Quick and Easy Chili Mac Recipe for Busy Weeknights

Welcome, my dear food lovers, to my latest creation: a Fast and Easy Chili Mac Recipe that is bound to tantalize your taste buds and set your senses ablaze.

There’s nothing like a warm, hearty meal to comfort us during these trying times. It’s the ultimate comfort food that warms our bellies and brings a sense of joy in the midst of chaos. That’s why I’ve created this delicious yet straightforward recipe: so you can enjoy a delicious and quick meal without taking hours in the kitchen.

This chili mac recipe combines two classic dishes: macaroni and cheese and chili, into one scrumptious one-pot meal that will satisfy any craving. With ingredients as simple as elbow macaroni, ground beef, diced tomatoes, kidney beans, and a few spices, you’ll have an easy-to-make dinner ready in just 30 minutes!

This recipe encompasses everything you could ask for in quick easy meals-perfect for busy weeknights or for when you need a quick homemade dish on the table- all while providing the opportunity to have leftovers that last just as long as the first serving.

So join me on this culinary adventure, and let’s dive into making Fast and Easy Chili Mac Recipe- a dish that is sure to become a family favorite!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Fast and Easy Chili Mac
Fast and Easy Chili Mac

Are you in search of a fast and easy comfort food that will have your taste buds singing? Look no further than this chili mac recipe! As an avid fan of one-pot meals, this recipe has quickly become a favorite of mine, and I’m sure it will be for you too.

Not only is this recipe quick and easy to make, it’s also incredibly versatile. With simple substitutions and variations, you can make it your own and tailor it to your personal preferences.

The combination of tender elbow macaroni paired with flavor-packed ground beef, kidney beans, diced tomatoes, and bell peppers create the perfect balance of flavors and textures in every bite. And let’s not forget the cheesy goodness that brings it all together!

Whether you’re a fan of chili or mac and cheese, this recipe is the perfect hybrid that satisfies both cravings. Plus, with its hearty nature, it’s a meal that will not leave you feeling hungry just an hour after finishing it.

And the best part? It takes only 30 minutes to make! It is perfect for a quick meal on a busy weeknight or when unexpected guests arrive as it can easily be doubled or tripled to serve a crowd.

So give this easy chili mac recipe a try and enjoy the warmth and satisfaction that only comfort food can bring. You’ll love how easy it is to prepare and how satisfyingly delicious every bite tastes.

Ingredient List

 A delicious and hearty bowl of chili mac to warm up your soul!
A delicious and hearty bowl of chili mac to warm up your soul!

Get Your Ingredients Ready!

This Fast and Easy Chili Mac Recipe only requires a few simple ingredients that you might already have in your kitchen. Make sure you have the following ingredients prepared before cooking time starts:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (16 oz) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sharp cheddar cheese

You could make this recipe vegetarian or meatless chili by replacing the ground beef with textured vegetable protein crumbles as an alternative. If you want a spicier kick to your dish, use canned chili or add more chili powder or cumin for more depth of flavor. Get creative and mix up the canned beans too – try black beans or pinto beans instead of kidney beans! It makes tasty and colorful added texture to your meals.

The Recipe How-To

 This recipe is perfect for those busy weeknights when you need a quick and satisfying meal.
This recipe is perfect for those busy weeknights when you need a quick and satisfying meal.

Before we dive into making this quick and easy Chili Mac recipe, make sure all your ingredients are ready. You’ll need:

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (15 oz) red kidney beans, drained
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Now that you have everything ready let’s get started on making this quick and easy dinner.

Step One: Brown the Ground Beef

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef until no longer pink. Add the onion, bell pepper and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Step Two: Add the Seasonings

Next add in the chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine and cook for another minute or so until fragrant.

Step Three: Add Tomatoes and Beans

Add the canned diced tomatoes and red kidney beans to the pan. Stir everything together to combine.

Step Four: Add Elbow Macaroni and Water

Stir in the elbow macaroni and water. Bring everything to a boil then reduce heat to low, cover with a lid and simmer for about 10 minutes or until macaroni is cooked to your desired texture.

Step Five: Add Tomato Sauce

Pour in the tomato sauce, stir everything together and continue cooking for another couple of minutes.

