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A few things I want to go over with you.

Cincinnati Chili Stuffed Spaghetti Squash | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

One, it’s freezing here, like freezing, and I want fall to come back ASAP. Sound good universe? Mmm, k.

Two, cold weather instantly brings one meal to my mind… CHILI.

Three, chili to me has always meant Cincinnati style…cause um my mom knows best… and she loves the addition of the carbs. It’s the only way SHE will eat chili!

Cincinnati Chili Stuffed Spaghetti Squash | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

I guess that chili doesn’t always mean Cinci style though, since I have quite a few chili recipes on this here site. BUT, that said, the chili I love most, the chili that is near and dear to my tiny little heart, is Cincinnati style.

Again, this is mostly likely due to the additional carbs and all the cheese.

You can also blame my mom for this, chili was one of “her” dinners. Meaning dad never made chili, mom did, and that’s the way it always went. Growing up I just thought eating chili over a giant plate of angel hair pasta was the norm. Apparently it’s not, and today I am here to tell ya that well, IT SHOULD BE.

Or well, I guess in today’s case it should be spaghetti squash, but real pasta works too.

Cincinnati Chili Stuffed Spaghetti Squash | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Here’s the deal, I love my chili, and I LOVE it served over angel hair pasta with a heaping pile of sharp cheddar cheese.

So why the spaghetti squash? Well, because I LOVE spaghetti squash too, and it’s one of the only vegetables that I’ve found that I’m actually OK with replacing my real pasta.

I know, know.

Like did those words really just come out of my mouth?

They did.

Zucchini noodles don’t do it for me, but spaghetti squash does. It will never, ever replace angel hair, but when it’s Monday and the weekend was full of Pumpkin Butterbeer Hot Chocolate, Phyllo Dough Chicken Pot Pies and Cheesy Pizza…ย spaghetti squash is actually quite welcomed.

I know you know the feeling. Anyone recall those Sunday morning doughnuts? Ahhh huh.

Cincinnati Chili Stuffed Spaghetti Squash | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Don’t think that just because we lost the angel hair we lost the flavor. I promise that this recipe is still just as good as the original. Even my Cincinnati Chili purist of a mother approves. Thankfully she’s also a huge fan of spaghetti squash. FYI – another one of her favorite spaghetti squash recipes are theseย lasagna stuffed spaghetti squash boats. <–try these too!

This chili recipe is perfect to make on a Sunday, let it slow cook all day long, then eat while hanging out with the family, watching the game…or umm just watching your favorite TV show by a roaring hot fire. <–this would be me! Then, you can have leftovers all week-long – for lunch or quick dinners. Chili is honestly one of my favorite October meals. Traditionally I make this recipe on Halloween, but this year I may or may not be planning an early Thanksgiving turkey….

So today we do Cincinnati Chili Stuffed Spaghetti Squash!!

Cool, I am excited!!

Cincinnati Chili Stuffed Spaghetti Squash | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Now like I said, this recipe is a really great easy meal. You just throw everything in a big ol pot and then let it cook low and slow. You can even make this in the crockpot if you want to!

Then, just before dinner, roast your squash and gather up those classic Cincinnati Chili toppings.

In my house this means shredded sharp cheddar cheese. My family is not big on the onions or beans… or well, I love the beans, but no one else really does, so they never happen. Occasionally, we’ll add some Oyster crackers, if we have them on hand, but more often than not, it’s beer breadย in for the win!

I really do highly recommend the beer bread. It’s kind of amazing, especially with chili. PLUS this chili is essentially carb free, so bread really is a must!

Love my logic.

Cincinnati Chili Stuffed Spaghetti Squash | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Cincinnati Chili Stuffed Spaghetti Squash.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 6 Servings
Calories Per Serving: 318 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Ingredients

Instructions

  • Heat a large heavy bottom soup pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the onion and cook about 5 minutes or until it begins to caramelize around the edges. Use your hands to crumble the ground beef into the pot. Brown the beef, breaking up the meat as you go. Once the beef is browned, add in the chili powder, smoked paprika, cocoa powder, cumin, allspice, salt, cayenne, cinnamon and garlic powder. Give it a good stir and let cook about a minute or two. Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, vinegar, worcestershire sauce and bay leaves.
  • Stir everything to combine. Simmer, covered for at least 3 hours or up to all day over low heat. The longer the better.
  • About 40 minutes before you are ready to eat, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Slice the spaghetti squash lengthwise and rub a drizzle of oil all over the cut side of the squash halves and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a baking sheet and bake about 30 to 45 minutes, or until the squash is just tender enough to scrape into strands. Remove from the oven and scrape the squash into strands, leave in the squash "bowls".
  • To serve, ladle the chili into the squash bowls. Top with cheese and any other of your desired toppings. Allow the cheese to melt slightly and then EAT. I love serving this meal with my family's favorite [beer bread | https://www.halfbakedharvest.com/5-ingredient-beer-bread/].

Notes

*You can swap ground chicken or turkey if you prefer, OR try green lentils for a vegetarian version!

Cincinnati Chili Stuffed Spaghetti Squash | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Making Monday night delicious! Yup.

Cincinnati Chili Stuffed Spaghetti Squash | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    My sister recommended your blog to me when I was in search of a chili recipe for a rainy day. I could not have come across a better chili than this! It was so rich and different from anything I’d ever had before and I am never going back.
    Can’t wait to try more of your recipes!

  2. 4 stars
    Not actually making your recipe, but I am making chili today, and I bought a huge spaghetti squash, I lie alone, and so I don’t want to eat the same meal all week (I never learned to downsize) lol Anyway, thought I could cook half this 5lb. squash tomorrow, add some chili, and do like you did and add grated cheese to it. (found another recipe I want to try for the other half. Was just looking if anyone else ever did it. Thank you.

