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Meaty and Cheesy Instant Pot Chili Mac Recipe

This hearty, meaty and cheesy chili mac recipe is an absolute delight. It combines the comfort of pasta and cheese with the richness of beef chili. Made in an instant pot, this dish is as simple as it is satisfying. The perfect weeknight dinner, it is sure to become a family favorite in no time.


Photos of Meaty and Cheesy Instant Pot Chili Mac Recipe

Most ingredients in this recipe are pantry staples like onion, garlic, ground beef, and spices. However, you may need to buy a beef bouillon cube from the supermarket, if you don't have one on hand. It's a concentrated cube of beef stock that adds depth and richness to the dish. Additionally, dried macaroni noodles can be found in the pasta aisle.

Ingredients for Meaty and Cheesy Instant Pot Chili Mac

onion: adds a sweet and savory depth of flavor.

garlic: gives the dish a robust flavor characteristic of savory dishes.

ground beef: provides the protein and makes the dish hearty.

macaroni noodles: adds bulk and texture to the dish.

crushed tomatoes: forms the base of the chili.

tomato paste: thickens the chili and enhances the tomato flavor.

beef broth: adds a meaty flavor and liquid for the macaroni to cook in.

beef bouillon cube: enhances the beef flavor.

sugar: balances the acidity of the tomatoes.

dried parsley, basil, and oregano: these herbs add an Italian flavor profile.

chili powder: gives the dish some heat.

sharp cheddar cheese: melted on top, it adds a creamy, tangy finish.

One reader, Brinn Elmore says:

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This meaty and cheesy instant pot chili mac recipe is a game-changer! The flavors are rich and satisfying, and the dish is so easy to make. It's a hit with my family every time. The combination of beef, macaroni, and cheese is simply irresistible. Highly recommended!

Brinn Elmore

Techniques Required for Making Instant Pot Chili Mac

How to brown ground beef: In a large skillet over medium heat, add the ground beef and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until no longer pink. Drain any excess fat.

How to cook macaroni in Instant Pot: Add the dry macaroni noodles to the Instant Pot along with the other ingredients. Cook on high pressure for 4 minutes, then do a quick release.

How to season the chili mac: Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste before serving.

How To Make Meaty and Cheesy Instant Pot Chili Mac

In this meaty and cheesy chili mac recipe, we use tender ground beef, cheddar cheese, and thick tomato sauce. You’ll surely enjoy every spoonful.

Preparation: 5 minutes
Cooking: 25 minutes
Total: 30 minutes



  • ½smallonion
  • 2clovesgarlic
  • 1lblean ground beef
  • ¾lbdry macaroni noodles
  • 28ozcrushed tomatoes
  • 2tbsptomato paste
  • 3cupsbeef broth
  • 1beef bouillon cube
  • ½tbspsugar
  • ½tspdried parsley
  • ½tspbasil
  • ½tsporegano
  • 1tbspchili powder
  • ¾cupsharp cheddar cheese,shredded


  1. Set the pan over medium heat.

  2. Add onion, beef, and garlic. Cook until no pink remains. Drain any fat.

  3. Add remaining ingredients except cheese. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and cover.

  4. Stirring occasionally, let cook for 13 to 17 minutes or until macaroni is cooked through.

  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  6. Serve warm topped with cheese.

Recipe Notes

  • When cooking the macaroni, you may add a little bit of water when needed.


  • Calories: 544.66kcal
  • Fat: 22.29g
  • Saturated Fat: 9.23g
  • Trans Fat: 1.09g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 8.34g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.23g
  • Carbohydrates: 57.41g
  • Fiber: 5.18g
  • Sugar: 10.17g
  • Protein: 29.54g
  • Cholesterol: 70.53mg
  • Sodium: 868.22mg
  • Calcium: 203.19mg
  • Potassium: 1050.06mg
  • Iron: 4.75mg
  • Vitamin A: 85.02µg
  • Vitamin C: 14.15mg

Technique Tip for Achieving the Perfect Texture in Instant Pot Chili Mac

To ensure your macaroni is cooked to perfection in this meaty and cheesy instant pot chili mac recipe, it's important to stir the mixture occasionally as it cooks. This not only prevents the macaroni from sticking to the bottom of the pot, but also allows the heat to distribute evenly, ensuring all the macaroni cooks at the same rate. Additionally, remember to taste the macaroni to check its doneness before turning off the heat. It should be tender but still firm to the bite, also known as al dente.