Step Six: Add Cheese

Finally, sprinkle with the shredded sharp cheddar cheese over top of the chili mac while still in the pan. Cover with a lid again until cheese is melted; this should take approximately 5 -7 minutes.

Serve warm! Now that was an easy one pot Cheesy Chili Mac — perfect comfort food on any night of the week!

Substitutions and Variations

 Feel free to adjust the spices and heat level to your liking. Make it as spicy or mild as you want!
Feel free to adjust the spices and heat level to your liking. Make it as spicy or mild as you want!

I know you’re thinking to yourself, “This recipe sounds amazing, but what if I don’t have all the ingredients on hand?” Don’t worry – I’m here to help you with substitutions and variations that will still give you that hearty, cheesy, and slightly spicy chili mac fix.

First of all, if you prefer a vegetarian chili mac, simply replace the ground beef with your choice of meatless protein such as soy crumbles or Quorn. You can also leave out the meat altogether and make it a kidney bean and tomato-based dish. This type of meatless chili mac is perfect for vegans or vegetarians.

If you enjoy a bit of heat in your recipes, try adding some hot sauce or diced jalapeños for an extra kick. On the other hand, if you’re not a fan of too much spice, reduce or omit the chili powder altogether and add some herbs like dried oregano and basil instead.

Want to switch up the pasta? Of course, you can use any short pasta shape like shells, penne, or cavatappi instead of elbow macaroni. Or if you’re looking for something different altogether, try replacing it with rice or quinoa.

You can also top your chili mac with different types of cheese such as Pepper Jack, Gouda or Monterey Jack cheese instead of sharp cheddar cheese.

And finally, if you want to turn this into a delicious one-pot casserole recipe that’s perfect for entertaining or meal prepping for the week ahead, simply mix all the ingredients together in a casserole dish and bake it in the oven until bubbly and golden brown on top.

No matter what substitutions or variations you make to this easy chili mac recipe, I guarantee it will still be a quick and yummy comfort food that’s perfect for satisfying those late-night cravings!

Serving and Pairing

 This chili mac is made with ground beef, but you can use turkey or chicken if you prefer.
This chili mac is made with ground beef, but you can use turkey or chicken if you prefer.

When it comes to serving and pairing this easy chili mac recipe, let me tell you, the options are endless. This dish is a real chameleon, as it can be served by itself or as a side dish.

If you’re looking to make this recipe into a full meal, simply serve it with some warm bread or even cornbread (if you’re feeling fancy). The chili mac is filling enough on its own, but if you’re looking to beef up your serving sizes, you could also add a side salad for some greens.

But, let’s say you’ve got picky eaters in your household (we all do), then consider pairing this recipe with some chopped fresh vegetables like peppers, cucumbers or carrots that can be dipped in a ranch or blue cheese dressing for extra flavor.

Want to go all out? Bring on the toppings! I’m talking about sliced jalapenos, chopped onions or even sour cream. Wait… there’s more – shredded sharp cheddar cheese is a must-do when it comes to topping off your chili mac. Trust me when I say that this recipe has just enough spice and that sharp cheddar cheese will bring out all of those hearty flavors.

This is one of those dishes that really begs for something refreshing to balance things out. So, why not give beer a try? Grab a cold bottle of your choice – maybe something malty to offset the spiciness? Feel free to mix it up with an ice-cold bottle of iced tea or limeade.

In my opinion, comfort food always pairs well with casual company and comfortable clothes. So take off those shoes and relax–you’ve earned it!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Add a dollop of sour cream or a sprinkle of cheese on top to take your chili mac to the next level.
Add a dollop of sour cream or a sprinkle of cheese on top to take your chili mac to the next level.

One thing I love about this easy chili mac recipe is that it can be made ahead of time and stored for reheating later. As a busy person, I often like to prepare my meals in advance so that I can focus on other tasks during the week. This recipe is perfect for that.

If you would like to make this recipe ahead of time, simply store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. You can also freeze it for up to three months. When reheating, you can either use the microwave or oven. For microwave reheating, just place your chili mac in a microwavable container with a lid and heat it in two-minute increments until it reaches your desired temperature.

