This One Pot Chili Mac and Cheese is mash up of my easy beef chili recipe and everyones favorite mac and cheese. A cozy comfort meal for any occasion. Serves 8 in about 1 hour.

Chili Mac and Cheese

Years ago, I decided to combine my easy beef chili recipe with Mac and cheese, turning it into a chili meets mac and cheese situation.

The results? Heavenly.

The beef chili combined with the cheese and tender macaroni noodles is beyond comforting. This is great for feeding a small crowd on football Sunday, or to have leftovers throughout the week, but I especially love it on nights when I need something easy and satisfying.

Chili Mac and Cheese

This chili Mac and cheese checks all the boxes.

ingredients for Chili Mac and Cheese

To make This One Pot Chili Mac & Cheese You Will Need:

  • extra light olive oilOr any oil safe for sautéing.
  • white or yellow onionAdds a subtle onion flavor.
  • garlic (fresh) – For that distinct punchy flavor
  • lean ground beefI like to use 90% lean and 10% fat for this recipe.
  • chili powderAdds flavor and can be mild to moderately spicy.
  • kosher saltThis will draw out flavor and season the dish.
  • sugarThis offsets the acidity of the tomato sauce.
  • cumin (ground) – Lends earthiness and warmth, with an edge of citrus.
  • celery saltThis adds subtle flavor, but can be omitted as not everyone will have it on hand.
  • cayenne pepper (ground) – For a very subtle touch of heat.
  • kidney beansLight or dark red kidney beans can be used.
  • pinto beans – drained and rinsed
  • crushed fire-roasted tomatoesFire-roasted tomatoes adds additional flavor to this recipe, however, regular can be substituted.
  • tomato sauceMakes this recipe extra saucy.
  • low-sodium chicken brothIs needed in order for the pasta to cook.
  • elbow macaroniFor this recipe I use 1-1/2 cups or 8 ounces.
  • sharp cheddar cheeseLends that distinct cheddar flavor.
  • cheddar jack cheeseColby jack cheese can also be substituted.
  • parsleyAdds a pop of green and freshness when serving.
  • sliced green onionsAdds delicate fresh onion flavor when serving.

additional toppings:

  • sour cream or plain nonfat greek yogurt
  • hot sauce
  • diced avocado
  • crushed tortilla chips

oil, onion and garlic

Make The Chili Mac:

Start by adding 2 teaspoons extra light olive oil, 1 medium diced white onion (or about 1 cup) and 2 minced garlic cloves with a pinch of salt to a dutch oven. Heat over medium to medium-low, stirring until softened.

add in ground beef

Drop in the 1-1/2 pounds of lean ground beef (I use 90/10) and use a wooden spatula to break it up into crumbles.

cooked ground beef plus seasoning

Once fully cooked, discard the fat and add in 1 tablespoon of chili powder, 2 teaspoons of kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of both sugar and cumin, and an 1/8 a teaspoon of both celery salt and cayenne pepper. The celery salt can be optional.

stir and cook 2 minutes

Stir and cook for a minute or two.

add in beans

Add in 1 (15 ounce) can of both pinto and red kidney beans that have been drained and rinsed.

fire roasted tomato sauce

Add in 1 (28-ounce) can of crushed fire roasted tomatoes.

tomato sauce

One 8-ounce can of tomato sauce.

add in broth

Pour in 3 cups of low-sodium chicken broth.

I add a little of the broth to the cans and swirl them around to get any extra tomato goodness out and into the chili.

stir and combine

Stir to combine.

add in pasta

Cover and bring the chili to a boil and add in 1-1/2 cups (8 ounces) of elbow macaroni. Reduce temperature to medium / medium-high and cook uncovered for about 14 to 16 minutes or until the noodles are al dente.

Stir often as the noodles like to sink and stick to the bottom of the pot.

cooked pasta

Perfection!

add in cheddar and stir

Once the noodles are tender, turn off the heat.

Add in a heaping 1/2 cup of sharp cheddar cheese and stir to combine.

sprinkle with shredded cheddar jack or colby jack

Lastly, sprinkle 1-1/2 cups of freshly grated cheddar jack or colby jack cheese over top of the chili mac.

cover to melt

Cover and wait a couple of minutes until the cheese has melted.

sprinkle with green onion and minced parsley

Sprinkle the top with minced fresh parsley and sliced green onions for a burst of freshness and a pop of green.

Ps. This smells amazing!

serve

Serve immediately.

Chili Mac and Cheese

We all like this with a dollop of sour cream and extra green onion on top. I also like mine with diced avocado and Pat adds dashes of Frank’s Red Hot on his. Really, it’s a choose your own adventure sort of situation.

