Chili Mac Casserole – macaroni with an easy homemade chili and topped with lots of cheese. The ultimate comfort food! And ready in less than an hour.
Baked pastas are the ultimate comfort food. Cheesy, carby goodness the whole family will love.
This Chili Mac Casserole comes together quickly and only needs to bake for about 15 minutes.
It’s got the pasta tossed with a mixture of ground beef, beans, tomatoes, and chili seasonings. It all gets mixed with cheese and then topped with more cheese before being baked.
Ingredients for Chili Mac Casserole
- Elbow macaroni – use whatever small noodle you have on hand!
- Ground beef
- Chili powder
- Salt and pepper
- Diced tomatoes
- Tomato paste
- Diced green chiles
- Kidney beans
- Colby jack cheese
- Cook pasta according to package instructions, reserving some of the water
- Cook ground beef and onion in olive oil until onion is softened and ground beef is cooked through
- Add garlic and cook 30 seconds
- Add chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper, and cayenne
- Stir in diced tomatoes, tomato paste, diced green chiles, and kidney beans
- Add cooked pasta and most of the cheese
- Stir in reserved pasta water until it reaches desired saucy consistency
- Transfer to a 9×13-inch pan and top with remaining cheese
- Bake at 350F until bubbly and cheese is melted
Can You Make It Ahead?
Yes! If you need to prep this the night before, it will work perfectly.
Follow all the instructions up to when you put it in the oven. From there, let it cool completely, cover it, and refrigerate until you’re ready to bake it.
I like to use this 9×13-inch pan that comes with a lid. It makes it really easy to store and bake.
You may need to extend the baking time since it will be chilled. Just watch for it to bubble and the cheese to melt completely.
How Long Is It Good For?
This Chili Mac Casserole will be good in the fridge for up to 3 – 5 days. Make sure you cover it tightly to keep it as fresh as possible.
To reheat, you can put the entire dish in the oven at 300F until it’s warmed through, maybe 10 minutes, or you can reheat individual servings in the microwave.
Can You Freeze Chili Mac Casserole?
Yes, you can freeze Chili Mac Casserole.
Prepare it up to the baking instructions but make sure you’re using a freezer-safe container – I tend to use disposable aluminum pans for freezing.
Let the casserole thaw overnight in the refrigerator before you plan to serve it. And then you may need to add a few minutes to the baking time since it will be cold.
More Pasta Recipes
- Blacked Shrimp Alfredo
- Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Stuffed Shells
- Asian Beef Noodles
- Pasta Fagioli
- Homemade Spaghetti-Os
- Chicken Parmesan Baked Pasta
- 1 pound elbow macaroni noodles
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 pound lean ground beef (I used 93/7)
- 1 small white onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles
- 1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans
- 2 cups colby jack cheese, divided
- fresh cilantro, for serving
- Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with oil. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil in a large pot. Cook macaroni according to package instructions. Reserve about ½ cup of the pasta water before draining. Drain and set aside.
- Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add ground beef and onion; cook, breaking up the meat, until the onion is softened and the ground beef is cooked through. Drain if necessary and return to pan.
- Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add chili powder, cumin, salt, black pepper, and cayenne.
- Stir in diced tomatoes, tomato paste, diced green chiles, and beans; stir until well combined.
- Remove from heat and add pasta. Add 1 ½ cups of cheese and toss to coat. Slowly add the reserved pasta water, stirring the entire time, until it reaches desired sauciness. You don't want it soupy but you do want it to be saucy.
- Transfer to the prepared 9x13-inch pan. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
- Bake until bubbly and cheesy is melted, 10 - 15 minutes.
- Sprinkle with cilantro before serving.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 393Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 79mgSodium: 576mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 4gSugar: 2gProtein: 30g