For oven reheating, preheat your oven to 350°F and transfer your leftover chili mac to an oven-safe dish. Place the dish in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. This should be just enough time to reheat everything without drying out the pasta.

When making this dish ahead of time, try holding off on adding the shredded cheddar cheese until you’re ready to reheat and serve it as this will prevent the cheese from overpowering the rest of the dish.

So don’t hesitate to make a large batch of cheesy chili mac and store it for later indulgence. It’s comforting food at its best!

Tips for Perfect Results

 You can also customize this recipe by adding your favorite vegetables like corn, red bell pepper or zucchini.
You can also customize this recipe by adding your favorite vegetables like corn, red bell pepper or zucchini.

If you want your chili mac to create a symphony of flavors in your mouth, then you have come to the right place. Creating the perfect chili mac requires following a few tips and tricks that I have learned through trial and error over the years. So, let’s dive right in and find out how to make the best chili mac recipe.

First things first, when cooking the elbow macaroni, make sure not to overcook it. You want your macaroni to be perfectly tender and still have a bite to it. Overcooking the pasta will result in mushy or slimy noodles, which is a complete turn-off.

To take your chili mac recipe up a notch, add sharp cheddar cheese on top. The extra-sharp cheese will melt beautifully on top of the cheesy chili and offer an indulgent savory flavor with every bite.

Next, feel free to experiment with different vegetables as substitutions or add-ons. Personally, I enjoy diced jalapeños for their spicy kick and vibrant taste. But, bell peppers or serrano peppers would also work well in this one-pot meal

If you’re a fan of vegetarian dishes, try using canned kidney beans instead of ground beef. You can also switch out beef with turkey or use less meat, so it becomes more of a meatless chili-flavored macaroni casserole.

Planning on making larger portion sizes? Double-check that you have a skillet large enough to accommodate all of the ingredients involved in making the recipe or half the recipe if it’s too small. Otherwise, this can result in possible sticking, uneven heating or spilled ingredients.

Last but not least, by all means experiment with a twist of flavors that capture your taste buds’ heart whenever you make chili mac! Do not be afraid to get creative with seasoning such as adding garlic powder or swapping traditional chili powder for smoked paprika.

Follow these tips and let your creativity guide you towards an outstanding outcome for your comfort food craving!

Bottom Line

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In conclusion, this Fast and Easy Chili Mac Recipe is a must-try for anyone looking for a delicious and comforting meal that’s quick and easy to make. With its hearty blend of ground beef, beans, spices, and macaroni smothered in melted cheese, this recipe is guaranteed to be a hit with your family and friends.

Whether you’re short on time or just want to enjoy a tasty meal without all the hassle, this recipe has got you covered. And with its countless variations and substitutions, you can adjust it to suit your preferences and dietary needs.

So why not give this recipe a try? It’s the perfect dish for busy weeknights or lazy weekends, and it’s sure to become a favorite in your household. So go ahead and whip up a batch of this delicious chili mac today – your taste buds will thank you!

Fast and Easy Chili Mac

Fast and Easy Chili Mac Recipe

I looked all over trying to find a basic recipe for chili mac and could not. So I came up with my own version of it. My kids gobbled it up and they are really picky eaters.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Calories 610.9 kcal


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans Hormel chili without beans
  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni
  • 15 ounces red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 dash salt
  • 1 dash pepper
  • 1 dash chili powder
  • 1 dash garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded


  • Cook macaroni as directed on box.
  • Brown hamburger; drain. Add chili and kidney beans. Mix well. Add macaroni and seasoning. Mix well. Heat on medium until mixture begins to boil. Add 1/4 cup cheese and heat through, about 2 minutes.
  • Serve with remaining cheese.

Your Own Notes


Serving: 339gCalories: 610.9kcalCarbohydrates: 55.7gProtein: 38.6gFat: 25.7gSaturated Fat: 9.8gCholesterol: 91.1mgSodium: 699.6mgFiber: 6.9gSugar: 1.1g
Keyword < 30 Mins, Easy, Kid-Friendly, Meat, One-Dish Meal, Toddler-Friendly
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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