Main Dish, Recipes

Easy One Pot Chili Mac Recipe – Your Family Will Love!

Moms, you know the drill… It’s dinner time and everyone is starving, but you just don’t have the energy or ingredients to whip up something delicious. Have no fear – I’m here with a tasty solution that will save the day: Easy One Pot Chili Mac! This simple recipe is sure to be a hit with your family, plus it requires minimal effort on your part. If that doesn’t make you jump for joy (I know it does for me!), then maybe chili mac-cheesy goodness will help win them over instead. Let’s get cooking!

Easy One Pot Chili Mac

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chili Mac
Servings: 8
Calories: 400kcal


  • 1 Large Pot


  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Pound Ground Chicken or Ground Beef Optional
  • 1 Yellow Onion
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • 2 tbsp Flour
  • 2 tbsp Chili Powder Adjust to taste
  • 1 15oz Can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 15oz Can Tomato Sauce
  • 1 15oz Can Kidney Beans Drained
  • 1 15oz Can Pinto Beans Drained
  • 1 15oz Canned Corn Kernels Substitute 1C frozen corn if preferred
  • Dash of Red Peppers Optional
  • 1 tsp Salt To Taste
  • ½ tsp Pepper
  • ½ tsp Cumin
  • 3 cups Chicken Broth Substitute Vegetable Broth
  • 2 cups Uncooked Macaroni Noodles
  • cups Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • Pinch Ground Cinnamon Optional


  • In a large pot (5 QT) add olive oil and brown the ground meat.
  • Once browned, drain and remove
  • Dice onion and mince garlic. Sauté onions and garlic over medium heat until soft and transparent, about 3 mins. Add the browned meat back in the pot.
  • Stir in the flour and chili powder. Sauté for about 2 mins until the chili powder and flour mixture coat the pan.
  • Drain and rinse the kidney and pinto beans and add to the pot.
  • Add the tomato sauce, diced tomato, corn, and broth sir until well combined.
  • season with salt, pepper, cumin, cinnamon. and crushed red peppers (if desired)
  • Add the uncooked macaroni noodles to the pot, sir to combine. Cover with lid and heat on medium high heat until chili reached a boil. Be sure to sure every min or so to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • When the pot reaches a boil, turn heat down to low and cook for 12-16 min until the pasta is tender. Keep stirring the chili frequently.
  • Once the paste is tender and the chili is thick and saucy, add in the cheese and stir to combine.
  • Enjoy!

Can This Be Vegetarian?

Easy one pot chili Mac is a great way to whip up an easy and delicious weeknight meal. This tasty dish is not only simple to make, but it can also easily be made vegetarian-friendly.

All you need to do is opt for vegetable broth and leave out the ground beef in the recipe – substitute with kidney beans, black beans, or chickpeas instead! I actually do this when I don’t want to defrost ground meat. I just add an extra can of whatever beans I have in the pantry. I also do this will recipes from our slow cooker recipes for kids.

Additionally, you could use vegan cheese in place of regular cheese too. With this minor change, you’ve managed to turn a classic favorite into a hearty vegetarian-friendly dish everyone can enjoy.

photo of a bowl of chili on a wood cutting board.

What To Do With The Leftovers

Oh my goodness, the left overs of this Chili Mac are my absolute favorite! Have you heard the saying that the soup or chili is better the next day? This is in fact true, the flavors really come together the next day!

For storage, I actually will use the rest for my meal prep and I portion about a cup per container and add some fruit and cornbread and you have yourself a yummy lunch that is not a sandwich. I use these meal prep containers from amazon, they have been great and they are dishwasher safe.


Do I have to stir the chili or can I just let it cook?

Yes you need to stir it, this recipe has pasta in it and the pasta will stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.

Does this recipe taste good with vegan cheese?

The great thing about chili and cheese is that they go together so well. Yes vegan cheese will taste good in this recipe.

Why add cinnamon too chili?

Cinnamon complements the chili’s in the Chili powder and balances out the flavors. But all you need is just a pinch, otherwise the cinnamon will be overpowering.

Final Thoughts

All in all, this is a pretty simple dish to put together and it’s sure to please even the pickiest of eaters. So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and give it a try the next time you’re looking for an easy weeknight meal. And if you’re feeling really ambitious, why not double the recipe and freeze half for another night? Your future self will thank you.

Did you love this recipe? Check out another one of my families favorites Lobster Garlic Noodles from Yard House, it’s a pretty amazing copycat recipe!

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