Cincinnati Chili Recipe (Gluten-Free)

Treat yourself to a gluten-free version of the famous Skyline chili. This Cincinnati chili recipe (gluten-free) is sweet, aromatic, and slightly spicy making it the ultimate comfort food.

I was introduced to this chili, also known as Queen City chili when Katie Lee featured her recipe for Cincinnati-style chili on the Food Network. It looked so easy and tasty that I had to try it!

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gluten-free Cincinnati chili

I like updating classic recipes like this to make them safe for gluten-sensitive individuals. And this Cincinnati-inspired chili recipe only needed a few tweaks!

Be sure to check out these other gluten-free recipes: classic beef burgers and juicy turkey mushroom burgers.

wheat-free Cincinnati chili with mushrooms

Most importantly, I wanted to maintain Cincinnati chili’s flavor profile, including the sweet and savory elements. And include flavorful spices like cinnamon, cumin, cloves, and allspice.

celiac-friendly Midwest chili

This recipe makes a large quantity so it’s a good one to add to your weekly menu plan if you’re living a gluten-free lifestyle. Scroll to the bottom of this post for the full recipe and cooking instructions.

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Cincinnati Chili making supplies:

Before you begin cooking this gluten-free Cincinnati chili recipe, make sure you’ve got the right supplies to ensure a smooth and delicious cooking process.

  • Slow cooker – I like using this 6-quart crock pot for making chili. It’s programmable and has high, low, and warm options so I can set it in the morning and have it ready for dinner. It’s also big enough that it doesn’t make a mess while cooking!
  • Measuring cups and spoons – I often just add spices to my chili but for this recipe, it’s important to measure to get the balance of sweet and savory flavors just right.
spices for Cincy chili that is safe for gluten-sensitive individuals

Celiac-friendly Ingredients:

This Cincinnati chili recipe has rich and hearty flavors that come from a wide range of gluten-free ingredients that everyone will love.

Makes 4 servings.

  • Ground beef and ground pork – I like using a mixture of beef and pork but this recipe works well using only ground beef.
  • Tomato paste – naturally gluten-free.
  • Water
  • Canned tomatoes – I have home-canned tomatoes but you could easily use whole canned tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, or crushed tomatoes.
  • Onion & garlic – add flavor to the chili.
  • Chili flakes – you can adjust the amount for the level of heat desired.
  • Spices: cumin, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves add unique depth and flavor to this chili.
  • Gluten-free Worcestershire sauce – I use either French’s Classic Worchestershire or The Wizard Gluten Free Organic Vegan Worcestershire sauce. If you don’t have any dietary preferences, you can use any Worcestershire sauce.
  • Apple cider vinegar – adds a bit of zing.
  • Mushrooms are optional but I like adding them to give the chili a bit of texture.
tomato paste suitable for those with gluten intolerance


  1. Put everything except the mushrooms in a slow cooker.
naturally gluten-free ground beef and pork
  1. Cook on low for 8 hours stirring occasionally.
copycat Skyline chili gluten friendly
  1. In the last hour of cooking, add the fresh mushrooms.
Cincinnati Meat Sauce free from gluten

Serving suggestions:

My husband and I eat our Midwest chili from a bowl with celiac-friendly tortilla chips or cornbread. Here are some other ways you can serve it:

  • As a spaghetti sauce over gluten-free spaghetti
  • Topped with a dollop of homemade guacamole or cheddar cheese.
  • On hot dogs
  • As a topping for crispy smashed potatoes
  • Topped with diced onions or kidney beans for a bit of texture.
Katie Lee food network copycat recipe for Cincinnati chili

Variations & Substitutions:

Customize your gluten-free Cincinnati chili to suit your taste and make this recipe truly your own.

  • Ground beef is the primary ingredient in Cinncinati chili but feel free to use a combination of ground beef and pork for added flavor and to save a bit of money on your grocery budget.
  • Substitute lentils for ground beef if you’re looking for a vegetarian option.
  • Whole tomatoes are listed in the ingredients but diced, stewed, or crushed tomatoes work equally well.
  • Adjust the spiciness by changing the amount of chili flakes added to the mix.
  • Instead of the chili flakes use hot peppers, chili powder, or cayenne pepper but be careful with the amounts! The first few times I made this recipe I added a bit too many chili flakes so I had to adjust the recipe so it wouldn’t be as spicy.
  • Don’t have gluten-free Worcestershire sauce? Use gluten-free soy sauce instead.
  • Substitute rice wine vinegar for the apple cider vinegar.
  • Want more texture? Add some corn.

Recipe notes:

This copycat Skyline chili recipe makes a large quantity which makes it great for batch cooking and freezing for quick weeknight meals.

What makes Cincinnati chili different?

Cincinnati chili has a unique and distinct flavor profile that sets it apart from traditional chili recipes. It is known for its sweet, aromatic, and slightly spicy taste as it incorporates a medley of spices like cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and cumin.

easy crockpot Cincinnati chili gluten-free

What is the difference between chili and Cincinnati chili?

Cincinnati chili is typically not very spicy even though it may have a slight kick from ingredients like chili powder or cayenne pepper, it’s generally milder compared to traditional chili recipes.

Cincinnati chili also has a thinner and smoother consistency than traditional chili which tends to be thicker and chunkier. It’s more like a meat sauce or chili gravy so it works well served over wheat-free pasta.

Cincinnati chili meat sauce over spaghetti

Cincinnati chili is a regional specialty that is easy to incorporate into a gluten-free diet. It may taste quite different from the chili variations found in other parts of the United States. Its unique combination of sweet, savory, and aromatic flavors makes it a beloved comfort food for many in the Cincinnati area and beyond. Give it a try at home today!

Cincinnati Chili Recipe (Gluten-Free)

Cincinnati Chili Recipe (Gluten-Free)

Yield: 8 servings

This hearty Cincinnati Chili Recipe (Gluten-Free) combines perfectly seasoned ground beef with ground pork, spices, mushrooms, and diced onions, creating a satisfying and wholesome meal.


  • 2 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 cans tomato paste
  • 3⁄4 cup water
  • 13 oz can tomatoes
  • 2 cup chopped onion
  • 5 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp chili flakes
  • 1 1⁄2 tsp cumin
  • 1 1⁄2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3⁄4 tsp allspice
  • 1⁄4 tsp cloves
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce (gluten-free)
  • 1 1⁄2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup mushrooms (optional)


      1.   Put everything except the mushrooms in a slow cooker.

      2.  Cook on low for 8 hours stirring occasionally.

      3.  In the last hour of cooking, add the fresh mushrooms.


  • Adjust the spiciness by changing the amount of chili flakes added to the mix.
  • This chili freezes well so make extra!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 563Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 154mgSodium: 1162mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 4gSugar: 10gProtein: 49g

All values are approximate and based on ingredients used by the recipe writer. Always calculate your own individual nutritional values for the most accurate calculation.

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