Cincinnati 3-Way Chili

Menu Part: 
Cuisine Type: 
100 servings (Each serving is 7.03 ounces or 199.2 grams.)

Ranking in above the school’s grilled cheese and pizza as a student favorite is Cincinnati Public Schools’ 3-Way Chili. According to Foodservice Director Jessica Shelly, Cincinnati chili is different than regular chili because it’s flavored with cinnamon or cocoa and has a texture similar to gravy. This version is also different in that there are no traditional beans or peppers to add flavor to this chili and it’s served on top of spaghetti with shredded cheese. The customer cuts the dish instead of twirling it like a traditional pasta.  


12 lb. + 8 oz. ground beef raw, 85/15
2 tbsp. ground red pepper cayenne
1 ½ cups chili powder
2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 tbsp. ground cumin seed
1 ½ tsp. ground cloves
3 tbsp. salt
¼ cup minced garlic
3/8 cup cocoa unsweetened powder
5 lb. + 4 oz. onions diced (to yield 3 quarts diced)
1 ½ gallons water
3 quarts + ½ cup crushed low-sodium tomatoes concentrated
3/8 cup Worcestershire sauce
¾ cup cider vinegar
6 whole bay leaves (place in cheese cloth before adding and remove prior to serving)
12 lb. + 8 oz. Barilla Whole Grain Enriched Spaghetti
3 lb. + 2 oz. American cheese shredded


  1. Thaw meat day before.
  2. Mix spices in small bowl, cover and set aside.
  3. Dice onions.
  4. In steam jacket kettle or tilt skillet, add beef and 1 ½ gallons of water. Bring to a simmer while stirring, until ground beef is in very small pieces.
  5. Simmer for 30 minutes and then add all remaining chili ingredients.
  6. Simmer for 3 hours on low, uncovered.
  7. Hold and remove bay leaves.
  8. Place chili in warming cart and above 135°F.
  9. Cook Barilla pasta according to time listed on package.
  10. Hold pasta in warming cart and above 135°F.
  11. To serve: One cup pasta using one 1-cup spoodle. Top with half cup chili using 4-ounce ladle.
  12. Add 1/8 cup or 0.5 ounces of shredded cheese using one #30 scoop to top of dish.

Serving ideas: You can also put it on top of a hot dog with a Coney bun and eat it that way.

Recipe by Cincinnati Public Schools, Cincinnati

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