This quick and easy one-pan Cheesy Ground Beef Chili Mac recipe is filled with tender macaroni noodles and ground beef in a saucy and cheesy chili-spiced sauce.
I love to pair this pure comfort dish with my Sweet Cornbread and Parmesan Roasted Green Beans for a filling family meal.
Do you have a recipe or meal that immediately brings you back to your childhood? That’s this Cheesy Ground Beef Chili Mac for me.
My dad loved making beefy, cheesy meals like this. Most of the time it was a Hamburger Helper pumped up with extra goodies like canned beans and plenty of cheese.
Cheesy Ground Beef Chili Mac
We’re skipping the box mix this time and making it all from scratch… and guess what? It’s crazy easy and super delicious!
Here’s the basic list of ingredients you’ll need in order to make this homemade Hamburger Helper. As always, you can find the full list in the printable recipe card below.
- Onion – white or yellow
- Ground Beef – lean
- Crushed Tomatoes – canned
- Beef Broth – low sodium
- Kidney Beans – you can use black beans or pinto beans if desired
- Spices – chili powder, cumin and oregano
- Macaroni Noodles – uncooked
- Evaporated Milk
- Cheeses – mild cheddar and mozzarella
- Green Onions – for garnish
How To Make Beefy Chili Mac
This easy one-pot dinner is ready in about 30 minutes. The noodles are cooked in the sauce, giving this dish extra starch to thicken the sauce.
BROWN GROUND BEEF
Start by browning the ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat along with the diced onion. Once it’s no longer pink, drain any fat and return the skillet to the heat.
ADD SAUCE AND NOODLES
Pour in the sauce ingredients and dry macaroni noodles to the ground beef mixture and bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat to a slight simmer and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the noodles are tender.
STIR IN MILK AND CHEESE
To give the chili mac is creamy and cheesy base, stir in the evaporated milk and two cheeses.
Once it’s all incorporated you’re ready to enjoy a delicious, hearty meal!
This recipe reminds me a lot of my American Goulash, but with more of a southwest flare to it.
The added chili powder, cumin and oregano really bring out the flavors of my Slow Cooker Chili, but with the added macaroni and making it on the stove top, it’s a whole new dish.
Tips and Variations
Here are a few recipe tips and variations for making this Beefy Chili Mac with cheese.
GROUND BEEF – you can swap the ground beef for ground turkey to make it a little leaner.
BEANS – swap out the kidney beans for black beans or pinto beans if desired.
EVAPORATED MILK – the evaporated milk gives a nice richness to the sauce without making it too soupy. You could swap it with half and half if you don’t have any evaporated milk on hand.
CHEESES – I’m using a mild cheddar cheese and mozzarella for this recipe, but a pepper jack and monterey jack blend would give it a little more spice, while still being creamy and cheesy.
NOODLES – You can swap any short grain pasta such as small shells or farfelle for the macaroni noodles.
Do I Have To Boil The Noodles In The Sauce?
Yes, this recipe is specifically designed to have the noodles cook IN the sauce. Precooking the noodles and adding them in after will create more of a soup consistency.
Trust me on this! Plus by boiling the noodles in the sauce, you don’t have to dirty any other dishes.
Can You Freeze Cheesy Chili Mac?
Yes, you can freeze Cheesy Ground Beef Chili Mac!
- Once you’re done cooking the chili mac, let it cool completely, then store in an airtight container.
- Freeze for up to 3 months.
- Defrost overnight in the fridge and reheat in the microwave until hot and bubbly.
- Add a little more fresh cheese on top before serving!
There’s no doubt about it, this is pure comfort food right here.
So beefy, cheesy and filling! I love how it all cooks in just one pan, making clean up a breeze.
More Beefy One-Pan Meals
I’m a sucker for easy ground beef recipes, and since you’re here reading this, I’m sure you are too. Here are a few more recipe you’re bound to love…
- Ground Beef Stuffed Pepper Skillet
- Creamy Ground Beef and Shells
- Cheesy Ground Beef Taco Pasta
- One Skillet Mexican Beef and Rice
I can’t wait for you to give this Cheesy Chili Mac recipe a try! I know you’re going to love it as much as we do!
Cheesy Ground Beef Chili Mac
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 1 lbs. ground beef, lean
- 2 tsp garlic, minced
- 28 oz crushed tomatoes
- 3 cups beef broth
- 15 oz kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- ¾ tsp oregano, dried
- 2 cups macaroni noodles, uncooked
- ½ cup evaporated milk
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- ½ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- ¼ cup green onions, diced, for garnish
- Add olive oil to large pot over medium-high heat. Add in the onion and ground beef then cook until beef is no longer pink. Drain any excess fat and return pot to stove top. Add in garlic and stir until fragrant (about 30 seconds).
- Pour in the crushed tomatoes, beef broth, kidney beans, chili powder, cumin, oregano and dried macaroni noodles. Stir and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a light boil and stir occasionally until the pasta is tender, about 20 minutes.
- Once the noodles are tender, stir in evaporated milk, cheddar cheese and mozzarella cheese. Stir until incorporated. The mixture will be creamy and cheesy. Serve topped with extra shredded cheese and chopped green onions. Enjoy!
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could this be made with pre-made leftover chili?
Can you use pinto beans instead of kidney beans?
I made this for dinner last night and it was super easy and so tasty. The flavor was great! Will definitely add this to my dinner recipes. Makes quite a bit so great for leftovers.
Can you make this in the slow cooker? What would be the cook time?
I haven’t tried making this in the slow cooker yet.
What does the evaporated milk do for this dish and why drain the beans
The evaporated milk gives the sauce an extra creamy consistency. I drain the beans because the bean juice is not needed and can cause extra gassiness. 😉
Any thoughts how this would do with gluten free pasta?
I think it would work just fine with gluten free pasta.