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Why Do People Put Chili on Spaghetti?

A plate of spaghetti is topped with chili and cheese.
Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock.com

If you’ve ever been to Cincinnati, you’ve undoubtedly seen the infamous Skyline Chili at least once or twice. But, for people not familiar with the Cincinnati area or Skyline, the signature dish might seem a little strange.

We’re talking chili on top of spaghetti. While it might seem odd, at first, the combination of meat, spaghetti, and cheese actually makes a lot of sense.

Regional dishes are always fun, and Cincinnati chili spaghetti is no different. It’s been around since the 1920s in different variations, and it’s a regional staple today that most Ohioans will defend to the end.

What is chili spaghetti, exactly? It’s more than just a scoop of meat and beans on top of noodles. Rather, it’s a system that’s easy to customize and enjoy to your personal preferences, so people can get their perfect bite every time.

In Cincinnati, a “two-way” is simply spaghetti topped with chili. A three-way is spaghetti, chili, and cheese. Want a four-way experience? Order it, and you’ll get spaghetti, chili, cheese, and onions. Finally, a five-way has all of the above plus beans.

The unique thing about this regional dish is that it combines two very midwestern meals into one stick-to-your-ribs dinner. Skyline Chili has become so popular, that you can even find its signature chili on grocery store shelves, so you can make your own Cincinnati chili at home.

While chili on spaghetti might not sound appetizing, at first, it’s a rich and hearty experience that’s perfect for harsh midwestern winters or for anyone who loves a good comfort meal.

Stacey Koziel Stacey Koziel
Stacey Koziel is a news writer at LifeSavvy. She's worked as a freelance writer for over ten years, focusing on family and lifestyle content. She also has a background in marketing and social media, and is always eager to talk (and write!) about the latest TikTok trends. Read Full Bio »
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