Flavorful Chili Spaghetti is a midwestern twist on a classic bowl of chili. It is hearty with just the right amount of spice!!
Chili Spaghetti is a hearty chili, made more robust by adding spaghetti!! Cornbread Muffins, Mexican Cornbread, or Cheesy Garlic Bread are absolute MUSTS when eating chili, so choose your favorite bread and start sopping.
I love soups and chilis all year long, but especially in the fall! This tasty chili twist is perfect for a cold day, and if you’re a fan of spaghetti AND chili, then you’ll LOVE this soup recipe.
This Chili Spaghetti comes from my friend Jessica’s family and is super tasty. It was a chili her grandma from Wisconsin used to make. Apparently, it’s a mid-west thing to add spaghetti to your chili.
Honestly, I have never seen noodles in chili before, but it was the perfect ingredient for this soup. It made it that much heartier and tastier!
Cincinnati-Style Chili was created back in 1922 and includes chili seasoned with cinnamon and Middle eastern spices with cooked spaghetti in the mix. It is often topped with a generous mound of shredded cheddar cheese.
Hoosier Chili appears in an Indianapolis newspaper in 1908, which is even further back than Cincinnati Chili. The Hoosier version uses more traditional flavored chili with cooked spaghetti mixed in it. Perhaps the spaghetti was added as a cheap way to stretch out the meal or maybe it was used to “dilute” the heat of the famously spicy dish.
How to make chili spaghetti
MEAT. Brown the ground beef on the stove and add season salt and garlic.
CHILI. In the crockpot, add the browned beef, tomato sauce, whole can of stewed tomatoes, 2 cups water, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, chili powder, and chili beans. Stir. Cook on low for 2 hours.
PASTA. At the end of the chili cook time, break the pasta into thirds, and cook the spaghetti as directed. Drain and add it to the chili.
- Use ground turkey or sausage instead of ground beef.
- Add chopped jalapeños, chopped red or green peppers, or chopped onion.
- Add some heat with red chili flakes or hot sauce.
- Use elbow noodles or penne pasta instead of spaghetti noodles.
- Adjust the flavor to taste with salt and black pepper, or mix in a dollop of mustard.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons unsweetened baking chocolate to the chili. You won’t taste the chocolate, but you will notice that chilies and other spices are more accentuated.
Chili beans are pinto beans with Mexican seasonings. If you don’t have this in nearby stores I would suggest using red kidney beans or pinto beans and increasing some of the other seasonings to taste.
Stewed tomatoes. I didn’t chop the stewed tomatoes, but if you pour them in and realize that some of those tomatoes are kind of large, “squish” them with your spoon.
Make Chili Spaghetti on the stovetop. For a quicker version, follow these easy steps:
- Brown the meat with salt and garlic. Transfer to a large pot.
- Add tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, water, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, chili powder, and beans. Cook on medium heat for 30 minutes.
- While the soup is heating, break the pasta into thirds. Cook up spaghetti noodles as directed on the box, drain and add them to the chili. Serve warm.
Storing Info + SIDE IDEAS
STORE leftover Chili Spaghetti in airtight containers in the fridge for up to a week.
FREEZE. It is also freezable, just note that the spaghetti noodles will be a little softer after being frozen and reheated.
To reheat. Thaw in the fridge if applicable. If you’re in a hurry, reheat individual portions in the microwave. Larger portions are best heated on the stovetop.
Make ahead of time. This makes a great freezer meal.
- Complete step one as written.
- Using a large bowl instead of a crock pot, mix together the browned beef, tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, 2 cups water, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, chili powder, and chili beans.
- Transfer the mixture to a freezer-safe container(s).
- Freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw and add to the crock pot. Finish cooking according to the directions.
For more chili recipes, check out:
- White Chicken Chili
- Green Enchilada Pork Chili
- Chili Verde Soup
- Fajita Chicken Chili
- Slow Cooker Turkey Chili
- Wendy’s Chili
Chili Spaghetti Recipe
- Brown the ground beef on the stove, add season salt and garlic.
- In a crockpot add the browned beef, tomato sauce, whole can of stewed tomatoes, 2 cups water, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, chili powder, and chili beans. Stir. Cook on low for 2 hours.
