One Pot Chili Mac
One Pot Chili Mac is the best blend of chili and macaroni and cheese served as a single main meal. It's an easy flavorful dish that's meaty, cheesy, creamy, and spicy.
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Table of Contents
  1. Easy One-Pot Chili Mac
  2. Why We Love This One-Pot Chili Mac Recipe
  3. Ingredients / Shopping List
  4. Substitutions and Additions
  5. Recommended Tools
  6. How to Make Our 1-Pot Chili Mac
  7. Tips
  8. Storage Tips
  9. Frequently Asked Questions
  10. Other Easy Dinner Recipes
  11. One Pot Chili Mac Recipe

One-Pot Chili Mac is a delicious combination of two classic comfort foods that merge into an easy-to-make, 20-minute meal. This recipe simmers simple ingredients on the stove, all in one pot, and creates a hearty and quick dish that’s perfect for the person who can’t decide between chili and macaroni and cheese.

One Pot Chili Mac

Easy One-Pot Chili Mac

This homemade One-Pot Chili Mac is definitely not your ordinary mac and cheese and is so much better than your basic chili because it combines these two comfort foods into a delicious one-dish dinner.

This easy recipe starts with a homemade chili made with real ingredients (there’s no canned or processed chili in this dish!) that’s mixed with macaroni and simmered on the stove, then all stirred together with Velveeta to create a mouthwatering meal. It’s filled with seasoned ground beef, beans, noodles, and plenty of cheese–the best blend of smoky and spicy chili flavors with the rich and creamy texture of mac and cheese.

What I love most about this chili-mac and cheese cross is that all of the complex flavors and textures combine quickly in one pot. Cooking the pasta with the chili not only makes less mess with only one pot to clean but also builds an extra layer of flavor in this family-friendly meal. Why choose between chili and mac and cheese when you can eat them both in one bite?

Looking for more one-pot meals? My One-Pot Chicken and Rice and Chicken Parmesan Pasta recipes are must-makes!

Why We Love This One-Pot Chili Mac Recipe

  • Quick and easy to prepare in 5 minutes.
  • Made with simple ingredients that cook in under 20 minutes.
  • A cross between classic chili and macaroni and cheese, all made in one pot.
  • Delicious, hearty, comforting family-friendly meal.
  • Perfect weeknight dinner that reheats and freezes well
One Pot Chili Mac

Ingredients / Shopping List

  • Ground beef: You can substitute ground turkey, ground chicken or Italian sausage if you prefer.
  • Yellow onion: Red, white or sweet onion are also acceptable in this recipe.
  • Minced garlic: You can use fresh or bottled garlic.
  • Chili powder: This recipe is mildly spicy but not overly so. If you’d like it to be extra hot you can add an extra Tablespoon of chili powder or if you’d like it to be less spicy add just ½ a Tablespoon.
  • Chunky Rotel: You can use original Rotel as well or any can of diced tomato with green chiles. I like the chunky because it adds some texture to the dish. 
  • Chili beans: I used a generic can of red beans in chili sauce but you can use any can of chili beans that you like. I do recommend choosing one with a chili sauce to help with the flavor of the dish.
  • Water
  • Elbow macaroni: You can substitute whole wheat elbow macaroni or another type of pasta but it will affect the cooking time. Be sure to check the box for the recommended time and adjust your recipe accordingly. 
  • Velveeta
  • Shredded fiesta blend cheese: I love this cheese with this dish. However you can substitute any shredded cheese if necessary. 
  • Chopped parsley (optional garnish)
One Pot Chili Mac

Substitutions and Additions

  • Switch The Spice Level: You can easily adjust how spicy this One Pot Chili Mac is by adding more or less chili powder. If you double it you get a nice, fiery dish and if you cut it in half you get the flavor of chili without the burn. You can also use one (or two!) cans of “hot” Rotel instead of the chunky, which will increase the spice level quickly.
  • Beans: If you are one of those people that loves the beans in chili, you can easily adjust this recipe by adding another can or two of chili beans. You will want to reduce the water by ½ cup for every additional can of chili beans that you add. You can also choose what kind of beans you want, stores carry pinto, red, mixed beans and other options in chili sauce. You can pick your favorite!
  • Vegetarian Version: Omit the beef and just saute up the onion and garlic in a little oil before continuing the recipe. You may want to add an extra can of beans if you do this, just to make sure your chili has some substance.
  • Pick Your Pasta: While we all love a good elbow noodle in our macaroni, you can change up this recipe by using shells, penne or rotini instead. You can also substitute a whole wheat or vegetable noodle if you’d like. Just be sure to follow the cooking time on the box of pasta that you choose as they may take more or less time to cook than your typical elbow macaroni.
  • Tasty Toppings: Top your chili mac with sour cream, sliced avocado, jalapeños, fresh cilantro, or parsley for extra flavor and texture.
One Pot Chili Mac

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How to Make Our 1-Pot Chili Mac

One Pot Chili Mac is a quick and easy meal that combines two of my favorite comfort foods into one delicious dish. This simple recipe makes a homemade chili that simmers with the macaroni in the same pot, then is all mixed with Velveeta and topped with more cheese.

