Turkey Cincinnati Chili over Spaghetti


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Back in South Florida, we have a local fast food joint that serves Cincinnati chili. If you’re not familiar with Cincinnati chili, it’s basically a well-seasoned meat sauce served over spaghetti, topped with cheddar cheese. It has a unique blend of spices, like cinnamon and nutmeg, plus a few surprises, like cocoa powder and apple cider vinegar. It’s the perfect mid-week meal because it can be made in less than a half hour start-to-finish and it’s definitely a crowd pleaser. And while this dish is very flavorful, it’s not at all spicy, so even your little ones will enjoy it. For a twist, I’m making this Cincinnati chili with ground turkey rather than ground beef.


  • 1 pound Butterball® Fresh All Natural Ground Turkey 85/15
  • 1 cup onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 T taco seasoning
  • 1 T cocoa powder
  • 2 t pumpkin pie spice
  • 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 8 ounces spaghetti
  • Optional toppings: 2 cups grated cheddar cheese, sliced scallions


Begin by gathering your ingredients. In a large skillet {I prefer cast-iron}, add the Butterball ground turkey and cup of diced onion. Saute until the ground turkey is cooked through and the onions are translucent. If you don’t normally cook with ground turkey, it’s a better-for-you alternative to ground beef and can be used in a variety of recipes, like burgers and meatballs. And Butterball ground turkey is all-natural and contains no artificial ingredients, so it’s great for the whole family. Visit Butterball for more recipe ideas!

While the ground turkey and onions are cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add your spaghetti to the boiling water and cook according to the directions on the package. I make just 2 ounces of spaghetti per person as that is the indicated serving size. I prefer my spaghetti to be al dente, or slightly firm when bitten. If you would rather serve this Cincinnati chili with a different type of pasta, try rotini or penne. You can even make zoodles {zucchini noodles} and serve it that way.

Back to the ground turkey and onion mixture… It’s time to add all the flavors! Begin by adding the liquid ingredients – tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and apple cider vinegar – and the minced garlic. Then add the spices – taco seasoning, cocoa powder, and pumpkin pie spice. It may sound weird to add both taco seasoning and pumpkin pie spice, but normally Cincinnati chili has a list of anywhere from 6 to 10 separate spices, and I found that most of them are in either the taco seasoning or pumpkin pie spice, so why not cut back on our list and make our lives easier, right? The flavor is still spot-on!

Allow this mixture to simmer over a low heat for about 5 to 10 minutes, until all of the flavors are combined. Taste, add salt and pepper to your liking, and the Cincinnati chili is ready to serve. Begin by placing about 1/4 of the cooked spaghetti in the middle of your plate. Then ladle a healthy serving of the ground turkey Cincinnati chili over the spaghetti.

As with any dish, different people prefer different toppings. For me? I like a nice helping of shredded cheddar cheese over the top and some sliced scallions. You can also add sour cream or regular chopped onions. Try different combinations of toppings to find out what your family likes the most!

Bryce couldn’t wait to dig in! He watched as I served a portion to photograph, and as quickly as he could, grabbed the plate and fork, and got a big scoop. He even asked about the different flavors I added and tried to guess what they were. I think it was a hit with the kids! And since it takes less than 30 minutes to make, I will add it to our weekly back-to-school meal planning.

Head to Walmart where you can purchase all of the ingredients for this recipe. Look in the meat/poultry section to find several varieties of Butterball ground turkey. Save $1.00 on any ONE (1) package of Butterball® Ground Turkey {expires 10/31 or while supplies last}.

What’s your favorite ground turkey dish?

About Carrie Wells, Ed.D.

Dr. Carrie Wells is a college instructor, blogger, wife, and work-at-home mother to two children, Lydia {age 8} and Bryce {age 6}. Carrie earned her doctorate in Special Education in 2008. After becoming a mother in 2009, Carrie began blogging as Huppie Mama to share her passions for cooking, crafting, beautifying, and her family. In 2016, she rebranded as Our Potluck Family, and her husband Richard became a regular contributor.

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One Response to Turkey Cincinnati Chili over Spaghetti

  1. Melanie says:

    I have actually never heard of this spaghetti combination until now. I think that I would be a fan of the unique blend of spices in the dish. I will have to try it soon! #client

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