Healthier Cincinnati Chili

Whether you're from the Tristate or are a transplant, you know what an icon Cincinnati-style chili is. Make this healthier version at home to get your fix!

Healthier Cincinnati Chili

Makes 8 servings

  • 2 pounds ground turkey (lean, extra lean or a combination)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup Colonel De’s chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Dash of cayenne, or to taste
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups water
In a large heavy pot, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat; crumble half of ground turkey into the pot and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally to break turkey into small chunks, until it is no longer pink. Transfer to a bowl, pouring off any liquid. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the pot and cook the remaining turkey. Transfer to a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the pot and the onion and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add all spices and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, tomato sauce and water. Return cooked turkey to pot. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat; simmer about 1 hour 15 minutes. Remove bay leaf before serving with your favorite Cincinnati chili “ways".

For serving:

  • Serve atop cooked spaghetti squash, separated into strands with a fork (instead of actual spaghetti)
  • Top with: 
    • reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese
    • Canned cooked beans, warmed
    • Diced white onion
  • Serve with oyster crackers

Nutrition facts (per serving):


  • 252 calories
  • 13 g of fat
  • 668 mg of sodium
  • 4 g of carbs
  • 22 g of protein
  • 2 g of fiber