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One Pot Chili Mac

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This One Pot Chili Mac comes together in a matter of minutes and tastes amazing!  The perfect weeknight go to meal that reheats and freezes well! 

Easy clean up with only one pot, this hearty main dish is perfect for the person who can’t decide between Chili & Macaroni & Cheese!

 

 

Looking for a quick and easy meal that only requires one pot to prep? This Chili Mac achieves all your goals and makes clean up a breeze — and not just because everyone will be licking their bowls! If you want to enjoy your family rather than cooking or the dishes, I highly recommend giving this Chili Mac recipe a try!

This throwback dish is easy to make — and only takes 30 minutes! A meal that is easy to clean up and ready to make in under an hour? I’m not kidding! You are going to love this chili mac recipe, I guarantee it. 

With just a few cans from your pantry, spices, ground beef, and cheese you’ve got a mouth watering meal that will be requested over and over again! 

 

 

How to make Chili Mac: 

Not only does this simple chili mac recipe require only one pot, it only takes a few simple steps to create this delicious home cooked meal. 

  • Saute: In your pot, cook your ground beef and onion, adding in the garlic when the beef is nearly done. 
  • Making it Chili: Add chicken broth, tomatoes, kidney beans, black beans, chili powder, cumin, salt & pepper. Mix well and bring to a boil.
  • Make it Chili Mac: Add pasta and boil 12 – 15 minutes until pasta is cooked through. When pasta has absorbed liquid and is cooked through, add cheese and mix well.
  • The Final Steps: Cook for another 5 minutes or until pasta is cooked through. 

 

 

What is Chili Mac? 

Chili Mac and Cheese is the ultimate combination of two amazing home style favorites – Chili and Macaroni and Cheese! This hearty one pot meal is easy to make, easy to keep as leftovers, and always makes everyone in my family happy! Win, win, win! 

 

 

Ingredients for One Pot Chili Mac Recipe: 

  • Ground Beef: This makes your recipe into a hearty meal along with the beans. 
  • Elbow Pasta Noodles: The Macaroni part of the Chili Mac! 
  • Beans: You can’t have Chili Mac and Cheese without Beans! I use red kidney beans and black beans. 
  • Seasoning: Chili Powder, Cumin, Salt, Ground Pepper
  • Aromatics: Onion and Garlic combine to elevate your Chili Mac to the next level
  • Canned Tomatoes: I think these are a special secret ingredient, even if you find them in a lot of chili recipes. The diced tomatoes add extra flavor and really round out this one pot meal! 
  • Cheese: Last, but certainly not least, you can’t forget the shredded cheese! Of course, Chili Mac and Cheese needs this to really finish it off! 

 

  •  

Where did Chili Mac originate? 

I can’t quite find a single story that tells us the true history and origin of Chili Mac. Some say that families came across the recipe during the great depression to combine two favorite meals that were put together to create a more filling family favorite. 

I also found a rumor, which seems to be the most accepted as the truth,  that Chili Mac is from Cincinnati — where they put cinnamon chili on top of spaghetti! But why call it Chili Mac like “chili macaroni and cheese” if the chili is going on top of spaghetti? That’s up for debate — either way, chili on pasta is a Cincinnati staple.  

 

 

What do you serve with Chili Mac? 

Just like when I have my favorite bowl of chili in front of me, I love eating this Chili Mac and Cheese with some delicious homemade Maple Syrup Corn Bread or Easy Garlic Bread.  

Tips for Chili Mac: 

  • This may seem obvious for a one pot meal — but make sure you pick a pot that is actually big enough to hold all your ingredients with enough room to stir them all together! 
  • Want to hide some veggies in your chili? Throw in some green peppers! 
  • You could use white kidney beans instead of the black beans or even chili beans too!
  • If you’re feeling like spicing it up, you could add some Jalapenos to your bowl, or even mix in some green chilies in the pot. 
  • Try to use lean ground beef! This will help keep your chili mac from tasting too greasy. 

 

 

Can you freeze Chili Mac?

Definitely! Because this Chili Mac recipe is saucey, it freezes really well! After you fully prepare the recipe according to the steps, place it  in an airtight container. The chili mac will be good for up to three months! When you’re ready to eat your leftovers, defrost fully and then microwave it until it’s hot or you can reheat it on the stove. 