With that said, what it doesn’t need is cheese. It’s got plenty of that.😍

Chili Mac and Cheese

How To Freeze Chili Mac and Cheese Leftovers:
  • COOL: make sure the chili is completely cool before freezing. Never place hot or very warm items in the freezer (or fridge!) as it can thaw and negatively affect the nearby food.
  • PORTION: when cool, divide chili into portions. Whether it’s a single serving, two or four, portion the cooled chili into either freezer safe bags or air-tight containers. I prefer using freezer safe bags and removing as much air as possible, this helps with storing.
  • FLATTEN: once portioned, lay flat on a rimmed baking sheet and freeze for a few hours. Like in this post.
  • STORE: stack the flat frozen chili portions vertically or horizontally saving so much freezer space. Store chili in the freezer for up to 6 months.
  • REHEAT: I prefer to thaw frozen chili overnight in the fridge. However you can soak in a sink of lukewarm water for 20 to 30 minutes – flip every so often and change out the water at least once or twice. You can also defrost in the microwave until thawed. For chili Mac and cheese, I like to reheat in the microwave until thoroughly heated throughout.
For Make Ahead Chili Mac and Cheese:
  • Prepare the recipe as directed, however cook the pasta just short of al dente. It should be saucy. Let it cool before topping with cheese. Cover and freeze.
  • Reheat by thawing overnight and then microwave to reheat for best results. The pasta will overly expand if heated up slowly on the stove top.

For More One Pot Recipes Click Here!

Chili Mac and Cheese

Enjoy! And if you give this One Pot Chili Mac and Cheese recipe a try, let me know! Snap a photo and tag me on twitter or instagram!

Chili Mac and Cheese

Chili Mac and Cheese
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Yield: 8 servings

One Pot Chili Mac and Cheese

This One Pot Chili Mac and Cheese is mash up of my easy beef chili recipe and everyones favorite mac and cheese. A cozy comfort meal for any occasion.

Ingredients

FOR THE CHILI MAC:

  • 2 teaspoons extra light olive oil, or avocado oil
  • 1 cup diced white or yellow onion, about 1 medium
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • pounds lean ground beef, I use 90/10
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery salt, optional
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, or more to taste
  • 1 (15 ounce) can light or dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • cups (dried) elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • cups shredded cheddar jack cheese, or colby jack cheese

FOR SERVING:

  • 1 tablespoon finely mince fresh parsley
  • 3 green onions, sliced

Instructions 

  • Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add in the onion and garlic with a pinch of salt. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Once soft, add in the ground beef. Use a wooden spoon to break it up into small crumbles and cook thoroughly until no longer pink. Drain all the fat and discard. Season the meat with chili powder, salt, sugar, cumin, celery salt (if using) and cayenne. Add in the beans, fire roasted tomatoes and tomato sauce.
  • Pour in 3 cups of broth, adding some to the tomato cans, swirling the cans to get any sauce still clinging to the sides before adding to the chili.
  • Cover and bring the chili to a boil and add in the elbow macaroni. Reduce heat to medium to medium-high and let the chili simmer for 14 to 16 minutes or until the pasta is tender.
  • Turn off the heat and stir in the grated sharp cheddar cheese. Sprinkle the cheddar jack over top, cover and let the heat melt the cheese.
  • Once melted, sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley and sliced green onions.
  • Serve in to bowls and top with sour cream, hot sauce and green onions.

Notes

The nutritional value is for the chili Mac and cheese with green onions and parsley. Any other additional toppings have not been figured into these numbers.
 
How To Freeze Chili Mac and Cheese Leftovers:
  • COOL: make sure the chili is completely cool before freezing. Never place hot or very warm items in the freezer (or fridge!) as it can thaw and negatively affect the nearby food.
  • PORTION: when cool, divide chili into portions. Whether it's a single serving, two or four, portion the cooled chili into either freezer safe bags or air-tight containers. I prefer using freezer safe bags and removing as much air as possible, this helps with storing.
  • FLATTEN: once portioned, lay flat on a rimmed baking sheet and freeze for a few hours. Like in this post.
  • STORE: stack the flat frozen chili portions vertically or horizontally saving so much freezer space. Store chili in the freezer for up to 6 months.
  • REHEAT: I prefer to thaw frozen chili overnight in the fridge. However you can soak in a sink of lukewarm water for 20 to 30 minutes - flip every so often and change out the water at least once or twice. You can also defrost in the microwave until thawed. For chili Mac and cheese, I like to reheat in the microwave until thoroughly heated throughout.
For Make Ahead Chili Mac and Cheese:
  • Prepare the recipe as directed, however cook the pasta just short of al dente. It should be saucy. Let it cool before topping with cheese. Cover and freeze.
  • Reheat by thawing overnight and then microwave to reheat for best results. The pasta will overly expand if heated up slowly on the stove top.
Serving: 1generous cup, Calories: 513kcal, Carbohydrates: 47g, Protein: 36g, Fat: 20g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 81mg, Sodium: 1469mg, Potassium: 880mg, Fiber: 8g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 1153IU, Vitamin C: 8mg, Calcium: 318mg, Iron: 5mg