  1. Add the ground beef, onion, and garlic to a hot skillet and cook for 5-7 minutes over medium to medium high heat.
    Pro Tip: Make sure to stir often. Beef is done cooking when it is crumbled and cooked through and the onion is translucent. Make this chili mac in a dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot. It will distribute the heat more evenly.
    ground beef in a pot
  2. Add the chili powder to the beef mixture and mix completely.
    add chili powder into the ground beef
  3. Stir in the Rotel and chili beans. 
    add other ingredients to the pot
  4. Add the water and bring the mixture to a boil. 
  5. Add the elbow macaroni to the boiling liquid, stir, cover, and lower the heat to a simmer. 
  6. Simmer for 5-6 minutes or until the elbow macaroni are al dente (cooked but still firm).
    add macaroni to the pot 
  7. Add 1-inch chunks of Velveeta to the chili mac and stir until the cheese is completely melted and combined with the other ingredients. 
    add cheese to the pot
  8. Sprinkle with fiesta blend cheese and then remove from the heat. 
    Pro-Tip: Make sure that the macaroni is fully cooked before removing the pot from the heat.
  9. Garnish with chopped parsley (optional) and serve hot. Enjoy!
    One Pot Chili Mac

Tips

  • If making ahead of time, make sure that it is fully cooled before storing.

Storage Tips

  • To Store: This One Pot Chili Mac should be cooled to room temperature before storing in an airtight container. It will keep for up to 4 days in the refrigerator
  • To Freeze: You can store this dish for up to 3 months in the freezer in a freezer-safe container. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • To Reheat: Reheat the chili mac on the stovetop or in the microwave for about 3 to 4 minutes.
a spoonful one pot chili mac

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this meal ahead?

Yes, this is a great make-ahead meal and will keep well for 4 days covered in the refrigerator. Let it cool completely before storing.

How can I add a bit more flavor to my chili mac?

While I think that this recipe is great as is, if you like a little more salt or a bit more flavor, you can easily substitute beef or vegetable broth for some or all of the water. 

What can I serve with One Pot Chili Mac?

This One Pot Chili Mac pairs perfectly with my Mini Cornbread Muffins With Cinnamon Butter, Cheesy Pull-Apart Garlic Bread, a simple salad, or steamed veggie.

Can I freeze my One Pot Chili Mac?

Yes, because this chili mac recipe is saucey, it freezes really well! Fully prepare the recipe according to the instructions, place it in an airtight container, and freeze it. The chili mac will be good for up to three months! When you’re ready to eat your leftovers, defrost fully and then cook on the stovetop or in the microwave it until it’s hot.

One Pot Chili Mac

Other Easy Dinner Recipes

5 from 2 votes
One Pot Chili Mac

One Pot Chili Mac

Serves — 6
One Pot Chili Mac is the best blend of chili and macaroni and cheese served as a single main meal. It's an easy flavorful dish that's meaty, cheesy, creamy, and spicy.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 20 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ cup yellow onion diced
  • 2 tsp minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 20 ounce (2 10-ounce) cans chunky Rotel undrained
  • 15.5 ounce chili beans undrained
  • cups water
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 8 ounce (½ 16-ounce) box velveeta
  • 1 cup shredded fiesta blend cheese
  • Chopped parsley, optional garnish

Instructions
 

  • Heat a large skillet or saucepan over medium to medium high heat and add the ground beef, yellow onion and minced garlic to the hot skillet.
  • Cook, stirring often, for 5-7 minutes or until the beef is crumbled and cooked through and the onion is translucent.
  • Add the chili powder to the beef mixture and mix completely.
  • Add the Rotel and chili beans to the skillet and stir gently to combine.
  • Add the water and bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Once the liquid is boiling, add in the elbow macaroni, stir and cover, lowering the heat to a simmer.
  • Simmer for 5-6 minutes or until the elbow macaroni are al dente (cooked but still firm).
  • Cut the velveeta into 1-inch chunks and add to the hot pan. Stir until the velveeta is completely melted and combined with the other ingredients.
  • Sprinkle with fiesta blend cheese and then remove from the heat.
  • Garnish with chopped parsley, optional, and serve hot.

Jenn’s Notes

Storage:
  • To Store: This One Pot Chili Mac should be cooled to room temperature before storing in an airtight container. It will keep for up to 4 days in the refrigerator
  • To Freeze: You can store this dish for up to 3 months in the freezer in a freezer-safe container. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • To Reheat: Reheat the chili mac on the stovetop or in the microwave for about 3 to 4 minutes.
Tips:
  • Make this chili mac in a dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot. It will distribute the heat more evenly.
  • Make sure that the macaroni is fully cooked before removing the pot from the heat.
  • If making ahead of time, make sure that it is fully cooled before storing.

Nutrition Info

Calories: 534kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 1339mg | Potassium: 1071mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 1075IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 435mg | Iron: 5mg
Jennifer Fishkind

About Jenn

Jenn is a mom to three beautiful boys, wife to an amazing husband, social influencer and blogger. I love all things easy recipes, easy crafts, all things hacks, traveling EVERYWHERE and feeding my Pinterest addiction!

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Comments

  1. What exactly are “chili beans”? I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a canned bean labled as such.