One Pot Chili Mac is the ultimate comfort dinner! Tender macaroni pasta is tossed with beans, tomatoes, ground beef, and plenty of cheese. This easy to make one pot dinner is perfect for those crazy weeknights when you need something quick, easy, and oh so delicious.

Looking for more easy weeknight dinners? Try my Spaghetti Casserole, White Chicken Chili, and Lasagna Roll-Ups next!

Close up of a half a pan of chili mac in a skillet topped with cheese.

Why You’ll Love This Chili Mac!

  • Family-Favorite. Chili mac is both kid-approved and loved by adults making it ideal for family parties when you’re feeding a large range of ages.
  • Perfect Potluck Recipe. When you’re looking for that perfect dish for a potluck or casual dinner party, you want a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. This homemade chili mac is it!
  • Winning Combination. This easy dinner has everything you love about both mac and cheese and beef chili all tossed together in one cheesy, beefy, hearty recipe. 
  • Simple and Inexpensive Ingredients. Don’t break the bank with this comforting and filling dish. 

Ingredients

Chili mac makes use of mostly easy pantry staples to make this easy weeknight dinner. Here’s a look at what you need to pick up at the store.

Ingredients to make this chili mac recipe on the table.
  • Olive Oil: Just a bit for cooking the onions and garlic. You can use any type of neutral oil you prefer.
  • Aromatics: Onion and garlic layer in flavor right from the start of cooking.
  • Beef: You can use any type of ground beef to make chili mac. Less lean cuts of beef are great to make this a more budget-friendly meal but I recommend draining off any excess grease after browning the meat.
  • Broth: Use beef broth for more beefy flavor.
  • Pasta Sauce: Jarred pasta sauce is a prep-free way to flavor your chili mac. Feel free to choose you and your family’s favorite brand and flavor sauce. 
  • Tomatoes: Use diced tomatoes with green chile peppers for a great flavor.
  • Beans: Use mild chili beans which are kidney beans in a mild chili sauce. They have more flavor than regular kidney beans but you can use them if that’s all you have.
  • Chili Seasoning: Gives this ground beef pasta dish its chili flavor! Use your favorite brand and spice level.
  • Macaroni: The traditional pasta shape used to make chili mac. Of course, you can use other small pastas instead but it may take away from the mac and cheese element of this meal.
  • Cheese: Shredded cheese makes your chili mac full of cheesy goodness. I usually use the blend of Mexican cheeses but you can use any type of shredded cheese.

Tips & Variations

  • Make it spicy. There are a couple ways you can add some heat. Add crushed red peppers to the beef while browning it or sprinkle in some cayenne pepper when you add the chili seasoning mix.
  • Change the ground meat. Instead of ground beef, you could opt for ground turkey, chicken, or even a plant based substitute.
  • Don’t over cook the pasta! If the noodles are too soft, they might break apart when you stir it with the other ingredients at the end of the cooking time.
  • Let it melt. Give the cheese time to melt on top before you enjoy your chili mac. Trust me, those 2 minutes might feel like forever when you’re hungry, but the gooey melted cheese is SO worth it!

How To Make Chili Mac

This dish goes together in a snap! It’s truly a one pot dinner and you’re going to love it. Here’s a look at the main steps.

Collage of images showing how to make chili mac from browning the meat, adding the seasonings, the pasta, and finally the cheese.
  1. Cook the beef and veggies. In a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until the meat is browned and the vegetables tender. 
  2. Add all the ingredients. Stir in the beef broth, pasta sauce, tomatoes, beans, and chili seasoning mix with the meat.
  3. Add the pasta. To the beef mixture and cook until the pasta is tender.
  4. Make it cheesy. Remove the pot from the heat and top with cheese and let it melt for about two minutes. 

What To Serve With Chili Mac

Weeknights in our house are crazy, here are some ideas on what I serve with Chili Mac to help you meal plan.

Chili mac in a skillet with a spoon scooping in and sliced avocados on top.

Recipe FAQ

What is the difference between goulash and chili mac?

They are very similar but goulash is usually not made with beans and the chili mac has a slightly different flavor profile from the chili seasoning.

Can I make a healthier version of chili mac?

Yes, you can! I suggest using lean ground beef or swap it for ground turkey or chicken instead, and swap the cheese for a lower fat cheese.

Can you add toppings to chili mac?

Yes, of course! You can add your favorite chili toppings such as sour cream, sliced jalapenos, green onions, or avocado.

Leftovers & Storing

  • Store. Leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. You can also freeze your leftovers for up to three months. Freezing does make the noodles a bit softer so be sure you don’t overcook them. Thaw them out in the fridge overnight before reheating.
  • Reheat. The microwave makes the easiest option but you can also reheat it in a skillet on the stove. You may need to add a bit of broth to loosen it up if it gets too thick while stored.
A bowl of chili mac on the table topped with sour cream and avocado with the skillet in the background.

More sprinkles, please! Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly meal planning. Follow on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram for fun behind the scenes, mom life, and the newest recipes!

A spoon lifting a serving of chili mac out of a skillet to serve it.
5 from 17 ratings
Leave a Review
Servings: 8 servings

Chili Mac

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
One Pot Chili Mac is the ultimate comfort dinner! Tender macaroni pasta is tossed with beans, tomatoes, ground beef, and plenty of cheese. This easy to make one pot dinner is perfect for those crazy weeknights when you need something quick, easy, and oh so delicious.
Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 ½ pounds ground beef
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 cup traditional pasta sauce
  • 10 ounces diced tomatoes with green chile peppers
  • 16 ounces mild chili beans, undrained
  • 1 packet chili seasoning mix
  • 1 box elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican 4-cheese blend

Instructions
 

  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add garlic, onion and ground beef, and cook until browned, drain.
  • Stir in beef broth, pasta sauce, tomatoes, beans, and chili seasoning mix. Bring to a simmer and stir in pasta. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked through, about 13-15 minutes.
  • Remove from heat. Top with cheese and cover until melted, about 2 minutes.
  • Serve immediately and serve with sour cream, avocado and Fritos. 

Notes

  • Make it spicy. There are a couple ways you can add some heat. Add crushed red peppers to the beef while browning it or sprinkle in some cayenne pepper when you add the chili seasoning mix.
  • Change the ground meat. Instead of ground beef, you could opt for ground turkey, chicken, or even a plant based substitute.
  • Don’t over cook the pasta! If the noodles are too soft, they might break apart when you stir it with the other ingredients at the end of the cooking time.
  • Let it melt. Give the cheese time to melt on top before you enjoy your chili mac. Trust me, those 2 minutes might feel like forever when you’re hungry, but the gooey melted cheese is SO worth it!
Calories: 490kcal, Carbohydrates: 37g, Protein: 31g, Fat: 24g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 9g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 84mg, Sodium: 1157mg, Potassium: 900mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 560IU, Vitamin C: 10mg, Calcium: 249mg, Iron: 4mg
Cuisine: American
Course: Dinner, Main Course, Side Dish
Author: Jennifer
Tried this recipe?Mention @deliciouslysprinkled on Instagram or tag #deliciouslysprinkled.

Some of the links above are affiliate links, which pay me a small commission for recommending my favorite products at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting Deliciously Sprinkled.