- At the end of the chili cook time, break the pasta into thirds. Cook the spaghetti as directed. Drain and add it to the chili.
I grew up with spaghetti in my chili, didn’t know an any different! Apparently it’s a Wisconsin thing. 🙂 delicious
Mmmm, I never thought of something like this. Thank you for this recipe. I will try this.
We may have met by chance…but we become friends by choice.
Spaghetti in chili? What a fantastic idea! I’ve never been keen on rice but looove pasta. Pinning and can’t wait to try 🙂
Goodness, this looks SO good. It is making me hungry just looking at the pictures! Thanks!!
Hello, First of all I want to tell you your moms spanish rice recipe is wonderful, I never can cook enough of it. The enchildas recipe sauce is also soo good! Now a question for you, Since your mom is such a wonderful cook, do you suppose she might have a Carne Guisada recipe she might be willing to share. I have been searching for a good recipe forever. Thanks you for the work you put in to this site, I enjoy it very much. Have a good day!
Hi Diane! So glad you like the enchiladas and rice… I know I’m biased, but they truly are our favorites!! As for Carne Guisada, I’m not sure what that is? I know she’s tried Carne Asada before. Is that what you’re referring to?
This is incredible! Gotta make this tonight!
Let me know what you think 🙂 Hope you like it!
We usually subbed elbow macaroni for the spaghetti noodles and called it chilighetti.
Jessica – maybe a midwestern thing. I’m from Iowa.
Love the name! Thanks for sharing!
why dirty the crockpot for this? You are cooking the beef first, and you cook the pasta in another pot. Just cook the chili in the pot you browned the beef in. When I was growing up my mom always boiled spaghetti noodles to serve with our chili, whoever wanted the pasta put some in their bowl before dishing up their chili.
You totally could 🙂 This is just what we’ve done. The pasta & chili is a great combo! Thanks!
What are Mexican style chili beans, please?
I will try your chilli spaghetti but can I use kidney beans instead of Mexican style chilli beans?
That works too 🙂 Hope you like it!
It says to brown beef with season salt and garlic but there is no mention of these in the ingredient list?
Your ingredient list doesn’t call for tomatoes, as listed in the directuon?
I grew up in Southern Indiana where everyone (mom, aunt, grandma and the school systems) serve chili this way. I didn’t know it wasn’t ‘normal’ until I moved further and further from home. I just thought it was a different type of chili but served everywhere!
Our recipe is a little less homemade (hello, French’s Chili O seasoning) but I’m looking forward to trying this recipe!
And don’t anyone dare call in Cincinnati chili! We don’t use cinnamon and ours is more of a chili-noodle soup than a chili sauce atop noodles. 😉
I hope you like this one 😉 Let me know what you think! Thank you!
When do you add the cooked noodles? While the chili is cooking or after it is cooked?
Step 3…after the chili has cooked for 2 hours, cook your noodles, then add to chili 🙂 Enjoy!
I always see people say “Looks good; can’t wait to try!” but then never comment after they’ve tried so…
As I mentioned the other day, this chili is very similar to what we make back home but I didn’t realize how much joy this recipe would bring me. When my mother was in the throes of cancer and ultimately her death, she gave me her recipe over the phone. Every time I made it, I followed it to a T but could never get it to taste like hers.
When I saw your recipe, I knew I needed to try it – not because I thought it would taste like my mom’s but because I love trying variations of my favorite food and they get bonus points if I use my own seasonings.
So last night, I picked up the ingredients at the store and made this on the stove top but I added a few extra ingredients. In addition the salt and garlic (I used fresh), I added 1/4 of a chopped onion to the ground beef while browning. I also sprinkled in a bit of chili powder to this mix for added flavor.
To the chili-mix, I added roughly half a tsp of cumin and a dash of red pepper flakes.
When I took that first bite, I knew I had struck gold! It tasted JUST LIKE my mother’s.
So while I did make adjustments, I have to thank you for giving me a recipe that brought me so much peace!
Thank you so much for sharing that!! Really! I appreciate the comments on recipes that people actually try 🙂 Thanks for sharing what you did. And, I am so glad you nailed it 🙂
I’m up 12 in the morning hungry thinking what quick meal am I gonna make and all of a sudden chili spaghetti pops right in my head and I can honestly say it’s delicious I just can’t stop feeding my face . Maybe I should save some for later
LOL!!! I am glad you like it 🙂 Thank you!
