Chili Mac and Cheese

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Believe it or not, winter has made it’s way to Arizona! We have been in the 50’s and 60’s all week, and my mind has completely switched over to comfort foods. Of course the disaster in my kitchen could also be part of the appeal, but it was time for something thick, creamy, and hearty to try and warm me up…..

an off-white and brown bowl filled with chili macaroni and cheese topped with shredded cheddar cheese and sitting on a beige napkin

This Chili Mac and Cheese was exactly what I was craving!! I had tried a brand new Amy’s Organics frozen Chili Mac a few weeks ago, but it was lacking in chiliness. I didn’t want Macaroni and Cheese with some chili spices, I wanted a real chili mixed with a real macaroni and cheese…but I didn’t want to make two complete meals and mix them together….so it was time to get creative. 😉

looking down on two bowls of chili mac and cheese with shredded cheddar cheese scattered around the bowls

How to make Chili Mac and Cheese:

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven, then add the ground chuck and cook until no pink remains…..

Chili Mac and Cheese brown cookingwithcurls.com

Using a slotted spoon, remove the ground beef and place in a bowl. Set aside.

Lower the temperature to medium-low. Whisk the flour into the remaining oil in the Dutch oven and cook for 1 to 2 minutes…..

Chili Mac and Cheese roux cookingwithcurls.com

Don’t panic, it will turn into a thick and creamy sauce…trust me. 😉

Whisk in the warmed milk {I heat mine in the microwave for 2 minutes on HIGH}. Add the spices and seasonings, continuing to whisk mixture until it starts to simmer and thicken, about 6 to 8 minutes…..

Chili Mac and Cheese spices cookingwithcurls.com

Remove from heat and add the grated cheese in batches, stirring between until melted…..

Chili Mac and Cheese cheese cookingwithcurls.com

Stir in the browned beef….

Chili Mac and Cheese beef cookingwithcurls.com

the drained pasta and chili beans…..

Chili Mac and Cheese noodles cookingwithcurls.com

Check for flavor adding more chili powder if needed. Garnish with additional grated cheese and serve…..

a big off-white bowl of macaroni, beans, and ground beef topped with shredded cheddar cheese

And there you have it – a thick and creamy, slightly spicy, loaded with flavor and goodies Chili Mac and Cheese!!

Notes:

  • There is enough heat for me, or a picky five year old, but some of you may wish to kick things up a bit with more cayenne pepper or maybe some hot sauce!
  • I used Bush’s Chili Beans because I like them, and because they are the ones that are sold in the grocery store. I have never tried any other brands so I do not have any substitutions for you.
  • I warm the milk for about 2 minutes in the microwave so it does not hit the hot flour/oil mixture and seize up….aka make lumps!
  • If your pasta or ground beef have cooled down too much while you were making the cheese sauce, simply reheat on medium-low.

More delicious comfort food recipes:

Enjoy!!

an off-white and brown bowl filled with chili macaroni and cheese topped with shredded cheddar cheese and sitting on a beige napkin

Chili Mac and Cheese

This Chili Mac and Cheese is comfort food at it's finest, and makes the perfect cold weather meal!
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chili, beef, macaroni, pasta, cheese, comfort, recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8 Servings
Calories: 684kcal
Author: Lisa Johnson

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound 80/20 ground chuck
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 ½ cups whole milk warmed (I used Unsweetened Cashewmilk)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 Tablespoon ground mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese grated (almost 3 cups + more for garnish)
  • 32 ounces Bush's Chili Beans in mild chili sauce 2) 16oz cans
  • 1 pound box elbow macaroni cooked and drained

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven, then add the ground chuck and cook until no pink remains.
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove the ground beef and place in a bowl. Set aside.
  • Lower the temperature to medium-low. Whisk the flour into the remaining oil in the Dutch oven and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Whisk in the warmed milk {I heat mine in the microwave for 2 minutes on HIGH}.
  • Add the spices and seasonings, continuing to whisk mixture until it starts to simmer and thicken, about 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and add the grated cheese in batches, stirring between until melted.
  • Stir in the browned beef, drained pasta and chili beans.
  • Check for flavor adding more chili powder if needed. Garnish with additional grated cheese and serve.

Notes

  • There is enough heat for me, or a picky five year old, but some of you may wish to kick things up a bit with more cayenne pepper or maybe some hot sauce!
  • I used Bush’s Chili Beans because I like them, and because they are the ones that are sold in the grocery store. I have never tried any other brands so I do not have any substitutions for you.
  • I warm the milk for about 2 minutes in the microwave so it does not hit the hot flour/oil mixture and seize up….aka make lumps!
  • If your pasta or ground beef have cooled down too much while you were making the cheese sauce, simply reheat on medium-low.

Nutrition

Calories: 684kcal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 96mg | Sodium: 996mg | Potassium: 848mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 940IU | Vitamin C: 1.9mg | Calcium: 372mg | Iron: 6.5mg

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