Time-Saving Tips for Preparing Meaty and Cheesy Instant Pot Chili Mac Recipe

Prep ahead: Chop vegetables and measure out ingredients in advance to streamline the cooking process.

Instant pot: Utilize an instant pot for faster cooking and to infuse flavors efficiently.

One-pot wonder: Opt for one-pot recipes to minimize cleanup and save time on dishwashing.

Batch cooking: Make a larger quantity and freeze individual portions for quick and convenient meals later on.

Efficient multitasking: While the chili mac is cooking, use the time to prepare a simple side salad or set the table for a complete meal.

Substitute Ingredients For Meaty and Cheesy Instant Pot Chili Mac Recipe

  • onion - Substitute with shallots: Shallots have a milder and sweeter flavor compared to onions, which can add a subtle sweetness to the dish.
  • garlic - Substitute with garlic powder: Garlic powder can be used as a substitute for fresh garlic, providing a similar flavor without the need for chopping or mincing.
  • lean ground beef - Substitute with ground turkey: Ground turkey is a leaner alternative to ground beef and can provide a similar texture and flavor in the dish.
  • dry macaroni noodles - Substitute with whole wheat macaroni: Whole wheat macaroni noodles can be used as a healthier alternative, adding more fiber and nutrients to the dish.
  • crushed tomatoes - Substitute with diced tomatoes: Diced tomatoes can be used as a substitute for crushed tomatoes, providing a chunkier texture while still adding the desired tomato flavor.
  • tomato paste - Substitute with ketchup: Ketchup can be used as a substitute for tomato paste, adding a hint of sweetness and tanginess to the dish.
  • beef broth - Substitute with vegetable broth: Vegetable broth can be used as a substitute for beef broth, providing a lighter flavor while still adding depth to the dish.
  • beef bouillon cube - Substitute with vegetable bouillon cube: Vegetable bouillon cube can be used as a vegetarian alternative to beef bouillon cube, adding similar savory notes to the dish.
  • sharp cheddar cheese - Substitute with smoked gouda cheese: Smoked gouda cheese can be used as a substitute for sharp cheddar, adding a rich and smoky flavor to the dish.

Presentation Tips for Serving Instant Pot Chili Mac

  1. Elevate the plating: When presenting the chili mac, consider using a wide, shallow bowl to showcase the layers of flavors and textures. The dish should be visually appealing, with the macaroni and beef arranged in an artful manner.

  2. Garnish with fresh herbs: Sprinkle the finished dish with freshly chopped parsley or cilantro to add a pop of color and a hint of freshness. This will not only enhance the visual appeal but also add a layer of flavor to the dish.

  3. Incorporate a cheese crisp: Create a delicate cheese crisp to accompany the chili mac. This can be achieved by melting and shaping the sharp cheddar into a thin, crispy wafer to add a touch of elegance to the presentation.

  4. Utilize a drizzle of olive oil: Before serving, drizzle a small amount of high-quality olive oil over the chili mac. This will add a glossy sheen to the dish and provide a subtle depth of flavor.

  5. Consider the use of edible flowers: Introduce a touch of sophistication by incorporating edible flowers as a garnish. Delicate petals can add a visually stunning element to the presentation, elevating the overall aesthetic appeal of the dish.

  6. Serve in individual ramekins: For a more refined presentation, consider serving the chili mac in individual ramekins. This creates a sense of individuality and elegance, allowing each portion to stand out.

  7. Incorporate a sprinkle of smoked paprika: Just before serving, lightly dust the dish with a sprinkle of smoked paprika. This not only adds a burst of color but also imparts a subtle smoky flavor, enhancing the overall sensory experience.

  8. Use a ring mold for plating: To create a clean and structured presentation, consider using a ring mold to shape the chili mac on the plate. This will result in a polished and professional appearance.

  9. Add a touch of microgreens: Finish the dish with a delicate scattering of microgreens, such as arugula or radish sprouts, to introduce a touch of vibrancy and a hint of peppery freshness.

  10. Consider a side of garlic bread: To complement the chili mac, serve a side of artisanal garlic bread. This adds a touch of sophistication and provides an additional element of indulgence to the overall dining experience.

Essential Kitchen Tools for Making Chili Mac in the Instant Pot

  • Cutting board: A flat board used for cutting and preparing ingredients.
  • Chef's knife: A versatile knife used for chopping, slicing, and dicing ingredients.
  • Instant Pot: A multi-functional electric pressure cooker used for cooking a variety of dishes.
  • Wooden spoon: A kitchen utensil used for stirring, mixing, and serving.

