Chili Mac and Cheese is made with homemade chili combined with cheesy macaroni noodles for a hearty and comforting meal with a little kick. For another flavorful and hearty dish, try my Beer Mac and Cheese with Steak Bites.
Chili Mac and Cheese
I always add cheese to my chili, so why not step it up a bit and add some stovetop macaroni and cheese to the mix? It’s the perfect combination of meat, vegetables, and cheesy pasta that will be sure to satisfy your hunger and taste buds! To round out the meal, serve it with a side of homemade breadsticks.
Chili Mac and Cheese Recipe
There are two important parts to this recipe–the chili and the macaroni and cheese. Both recipes are delicious on their own, but combining the two recipes for one dish makes for a filling meal!
Chili Ingredients (full recipe below)
- Ground beef–This would also be delicious with ground turkey, chicken, or pork.
- Yellow onion
- Kidney beans
- Diced tomatoes
- Corn kernels
- Chili seasoning
- Kosher salt
If you don’t have chili seasoning on hand, make your own! To make it, just grab a small bowl and mix together the following:
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper,
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder,
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder,
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Put it in an airtight container for up to six months!
Macaroni and Cheese Ingredients
- Elbow macaroni
- Unsalted butter
- Whole milk
- Ground mustard
- Garlic powder
- Cayenne pepper (optional)
- Grated sharp cheddar cheese
- Grated mozzarella cheese
How to Make Chili Mac and Cheese
Chili Mac and Cheese starts with my Grandma’s Homemade Chili recipe, with some added corn, and my Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese. Let’s start with the chili recipe. As I mentioned, I tweaked the chili a bit from the original recipe and cut the amounts in half.
How to Make Chili
The process of making homemade chili is actually relatively simple. The secret is in the time! The flavors in the tomatoes, the seasonings, the meat, and the beans need time to start to work together. They start to blend perfectly if you let the whole thing simmer.
First, in a large skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef with the onion for 5-10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute, and then drain the beef. Add the kidney beans, corn, chili seasoning, and salt to the pan and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low, cover the skillet, and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. This is the perfect time to prepare the macaroni and cheese!
How to Make the Macaroni and Cheese
As you are cooking the noodles and the chili is simmering, get out your saucepan, and start heating up and mixing all the cheeses and spices together. There are a couple of times where you will be taking the pan on and off the heat, so be aware of that.
Start by heating the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for a couple of minutes. It’s time to remove the pan from the heat for the first time. Gradually pour in the warm milk, whisking constantly. Place the pan back on the heat and keep whisking!
After 3-5 minutes, add the salt, ground mustard, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper and stir to combine. Remove from the heat for the second time and add the cheeses, melting them with all the other ingredients. Finally, add the macaroni cheese to the simmered chili and combine all the goodness together. Serve warm, garnished with parsley.
Can I Freeze Chili Mac and Cheese?
Yes, you can! This makes quite a large portion, so if you won’t eat it all within a couple of days, your best bet is to freeze it. Let it cool completely before spooning the chili into zipped, freezer-safe bags. Be sure to label and date the bags; the chili will last up to 2 months in the freezer.
Looking for More Hearty Pasta Recipes?
Chili Mac and Cheese
Chili Mac and Cheese is made with homemade chili combined with cheesy macaroni noodles for a hearty and comforting meal with a little kick.
- 1/2 pound ground beef
- 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can (15 ounces) kidney beans, drained
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 can (15.25 ounces) corn kernels
- 2 tablespoons chili seasoning
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked al dente and drained
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk, warmed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
- 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated
- 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, freshly grated
- parsley, for garnish
In a large skillet over medium heat, cook and stir the ground beef and chopped onion, until browned (5 to 10 minutes).
Add garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Drain the meat.
- Add kidney beans, tomatoes, corn, chili seasoning, and salt to the pan and stir until combined.
Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until chili is heated through (15 to 20 minutes).
Cook the noodles per package directions. Set aside as you prepare the cheese sauce.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.
- Add the flour and whisk constantly for 1-2 minutes (or until the mixture turns light brown).
- Remove from heat and gradually pour in the warm milk, whisking constantly.
- Return the pan to the heat, whisk another 3-5 minutes, or until thickened.
Add the salt, ground mustard, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper and stir to combine. Remove from heat.
- Add the cheeses, stirring to melt.
Pour the sauce over the top of the cooked elbow macaroni. Stir to combine.
Combine the macaroni and cheese with the chili until it is all mixed together.
Serve warm, topped with chopped parsley.