Reheating Chili Mac: 

This meal is great as leftovers — whether you make a bunch ahead, or end up with a bit to spare you’ll be happy to have more for later. Just store in an airtight container. This will be good in the fridge for up to four days, or in the freezer for up to three months. 

 

 

Other One Pot Meals to try: 

Meals that are easy to make are a lifesaver, but meals that are easier to clean up are a cut above the rest! These one pot meals are just as delicious and simple to make as Chili Mac! 

 

 

More Family Friendly Pasta Dishes:

This Chili Mac is a stick to the ribs, but not make you feel bloated and sick, kind of meal and perfect for any weeknight and weekend. Every bite of this chili mac and cheese is filled with meat, beans, noodles, and cheese. My mouth is watering just thinking about my next spoonful. However you make your favorite chili flavors, you really can’t mess up this Chili Mac Recipe.

 

Yield: 8 Servings

One Pot Chili Mac

Chili Mac - zoomed in image of chili mac

This One Pot Chili Mac comes together in a matter of minutes and tastes amazing!  The perfect weeknight go to meal that reheats and freezes well!  Easy clean up with only one pot, this hearty main dish is perfect for the person who can't decide between Chili & Macaroni & Cheese!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 Pound of Ground Beef
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 2 Tablespoons of minced garlic or 1 Tablespoon garlic paste
  • 2 (14 ounce) cans chicken broth or 3 1/2 cups!
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon season salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 10 ounces uncooked elbow pasta noodles
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Instructions

  1. In a large dutch oven or pot, cook ground beef & onion until ground beef is cooked through and onion is soft and translucent.
  2. Drain if needed {depends on fat content of ground beef}. Return meat to pot.
  3. Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
  4. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, kidney beans, black beans, chili powder, cumin, salt & pepper. Mix well and bring to a boil.
  5. Add pasta and boil 12 - 15 minutes until pasta is cooked through. Stir as needed.
  6. When pasta has absorbed liquid and is cooked through, add cheese and mix well.
  7. Cook for another 5 minutes.
  8. Serve Immediately.

Notes

You could use white kidney beans instead of the black beans or even chili beans too! This recipe is very forgiving!

Previous photographs show white kidney beans instead of black beans.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 546Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 109mgSodium: 1143mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 5gSugar: 4gProtein: 37g
Originally Published: June 8, 2015

Photos & Text Updated: February 28, 2020

 

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Samantha Dawn

Tuesday 1st of September 2020

We adore the combo of 2 comfort foods in one with this Chilli Mac and Cheese!

Janelle

Friday 11th of September 2020

Thanks Samantha we do too!

Erica

Thursday 2nd of April 2020

This is really good. It's been a family favorite for a few years. I know you've changed the recipe. It used to have two half-cans of beans. I'm not sure what else you changed and how much other ingredients' measurements have changed to accommodate the extra beans. It's still good, but my family of 6 prefers it the old way. I wish I had printed it before. I would love it if you'd email it to me, if you still have the old recipe. Thank you so much!

Shasta

Thursday 15th of October 2020

The recipe You're thinking of with the half cans of beans is a Damn Delicious* recipe. This recipe with the full cans of beans is much tastier.

Janelle

Sunday 30th of August 2020

Hi Erica! The only change I made was I swapped out the can of white kidney beans with black beans. Everything else stayed the same. Hope that helps!

Janeen

Tuesday 30th of April 2019

Thank you for this recipe, my kids hate chili, but throw in noodles and cheese and all of a sudden they love it. I use ground Turkey brown it up with the onion, then throw everything in the crockpot. it's amazing and my whole family loves it

Janelle

Sunday 30th of August 2020

Love your changes! Thanks for the tips and so glad everyone liked it!

Yogesh

Thursday 8th of November 2018

Yummy dinner

Janelle

Saturday 2nd of March 2019

Yogesh, this is a family favorite in my house! Hope you can make it and try it! Let me know if it turned out! Goodluck!

Angela

Wednesday 17th of October 2018

Mmm! How many does this serve?

Janelle

Sunday 30th of August 2020

It should serve 8 depending on portion size. :)

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