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16 October 2019

This chili mac recipe is chunky, cheesy and ultimately comforting with lots of seasonings, spicy chunky chili and so much more. It’s an easy one pot meal.

Have you ever tried chili mac? If you haven’t, you’re in for the comfort food experience of your life. I make a lot of chili recipes in the Chili Pepper Madness household. I make big pots of the stuff so I can have leftover chili for lunch or dinner. The great thing about leftover chili is repurposing it into wonderful dishes like chili mac.

Chili mac and cheese, my friends! It’s so good!

What is Chili Mac?

Chili mac is a comfort food recipe made with a combination of homemade chili, cooked noodles, and melty cheese. It is typically made as a casserole, with the chili and noodles mixed together in a large baking dish, then topped with cheese and baked. It’s a popular dish for leftover chili.

It’s a little bit decadent with all that cheese and carby noodles, but hey, everyone needs a little comfort food in their lives now and then, right? I know I do!

Let’s talk about how we make this awesome chili mac, shall we?

Ingredients Needed

  • FOR THE CHILI
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
  • 1 small bell pepper (or sweet pepper, chopped)
  • 1 spicy chili pepper, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 cans red kidney beans
  • 3 cans (42 ounces) fire roasted tomatoes, or use equivalent fresh (You can also used diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons ancho powder
  • 2 tablespoons guajillo powder (or use your favorite chili powder blend instead of the ancho/guajillo combo)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • FOR THE CHILI MAC
  • 8 ounces dry weight elbow pasta noodles (or use macaroni or any other smaller noodles)
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (or use any melty cheese, like pepper jack, or a mixture of cheeses)
  • FOR SERVING: Sliced roasted peppers, spicy chili flakes, fresh chopped parsley or cilantro

How to Make This Chili Mac Recipe – the Steps

FOR THE CHILI:

  1. First, heat the oil in a large pot and add the ground beef or turkey, onion and peppers. Cook them down about 10 minutes, or until the meat is cooked through and the vegetables are softened
  2. Add the garlic and cook another minute, stirring.
  3. If using fresh tomatoes, chop them and add them to the pot. Cook about 10 minutes to let them break down. If using canned fire roasted tomatoes, just add them to the pot and go to the next step.
  4. Add the kidney beans and seasonings and give it all a good stir.
  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the chili on low for at least 1 hour to let the flavors develop, stirring every now and then. Adjust for seasonings if you wish.

Stirring the chili

FOR THE CHILI MAC: 

Boil the noodles in lightly salted water until al dente. Drain. Mix the noodles with the chili, then pour the mixture into a large baking dish or casserole dish.

Top with cheese and bake for 15 minutes until the cheeses are nice and melted.

Garnish and serve!

Boom! That’s it, my friends! Chili mac is nice and cheesy and really it’s some crazy awesome comfort food at its finest. Grab yourself a bowl! I love this stuff.

Recipe Tips & Notes

  • The Heat Factor. You can make chili mac with any level of chili, from mild chili to extra hot and spicy chili. I include a lot of chili powders as well as spicy peppers in my homemade chili recipes, but you can adjust the heat to your own preferred level. No need to go TOO crazy.
  • Leftover Chili. This recipe is perfect for leftover chili. I always make an extra large pot of chili for me and Patty and save part of it for later in the week, or I freeze it. When we’re ready to eat, I just mix up the leftover chili in a baking dish with cooked noodles, top it with melty cheese, then bake it up. Super easy meal for during the week.
  • Baking Dish. Most of the time I use a casserole dish for this recipe, but it also works great in a Dutch oven or a large cast iron pan. Anything that is oven safe will work.
  • Chili Powders. If you have a hard time finding ancho and guajillo powders, use your favorite chili powder blend instead.

Try This With Some of My Popular Chili Recipes

Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.

5 from 1 vote
Cheesy Chili Mac Recipe
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 35 mins
 
This chili mac recipe is chunky, cheesy and ultimately comforting with lots of seasonings, spicy chunky chili and so much more. It's an easy one pot meal.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chili, noodles, one pot, pasta, recipe, spicy
Servings: 10
Calories: 353 kcal
Author: Mike Hultquist
Ingredients
FOR THE CHILI
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef or use ground turkey for a lighter meal
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers chopped
  • 1 small bell pepper or sweet pepper, chopped
  • 1 spicy chili pepper chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 cans red kidney beans
  • 42 ounces fire roasted tomatoes (3 14-ounce cans, or use equivalent fresh. You can also used diced tomatoes or tomato sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons ancho powder
  • 2 tablespoons guajillo powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
FOR THE CHILI MAC
  • 8 ounces dry weight elbow pasta noodles or use macaroni or any other smaller noodles
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese or use any melty cheese, like pepper jack, or a mixture of cheeses
  • FOR SERVING: Sliced roasted peppers spicy chili flakes, fresh chopped parsley or cilantro
Instructions
FOR THE CHILI
  1. First, heat the oil in a large pot and add the ground beef or turkey, onion and peppers. Cook them down about 10 minutes, or until the meat is cooked through and the vegetables are softened.
  2. Add the garlic and cook another minute, stirring.
  3. If using fresh tomatoes, chop them and add them to the pot. Cook about 10 minutes to let them break down. If using canned fire roasted tomatoes, just add them to the pot and go to the next step.
  4. Add the kidney beans and seasonings and give it all a good stir.
  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the chili on low for at least 1 hour to let the flavors develop, stirring every now and then. Adjust for seasonings if you wish.
FOR THE CHILI MAC
  1. Boil the noodles in lightly salted water until al dente. Drain.
  2. Mix the noodles with the chili, then pour the mixture into a large baking dish or casserole dish.
  3. Top with cheese and bake for 15 minutes until the cheeses are nice and melted.
  4. Garnish and serve!
Recipe Notes

NOTE: This is an easy one-pot meal. I usually use a simple casserole dish for this recipe, but you can easily make it in a Dutch oven or any large oven-safe pan, like a cast iron pan.

CHILI POWDERS: If you have a hard time finding ancho and guajillo powders, use your favorite chili powder blend instead.

Nutrition Facts
Cheesy Chili Mac Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 353 Calories from Fat 171
% Daily Value*
Fat 19g29%
Saturated Fat 9g45%
Cholesterol 56mg19%
Sodium 1111mg46%
Potassium 332mg9%
Carbohydrates 27g9%
Fiber 3g12%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 18g36%
Vitamin A 2156IU43%
Vitamin C 28mg34%
Calcium 229mg23%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Cheesy Chili Mac Recipe - This chili mac recipe is chunky, cheesy and ultimately comforting with lots of seasonings, spicy chunky chili and so much more. It\'s an easy one pot meal. #Chili #MacandCheese #ChiliMac

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