Chili Mac Recipe


Indulge in the ultimate comfort food experience with Chili Mac, a hearty and satisfying meal that combines the bold flavors of chili with the comforting goodness of macaroni pasta. Perfect for cozy nights in or family gatherings, this crowd-pleasing dish is sure to warm your soul and tantalize your taste buds. In this article, we’ll explore the irresistible appeal of Chili Mac and provide you with a simple and delicious recipe to enjoy at home.

Why Chili Mac? Chili Mac offers the best of both worlds by combining two beloved dishes into one irresistible creation. With its rich and flavorful chili sauce enveloping tender macaroni noodles, this dish is a true crowd-pleaser that appeals to both kids and adults alike. Whether you’re craving a hearty weeknight dinner or a comforting meal on a chilly day, Chili Mac delivers the perfect blend of comfort and flavor in every bite.


  • 1 pound ground beef (or turkey)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (15 ounces) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni pasta
  • Optional toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, chopped green onions, sour cream


  1. Cook the Ground Beef: In a large skillet or Dutch oven, brown the ground beef over medium heat until fully cooked. Drain any excess fat from the skillet.
  2. Add Onion and Garlic: Add diced onion and minced garlic to the skillet with the cooked ground beef. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, until the onion is softened and translucent.
  3. Prepare the Chili Sauce: Stir in kidney beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth, chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let it cook for 15-20 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
  4. Cook the Macaroni Pasta: In a separate pot, cook the elbow macaroni according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain the cooked pasta and set it aside.
  5. Combine Chili and Macaroni: Add the cooked macaroni pasta to the chili sauce mixture, stirring until well combined. Let the Chili Mac simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
  6. Serve and Enjoy: Ladle the Chili Mac into bowls and garnish with optional toppings such as shredded cheddar cheese, chopped green onions, or sour cream. Serve hot and enjoy the comforting goodness of this flavorful dish.

Serving and Storage Tips:

Serving Suggestions:

  1. Garnish with Toppings: Before serving, garnish each bowl of Chili Mac with your favorite toppings for added flavor and texture. Popular options include shredded cheddar cheese, chopped green onions, sour cream, diced avocado, or sliced jalapeños.
  2. Pair with Cornbread or Corn Chips: Serve Chili Mac alongside freshly baked cornbread or crispy corn chips for a classic Tex-Mex-inspired meal. The combination of savory chili and sweet cornbread or crunchy chips is a match made in heaven.
  3. Add a Side Salad: Balance the heartiness of Chili Mac with a crisp and refreshing side salad. A simple green salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, and a tangy vinaigrette dressing complements the flavors of the dish beautifully.
  4. Serve in Bread Bowls: For a fun and creative presentation, hollow out round bread loaves and ladle the Chili Mac into the bread bowls. Not only does this add a rustic charm to the meal, but it also provides an edible vessel for enjoying every last bite of chili goodness.
  5. Create a Chili Bar: Set up a Chili Mac bar with an assortment of toppings and condiments, allowing guests to customize their bowls according to their taste preferences. This interactive dining experience is perfect for parties and gatherings, ensuring everyone gets exactly what they want.

Storage Instructions:

  1. Refrigeration: Allow any leftover Chili Mac to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container or resealable plastic bag. Refrigerate within two hours of cooking and consume within 3-4 days.
  2. Freezing: To extend the shelf life, Chili Mac can be frozen for future use. Portion the cooled chili into individual servings and place them in freezer-safe containers or resealable plastic bags. Properly stored, Chili Mac can be frozen for up to 2-3 months.
  3. Reheating: When ready to enjoy leftover Chili Mac, reheat it gently on the stovetop or in the microwave until warmed through. Add a splash of beef broth or water if needed to prevent the chili from drying out during reheating.
  4. Quality Check: Before consuming reheated Chili Mac, ensure it is heated to your desired temperature and shows no signs of spoilage, such as off odors or slimy texture. When in doubt, discard any leftovers that appear questionable.

By following these serving and storage tips, you can ensure that your Chili Mac remains delicious and fresh, whether you’re enjoying it right away or saving some for later enjoyment.

