Chili Mac and Cheese combines two classic comfort foods - chili and classic macaroni and cheese! This hearty meal is a one-pot recipe that can be enjoyed as a satisfying family meal or shared at the next potluck.
❤️ Why I love this recipe
- Chili Mac and Cheese is our crowd-pleasing dish - perfect for lunch or dinner.
- I can assemble this recipe and cook it in one large pot or pan, making the cooking process simple and convenient.
- Chili mac and cheese is budget-friendly without compromising on flavor. It offers a balance of carbs, meat, and veggies.
This easy Macaroni and Cheese with Chili is delicious comfort food perfect for the colder months of the year, satisfying those mac and cheese cravings!
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Note: The full list of this Ground Beef Macaroni and Cheese recipe ingredients with their amounts and options are listed in the recipe card below.
- macaroni pasta -- use any small shell pasta you like.
Note: This is an overview of the instructions. The full instructions are in the recipe card below.
- Cook the pasta al dente, drain and set aside. Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
- Saute the onions until transparent, and then add the green peppers and garlic for an additional minute.
- Brown the beef, breaking up any big chunks.
- Add the spices and salt and mix through the beef.
- Add the crushed tomatoes.
- Add the tomato puree, tomato paste, broth, and beans. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Fold the cooked pasta into the meaty mixture while preheating the oven broiler (or grill) on medium heat.
- Top the dish with grated cheese and transfer to the oven for 2 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Garnish with sliced jalapeños, diced tomatoes, and chopped cilantro, and serve with sour cream (optional).
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You’ll need the following items to make this recipe successfully.
- pasta pot
- Dutch Oven or heavy bottom skillet
- measuring spoons
- liquid measuring cup
- dry measuring cup
- sharp knife
These are the questions we are most frequently asked about making this Chili Mac recipe.
The two dishes are very similar, consisting of ground beef, pasta, tomato sauce, and cheese. American goulash, however, doesn’t include an ingredient such as beans which is a staple for chili mac recipes.
According to the author Dann Woellert, who wrote “The Authentic History of Cincinnati Chili,” ‘chili mac’ was first served in 1922 in The Kirajleff's restaurant. The dish consisted of chili served over spaghetti and was called ‘chili mac’.
Yes! Cheese adds a creamy texture and loads of flavor.
Mac and cheese is an incredibly versatile dish. Add bacon, shredded chicken, buttery cracker crumbs, and vegetables (broccoli, carrots, peas, green beans, and onions).
- Use freshly shredded cheese from a block of cheese, not pre-shredded cheese. Pre-shredded cheese usually contains an artificial coating to extend its shelf life, preventing the cheese from melting well and affecting the taste.
- Pasta usually takes around 8 minutes to cook through, but I usually shave off a minute or 2 to achieve al dente pasta so that by the time the semi-cooked pasta has been added to the chili mac and placed under the broiler in the oven, it’s not overcooked.
- Always allow any leftovers to cool down completely before storing them in the refrigerator or freezer.
- This dish is perfect for using leftover chili you’ve made previously! For this dish, you’ll need about 4 cups to mix with the pasta.
- Instead of ground beef, use ground chicken, ground pork, ground turkey, or even shredded chicken.
- I’ve used elbow macaroni pasta in this recipe, but you can use various other noodles that you prefer to cook.
- The beans add bulk to this meal and also tie in well with the Mexican cuisine influence. Feel free to use a different type of bean or add other veggies, such as corn and mushrooms.
- Cheddar cheese and mozzarella cheese are great toppings for this chili mac. Monterey Jack or a Mexican cheese blend would also work.
- Add a sprinkling of crushed breadcrumbs or crushed crackers to the assembled chili mac and cheese.
Store leftover chili mac and cheese in the refrigerator for 3-4 days in an airtight container.
This dish can also be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat in the oven, covered with aluminum foil, so the cheese doesn’t burn.
📗 Related Recipes
If you love the delicious mixture of meat and pasta like this Chili Mac and Cheese, make sure to add the following recipes to your dinner menu too:
- Easy Goulash Recipe - This Americanized version of a classic goulash is made with ground beef, macaroni, marinara sauce, cheese, and aromatic veggies.
- Tuna Mac And Cheese - A delicious Southwest twist is added to this dish, loaded with tuna, black beans, and taco seasoning with shredded cheddar and crushed tortilla chips topping!
- Ziti Al Forno - A 3-cheese classic Italian baked pasta casserole that’s perfect for lunch or dinner, any time of the year!
🍽 Serve with
I love to garnish my chili mac and cheese with sliced jalapeños, diced tomatoes, and chopped cilantro and then serve it with sour cream and a side of garlic bread. It’s also hearty and comforting enough to enjoy as is!
📞 Chiacchierata (chat)
It’s no secret that on-pot meals are my favorite! Besides the convenience, this Chili Mac and Cheese is incredibly comforting, satisfying, and full of mouth-watering flavors. Don’t expect any leftovers with this dish!
If I want any gathering to be a success, all it takes is the introduction of taco seasoning. Our Baked Taco Dip with Hamburger is always a winner and there is never any leftover.
Tutti a tavolo, è pronto!
What's new? Check out my All Our Way Store on Amazon. We'll be adding more items we love and use or wish we had to make cooking fun and easy.
📝 Recipe Card
Chili Mac and Cheese is a hearty mac and cheese, combining classic chili ingredients such as beans and ground beef with macaroni pasta, shredded cheese, and a rich tomato base. Serve this chili mac with various garnishes and a dollop of sour cream.
Another crowd popular bake is our Johnny Marzetti Casserole that combines pasta with ground meat and lots of delicious seasonings. See if your family doesn't insist you make this hearty dish often.
If you love this recipe please give it 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.
Easy 30 Minute Chili Mac And Cheese
- 8 oz macaroni pasta 250 g. cooked to al dente and drained
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion diced
- ½ green pepper seeded and diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced (or 1 tablespoon minced garlic)
- 1 pound lean ground beef (500g)
- 1 Tablespoon ground cumin adjust to your taste
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder adjust to your liking
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika or sweet paprika
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 7 oz crushed tomatoes (200g)
- 7 oz tomato puree (210g)
- 1 cup beef or chicken broth (250ml)
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- 14 oz red kidney beans (400g) drained
- 7 oz black beans (200g) drained
- 1 cup Cheddar Cheese shredded or Monterey Jack shredded
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
- sliced jalapeño peppers optional garnish
- diced Roma tomatoes optional garnish
- chopped cilantro optional garnish
- sour cream optional
- Cook pasta to al dente, drain and set aside.
- Heat oil in large heavy-based pot (or casserole pot) over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until transparent, then add the green peppers and garlic, sautéing for a further minute until the garlic is fragrant.
- Add beef and cook until browned, breaking up any big chunks with the end of your wooden spoon. Stir in the cumin, chili powder, paprika and salt and mix through until beef is fully coated in the seasonings.
- Mix in the crushed tomatoes along with the juices, tomato puree, broth, tomato paste and beans. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and allow to simmer while stirring occasionally, until the chili thickens (about 10 minutes).
- Preheat oven broiler (or grill) on medium heat.
- Add the cooked pasta and toss well to combine. Top with cheese, transfer to oven and broil for 2 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and melted.
- Garnish with sliced jalapeños, diced tomatoes, and chopped cilantro (optional). Serve with sour cream.