    1. Sure! I think that will work great! Please let me know if you have any other questions. I hope you love this recipe. Thanks so much! xTieghan

  3. Last time I purchased a spaghetti squash I made a lasagna-style bake. It wasn’t all that great so I was looking for a creative way to cook spaghetti squash that wasn’t the typical “spaghetti” replacement. Your recipe is wow! Kind of spicy but it was so so yummy. It is super hearty and delicious. A tip for other is to make sure you season your squash well before roasting. It needs a fair amount of salt to bring out the flavor. That chili was the bomb though. Two thumbs up from me ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Tieghan,

    Thanks for posting this awesome-sounding recipe! Sadly, I won’t have time today to cook a pot of chili, but can’t wait to use your recipe for cinci chili, which I’m way overdue in making (and I have quite a lot of years on you). So, yeah, wayyyy overdue haha! I found your blog while trying to find confirmation that the chili I am making (heating, really – from a local purveyor of frozen paleo foods) would taste good with the spag. squash I roasted yesterday. So good to know this wasn’t some crazy idea. Although I am far from Cincinnati, I can’t wait to make a big pot of it and try it in the squash bowls first, and THEN on top of angel hair (the thinner pasta sounds nice) – since I’m not actually on paleo, hehe.

  5. Just made this tonight… It’s fabulous!!! I added a couple of tablespoons of very dark vegan chocolate at the end, and had to keep topping up with water occasionally. One of the best chilli’s I’ve ever had though ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I grew up in Cincinnati, and I give you props for your recipe NOT including onions in the chili base (And also for spelling Cincinnati correctly!). The onions (like beans and cheese) are a topper. Also, I will second what Julanne Kowalski said–You should boil the chili. While it looks good, and I would definitely eat it, it’s just a smidge too thick! ๐Ÿ™‚ Since I don’t live in Ohio anymore, I make up a batch of Cincinnati Chili any time I get homesick, and I’ve been making it for Christmas Eve dinner. It’s a fun little tradition I started about 10 years ago.

  7. Chili has always meant Texas style to me because my dad used to be on a Texas chili cooking team and would win sometimes. As a result I very rarely dabble with other recipes other than his. That being said, now that I live in Ohio I have warmed up to other styles, namely cincinatti style. But whatever version you like I bet it’s be great in this squash!

  8. I adore your photos! I’m on the market for a new lens and love your shots! Can you tell me which one you are using please?
    I hope it warms up soon for you !!

    1. Hi Carly!!

      I use either a 50mm 1.2 or 35mm 1.4. Hope that helps and let me know if you have other questions!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. I’ve always wanted to try Cincinnati chili but have never found a recipe that looked good, until now! I’ll be making this very soon!

  10. My dad grew up in Michigan and spent a lot of time in Cincinnati, and so we’ve always had Cinci style chili on special occasions. This looks delicious on the squash!

  11. You know I have never made Cincinnati chili before…I think I have to try some now. Great recipe, pinned!

  12. I haven’t had chili in years, but lately I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind. It just feels right this time of year! I like how legit your recipe sounds, and I love your lentil option. Yum!

  13. I’m from Cincinnati can’t wait to try this version of cincy chili. I’m a five way all the way girl. We go to skyline everytime we go home to see my parents.

  14. OK I’ve made your Cincinnati chili and it’s good but I live next door to Skyline chili.
    Decisions, decisions??
    I like a 4 way also with extra onions.

  15. Your logic of “I cut the carbs from the main dish so I can add some delicious bread as a side” is my exact logic as well: give me any excuse to serve homemade bread without feeling carb-overload. Plus what else are you going to use to sop up the chili left in the bottom of the bowl? ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. I think the combination of spaghetti squash and chili is brilliant. The buttery, rich flavor of the squash must go so well with the chili. YUM! Thanks for sharing.

  17. I love this! I was born and raised in Cincinnati but because I’m a military spouse and haven’t resided in near a Skyline since 1980, I’m always making it at home. Can’t wait to make your version and am really excited about the substitution of spaghetti squash for the pasta! (Although…I might just have to revoke my birthright by admitting that!) I have one suggestion for you in order to make the chili like the real thing…..instead of browning the meat, boil it! I know that sounds odd but that’s what gives the meat the fine texture of real Cincinnati chili and that texture is crucial…proving I can handle SOME change, i.e. the pasta substitution, but not ALL change! ๐Ÿ™‚ And I agree…there’s nothing like the smell of this chili as it permeates the house on a cold autumn or winter day.

  18. This post reminds me of my college days. I went to school about an hour outside of Cincinnati and this chili was the norm. I still remember walking into my first Skyline Chili and thinking, wait, what? How do you this five way thing? I love that you paired it with spaghetti squash…hmmm, I’m wondering if that counts as a “sixth” way! ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Replacing REAL pasta?! Girl you are cracking me up with your love for squash! For real?! But seriously this dish looks great! Perfect for the cool evenings! Pinning ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. You just pumped this gym teacher up with this recipe! Some spaghetti squash accidentally grew in our garden this year and we should really use them up. What a great way to spruce up my lacking diet.

  21. I’d have to say that you’re right about cinci chili not being the norm, or at least it’s something I’ve never tried. But I know it would be a huge hit in my house so I’m totally doing it! Your chili recipe looks and sound amazing and I love the idea of replacing the noodles with sketti squash! Pinned!

  22. for me, chili was always with cornbread growing up. but i love spaghetti squash, so i think chili would be really tasty with it! i’m still unconvinced that squash can replace noodles, though it’s fine if i don’t try to compare the two!