Looking for a unique chili recipe? Try this Cincinnati-style chili with unexpected ingredients

  • 3 Minutes Read
Martha M. Henze
Martha M. Henze, MPH, MS, RDN - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Global Public Health Epidemiologist

If you're looking for a weight-loss-friendly chili recipe, try this Slow Cooker Cincinnati Turkey Chili. It's cozy and unique, made with chocolate and cinnamon.

Unique chili recipe

What makes this chili recipe so unique?

First of all, in Cincinnati, chili is not served in a soup bowl with cornbread on the side but rather in a shallow oval bowl and used as a topping for spaghetti or hotdogs. Second, even though Cincinnati chili contains traditional chili powder, it is also seasoned with a Mediterranean mixture of cumin, oregano, cinnamon, and allspice. Third, a small amount of dark 70-85% cacao chocolate is stirred in before serving. Although you don't taste the chocolate, it adds a rich depth to the flavor.

Not only is Cincinnati Turkey Chili delicious and flavorful, but it is weight-loss and diabetes-friendly, with 345 calories and 23 grams of protein per serving.

Health benefits of this unique chili recipe

Excellent source of protein

Great source of fiber

Excellent source of the antioxidant lycopene

Wait, there's more!

Upcoming chili cook-off?

Once dubbed one of the "20 Most Iconic Foods in America" by the Smithsonian and a James Beard Foundation America's Classics Award-winner, Cincinnati Chili makes a perfect prize-winner for anyone.

For a chili cook-off, tailgate party, potluck, or just want a warm evening meal, cook it in your slow cooker. Otherwise, use a big pot on the stove and enjoy the aroma permeating your house. The longer it cooks, the better it gets. Make extra because it's even better the next day and freezes well.

Slow Cooker Cincinnati Turkey Chili

Yield: 7 servings
Nutrition Facts per serving of chili (283 grams)
Calories: 345, 15g fat, 31g carbohydrate, 23g protein, 8g dietary fiber



  1. Drain and rinse canned pinto beans.
  2. Place pinto beans, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken broth, and all spices including salt into a slow cooker.
  3. Turn slow cooker on high and set for 4 hours.
  4. In a large nonstick saute pan, add olive oil and heat to medium heat.
  5. Add chopped onions and saute for about 4 minutes.
  6. Add chopped green pepper and saute for another 3 minutes.
  7. Add minced garlic and saute for another 30 seconds.
  8. Add sauteed veggies to the slow cooker, and give it a stir.
  9. Brown the ground turkey for about 6 minutes in the same saute pan, increasing heat to medium-high Add browned turkey to the slow cooker and stir.
  10. After 4 hours, add dark chocolate to the slow cooker and stir until melted and well mixed.
  11. Serve one cup of chili in a bowl and top with 1 1/2 tablespoons of shredded cheddar cheese.


This is one of more than 700 dietitian-approved recipes available with Premium membership. With Premium, just type in "Slow Cooker Cincinnati Turkey Chili." You'll find it already entered and analyzed for you.

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Reviewed and updated by Brenda Braslow, MS, RDN, LDN, CDCES on November 3, 2022.

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Foods & Recipes->Chicken & Turkey Foods & Recipes->Soup
Nov 4, 2022
Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

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