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This One Pot Chili Mac and Cheese is two great comfort foods all in one! Delicious and hearty, quick and comforting, perfect dinner for back to school and ready in under 30 minutes.
This dish is perfect in many ways. It’s made in one pot, it’s done in 30 minutes which makes it the perfect for back to school dinners, and most importantly it’s the epitome of comfort food. It’s one of those dishes that you wish to keep eating once you start. It really is a one pot wonder!
I love dishes like these because they’re great pantry cleaners, so if you don’t have some of the ingredients I used today have fun with the substitutes! It’s such a sneaky way to incorporate some veggies into your dinner, and since it’s so good it’s one of those dishes you won’t be able to stop eating once you start.
The ingredients are simple and you probably have everything on hand already. As always refer to my printable recipe card at the bottom of the page for detailed instructions and measurements.
- Olive Oil – My oil of choice for browning meats.
- Ground beef – I use extra lean, the excess fat would be unnecessary in this recipe otherwise.
- Onion – White or yellow is fine, something that can hold up to cooking.
- Garlic – I used fresh but minced is fine if you prefer, remember 1 1/2 teaspoon is equal to one fresh clove.
- Spices – For this recipe I used cumin, cayenne, chili powder, black pepper, and salt. A good quality chili powder will make all the difference in the world!
- Beans –I used black beans and kidney beans, both out of the can and drained and rinsed. If using dried beans, please refer to this guide for black beans and this guide for kidney beans to ensure your beans are suitable to eat.
- Diced Tomatoes – The perfect way to use up that can you’ve had sitting around a while. This will add brightness and acidity to the dish.
- Chicken broth – Low sodium is preferred, if you are soaking your beans in a salt mixture I recommend no sodium broth.
- Elbow pasta – This can be replaced with any shape pasta.
- Parsley – My favorite fresh garnish for both color and flavor!
- Cheese – I used cheddar cheese for this one pot chili mac and cheese recipe but any sharp cheese will do. A blend of cheddar and mozzarella, or Monterrey jack would work perfectly well.
How To Make One Pot Chili Mac And Cheese
- Prepare the beef: In a large saucepan or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium high and add your beef. Cook till you no longer see pink. If using a fattier ground beef drain the fat at this stage. Stir in the onion and allow to cook this translucent, add the garlic and cook till fragrant.
- Incorporate the chili: Add the spices and stir, then follow with your canned ingredients, broth, and uncooked pasta. Stir everything together once more and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cover to allow the chili mac and cheese to cook, usually between 9 – 12 minutes. Stir in one cup of cheese and then sprinkle the remainder over top, cover to allow the cheese to melt.
- Garnish: Once the cheese is melted your dish is ready! Garnish with parsley and serve up hot.
This recipe will also make quite a bit of chili mac and cheese, so there will be plenty of leftovers to take to work the next day. Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 4 days. If freezing allow the dish to fully cool in a shallow container before placing in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Others Ways To Make Chili Mac And Cheese
Cook the beef, onions, and garlic according to the directions above. Then combine all ingredients in the slow cooker, save for the cheese, and cook on high for 2 hours. Check if the pasta has cooked to al dente perfection every 20 minutes after, don’t worry sometimes it can take up to an additional hour. Follow the above directions in regards to cheese and garnish.
Cook the beef, onions, and garlic according to the directions above in the instant pot on saute. Add the remaining ingredients, save for the cheese, and cook on the manual mode at high pressure for 5 minutes. Allow the pressure and heat to release naturally before removing the lid. Stir in half the cheese, saving the rest for garnish along side the parsley and serve!
More great recipes to try:
- World’s Best Chili
- Healthier Beef Chili
- Slow Cooker Chicken Chili
- Pork Chili Verde
- Crockpot White Chicken Chili
- Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
Looking for more recipes? Follow on…
One Pot Chili Mac and Cheese
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb ground beef extra lean
- 1 large onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp cumin ground
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp black pepper ground
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 cup kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 26 oz diced tomatoes (1 can)
- 4 cups chicken broth low sodium
- 10 oz elbow pasta uncooked
- 2 cups cheddar cheese shredded
- 2 tbsp parsley chopped
- In a large sauce pan or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Since I’m using extra lean ground beef there’s no need to drain the fat, but if you’re using fatter ground beef, drain whatever fat there is.
- Stir in the onion and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes or until the onion softens and becomes translucent and the garlic is aromatic.
- Add the cayenne pepper, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper and stir. Add the black beans, kidney beans, tomatoes, chicken broth and elbow pasta. Stir everything together and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to a simmer, cover the pot and cook for about 9 to 12 minutes or until the elbow macaroni is cooked.
- Stir in 1 cup of the shredded cheese then sprinkle the remaining cheddar cheese over the top. Cover the pot for about 1 minute just until the cheese melts.
- Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.