This easy one pot Chili Mac and Cheese combines two beloved dishes, chili and macaroni and cheese, in one! Macaroni pasta and black beans are cooked in a thick and chunky chili loaded with gooey cheese.
Made in just on pot and ready under 30 minutes, Chili Mac and Cheese is a simple dinner that you and your family will surely love!
Easy One Pot Chili Mac and Cheese
Chili Mac and Cheese, or also lovingly known as Chili Mac, is a quintessential American meal.
I don’t know who invented the concept of Chili Mac and Cheese, but personally, I think it’s quite genius to combine macaroni and cheese with chili – two meals that everyone in America pretty much grew up eating.
The product is a rich and hearty, cozy and comforting bowl that combines macaroni, beans, tomatoes, chili spices, and yes lots of cheese.
It’s also flavorful and packed with bold southwestern flavors.
There are so many reasons why Chili Mac and Cheese is such a popular and well loved dinner option:
- ready under 30 minutes
- easy-to-find, pantry-friendly ingredients
- made in one pot – no need to boil pasta separately!
- easy to eat – serve in just one bowl!
- flavorful and delicious – lots of textures and spices!
- easy to make ahead and leftovers keep well
It’s quite simple. If I want to prepare dinner in record time, enjoy a tasty meal, and have little dishes to wash, I make my Chili Mac and Cheese recipe.
We have had this way too many times for dinner, save leftovers for lunches and more dinners, making a busy week much easier to manage.
Here are the ingredients you will need to make this delicious Chili Mac and Cheese:
- elbow macaroni pasta
- cheese – use shredded cheese that melts easily such as cheddar, mozzarella, Colby jack, or a blend. Velveeta and sliced American cheese melts will and can work as well. Avoid hard cheese, they will be hard to melt in your Chili Mac.
- lean ground beef
- onion – white, yellow or sweet onions
- garlic – minced fresh garlic is prefer, but garlic powder can be used as well
- canned diced tomatoes – you can substitute with whole tomatoes if that’s what you have, make sure to break the tomatoes apart after adding to the pot
- canned tomato sauce
- beef broth
- chili powder
- smoked paprika
- ground cumin
How to Make Chili Mac
Chili Mac and Cheese is a simple one pot meal that is truly one of the easiest dinners you will make from scratch!
So grab that pot or Dutch oven and let’s get cooking!
Start by sautéing the onions, garlic and ground beef.
Then add all the tomatoes (diced tomatoes, tomato sauce), beef broth, and the spices (chili powder, smoked paprika, and ground cumin).
Stir and bring everything to a boil.
Once it comes to a boil, add the macaroni pasta and let it cook for 9-10 minutes.
As the pasta cooks, the Chili Mac will slowly thickens.
Even if it’s a little watery at this point, don’t worry as we will be adding shredded cheese to it, and that should thicken it further.
Add black beans, but make sure to drain it if using canned. We don’t really want the extra liquid in there.
Then fold in the shredded cheese.
At this point your Chili Mac and Cheese should be nice and thick.
If you would like it thicker, add more shredded cheese. If you prefer it thinner, add a few tablespoons of water or beef broth.
If you prefer your Chili Mac and Cheese super cheesy, add more shredded cheese.
Lastly, I like to also top my Chili Mac with even more shredded cheese when serving.
I like to add other toppings to it when serving to give it some additional texture and flavors:
- tortilla chips
And that’s really all there is to the making of this delicious Chili Mac and Cheese…cook it all in one big pot, serve in one big bowl!
It really doesn’t get easier than this!
Dishes to serve with Chili Mac and Cheese
Here are some easy and yummy sides to go with Chili Mac:
- Salads: Fall Harvest Salad, Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Dressing, Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad
- Bread: No-Knead Cranberry Bread, Honey Butter Rolls, Cornbread
- Veggie side dish: Whole Roasted Butternut Squash, Roasted Zucchini, Garlic Honey Roasted Carrots
- By itself! I will admit most of the time that’s how I serve it! And it is very delicious by itself 🙂
Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely! I recommend using shredded cheese that melts easily, such as cheddar, mozzarella, Colby jack, or a cheese blend. You can also use slices of American cheese or Velveeta instead of or in addition to the shredded cheese. Personally, I say use whatever cheeses you have at hand!
When I want to make this ‘healthier’, I typically use whole wheat pasta, lean ground beef, and low fat cheeses. Or use less cheese.
Yes! Chili Mac freezes and reheats really well. Freeze in an airtight container for up to 2 months. When ready to eat, defrost in refrigerator the overnight and reheat in the microwave.
More Easy Meals!
Looking for more yummy dinner ideas that are super simple to make? Check these out!
- Garlic Noodles with Shrimp
- Pork Milanese
- Sheet Pan Oven Baked Sausage and Peppers
- Turkey Sweet Potato Chili
- BBQ Chicken Baked Potato
- Chicken and Brussels Sprouts Stir Fry
- BBQ Chicken Tacos
Chili Mac and Cheese
- 1 white onion diced
- 3-4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 lbs lean ground beef
- 15 oz canned diced tomatoes
- 15 oz canned tomato sauce
- 2 cups beef broth
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 8 oz elbow macaroni
- 15 oz black beans drained
- 1 1/2 cup cheese shredded, plus more for toppings
- 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
- cooking oil
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, add cooking oil, and heat to medium high heat. Add onions and garlic, saute until they are soft.
- Add ground beef, saute until they are no longer pink.
- Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and beef broth. Then add chili powder, smoked paprika and ground cumin. Stir to combine and bring to boil.
- Once it comes to a boil, add macaroni and cook for 9-10 minutes, or until macaroni is soft.
- Add black beans, and cook for another 1-2 minutes, then fold in shredded cheese. Add salt to taste.
- Serve with more shredded cheese on top. Enjoy!