Cincinnati Chili is a family favorite of mine. Being that my birthday is in the dead of winter I would almost always request this for my birthday dinner. I enjoyed it because it combined two of my favorite things, chili and pasta.
I'm a big fan of soups and chilis in the winter. They're easy to make, warm you from the inside out, hearty, and filling. Alas, I also have a love affair with pasta. Since transitioning to a Paleo/Keto lifestyle I had mostly left that love affair behind.
Until I found Miracle Noodles that is. I had tried multiple other pasta substitutes, such as zucchini noodles, but none really satisfied that desire for the perfect al dente pasta. I found the Miracle Noodle brand and was pleasantly surprised. Sure, they aren't the perfect replacement, but they are the best I've found. Now I can enjoy pasta, without the stomach aches and bloating that gluten gives me.
Ok, enough about me and pasta. Let's talk about this Cincinnati chili thing. What is it? Well, it's a dark, rich chili seasoned with cocoa, cinnamon, and other spices. No, it is not sweet. It is savory, rich, and delicious. The cocoa and spices lend depth to the flavor and give it a unique spin. Paired with just the right amount of spice and topped with melty cheese (if you aren't strict Paleo) it is a thing of beauty.
Let's just say there is a reason I requested it for my birthday dinner. Out of any choice for my special meal I chose this. Try it out and I'll think you'll be pleasantly surprised. The spice list may be a little longer than most chili recipes, but that is what makes it so special.
Traditionally, Cincinnati chili needs to simmer for hours to fully develop its depth of flavor. We don't all have that kind of time. That's the beauty of the Instant Pot. This recipe is simple to make and quick, for a chili. It's also a great chili to serve on hot dogs, burgers, fries, or wherever else you like chili.
Tips to Make Sure this Recipe Turns Out Great
- Brown the beef and onions before pressure cooking. This provides a little extra depth to flavor and makes the chili taste more like it has been simmering for hours.
- Use all the spices! I know, the spice list is long. Some of them may even sound a little weird for a chili. Don't skip the spices. They are what make this Cincinnati chili, instead of just chili.
Items You Will Need
- Quality cacao or cocoa. While I wouldn't call the cocoa the star of this recipe, it is most definitely the supporting character. The flavor doesn't scream cocoa or chocolate and that's a good thing. The cocoa provides an earthy richness that can't be missed.
- Miracle Noodles. If you need a Keto, gluten-free, or Paleo-friendly noodle to serve the chili over I recommend Miracle Noodles. They are a great base for this chili and provide a more traditional Cincinnati chili experience.
Instant Pot Cincinnati Chili
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 1 large white onion diced
- 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
- 1 cup beef broth
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons cacao powder or cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 bay leaves
Add the ground beef and diced onion to the Instant Pot insert. Press the sauté button. Sauté until the beef is slightly browned and the onions begin to become translucent. The beef does not need to be fully cooked.
Press the Cancel button and add all the remaining ingredients except for the bay leaves. Stir until well combined.
Place the bay leaves on top of the mixture. Seal the lid on the Instant Pot and make sure the vent is in the sealed position.
Press the Manual/Pressure Cook button and adjust the time to say 30 minutes and adjust to high pressure.
After the 30 minutes has completed let sit for an additional 5 minutes. Vent the pressure safely and open the lid. Remove the bay leaves and serve with your favorite chili toppings.