Best Recipe For Chili Mac

Posted By admin On 16.02.22

Ultra-comforting slow-cooker chili mac is the love child of macaroni and cheese and chili — perfect for the person who just can’t choose. It’s the best of both worlds, with lots of gooey, melted cheese and tender pasta mixed with a hearty blend of spices, meat, and beans. This is your chance to get it all in the same bowl.

  1. Best Recipe For Chili Mac
  2. Best Recipe For Chili Hot Dogs
  3. Best Recipe For Chili Beans
  4. Best Recipe For Chili Verde

This is the best 5 minute Instant Pot chili mac recipe that you and your kids will love! A classic old fashioned goulash style dinner packed with ground beef and noodles with that chili flavor you love. Dump all the ingredients in and have a complete meal done in. Anyway, the secret to this recipe is the bottled chili sauce. Do not skip it or this will just be a bowl of chili with noodles. The chili sauce does something magical and transforms this into something else entirely.

New and Improved Chili Mac Version 2.0 Starts with the Chili

This recipe is our 2.0 version of slow cooker mac and cheese. The first was good, but if we’re being honest it was a little fussy and we knew we could do better. So we did. If you’ve made this recipe before, you’ll quickly notice that this new and improved version is pretty different!

Regardless of whether you’re on Team Mac and Cheese or Team Chili, it’s best to let the chili take the lead in this two-for-one comfort food. It starts with a richly flavored beef and bean chili, flecked with a mess of spices, that simmers all day long in the slow cooker. Then, just at the end of cooking, cooked elbow noodles and cheese get stirred in with an extra layer of cheese sprinkled and melted over the top. You can certainly make the noodles just before they get added to the slow cooker, but I like to get a head-start by making them during my weekend meal prep and then stashing them in the fridge until I need them.

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Slow Cooker Chili Mac and Cheese

Chili

Serves6

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon

    olive oil

  • 1/2 medium

    yellow onion, diced

  • 1 pound

    lean ground beef

  • 2 tablespoons

    chili powder

  • 2 teaspoons

    ground cumin

  • 2 teaspoons

    garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 (28-ounce) can

    fire-roasted diced tomatoes

  • 1 (15-ounce) can

    kidney beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 (6-ounce) can

    tomato paste

  • 1 1/2 cups

    low-sodium beef broth or water

  • 8 ounces

    elbow macaroni, cooked

  • 1 1/2 cups

    shredded cheddar cheese (about 6 ounces), divided

  • 1 1/2 cups

    shredded Monterey Jack cheese (about 6 ounces), divided

  • 4 medium

    scallions, thinly sliced (optional)

Instructions

  1. Set a 5-quart or larger slow cooker to low and allow it to heat while the beef browns.

  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until browned and cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt, and pepper, and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute more. Transfer to the slow cooker.

  3. Add the tomatoes and their juices, beans, tomato paste, and broth or water and stir to combine. Cover and cook on the LOW setting for 7 to 8 hours or the HIGH setting for 3 to 4 hours.

  4. Stir in the pasta and half of each the cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses. Top with the remaining cheese. Cover, set to LOW and cook for 15 minutes for the cheese to melt. Spoon into bowls, top with scallions if using, and serve warm.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The beef and pasta can be cooked up to 1 day in advance and stored separately in covered containers in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Storage: Store leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)
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Heat the pan and coat with oil. Heat the oil in a 3 1/2- to 4-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and light golden brown, about 5 minutes. (Image credit: Joe Lingeman)
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Brown the meat, then add seasonings. Add the ground beef, break into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon or spatula, and cook for about 3 minutes. When only a few pieces of pink ground beef remain, add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, black pepper, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Cook for 1 minute more. (Image credit: Joe Lingeman)
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Add the tomatoes, broth, noodles and beans. Pour in the tomatoes, broth, macaroni, and beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the macaroni is tender, about 15 minutes. (Image credit: Joe Lingeman)
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Stir in milk and cheese. Stir in the evaporated milk and cheese until melted. Ladle into bowls and top with more cheese and scallions. (Image credit: Joe Lingeman)
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)
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Chili mac is as retro a dish as it sounds. It was Tuesday lunch served by hairnetted lunch ladies in the school cafeteria, a satisfying meal at the neighborhood potluck, and a quick dinner for the babysitter to make when mom and dad took the night off.

Every spoonful offers tender noodles and spiced meat and beans dressed in a rich, cheesy tomato sauce. This hearty combination of meaty tomato chili and creamy mac and cheese has been filling empty bellies for decades, making chili mac a #MiracleMeal before hashtags were a thing.

Chili mac is a classic mid-century stovetop casserole, and although it might not be as front and center as it was back in the 1950s, a classic like this never truly fades. We updated this school-lunch staple with smart pantry picks without relying on a certain neon block of cheese.

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For this weeknight casserole, skip the roux-based cheese sauce and lean on the creaminess of evaporated milk. Evaporated milk is shelf-stable milk that has had 60 percent of its water removed. This results in a thicker, creamier sauce than one made with regular ol’ milk, but without adding the moisture and fatty bulk from heavy cream.

You may find low-fat varieties of evaporated milk, but whole or Vitamin D evaporated milk is the most common one I come across. It adds just the right amount of creaminess to marry the cheese and chili.

