Chili Mac

There’s nothing a bowl of Chili Mac can’t fix. This easy pasta, beef, and bean recipe lives to please; it’s fast, filling, and usually makes the cares of the day vanish into thin air. Plus when it’s time to clean up, you only have one pot to wash.

Garnished chili mac in a white handled bowl.

Relax, Chili Mac has got tonight’s dinner all figured out. Made with ground beef and a handful of pantry items, you’ll be eating well in under half an hour. All you need is one pot or skillet.

Treat it just like your favorite chili or mac and cheese. Sprinkle on some cheddar cheese, scallions, a dollop of sour cream, or a couple dashes of hot sauce, if you like it spicy. Just hold onto your bowl! You’ll definitely want seconds.

Recipe ingredients:

Labeled chili mac ingredients in various bowls.

Ingredient notes:

  • Ground beef: Any fat percentage you’re happy with. Of course, you can make turkey mac, chicken mac, or bison mac if that’s what you got.
  • Kidney beans: But other beans are a-ok too, so feel free to use pintos, black beans, or white beans.
  • Diced tomatoes and tomato paste: Diced for texture, paste for flavor.
  • Green chilies: Canned green chilies add so much delicious taste. Pick your preferred heat level.
  • Macaroni: Or use any small pasta. You can make chili fusilli, which is actually really fun to say!

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. In a large sturdy pot like a Dutch oven or skillet, cook the beef and onions together over medium-high heat. Brown the beef, and then drain off the extra fat.
    Ground beef and onions in a Dutch oven.
  2. Return the pot to the stove and add the chili powder, cumin, and garlic. Give this a short stir until the mixture turns fragrant. Add the beans, the tomatoes (and their juice), the tomato paste, the green chilies (and their juice), the macaroni, and the water. Season this with salt and pepper and mix everything up.
    Chili mac ingredients in a Dutch oven before being mixed.
  3. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to a simmer, and let the ingredients cook until the macaroni is almost done, about 10 minutes. Then take the lid off and let the chili Mac simmer uncovered until the pasta is completely cooked through. At this point, give it a taste and add a little more salt and pepper if you think it needs it.
    Chili mac in a Dutch oven with a wooden spoon resting in it.

Recipe tips and variations:

  • Make ahead: Go ahead, but I should remind you that this little beauty comes together in about 25 minutes. It’s that quick. Leftovers heat up beautifully, so there may be enough for several meals if there’s just a couple of you at home.
  • Don’t forget the toppings: Chopped jalapeño peppers, cilantro, extra cheese, onions, diced tomatoes, did I say extra cheese?
  • Freezing: Portion the chili Mac (without toppings) out into freezer ware, date, label, and freeze. When ready to eat, thaw out the night before and reheat. Great for meal prep.

Two bowls of garnished chili mac.

More great weeknight recipes:

Chili mac topped with cheese, scallions and sour cream in a white bowl.

Chili Mac

There's nothing a bowl of Chili Mac can't fix. This easy pasta, beef, and bean recipe lives to please; it's fast, filling, and usually makes the cares of the day vanish into thin air. Plus when it's time to clean up, you only have one pot to wash.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 576kcal
Author: Meggan Hill

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef (see note 1)
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans undrained (see note 2)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes undrained (see note 3)
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles undrained (see note 4)
  • 1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni uncooked (see note 5)
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups shredded cheese for serving
  • Sour cream, sliced scallions, or hot sauce for serving, optional

Instructions

  • In a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat, add beef and onion. Cook until beef is browned, about 5 minutes. Drain well.
  • Stir in garlic, chili powder, and cumin until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in kidney beans, diced tomatoes with juice, tomato paste, green chiles with juice, macaroni, water, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
  • Cover and simmer until macaroni is almost cooked, about 10 minutes. Uncover and cook until macaroni is tender and sauce has thickened slightly, about 3 to 5 minutes longer, then season to taste with salt and pepper (I like an additional 1/4 teaspoon salt). Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, scallions, and/or hot sauce if desired.

Notes

  1. Ground beef: Any fat percentage you're happy with. Of course, you can make turkey mac, chicken mac, or bison mac if that's what you got.
  2. Kidney beans: But other beans are a-ok too, so feel free to use pintos, black beans, or white beans.
  3. Diced tomatoes and tomato paste: Diced for texture, paste for flavor.
  4. Green chilies: Canned green chilies add so much delicious taste. Pick your preferred heat level.
  5. Macaroni: Or use any small pasta. 
  6. Make ahead: Go ahead, but I should remind you that this little beauty comes together in about 25 minutes. It's that quick. Leftovers heat up beautifully, so there may be enough for several meals if there's just a couple of you at home.
  7. Don't forget the toppings: Chopped jalapeño peppers, cilantro, extra cheese, onions, diced tomatoes, did I say extra cheese?
  8. Freezing: Portion the chili Mac (without toppings) out into freezer ware, date, label, and freeze. When ready to eat, thaw out the night before and reheat. Great for meal prep.

Nutrition

Calories: 576kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 604mg | Potassium: 1081mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 890IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 276mg | Iron: 6mg
Tried this Recipe? Pin it for Later!Mention @CulinaryHill or tag #CulinaryHill!

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  1. Sonya

    Really yummy and easy.5 stars

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