Variations of Chili Mac Recipe:

  1. Vegetarian Chili Mac:
    • Replace the ground beef with a meat substitute such as crumbled tofu, textured vegetable protein (TVP), or cooked lentils for a hearty vegetarian version.
    • Add extra vegetables such as diced bell peppers, corn kernels, zucchini, or mushrooms for added texture and flavor.
  2. Spicy Chipotle Chili Mac:
    • Add chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce to the chili sauce mixture for a smoky and spicy kick.
    • Stir in a dash of cayenne pepper or hot sauce to increase the heat level according to your taste preference.
  3. White Chicken Chili Mac:
    • Substitute ground beef with cooked shredded chicken for a lighter twist on the classic dish.
    • Use white beans such as cannellini or Great Northern beans instead of kidney beans, and add diced green chilies for a flavorful chili base.
  4. Three-Bean Vegetarian Chili Mac:
    • Create a hearty and protein-packed chili mac by using a combination of kidney beans, black beans, and pinto beans.
    • Increase the amount of chili powder and cumin for extra flavor, and stir in diced tomatoes with green chilies for a tangy kick.
  5. Italian Sausage Chili Mac:
    • Replace the ground beef with Italian sausage, either sweet or spicy, for a bold and flavorful variation.
    • Add Italian seasoning, dried oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes to the chili sauce mixture for an Italian-inspired twist on the classic dish.

These variations of the Chili Mac Recipe offer unique flavor profiles and ingredient combinations to suit different preferences and dietary restrictions. Experiment with these ideas to create your own personalized version of this comforting and delicious dish, and enjoy the hearty goodness of Chili Mac in new and exciting ways.


  1. Can I make Chili Mac ahead of time?
    • Yes, Chili Mac can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat gently on the stove or in the microwave before serving.
  2. Can I use different types of pasta for Chili Mac?
    • Yes, you can use different types of pasta such as penne, rigatoni, or rotini instead of elbow macaroni. Choose a shape that holds sauce well for the best results.
  3. Is Chili Mac gluten-free?
    • Chili Mac can be made gluten-free by using gluten-free pasta and ensuring that all other ingredients, such as spices and canned beans, are gluten-free.
  4. Can I make Chili Mac in a slow cooker?
    • Yes, Chili Mac can be made in a slow cooker for added convenience. Simply brown the meat and onions, then transfer them to the slow cooker along with the remaining ingredients. Cook on low for 4-6 hours or on high for 2-3 hours.
  5. Can I freeze Chili Mac?
    • Yes, Chili Mac can be frozen for future meals. Allow it to cool completely, then portion it into freezer-safe containers or resealable bags. Freeze for up to 2-3 months and thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
  6. How do I make Chili Mac spicier?
    • To make Chili Mac spicier, add extra chili powder, cayenne pepper, or diced jalapeños to the chili sauce mixture. Adjust the amount according to your desired level of heat.
  7. Can I make Chili Mac without beans?
    • Yes, you can make Chili Mac without beans if preferred. Simply omit the beans or replace them with additional vegetables or meat.
  8. What toppings can I add to Chili Mac?
    • Popular toppings for Chili Mac include shredded cheese, sour cream, chopped green onions, diced avocado, sliced jalapeños, and crushed tortilla chips.
  9. Is Chili Mac a healthy meal option?
    • Chili Mac can be a nutritious meal option when made with lean ground meat, whole grain pasta, and plenty of vegetables. Adjust the ingredients to suit your dietary preferences and needs.
  10. Can I make Chili Mac in a vegetarian version?
    • Yes, Chili Mac can easily be made in a vegetarian version by using meat substitutes such as tofu, TVP, or lentils, and omitting the ground meat. Load it up with plenty of vegetables for added flavor and nutrition.

By addressing these frequently asked questions, you can enhance your understanding of Chili Mac and confidently prepare this comforting and flavorful dish at home.


Chili Mac is the perfect comfort food dish that brings together the bold flavors of chili with the comforting goodness of macaroni pasta. With its simple ingredients and easy preparation, this hearty meal is ideal for busy weeknights or lazy weekends. Whether served as a family dinner or a crowd-pleasing party dish, Chili Mac is sure to become a favorite in your recipe collection. So, gather your ingredients and get ready to savor the deliciousness of homemade Chili Mac!

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