Cheesy Chili Mac Casserole is the ultimate comfort food dinner idea. Cheesy noodles are combined with homemade chili, then topped with even more cheese!
Love Tex-Mex style food as much as I do? Make sure to try my Frito Pie Casserole or my Fiesta Chicken Casserole! This Chili Corn Carne recipe is also an absolute favorite!
Chili Mac Casserole is the Ultimate Comfort Food!
This casserole recipe incorporates just about everything I love in comfort food. You have pasta, cheese, and chili. I mean… A big bowl of this gooey, warm casserole on a cold day is my idea of cozy. But also know this is a great weeknight dinner too! You can even prep this ahead to pop in the oven for dinner.
There isn’t a whole lot not to like about this easy dish. You can certainly even alter the chili recipe to fit your taste. Not a fan of black beans? Try a different kind, or leave them out completely! Prefer to use ground turkey instead of beef? Absolutely! Can’t find fire-roasted tomatoes? No worries use regular diced!
There are so many ways to adapt this recipe to suit your own families preferences, so feel free to get creative!
Don’t Let The Number Of Ingredients Scare You…
There is a ton of flavor in this chili mac! Essentially you’re making a thick chili on its own before you add in the macaroni, so most of the ingredients in this are spices. You can adjust the seasoning to you preference, but that’s why the ingredient list is so long! But don’t worry…chances are you have most of these in your spice drawer already!
What if You Don’t Have Large Elbow Macaroni?
No problem at all…you can sub just about any pasta into this recipe. Chili over pasta is a Cincinnati tradition, so this is kind of like that!
And although you can use long noodles, I would recommend a smaller, bite sized pasta, because it will be easier to mix into and eat in the casserole!
Could You Use Rice Instead?
I grew up eating chili on top of rice…that was just how my mom made it, so of course you could use rice in this casserole instead of pasta. I would recommend 1 1/2 cups of cooked rice!
There are so many tasty options to serve with this cheesy casserole! Here are some of my favorite ideas:
- Sweet Dinner Rolls – Soft and fluffy homemade rolls perfect for wiping your plate clean!
- Biscuit Skillets – Tender buttermilk biscuits with a crispy salted butter crust.
- Garlic Knots – These homemade knots taste like the take out garlic knots from your favorite pizza joint!
- Fall Coleslaw – If you want a side that’s not bread-y, this coleslaw has just the right amount of flavor and crunch.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
Let your casserole cool, then store it in the fridge. You can either cover your baking dish with saran wrap or transfer the leftover chili mac to an airtight container. Extras will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.
When you’re ready to eat some more chili mac, just scoop the desired amount into a microwave safe bowl and zap it until warm. The time will depend on how much you are heating up. I recommend pausing halfway through the heating time to give your food a good stir and make sure everything is heated through.Print
Cheesy Chili Mac Casserole
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 55 minutes
- Yield: serves 10 1x
- Category: Casserole
- Method: Oven/Stove Top
- Cuisine: Dinner
This easy chili casserole is comfort food at its finest!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup diced yellow onion (1 small onion)
- 2 pounds lean ground beef
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (15- ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 (15- ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 (6- ounce) can tomato paste
- 1 (4- ounce) can chopped green chilis
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 (7- ounce) can Mexicorn, drained
- 1 (15- ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups uncooked large elbow macaroni
- 1 1/2 cups grated Mexican cheese blend
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly coat a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- In a large, deep skillet or Dutch Oven heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions to the pan and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add in the ground beef. Cook until no longer pink. Add in the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Drain excess liquid in pan if necessary.
- Add in the fire roasted tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, green chilis, salt, chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, corn, and black beans. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to a boil and then turn heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally.
- Bring a pot water to a boil and cook the macaroni according to package directions. Drain and add the pasta to the chili mixture, stirring to combine.
- Transfer mixture to your prepared baking dish and top with the grated cheese.
- Bake for 25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and mixture is bubbly.
- Serve immediately.
Optional garnishes: cilantro, sour cream, green onions, avocado, and tortilla chips. Store airtight in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 361
- Sugar: 7.5 g
- Sodium: 1001.7 mg
- Fat: 8.7 g
- Carbohydrates: 39.2 g
- Protein: 32.7 g
- Cholesterol: 62.9 mg
Keywords: cookies and cups, chili, casserole recipe, chili mac casserole, chili casserole
7 comments on “Cheesy Chili Mac Casserole”
Can I make this in advance?
I’ve never even eaten chili Mac n cheese before. I made this casserole for a funeral dinner at our church this week. It was wonderful! I followed all of the directions except that I didn’t hand the canned fire roasted tomatoes and used Rotel instead. I don’t believe in posting reviews of a recipe unless I’m reviewing the exact recipe and not one that has had changes made. But in sure that the recipe would turn out great even if I hadn’t made the substitution. I will make sure next time to use the fire roasted tomatoes! I think I will also try two of the suggestions for extras. I think being topped with fresh cilantro and scallions would be great!
Thank you for the review! So glad you enjoyed it, and I bet the Rotel was great!
We are vegetarians, so instead of the ground beef I cooked a bunch of chopped mushrooms with the onions and garlic. Very good, and so easy.
Really good! And easy!
A family favorite!
To your list of ingredients, I also added 1 can of Ro-Tel; undrained. For our son-in-law I also added some chopped up jalapeno peppers; some mixed in with the mixture & some for him to sprinkle on top. The more heat it has, the better he likes it, so bottle of hot sauce is put on the table.
ha! i’d love a little more heat (not sure about my kids though lol). I’ll try your additions next time!