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Chili Mac and Cheese Recipe

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Delicious, wholesome recipes like this easy chili mac and cheese recipe are the way to my heart.

This simple, hearty, homemade chili mac and cheese is a regular on our family’s dinner menu. We love this recipe and think it’s the best! You’ll enjoy the flavor of the spices, cheese and pasta blending together perfectly.

Staple ingredients you’ll have on hand — like seasonings, onion and beans — come together in just half an hour for a quick meal on those busy nights.

This beefy, cheesy perfection is an amazing one pot meal and tastes great when paired with a delicious, slightly sweet cornbread. I’m confident it will become an often requested favorite for your gang as well. It goes so well with cornbread or cheese biscuits as well as dinner rolls or even beer bread.

Chili Mac Recipe

One of the great things about this homemade chili mac is that I almost always have all the necessary ingredients on hand.

It’s one of those staple meals in my house that I turn to on a busy night when I want something hearty and delicious for us to all enjoy. This beef and bean chili is also one of my favorites.

How to Make Chili Mac

Homemade Chili Mac and Cheese Ingredients

I make my chili mac with ground beef. You could also make it with ground turkey.

You’ll need an onion and kidney beans too. You’ll also include tomato sauce (recipe to make your own here), diced tomatoes and tomato paste. From the pantry, we’ll be including elbow macaroni.

The spices are chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, paprika, salt and white pepper. You’ll also add in a dash of baking soda.

Grab some shredded sharp cheddar from the fridge before you get started, too!

Easy Chili Mac Cheese Recipe

My boys would happily eat pasta for every.single.meal if I let them. Spaghetti is often requested for breakfast even. I’m always look for new recipes to try out so that they don’t just eat pasta three meals a day.

This lasagna casserole is another often requested favorite in our house.

This hearty, beefy chili mac and cheese recipe with beans is a new favorite. It’s ready in an easy half an hour and it’s packed with all our favorite flavors. And if you happen to have leftovers, they serve great again the next day.

How to Make Chili Mac

Did I mention how simple this comes together in only half an hour? Perfect for those busy nights.

I also love having my boys help with this… I do the chopping and they help stir everything together. And of course, they do a great job with taste testing as well! 😉

You start by sauteing your onion and then browning the ground beef. Next up, you’ll add in all your spices (except for the baking soda) and stir continuously for a couple of minutes.

After that, you’ll pour in all your tomato products and some water. Bring to a simmer over medium low heat and let it cook for about 10 minutes.

Add in the baking soda and watch the sauce bubble up for a moment. (The boys always love that part!) Continue stirring over the heat for a moment until the bubbles go away.

Finally, stir in the kidney beans and pasta. Simmer until the elbow macaroni is al dente.

Remove from heat and sprinkle cheese on top and let it melt.  Stir and serve — I suggest topping each bowl with more cheese as well. Because is there such a thing as enough cheese? No.

If you feel the same way, you need to check out my cheesy crockpot mac and cheese recipe.

Cheesy Chili Mac

Variations of Chili Mac

You can definitely get creative with this hearty mac n cheese chili meal.

Instead of just ground beef, you could use ground turkey or even mix in sausage or ground pork.

Sometimes I like to add peppers to my beef macaroni and cheese.

I’ve also experimented with different cheeses instead of just sharp cheddar. A dollop of sour cream on top is also delicious.

You could also make it strictly vegetarian by eliminating the ground beef (or other meat) and increasing the amount of kidney beans and noodles. That’s also a great way to stretch your budget!

Chili Mac

What Goes with Chili Mac

We’re all about the bread in our house, so chili mac gets served with a sweet cornbread topped with lots of butter. We also love it with a simple side caesar salad.

My favorite dessert with this dish is blueberry cobbler. I love the sweetness balancing the beefy, cheesy, tomato sauce of chili mac and cheese.

I’m confident your family will love this delicious meal as much as we do.

(This Easy Chicken and Dumplings recipe is another family favorite you should try!)

Best Chili Mac Recipe

More Recipes You Will Love

Easy Chili Mac and Cheese

This yummy, cheesy one pot chili mac and cheese is the perfect hearty recipe for dinner! 
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chili Mac and Cheese
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 605kcal


  • 2 pounds ground beef/turkey
  • 1 small yellow onion about 1.5 cups diced
  • 2-15 ounce cans Hunts Diced Tomatoes
  • 1-15 ounce can Hunts Tomato Sauce
  • 1-6 ounce can Hunts Tomato Paste
  • 5-15 ounce cans water
  • 1-15 ounce cans kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 3 cups elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda


  • In a large dutch oven, saute diced onions until translucent and they start to caramelize.
  • Add ground meat and brown until just done. It’s okay if it still has some pink in it before you add the rest of the ingredients.
  • Add seasonings (minus the baking soda) and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring continuously.
  • Pour in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, water and tomato paste.
  • Bring to a simmer over medium low heat and cook for about 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the baking soda. The sauce will start to bubble up. Stir over medium heat until the bubbles have gone away.
  • Stir in beans and pasta. Simmer until macaroni is al dente. Remove from heat and sprinkle cheese on top and let it melt. Stir and serve.
  • Top bowls with more cheese.



Calories: 605kcal
Tried this recipe?Follow me on Pinterest @spaceshipslb
Chili Mac & Cheese

Layne Henderson

Layne is a boy mom in love. Surrounded by three adventurous little men, she's in pursuit of an empty laundry basket, the perfect cup of coffee, and sleep. She blogs, parents, and manages social media while wearing her tiara.


    1. Avatar

      Hannah Griffin

      May 15, 2018 at 11:49 am

      This recipe was seriously so delicious! My entire family loved it!

    2. Avatar


      May 15, 2018 at 10:37 pm

      Thanks for this recipe! my daughter really loves it!

    3. Avatar

      Sean Peatry

      May 17, 2018 at 12:19 pm

      This site is absolutely fabulous!

    4. Avatar


      June 3, 2018 at 4:42 pm

      Years and years ago I made Chili Mac without a recipe. Recently I’ve tried to duplicate and make again, but it just didn’t taste the same. Wow, your recipe hit the jackpot. Now, I can enjoy it again.

    5. Avatar


      January 2, 2019 at 9:45 am

      Yum, I just pinned this recipe. I like a one pot meal since we are always busy. Also, this one could be frozen for a super fast meal. Happy New Year, Kippi

    6. Avatar


      February 1, 2019 at 8:12 pm

      Super simple to make and very filling!

    7. Avatar


      February 25, 2019 at 6:54 pm

      I have not made chilli Mac in years! Wanted to make it but could not find my recipes. This recipe is on point and amazing. Seasonings we’re perfect. I made some adjustments in the amount of chilli powder due to my heat tolerance. Also I reduced the amount the amount of water from 5 cans to 3 cans. I all five stars.

    8. Avatar


      March 3, 2019 at 1:38 am

      This looks amazing! I plan to make it…. I’m curious as to the role that the baking soda plays?

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