Kids and grown-ups alike will love this cheesy and meaty chili mac and cheese recipe!
This one-pot chili mac recipe is so easy and makes the perfect go-to when the gang is over, or for a quick weeknight meal. It’s a budget friendly meal that is filling and full of incredible flavor. Everything gets goes into one pot, so prep and cleanup are a breeze. And there is no need to precook the macaroni! It tastes great with cheddar, parmesan, pepper jack, or even Velveeta. Hearty and filling chili mac with cheese feeds a hungry family fast!
Chili Mac and Cheese!
- Easy-to-find ingredients, quick prep and fast cleanup make this recipe a year-round winner!
- Beef, beans, noodles, and cheese help stretch that food budget just a little bit further. Toss in leftover veggies or meat, too!
- Make it up to 2 days in advance to allow the flavors to deepen and develop. Simply reheat on the stovetop, in the oven, or in a slow cooker until ready to serve.
- Cook in batches and keep warm in a crock pot on game day and everyone can help themselves! Serve with a side of salsa, sour cream, or guacamole plus some tasty toppings!
Ingredients & Variations
MEAT: Ground beef is an easy go-to here, but frozen mini meatballs or diced ham can be used too. To make a vegetarian dish, omit the meat altogether and add extra beans!
NOODLES: Macaroni noodles give this dish a “Kraft macaroni and cheese” feel, but wide egg noodles, shells, and even penne or bow tie pasta will work. Choose heavy, sturdier kinds of pasta that won’t break apart under the rest of the ingredients.
BEANS: Any beans will do! Black, pinto, kidney, or cannellini beans, whatever is on hand if they are rinsed first.
BASE: A can of tomatoes (and the juices!), some tomato paste, and a dash of seasonings become infused into the dish making it deliciously savory! Buy Italian seasoning or DIY this Italian blend. Or make a spicy chili mac and use taco seasoning, or chili seasoning.
CHEESE: Sharp cheeses like pepper jack or cheddar bring more flavor to chili mac and cheese, but in a pinch, simply melt cubes of Velveeta for a zesty treat!
EXTRAS: Top chili mac and cheese with sliced tomatoes, sliced black olives, chopped green chiles, or even a crunchy breadcrumb topping. Anything goes!
How to Make Chili Mac and Cheese
This easy recipe is ready in 30 minutes or less!
- Saute beef with onion and garlic in a large pot.
- Add remaining ingredients except for the cheese. Cook until macaroni is done.
Season and top with cheese before serving.
- Prepare on the stovetop and transfer to a casserole dish.
- Top with cheese and place under the broiler until the cheese is brown and bubbly.
What to Serve with Chili Mac and Cheese
Tips for Storing Leftovers
- Keep leftover chili mac and cheese covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.
- Chili mac and cheese can be frozen for up to 4 weeks, but needs some fresh noodles added to it since the thawed noodles will be too soft.
Other Chili Inspired Dishes!
- Chili With Stew Meat – extra hearty!
- Crock Pot Chili – easy recipe
- Chili Cream Cheese Dip – a zesty dip
Chili Mac Recipe
- 1 pound ground beef
- ½ onion finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3 cups beef broth
- 28 ounces crushed tomatoes 1 can
- 12 ounces dry macaroni pasta (¾ pound)
- 10.5-16 ounces beans your favorite, drained and rinsed (1 can), optional
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning or 1 teaspoon dried parsley, ½ teaspoon basil, and ½ teaspoon oregano
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder
- ¾ cup shredded pepper jack cheese or sharp cheddar, for serving
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- To a large skillet on medium heat, add beef, onion, and garlic. Cook until meat is browned, about 5 minutes, breaking it up with a meat chopper or wooden spoon. Drain fat.
- Add beef broth, tomatoes, noodles, beans if using, tomato paste, and seasonings. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cover.
- Cook 13-17 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until macaroni is cooked through. Add water (or additional broth) if needed.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with cheese and serve.
- Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. It can be frozen for up to 4 weeks.
- Thaw frozen chili mac and cheese in the refrigerator and reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.
Nutrition information does not include optional ingredients or garnish and is an estimate. It may change based on actual ingredients and cooking methods used.
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