Add some elbow macaroni noodles to your traditional chili to make a fun mashup called Chili Macaroni. Your favorite hearty meal is made even more filling with extra noodles in the beans, meat, and veggies.
Add a little twist to your favorite chili recipe! Chili Macaroni is easy to make and is comfort food your family will love. It never lasts long in my house.
When the weather’s getting colder and you’re craving hot and hearty meals, this easy chili mac really hits the spot.
It’s basically adding some cooked macaroni to your pot of chili. If you want to make a Mac N Cheese version, add some cheddar cheese before you serve it. I left it out, and it still tasted delicious.
This easy chili mac tastes even better the next day. It makes a big batch so we often have leftovers. Just heat up a bowl in the microwave. If you’re craving comfort food, this is the recipe for you!
Why You’ll Love This Hearty Chili Mac Recipe
- It’s a quick meal that’s perfect for a busy weeknight — this easy dinner is ready in less than 30 minutes!
- Not too spicy, so the whole family (even the kids) love it.
- Great way to stretch a meal if you’re on a budget. One batch is 8 servings!
- Makes yummy leftovers that taste even better the next day.
- It’s a family favorite made with simple ingredients you keep in your pantry and fridge. Nothing fussy here.
- Ground Beef: Lean ground beef is best, but regular ground beef or ground turkey are both fine options, too.
- Macaroni: I used elbow macaroni, but another pasta shape works fine, such as shells or penne pasta.
- Canned Diced Tomatoes: While I prefer diced chunks of tomato in my chili mac, you can swap them out for crushed tomatoes. It may make the chili macaroni a bit soupier, though.
- Canned Kidney Beans: If you’re not a fan of kidney beans, swap them out for a can of black beans or pinto beans. Choose reduced sodium options if you’re watching your salt intake.
- Tomato Soup: Go with a quality soup here since it’s one of the main flavors of the dish.
- Chili Powder: Store-bought chili powder or homemade chili powder both work in this recipe.
- Onion: Diced yellow onions or sweet onions are my top choices, though you can use a white onion if you prefer.
- Garlic: Minced garlic adds tons of flavor to this chili mac. If you don’t have any fresh garlic cloves on hand, substitute ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder for each clove.
- Green Pepper: A red bell pepper works, too, but the green bell pepper adds more color to a dish of red ingredients.
- Salt and Pepper: Add salt and pepper to taste once all the ingredients are in the same pot.
How to Make Chili Macaroni
- Step One: Cook the elbow macaroni according to package directions. Drain it, and set it aside.
- Step Two: While the macaroni is cooking, add the lean ground beef to a large skillet over medium heat, stirring often to break it up. Cook the ground meat for about 4 minutes, and then add the green bell pepper and onions. Cook until softened, or about 5 minutes. If you didn’t use a leaner ground beef and have excess grease in the skillet, now is the time to drain it.
- Step Three: Add minced garlic and chili powder, and stir until combined. Make sure to stir frequently after the garlic is added to keep it from burning.
- Step Four: In the pan with the cooked noodles, add diced tomatoes, tomato soup, water, and kidney beans. Add in the seasoned ground beef, and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Step Five: Heat the chili macaroni over medium heat until macaroni is heated through. Serve hot, and sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese, if desired.
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What to Serve with Chili Macaroni
This easy chili mac is practically a meal all by itself. But if you want to fill it out a little more, I’d suggest adding some veggies like Chili Buttered Green Beans or Parmesan Roasted Carrots. My Corn Salad is another yummy choice.
If you want to start with one meal and turn it into another the next day instead of eating leftovers as-is, I recommend starting with my BEST Chili Recipe. Enjoy chili the first day, and then stretch your leftovers by adding cooked macaroni the next day. Corn muffins are a great side for both the chili and the chili macaroni.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Adjust the spiciness by adding more or less chili powder. Start with just a tablespoon if your family doesn’t like a lot of spice, and go up from there.
- Make an even easier version of this by adding cooked macaroni to your favorite leftover chili recipe.
- Make it gluten free by using gluten-free tomato soup and gluten-free pasta.
- If you know you’ll have a lot of leftover chili macaroni, cook the pasta al dente so that it won’t get too mushy while stored in the fridge.
Variations and Substitutions
- Add ground cumin (in addition to the chili powder) to give this hearty chili mac recipe even more flavor.
- Increase the heat with a pinch of cayenne pepper.
- Try it with shredded cheddar cheese on top or stirred into the chili mac before serving.
- Serve with a dollop of sour cream on top, just like you do with your favorite chili!
- Green onions are delicious sprinkled over the pasta right before serving.
- Swap out half of the canned diced tomatoes with a can of Rotel (tomatoes and green chiles).
Keep leftover chili macaroni in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
Can I Freeze Chili Macaroni?
Yes, you can freeze Chili Mac. Let it cool completely, and place it in an airtight container. It’ll keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight, and reheat in the microwave until heated through.
What goes in chili macaroni?
You can find our list of ingredients above or in the printable recipe card below, but generally, chili macaroni is a traditional chili recipe (with beans) with added macaroni to stretch the recipe even further.
What can you eat with chili mac?
Serve with your favorite chili toppings, such as sour cream, shredded cheese (cheddar, Pepper Jack, or Monterey Jack), and green onions. A big hunk of cornbread is fabulous on the side.
Is chili mac and goulash the same?
No, but they’re very similar. Chili macaroni is made with beans, while American goulash does not contain beans.
Comforting Macaroni Recipes
Macaroni is the ultimate comfort food. If you love it as much as I do, try these yummy macaroni recipes:
If you make the recipe, rate it on the recipe card below and tag me on Instagram and use #simplystacie. I like sharing the photos on my Instagram stories!
- 1 ½ lb lean ground beef
- 1 (16oz/454g) box macaroni, uncooked
- 1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (15.5oz/540ml) can kidney beans, drained
- 1 (10.5oz/284ml) can tomato soup with 1/2 can water
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 sweet onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Cook the macaroni according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- In a skillet, add in ground beef and stir often to break it up. Cook for about 4 minutes and then add onions and green pepper. Continue to cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in garlic and chili powder and stir to combine.
- In the saucepan with the macaroni, stir in diced tomatoes, tomato soup, water and kidney beans. Add in ground beef mixture and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Heat over medium-low heat until macaroni is heated and serve hot.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 316Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 76mgSodium: 423mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 4gSugar: 8gProtein: 29g