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Easy Stovetop Chili Mac is a comforting fusion of hearty homemade chili, tender macaroni, and sharp cheddar cheese. It’s a one of a kind meal that your whole family will love.

Chili and macaroni with cheese in a skillet; a wooden spoon.
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What is Chili Mac?

Chili Mac is a delicious combo of chili and macaroni, often featuring ground beef, tomatoes, and cheese. It’s a simple and quick recipe perfect for weeknight dinners, and it’s total comfort food.

You can use a canned chili completely for simplicity, but my homemade chili recipe is as delicious as it is simple! Some recipes include cheese and some don’t… but I definitely love mine with lots of cheese!

Ingredients

  • Ground Beef – Lean ground beef will be a little healthier, but a higher fat content will yield more flavor.
  • Onion and Garlic – Peeled and minced.
  • Spices – Chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper.
  • Beef Broth – Opt for a low sodium variety or make your own.
  • Tomato Sauce – A small can, for added flavor.
  • Diced Tomatoes – With the juices.
  • Kidney Beans – You can swap with another bean you prefer or just that you have on hand.
  • Macaroni – Use any brand you like, but I am partial to Creamette brand.
  • Cheddar Cheese – Freshly grated off the block will taste and melt the best.

How To Make Chili Mac

Chili recipes can be so controversial and polarizing! It seems like every region of the US has their own version. I like to keep my ingredients simple.

  1. Make the chili. Saute ground beef, add tomatoes, spices, broth, and beans, and simmer until thickened. Feel free to add more heat as you like.
  2. Make the pasta – Boil the macaroni according to the package directions.
  3. Assemble and serve – Combine the macaroni with the chili and some cheese. Sprinkle some more cheese on top and melt.
Homemade chili in a pot.
Macaroni noodles in a pot of water.
Chili, macaroni and shredded cheese in a pot.

FAQs

  • Is it spicy? The spice level can be adjusted according to your preference by altering the amount of chili powder and cayenne pepper used.
  • Can you freeze the leftovers? I recommend freezing the chili mixture by itself (without the pasta or cheese) after cooling, in an airtight container for 1-2 months. Defrost overnight and then reheat in a saucepan. When you are ready to eat, boil fresh pasta and top with the chili and toppings.
  • How do you store leftovers? Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. It will remain fresh for about 3-4 days. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave, without the cheese. You can combine the chili and pasta, but I recommend reserving the cheese for adding after you reheat.

Serving Suggestions

This chili and macaroni dish is a rich and hearty meal in itself with all the pasta, meat, and beans. I usually serve up a simple side salad, my copycat Olive Garden Salad, or an Arugula Salad.

You could add some garlic bread if you want to stretch this meal out to feed a few more guests. Make sure to have plenty of toppings available, like sliced green onions, sour cream, or more cheese.

Bowl of chili mac with a spoon.

Helpful Tips

  1. Pre-cook the pasta just until al dente, as it will continue to cook in the sauce.
  2. For added flavor, consider using fire-roasted tomatoes.
  3. If using canned chili, make sure to drain excess liquid for a thicker texture.
  4. Taste and adjust spices as you go along to tailor to your preferences.
  5. Save some pasta water to thin out the chili if needed.
  6. Grate your own cheese for better melting and flavor.

More Chili Recipes

Recipe

Chili Mac Recipe

5
Chili Mac is a comforting fusion of hearty homemade chili and mac and cheese. It's a one-of-a-kind meal that your whole family will love.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients
  

Chili

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion about 1 cup diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1.5 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 15 ounce can kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For the Macaroni

  • 8 ounces uncooked macaroni
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese or more as desired
  • Sliced green onions for garnish optional
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Instructions
 

  • Add ground beef, onion and minced garlic to a 5 quart dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook until beef no longer pink, stirring frequently and breaking up with a spatula or wooden spoon. Drain excess grease using a slotted spoon or paper towels.
  • Stir in chili powder cumin, paprika, salt, black pepper and cayenne and cook for about a minute.
  • Stir in beef broth, tomato sauce, canned tomatoes and kidney beans. Bring to a gentle boil then reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes. If simmering longer, cover with the lid.
  • Meanwhile, boil a pot of water and cook the pasta according to package instructions.
  • Turn off the heat under the chili and stir in macaroni and 1 cup of shredded cheese until melted. Top evenly with remaining cheese and cover the pot with the lid. Let sit, covered, for about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  • Garnish with thinly sliced green onions and serve immediately.

Notes

Feel free to use your own favorite chili recipe or even canned chili (2 15-ounce cans) in a pinch.
Keyword Chili Mac

Nutrition

Calories: 370kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 27gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 63mgSodium: 797mgPotassium: 670mgFiber: 6gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 977IUVitamin C: 9mgCalcium: 259mgIron: 4mg

Nutritional Disclaimer Kristin Maxwell of “Yellow Bliss Road” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. For accurate calorie counts and other nutritional values, we recommend running the ingredients through your preferred online nutritional calculator. Calories and other nutritional values can vary depending on which brands were used.

Amanda

Amanda blogs at Old House to New Home where she shares easy ways to eat, create, and decorate, all while raising two young girls! Amanda is a Spanish teacher, wife to a great husband, and mommy to the two most beautiful little girls! Amanda loves food, traveling, and transforming their 115 year old house into their home.

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