Cincinnati Chili with Pasta

Cincinnati Chili

My mom’s chili recipe is Cincinnati-style with a twist! If you’ve never had Cincinnati chili over pasta, or think it’s weird and sacriligious, I’m about to convert you.

Cincinnati Chili

Acini di Pepe is a tiny pastina, even smaller than a grain of rice, so it’s not your typical chili spaghetti.  The pastina gives each bite of chili the chewy, carby goodness that makes this recipe the epitome of comfort food.

Acini di Pepe

The secret ingredients in this chili are cinnamon (classic Cincinnati-style), and Guinness beer!


This chili is perfect. I’m serious. The bitter Guinness is balanced with sweet sugar, the spicy is subtle and grows with each bite, and the glorious pork and cheese mound round out your palate with salt.

Cincinnati Chili

This is home to me! I hope you love it.

Cincinnati Chili with Pasta
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Cincinnati-style chili with a twist! If you've never had chili over pasta, I'm about to convert you.
Recipe type: Chili
Serves: 4 servings
  • 12 oz ground beef (80/20)
  • 12 oz ground pork
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2- 14 oz cans chili-style kidney beans
  • 1-14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1- 4oz can diced green chiles, I prefer hot
  • 1- 12 oz stout beer, like Guinness
  • Cooked Acini di Pepe pasta, or pastina
  • Shredded cheddar cheese and diced onions for topping
  1. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Don't add any oil or butter, just put the beef and pork in the hot pan and let it brown, breaking it up into bits with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  2. Once the meat is brown, but not cooked through, add the onions and stir. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the minced garlic, stir.
  3. Season with 1 tablespoon of chili powder, ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon cayenne, and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Stir and let cook 2 minutes.
  4. Add all 4 cans- do not drain- and stir the chili.
  5. Start by adding about half the bottle of Guinness, and add more later if the chili is too thick.
  6. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium-low heat and let simmer at least 10 minutes, (the longer the better!)
  7. Serve over cooked Acini di Pepe pasta, and top with lots of shredded cheese and diced onion.

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Written by Ally