline Chili and love Cincinnati chili ! the only difference I would do to the above recipe ,which we’ve always done,when we’ve made it at home, even using the pre-made chili spice packet . you put the ground beef into the wet mixture raw and that way it becomes little bits of beef pieces and it just makes the chili not as chunky and it turns out better and more original.

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