Honestly after trying this recipe out I can no longer make either chili or mac & cheese by themselves; I have to combine them. And even better, this all-in-one meal is made in only one pot so there is little mess and you could even make this on a dorm-room hotplate.

We start by building a chili base with onions, spices, ground beef and tomato sauce. Then we add a little extra liquid using either water, beef stock or even milk if you’re feeling creamy, and let the pasta cook right there with the chili. Finally, we just add cheese and it melts right into the noodles; no roux needed!

Don’t let the recipe hold you back though; you can spice this meal up with some peppers thrown in with the onions or maybe finishing with some fresh tomatoes for an acidic kick. This meal is also perfect for when you get home from a night out and need some heavy leftovers to kick those drunchies.

Chili Mac & Cheese

  • Prep Time:3 minutes
  • Cook Time:30 minutes
  • Total Time:33 minutes
  • Servings:Six
  • Easy


  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 box macaroni
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 2 cup beef stock or water
  • 1+ cup shredded cheese
  • Scallions
  • Cilantro
Photo by Max Faucher
  • Step 1

    In a large pot or skillet, cook the onions for about 5 minutes until translucent.

    GIF by Max Faucher
  • Step 2

    Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, crushed red pepper, and salt; cook for one minute more.

    GIF by Max Faucher
  • Step 3

    Add a pound of ground beef and mix it together with the onions and spices. Cook until the beef is brown.

    GIF by Max Faucher
  • Step 4

    Add 2 cups of dry macaroni, a can of tomato sauce and 2 cups of beef stock or water. Bring to a bubble and cook, covered for 10 to 15 minutes.

    GIF by Max Faucher
  • Step 5

    Add shredded cheese, whatever kind you prefer; at least a cup but you could go for as much as two cups.

    GIF by Max Faucher
  • Step 6

    Once the cheese is melted into the mixture, serve it garnished with scallions or cilantro.

    GIF by Max Faucher