How To Store and Freeze Leftover Chili Mac

  • Let the chili mac cool completely before storing or freezing. This will prevent condensation from forming and making the dish soggy.

  • To store in the refrigerator, transfer the cooled chili mac to an airtight container. It will keep well for up to 4 days in the fridge.

  • For longer storage, you can freeze the chili mac. Divide it into individual portions or freeze it in a large container, depending on your preference.

  • If freezing individual portions, use freezer-safe containers or resealable bags. Label the containers with the date and contents for easy identification.

  • When using freezer bags, remove as much air as possible before sealing to prevent freezer burn. Lay the bags flat in the freezer for efficient storage.

  • Frozen chili mac will maintain its best quality for up to 3 months. Beyond that, it will still be safe to eat but may experience some changes in texture and flavor.

  • To reheat refrigerated chili mac, simply microwave it or warm it in a pot on the stovetop until heated through. Add a splash of water or broth if needed to loosen the consistency.

  • For frozen chili mac, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. Alternatively, you can reheat it directly from frozen, but it may take longer and require occasional stirring to ensure even heating.

  • When reheating, make sure the chili mac reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to ensure it's safe to consume.

  • Sprinkle some fresh shredded cheese on top of the reheated chili mac for an extra burst of flavor and to freshen it up before serving.

How To Reheat Leftover Chili Mac

  • Reheat the leftover chili mac in a microwave-safe bowl, stirring every 30 seconds until it reaches the desired temperature. For best results, add a splash of beef broth or water to help revive the sauce and prevent the macaroni from drying out.

  • To reheat on the stovetop, transfer the leftover chili mac to a saucepan and add a small amount of beef broth or water. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the dish is heated through and the sauce is smooth and creamy.

  • For a crispy twist, spread the leftover chili mac in a baking dish, top with extra shredded cheddar cheese, and broil in the oven for 3-5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. This method will give you a delicious, golden-brown crust on top.

  • If you have an air fryer, you can reheat individual portions of chili mac in the basket. Preheat the air fryer to 350°F (175°C), add the leftovers, and cook for 3-5 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through, until heated through and slightly crispy on the outside.

  • For a quick and easy lunch, pack the leftover chili mac into a microwave-safe container and reheat it at work or school. Be sure to add a splash of water or beef broth to maintain the dish's moisture and prevent it from drying out in the microwave.

Random Fact about Chili Mac

The Instant Pot Chili Mac recipe is a delicious fusion of chili and macaroni, creating a hearty and flavorful dish. It combines the comforting elements of chili with the cheesy goodness of macaroni, making it a perfect comfort food. This dish is a great way to enjoy a satisfying meal that is both meaty and cheesy, and it can be easily prepared in the Instant Pot for added convenience. It's a versatile recipe that can be customized with different spices and toppings to suit individual preferences. Plus, it's a great option for feeding a crowd or for meal prepping.

Is Making Chili Mac in the Instant Pot Economical for Home Cooking?

This meaty and cheesy instant pot chili mac recipe is quite cost-effective for a household. The ingredients are affordable and easily accessible, making it a budget-friendly option. The combination of ground beef, macaroni, and pantry staples creates a hearty and satisfying meal that can feed a family of four for approximately $15. The rich flavors and comforting textures make it a crowd-pleaser, earning a solid 8/10 rating.

Is This Chili Mac Recipe Healthy or Unhealthy?

The instant pot chili mac recipe, while undeniably delicious, leans more towards the unhealthy side due to several factors:

  • High in saturated fat: The recipe uses ground beef and cheddar cheese, both of which are high in saturated fat. Consuming too much saturated fat can increase the risk of heart disease and other health issues.
  • Refined carbohydrates: Macaroni noodles are made from refined flour, which has been stripped of its fiber and nutrients. This can lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar and increased inflammation in the body.
  • Sodium content: The use of beef broth, bouillon cube, and cheese contributes to a high sodium content in the dish. Excessive sodium intake can lead to high blood pressure and other health problems.
  • Limited vegetables: The recipe only includes onion and garlic, which means it lacks the variety of vitamins, minerals, and fiber that a more diverse range of vegetables would provide.

