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Chili Mac

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close up overhead shot of Chili Mac in a skillet with a large spoon
This yummy, cheesy one pot chili mac and cheese is the perfect hearty recipe for dinner! 
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Table of Contents
  1. Chili Mac Ingredients
  2. How To Make This Chili Mac Recipe
  3. How To Serve
  4. Storage
  5. More Recipes You’ll Love
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

This simple, hearty chili mac and cheese is a regular on our family’s dinner menu that is made with pantry staples you’ll already have on hand. You’ll enjoy the flavor of the spices, cheese, and pasta blending together perfectly in just half an hour for a quick meal on busy nights.

For more easy meals that are hearty and simple to make on hectic weeknights, check out our beef and bean chili. This lasagna casserole is a family favorite too.

close up shot of a pot of chili with a large wooden spoon scooped into it

Chili Mac Ingredients

Chili Mac raw ingredients that are labeled

You’ll need:

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • ½ cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 packet chili seasoning
  • 1 (10-ounce) can Rotel tomatoes
  • 3 ounces tomato paste (½ of a small can)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1½ cups elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

MEAT: Any ground meat would work for this chili mac and cheese recipe including ground pork or ground turkey. You could also use Italian sausage if you prefer.

BEANS: You can also add one can of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed.

TOMATOES: The Rotel tomatoes add a little spice, but you can also use diced canned tomatoes.

VEGETARIAN: Make this recipe vegetarian by eliminating the meat and adding kidney beans and extra noodles in the recipe. You could also add black beans or other types of chili beans for more variety.

VEGETABLES: You could also add veggies into the mix such as bell peppers along with the onion.

CHEESE: You can experiment with any kind of shredded cheese you prefer in this great recipe such as Mexican cheese blend.

SPICE: Kick the heat up a notch by adding a green chile or two or a dash of cayenne pepper to this easy recipe.

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How To Make This Chili Mac Recipe

STEP ONE: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion in the skillet until soft and translucent.

STEP TWO: Add ground beef and cook until the meat is no longer pink. Drain any excess fat.

OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS

If you use ground beef with a higher fat content, it’s a good idea to drain the excess fat after cooking the meat. The added fat will make the dish greasy.

ground beef added to the pot of sautéed onions

STEP THREE: Add the chili seasoning and stir to distribute.

STEP FOUR: Add the Rotel tomatoes (including juice), tomato paste, and water. Bring the mixture to a boil.

rotel, tomato paste, and water added to the pot of ground beef

STEP FIVE: Add the macaroni noodles, continuing to heat until everything is boiling. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover with a lid. Cook for 10 minutes until the pasta is cooked all the way through.

PRO TIP:

The noodles should be added to the mix uncooked.

macaroni added to the pot of chili

STEP SIX: Remove from heat. Stir in ½ cup of the cheese to distribute evenly.

STEP SEVEN: Spread the remaining cheese over the top and place the lid back onto the pan and let it sit for 2 to 3 minutes until the cheese has all melted.

STEP EIGHT: Serve with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

PRO TIP:

Top each bowl with more cheese and your favorite chili toppings including a dollop of sour cream once you serve it.

a pot of chili topped with cheese

How To Serve

This beefy, cheesy perfection is an amazing one-pot meal for an easy weeknight dinner and tastes great when paired with bread. We’re all about the bread in our house, so homemade chili mac gets served with a sweet cornbread topped with lots of butter. We also love it with a simple side caesar salad.

Storage

IN THE FRIDGE: Store any leftovers of this chili macaroni in the fridge for three to four days.

IN THE FREEZER: Store leftover chili in the freezer for up to one month.

close up shot of a plate of chili

This cheesy chili mac is full of simple ingredients that create a satisfying meal that the whole family will gobble up. Ooey-gooey cheese, saucy beef, delicious veggies, and plenty of flavors will make this dish an instant favorite.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I make this in the slow cooker?

You could also make this easy chili mac in the slow cooker and let it simmer away on low heat on a busy day.

Can this homemade chili mac be frozen?

This would be a great recipe to whip up a big batch and store extras in the freezer for up to one month for an easy meal.

Can I make this recipe into a vegetarian recipe?

You sure can! Just leave out the meat and add beans and extra noodles for a hearty vegetarian version.

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close up overhead shot of Chili Mac in a skillet with a large spoon

Chili Mac

5 from 11 votes
This yummy, cheesy one pot chili mac and cheese is the perfect hearty recipe for dinner! 
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • ½ cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 packet chili seasoning
  • 10 ounces Rotel tomatoes
  • 3 ounces tomato paste (½ of a small can)
  • 2 cups water
  • cups elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Instructions
 

  • Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion in the skillet until soft and translucent.
  • Add ground beef and cook until the meat is no longer pink.
  • Drain any excess fat.
  • Add chili seasoning and stir to distribute.
  • Add the Rotel tomatoes (including juice), tomato paste, and water. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Add the macaroni noodles, continuing to heat until everything is boiling. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover with a lid. Cook for 10 minutes until the pasta is cooked all the way through.
  • Remove from heat. Stir in ½ cup of the cheese to distribute evenly.
  • Spread the remaining cheese over the top and place the lid back onto the pan and let it sit for 2 to 3 minutes until the cheese has all melted.
  • Serve warm.

Video

Notes

  • The Rotel tomatoes add a little spice, but you can also use diced canned tomatoes.
  • If you use ground beef with higher fat content, it’s a good idea to drain the excess fat after cooking the meat.  The added fat will make the dish greasy.  You could also use a ground turkey or ground chicken in the recipe.
  • Make sure to add the noodles to the mix uncooked.
  • Top each bowl with more cheese and your favorite chili toppings once you serve it.
 
Inspired by: McCormick.com

Nutrition

Sodium: 408mg | Calcium: 318mg | Vitamin C: 8mg | Vitamin A: 731IU | Sugar: 5g | Fiber: 2g | Potassium: 575mg | Cholesterol: 93mg | Calories: 520kcal | Trans Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Fat: 31g | Protein: 28g | Carbohydrates: 33g | Iron: 3mg
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  1. Elizabeth says

    5 stars
    I made this last night for supper and it is off-the-charts incredible. I didn’t even use all the cheese and it was ooey-gooey delicious! I love love love one pot suppers and this one was so quick and easy. Thank you!

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