Recipe April 16, 2021

Cincinnati “Three-Way” Chili

For those of us who did not grow up in the Cincinnati area, we are not familiar with the 3-way, 4-way or 5-way. First of all, most of us do not eat chili with pasta, but Cincinnatian’s do.

A 3-way is pasta with chili and cheese; a 4-way is pasta with onions or kidney beans, chili and cheese; and a 5- way is pasta, onion, kidney beans, chili and cheese. Cincinnati chili also has a little different flavor (almost sweeter with a hint of cinnamon). This is a great food and especially a good after-bar food. I was introduced to it the first time I met Tom’s parents and became a big fan. One day I was paging through a magazine and found a recipe that was called Cincinnati “Three- Way” Chili. It did not have cinnamon in it, but I made it anyway and added a little cinnamon. It was a hit. I made it a few times varying the amount of cinnamon until we liked it.

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1 qt. hot water
2 lbs. ground beef
1 t. white wine vinegar
1 12-oz. can tomato paste
½ t. cumin
1 lg. onion (chopped)
¼ t. Worcestershire
3 T. chili powder
¼ t. cayenne pepper
3 bay leaves
¼ t. garlic powder
1 t. cinnamon
1 T. salt
1 t. ground pepper
1 lb. cooked spaghetti
Grated cheddar cheese
Chopped onions and kidney bean


Brown the ground beef. Remove from the pan and put in a crock pot.

Sauté the onions for a few minutes. Add onions to the beef. Mix all ingredients except spaghetti and cheddar cheese. Simmer for 3 hours.

Make spaghetti. Pour chili over spaghetti top with a good amount of grated cheddar cheese.

You can serve with beans and chopped onion if desired.