This Chili Mac recipe is made all in one pot, and ready in under 30 minutes. It has the comforting flavors of both macaroni & cheese and chili, so it’s a favorite with adults and kids alike!
After just one bite of this perfectly spicy one pot meal, your family is going to be in heaven. It really is so good! And like most busy home cooks, having only one pan to wash is alway a bonus in my book.
A KID FAVORITE DINNER RECIPE
It can be hard to find quick dinner recipes that the whole family will agree on. I don’t know a kid that doesn’t like mac n cheese, and all of mine love anything Mexican flavored.
Combine the two together, and you have a ground beef recipe that even the pickiest eaters won’t turn their noses up at!
Another reason this recipe is so family friendly is that you can totally adapt it to your family’s taste. You can add more or less spice, change up the type of beans, and use any type of cheese your kids like.
HOW TO MAKE CHILI MAC AND CHEESE
- BROWN MEAT – In a large skillet or pot, brown the hamburger with the onion over medium high heat. Add garlic and saute for another minute; drain off the fat.
- DUMP – Add all the remaining ingredients to the pan. Stir together until well combined.
- SIMMER – Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat, then turn the heat down to medium or medium low and simmer for 13-15 minutes, or until the pasta is tender.
- CHEESE – Add about 1/2 cup of the cheese to the mixture and stir till melted. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top. Turn heat to low and cover the pot with a lid. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Garnish with green onions, sour cream, or any toppings you like.
- If you like your chili on the sweet side, you can add a tablespoon or two of brown sugar or molasses.
- Switch out the ground beef for ground chicken or turkey.
- Any small pasta will work, so you can use bowtie, rotini, shells, or any pasta you have on hand. Just keep in mind that the cooking time may change.
- If you don’t have beef broth, you can substitute chicken broth in a pinch.
- We like colby jack or cheddar cheese, but you can use any cheese that melts well.
- Add some diced red or green peppers, or even jalapeno peppers if you really like the heat!
If you have any leftovers, they will keep in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Just make sure they are well covered or in an airtight dish so they don’t dry out.
We just reheat the leftovers in the microwave for a minute or two. I love using a microwave dish cover to prevent splatters in my microwave.
Can I freeze this homemade chili mac and cheese?
Yes, you can prep this dish ahead of time and freeze it. I recommend only cooking for 5 or 6 minutes after adding the pasta. As it sits in the freezer and thaws, the pasta will absorb the rest of the liquid.
Pour the mixture into freezer safe containers and chill, then place in the freezer. It will last in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, let it thaw in the refrigerator.
To cook, dump the thawed mixture into a pot and heat it over medium heat until hot, then add the cheese and cook as directed to melt the cheese.
MORE 30 MINUTE MEALS:
- Simple Alfredo Sauce
- Hamburger Beef Stroganoff
- Chicken Curry Wraps
- Wild Rice Ham Soup
- Creamy Chicken Cajun Pasta
- Crack Slaw
- Hamburger Mac and Cheese
- Creamy Pork Chops
EASY CHILI MACARONI
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- dash of cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 15.5 oz can kidney beans, drained
- 1 15.5 oz can black beans, drained
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni, uncooked (about 2 cups)
- 8 ounces colby jack cheese or cheddar (2cups), divided
- Cook ground beef and onion in a large skillet or pot over medium high heat until the meat is completely browned. Add garlic and cook for about a minute. Drain off any fat.
- Stir in chili powder, cumin, cayenne, paprika, salt, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, worcestershire sauce, broth, beans, and dry macaroni.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn down to medium or medium low. Simmer for 13-15 minutes or until pasta is tender and liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally..
- Stir in 1/2 cup of the cheese, then sprinkle the rest on top. Add a lid and cook for 2-3 minutes or until cheese melts.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 634Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 107mgSodium: 1408mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 13gSugar: 7gProtein: 46g