One word of caution: Read the label carefully and don’t open a can of sweetened condensed milk for this recipe. Although this shelf-stable milk also has had water removed, it has also been significantly sweetened. Reserve this sticky-sweet milk for your dessert to serve after all the chili mac is consumed. (Key lime cupcakes, anyone?)

Canned Milk 101: What’s the Difference Between Condensed and Evaporated Milk?

  • You’ll need 1/2 pound (8 ounces) lean ground beef. Lean ground beef gives chili mac big, beefy flavor without the excess grease.
  • Elbow noodles cook right in the pot so the liquid from the tomatoes and chicken broth soak right into the noodles, cooking the pasta and using the pasta starch to create a thick and silky sauce.
  • 1/2 cup of canned evaporated milk makes the sauce thick and creamy without the fuss of building a roux or the weight of heavy cream.

Pick up a half-pound of lean ground beef at the grocery store. I choose beef with a 93% lean to 7% fat ratio here for two reasons: you get a nice beefy flavor without overwhelming the other elements of the dish, and you can skip the extra hassle of draining the meat after browning, which would certainly need to be done if using a fattier ground beef.

Best Recipe For Chili Mac

If all you have in the fridge is ground chuck, certainly use it, but drain off the fat after browning so that the final dish isn’t greasy. Deeply brown ground beef to develop a rich, beefy flavor before seasoning as you normally would for chili with garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano.

Finding the right ratio of liquid ingredients to dry noodles takes a bit of wizardry when making a one-pot pasta dish. Instead of filling a large pot with a few quarts of water and tossing a box of dry noodles in to cook, let’s regulate the amount of liquid ingredients so that each bowl is full of tender noodles and crumbles of beef in an abundant cheesy tomato sauce.

A can of crushed tomatoes will provide some of the cooking liquid, with chicken broth filling in the gaps. Cooking uncovered means we can keep a close eye on the liquid level and monitor the noodles, as there will inevitably be some evaporation. You’ll want to give the pasta a stir every once in a while — especially toward the end of cooking to make sure the noodles are evenly submerged and soaking up the sauce. After the noodles are tender, whisk in the evaporated milk and cheese to finish this homestyle supper.

Best Recipe For Chili Hot Dogs

  • Sauté the onion and brown the beef. Get the onion started in a bit of oil before adding the ground beef. A little salt draws moisture from the onion and lingers during the beef browning step. The beef needs to brown, rather than steam, so let it sizzle for a minute or so to develop the savory backbone of the chili mac.
  • Season the beef. Here’s where you add the chili to the chili mac. Instead of reaching for an over-salted packet of chili seasoning, pull a few jars from the spice cabinet. The classic chili trio of chili powder, cumin, and oregano, plus a bit of fresh garlic, is all you need.
  • Stir in tomatoes, broth, noodles, and beans. Elbow macaroni noodles and beans simmer in a sauce of crushed tomatoes and chicken broth. Canned or cartoned beef broth always tastes tinny and artificial to me, so I reach for chicken broth instead.
  • Finish with evaporated milk and shredded cheese. A combination of evaporated milk and shredded cheese rounds the edges of an otherwise classic chili. Using evaporated milk adds a creamy body to the sauce, marrying the tomato base and sharp cheese.

Ladle it into bowls and grab a big spoon, but not before you take full advantage of topping options. Some chopped red onion, a spoonful of diced avocado, more shredded cheese, or a sprinkling of green onions finish this dish.

How To Make Chili Mac

Best Recipe For Chili Beans

Serves4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon

    vegetable oil

  • 1 medium

    yellow onion, diced

  • 2 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided

  • 8 ounces

    lean ground beef (7% fat)

  • 2 cloves

    garlic, minced

  • 2 teaspoons

    chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon

    ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    dried oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 (28-ounce) can

    crushed tomatoes

  • 1 1/2 cups

    low-sodium chicken broth

  • 2 cups

    dried elbow macaroni (8 ounces)

  • 1

    (15-ounce) can kidney or pinto beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1/2 cup

    evaporated milk

  • 1 1/2 cups

    shredded cheddar, Monterey Jack, or a combination (6 ounces), plus extra for serving

  • 2 medium

    scallions, thinly sliced

Best Recipe For Chili Verde

Equipment

  • Chef’s knife

  • Can opener

  • Fine mesh strainer

  • Box grater

  • 3 1/2- to 4-quart Dutch oven

  • Wooden spoon or silicone spatula

Instructions

  1. Heat the pan and coat with oil. Heat the oil in a 3 1/2- to 4-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and light golden-brown, about 5 minutes.

  2. Brown the meat, then add seasonings. Add the ground beef, break into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon or spatula, and cook for about 3 minutes. When only a few pieces of pink ground beef remain, add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, black pepper, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Cook for 1 minute more.

  3. Add the tomatoes, broth, noodles, and beans. Pour in the tomatoes, broth, macaroni, and beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the macaroni is tender, about 15 minutes.

  4. Stir in milk and cheese. Stir in the evaporated milk and cheese until melted. Ladle into bowls and top with more cheese and scallions.

Recipe Notes

Best Recipe For Chili Mac

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.