To make this recipe healthier, consider the following suggestions:

  • Swap the ground beef for a leaner protein source, such as ground turkey or chicken. Alternatively, you could use a plant-based protein like lentils or crumbled tofu to reduce the saturated fat content.
  • Use whole wheat macaroni noodles instead of regular ones to increase the fiber content and slow down the absorption of carbohydrates.
  • Reduce the amount of cheese used or opt for a lower-fat variety. You could also sprinkle a small amount of a stronger-flavored cheese, like parmesan, to maintain the cheesy taste while using less overall.
  • Increase the variety of vegetables in the recipe. Consider adding diced carrots, bell peppers, or zucchini to boost the nutrient content and add more texture to the dish.
  • Use low-sodium beef broth and omit the bouillon cube to reduce the sodium content. You can enhance the flavor with additional herbs and spices instead.

Editor's Thoughts on This Delicious Instant Pot Recipe

This instant pot chili mac recipe is a hearty and satisfying dish that combines the flavors of chili and macaroni with a cheesy twist. The use of lean ground beef and a blend of herbs and spices creates a rich and savory base, while the addition of sharp cheddar cheese adds a creamy and indulgent finish. The convenience of using an instant pot makes this recipe a time-saving option for busy weeknights. Overall, it's a delicious and comforting meal that is sure to be a hit with the whole family.

Enhance Your Meaty and Cheesy Instant Pot Chili Mac Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Garlic Bread: Savory garlic breadsticks with a sprinkle of parmesan and herbs, perfect for dipping in the meaty and cheesy instant pot chili mac.
Roasted Vegetables: Colorful and flavorful roasted vegetables, drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with herbs, to complement the hearty flavors of the chili mac.
Fruit Salad: A refreshing fruit salad with a mix of seasonal fruits, tossed in a light citrus dressing, providing a sweet and tangy contrast to the savory chili mac.

Similar Instant Pot Recipes to Try

Savory Bacon and Spinach Stuffed Chicken: This dish combines the savory flavors of bacon and spinach stuffed inside tender chicken breasts, creating a delicious and satisfying meal.
Creamy Butternut Squash Soup: Indulge in the creamy and comforting flavors of butternut squash soup, perfect for a cozy night in or as a starter for a dinner party.
Decadent Chocolate Lava Cake: Treat yourself to a rich and indulgent chocolate lava cake, with a gooey molten center that is sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.

Appetizer and Dessert Pairings for Instant Pot Chili Mac

Savory Stuffed Mushrooms: These savory stuffed mushrooms are the perfect bite-sized appetizer to kick off any meal. Filled with a delicious mixture of cream cheese, garlic, and herbs, they are sure to impress your guests.
Crispy Zucchini Fritters: These crispy zucchini fritters are a delightful way to start any meal. The combination of shredded zucchini, parmesan cheese, and fresh herbs creates a flavorful and satisfying appetizer that will leave your guests wanting more.
Decadent Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and creamy chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. This elegant dessert is perfect for a special occasion or a romantic evening in.
Velvety Vanilla Panna Cotta: Savor the smooth and silky texture of a vanilla panna cotta, drizzled with a sweet berry coulis and garnished with fresh mint leaves. This sophisticated dessert is sure to impress your guests and satisfy your sweet tooth.

Why trust this Meaty and Cheesy Instant Pot Chili Mac Recipe:

This recipe is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, featuring lean ground beef for a hearty and satisfying meal. The combination of crushed tomatoes and beef broth creates a rich and flavorful base, while the addition of tomato paste enhances the depth of the dish. The blend of parsley, basil, and oregano infuses the chili mac with aromatic and savory notes, elevating the overall taste. The incorporation of sharp cheddar cheese adds a creamy and indulgent finish, making it a comforting and irresistible choice for any occasion.

Share your thoughts on this Meaty and Cheesy Instant Pot Chili Mac Recipe in the Recipe Sharing forum section and let us know how it turned out for you!
How long does it take to cook the instant pot chili mac?
The instant pot chili mac takes approximately 13 to 17 minutes to cook once all the ingredients are added and the pot is sealed.
Can I use a different type of pasta instead of macaroni?
Yes, you can use a different type of pasta if you prefer. Just adjust the cooking time according to the package instructions for the specific type of pasta you choose.
Can I use a different type of cheese for topping?
Absolutely! Feel free to use your favorite cheese for topping the chili mac. Some great options include mozzarella, pepper jack, or a blend of different cheeses for added flavor.
Is it possible to make this recipe vegetarian?
Yes, you can easily make this recipe vegetarian by substituting the ground beef with plant-based meat alternatives or adding more beans and vegetables for a hearty and delicious vegetarian version.
Can I freeze the leftover chili mac?
Yes, you can freeze the leftover chili mac in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Simply thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave when you're ready to enjoy it again.

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