I made this only I used light Red kidney beans and a little more liquid and broke my spaghetti noodles in quarters and put in chili and let it cook until spaghetti was cooked.
Sounds perfect!! Thank you for sharing!
I’m from wisconsin and grew up in Indiana. I’ve lived in texas for over 30 years so i call it yankee chili aS folks around here dont put beans in their chili much less pasta. While my ingredients are more southwest (roTel tomatoes, pinto beans etc) i Add about 3/4 of a can (fRom a 15 oz can of tomato sauce) of waTer, simmer the chili for about 45 min. And then break my raw spaghetti right in the pot and cook it for 15 min. Will save you a pot!
Sounds good! Thank you for sharing!
Two of our favorites combined! Love this! Couldn’t believe how easy this was to make!
My kids usually hesitate when it comes to chili, but add spaghetti noodles and they go to town. Who knew! ThAnks for posting.
This may be a silly question, but do I drain the stewed tomatoes or leave them as is?
Not silly at all! No, you don’t need to drain them 🙂 Enjoy!
This is exactly how my family makes it , I never made it any other way
It’s the only way 🙂 Thanks for sharing that!
NooDLes in chili is a kentucky thing?
It’s the best! Thank you!
I live in Indiana all my life and spaghetti and chili is not just a Kentucky thing. It’s the only way I’ve ever had it and the only way I ever want it
Our Baltimore version has chopped onions & green peppers in it. We just use can spaghetti which already has tomato sauce & saves time. No sugar.
That works too 🙂 Thank you!
I made a few adjustments. Added a large chopped onion , 2 tablespoons of tomato puree. I like a thicker sauce. I/2 package on spaghetti and cooked it on medium for 2 hours. Delicious
Sounds perfect! Thank you for sharing that!
I’m going to make this for a chili cook-off. Hopefully it’s as good as it sounds.
Thank you, Joyce.
I hope you think so too! We love it! Thank you!
Can I add tuna to this recipe? Will it still taste nice?
I’ve never tried tuna with this recipe so I’m not sure how it would turn out but if you try it let me know. I’d love to hear!
I was raised on this. Its called Cincinnati Chili! My Mom was from Ohio and made it all the time!
Thank you!! So glad you enjoyed it!
Hey there. I am going to try this recipe. My grandma use to make it this way and I have never tried. Can I put the spaghetti directly into the chili to cook it?? Im trying to take this to work tomorrow. Thanks!!!
Adding uncooked spaghetti straight to the hot sauce will thicken it….we love it like this!
Excited to try this!!! I’m trying to find a recipe for my daughters homecoming next week from Ohio. I’m hoping this will remind her of skyline chili
For years I’ve looked for a recipe that was like my mom’s. This is just like it but i added onion. Thank you love it.
You’re welcome! So happy to hear you found one similar to your mom’s!
Thank you for the awesome recipes.
I love this recipe, reminds me of when I was a kid on vacation with mom and dad and we would eat @ 76 truck stop. it was on the menu and was my goto every year.
I followed this recipe exactly as written except I used only one can of everything because I didn’t want a ton of leftovers. This was delicious! Plus, it gave me an excuse to use my new kitchen tool called a Meat Chopper that I’ve seen on cooking channels that I bought at Dollar Tree for $1.25!
I came back to make a rcommendation on the choice of beans. During the pandemic I’ve been experimentating with different types of canned beans in several recipes because I love beans as a filler! I can’t say I remember ever trying pinto beans though. For this recipes I used a can of Bush’s Chili Beans in Mild Chili Sauce (16 oz) and it was the perfect texture to go along with the spaghetti. Yummo!
Thanks for sharing what you did!! And so glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe.
I would love to make this but sadly Mexican Style Chili Beans are nowhere to be found. Local grocery stores, Walmart, Amazon, nothing. Any substitutions maybe? Thanks much!
You could use pinto beans, black beans, or kidney beans. Or a mixture.
Since I don’t like cooked tomatoes, can I substitute that with anything else?
You could add just a bit more tomato sauce, so you don’t get the chunks of tomato like you do in the stewed tomatoes. You could add another type of bean in there too.
This recipe is delicious! Thanks so much!