One Pot Chili Mac

Chili Mac is the best one pot weeknight meal! It combines everyone’s favorite comfort food recipes: Macaroni & Cheese and Chili to make a flavorful creamy dinner that’s sure to impress the whole family!

A wooden spoon holding a scoop of chili mac with the rest of the pan in the background.

Make sure you check out these other awesome chili recipes like Chicken Chili, 30 Minute Turkey Chili and Vegetarian Chili.

Chili Mac

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Some of the best recipes are those that combine two beloved dishes. In this case, Macaroni & Cheese and Chili. What’s not to like? Deliciously flavorful beef chili laden with beans and tomatoes combined with creamy macaroni and cheese. It’s a comfort food match made in heaven!

And best of all, this is a true one pan dinner that is on the table in less than 30 minutes. You can easily prep some of the fresh ingredients in advance (highly recommend!) to make it even quicker. These flavors tend to please even the pickiest of palates. This is your one way ticket to a weeknight dinner win.

A white bowl of chili mac and another bowl behind it as well as the pan and a blue towel.

Quality ingredients are the key to this stovetop chili mac casserole

Longtime readers know I always have been and will continue to be a diehard fan of Tuttorosso Tomatoes. These are the very same tomatoes my Grandmother used in her cooking, along with my mother and now me. Because quality is important for taking your cooking to the next level.

An overhead image of a can of Tuttorosso tomatoes with bowls of chili mac on either side of it , a blue towel around the top and a bowl of shredded cheese.

Here’s what makes Tuttorosso Tomatoes the very best:

  • Quality you can see: they use specially designed color sorters to provide rich, red tomatoes and they physically inspect each one for imperfections.
  • Quality you can taste: Tuttorosso cans use a Steam Sealed Flavor-Loc™ system to protect the fresh flavor of their tomatoes.
  • Real food: Their products are made without any artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. They are not “processed food” – just canned using only steam to preserve them.
  • Pride and values: This family-owned company uses sustainably produced tomatoes, NON-GMO ingredients and Non-BPA lined cans.
  • Authenticity: They’re the best-selling Italian inspired canned tomato brand in the US / Best-selling Crush SKU in the US.

An overhead image of a can of Tuttorosso petite diced tomatoes next to the side of a pan of chili mac, a white bowl of shredded cheese and chopped scallions around it.

Tips for making this Chili Mac recipe

  • Heat the oil over medium high heat and make sure it’s nice and hot before adding the onions and bell pepper- you can tell it’s hot because it will appear to shimmer in the pan.
  • Break up the ground beef with the side of a wooden spoon as is browns.
  • If needed, drain the beef and veggie mixture before adding the seasonings.
  • After adding the seasonings, I cook the beef a couple more minutes before adding the remaining ingredients to help build flavor.
  • Elbow pasta cook times may vary by the brand. Mine took around 12 minutes. Be sure to taste it and if the pasta is too chewy, let it cook a few more minutes.
  • After I stir in and top with the cheddar cheese, I turn off the heat completely and cover it for a couple minutes to let the cheese on top melt.

An overhead image of a pan of chili mac with a blue towel next to it and a small white bowl of shredded cheddar cheese.

Do I have to use beef?

No- ground turkey will also work well!

Can you freeze chili mac?

This is best served immediately.

How long does chili mac last?

This will last up to 4 days in an airtight container stored in the refrigerator. It reheats well in the microwave.

A close up of a white bowl of chili mac with chopped scallions on the side of it and a blue towel in the background.

Ingredients for making chili mac and cheese

  • Olive oil
  • Onion
  • Bell pepper
  • Ground beef
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Sweet paprika
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Tuttorosso Tomatoes Petite Diced Tomatoes
  • Canned pinto beans
  • Chicken broth
  • Milk
  • Elbow macaroni
  • Sharp cheddar cheese

An overhead image of bowls of chili mac with a blue towel and chopped scallions.

Best ingredients to prep ahead:

  • Chop onion
  • Chop bell pepper
  • Drain and rinse beans
  • Shred cheese

Helpful tools:

  1. Chef’s knife
  2. Cutting board
  3. Large saute pan
  4. Wooden spoon
  5. Measuring cups
  6. Measuring spoons

A white bowl of chili mac with a fork in it and another bowl behind it as well as the pan and a blue towel.

 Chili Mac
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
17 mins
Total Time
27 mins

 Chili Mac is the best one pot weeknight meal! It combines everyone's favorite comfort food recipes: chili and mac and cheese to make a flavorful creamy dinner that's sure to impress the whole family!

Course: dinner, Main, Main Course, Main dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chili mac
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Jessy Freimann, The Life Jolie
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 14.5 ounce can Tuttorosso Petite Diced Tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 14.5 ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 2 green onions, sliced- garnish
  1. Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat.

  2. Add onions and peppers and saute for 4 minutes, stirring often.

  3. Add ground beef and saute until brown, breaking up as it cooks. Drain if needed.

  4. Stir in chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes.

  5. Add Tuttorosso Petite Diced Tomatoes, pinto beans, broth, milk and macaroni to the pot and stir to combine. Bring to a boil.

  6. Once boil, reduce heat to medium low and cover. Cook for around 12 minutes stirring periodically to prevent sticking.

  7. Uncover and stir in 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar. Top evenly with remaining shredded cheddar.

  8. Cover and turn off heat. Leave covered for a few minutes until cheese is fully melted. Serve immediately topped with sliced green onion.

Recipe Notes

Pasta brands may vary in cooking time. Taste after 12 minutes and if too chewy, cook a minute or two longer.

If you tried this recipe please comment and rate it 🙂 I love hearing your feedback and answering your questions!

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