Chili Mac and Cheese Recipe

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Nellie Hopkins Modified: March 23, 2022
Chili Mac and Cheese Recipe

How To Make Chili Mac and Cheese

This chili mac and cheese will take comfort food to the next level with its spicy factor. Don’t fret, it’s not uber spicy: perfect for family meals.

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 45 minutes
Total: 55 minutes



  • 2cupselbow pasta,uncooked
  • 1tbspvegetable oil
  • 1yellow onion,diced
  • 2tomatoes,or 15 oz can whole drained and diced
  • 1lbground beef
  • 1tspblack pepper
  • 1tbspchili powder
  • 1tbspkosher salt
  • 2tbspunsalted butter
  • 2tbspall purpose flour
  • 2cupswhole milk
  • 3cupscheese,either a Mexican cheese blend, shredded
  • 1tbspyellow mustard

For the Breadcrumbs:

  • 2tbspunsalted butter
  • ½tspchili powder
  • ¼tspkosher salt
  • ½cupbreadcrumbs


  1. Heat the oven to 400°F. 

  2. Cook the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside.

  3. Make the chili: Heat the oil in a large (12-inch) oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until they have broken down slightly and some of the liquid has evaporated, 3 to 5 minutes more. Add the ground beef, black pepper, 1 tablespoon chili powder, and 1 tablespoon salt to the onion-tomato mixture. Cook, breaking up the ground beef with a wooden spoon, until brown and fully cooked, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat.

  4. Make the cheese sauce: Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring occasionally, until bubbly and slightly golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly whisk the milk into the butter-flour mixture. At first, the mixture will seize up and look crumbly, but will smooth out as you keep adding milk and whisking. Once all the milk is added, bring to a simmer. Whisk frequently and scrape along the bottom of the pan, so it doesn’t burn. Cook until the sauce has thickened slightly and seems creamy, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, and add the shredded cheese and mustard. Stir until the cheese has melted. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

  5. Assemble the mac and cheese: Combine the cooked pasta, chili mixture, and cheese sauce – you can do this in your skillet if it’s big enough, otherwise use a large bowl. Mix until evenly combine, then transfer back to the skillet used to cook the chili. (Or transfer to a baking dish if your skillet isn’t big enough.)

  6. Top with toasted breadcrumbs: Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter and mix with the breadcrumbs, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sprinkle evenly over top the chili mac and cheese.

  7. Bake the mac and cheese: Place the chili mac and cheese in the oven and bake until golden on top and the cheese sauce is bubbling, about 20 minutes. Leftovers can be kept refrigerated for about a week. Reheat individual portions in the microwave, or larger amounts in a low oven. Leftovers can also be frozen in individual portions for up to 3 months; reheat in the microwave or in a low oven.


  • Calories: 596.89kcal
  • Fat: 38.67g
  • Saturated Fat: 18.99g
  • Trans Fat: 1.50g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 12.65g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.07g
  • Carbohydrates: 33.12g
  • Fiber: 2.41g
  • Sugar: 5.92g
  • Protein: 28.85g
  • Cholesterol: 112.11mg
  • Sodium: 606.61mg
  • Calcium: 446.55mg
  • Potassium: 473.07mg
  • Iron: 2.34mg
  • Vitamin A: 239.52µg
  • Vitamin C: 5.38mg
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