One Skillet Cheesy Chili Mac

Skillet Cheesy Chili MacThis recipe for One Skillet Cheesy Chili Mac is really, really, really, a dream come true!

Three reallys?

Yes, three reallys!

Delicious pasta, yummy meaty chili and gooey cheese.

All made in one skillet?

No separate huge pot to boil the pasta.

No colander.

Easy clean-up?

Prepackaged shredded Mexican blend cheese is even preferred over buying cheese and shredding it yourself………….ah……….talk about easy and convenient!

Okay, so who cares about all that if it’s not super yummy?

Well, no fears!

Of course, this is super yummy!

Come on, you know it wouldn’t be on my blog if it wasn’t a winner!

I mean, even if this recipe wasn’t easy and convenient, I’d be making it just for it’s “delicious factor” alone!

This has become one of the recipes that’s gone right to the top of the dinner rotation.

The whole family LOVES it!

Skillet Cheesy Chili Mac

Recipe Notes:  

You can use any cheese you like in this recipe, but the Mexican cheese blend that comes already shredded is preferred.

The combination of cheeses helps bind the mixture together, add a bit of creaminess and, of course, gives the dish that delicious cheesy goodness we all love and expect!

I used Barilla Elbow pasta and measured out 2 cups.

I measured it in a dry measuring cup and it was pretty much level.

There may have been a few elbows that poked just above the line of level, but its not like it’s flour and you can easily level it off perfectly.

You don’t want to measure a heaping cup because it will affect the amount of water you need.

It worked out great!

Don’t forget to add the spices while you’re cooking the onion.

Doing it at this point reduces the harshness of the chili powder.

Generally, when you’re making a big pot of chili, you don’t need to do this because you cook the chili for quite a bit longer than this dish is cooked.

The longer cooking process does the same thing.

If you want to spice this dish up, add some red chili flakes when you add the chili powder.

My family is “heat adverse” so I make it as I’ve written it below :).

Skillet Cheesy Chili MacServes 4

Source: The Best Skillet Recipes

Need a similiar dish to feed more people or maybe try something a little different than this dish? Here’s my American Goulash recipe and it’s off the charts delicious comfort food!

American Goulash                                                              Here’s the RECIPE for my American Goulash

Here are a few other One Skillet Recipes that my family loves.

One Skillet Shrimp Scampi                                                                     One Skillet Shrimp And Pasta Scampi

Here’s the RECIPE

Skillet Meatballs and Noodles in Creamy Herb Sauce                                                     Skillet Meatballs And Noodles In Creamy Herb Sauce

Here’s the RECIPE

104 Responses to One Skillet Cheesy Chili Mac

  1. Matt Robinson

    Delicious, yummy and gooey? Exactly what my sons want all the time. Can’t wait to make them this!

    • Kathleen

      Hey Matt! Hope your son enjoys 😉

    • laura

      Bacillary pasta product of USA, my Doctor tells me if I have to eat pasta to buy a pasta made in Itally since domestic flour is no good for health reasons. I always use DeCecco, it’s made in Italy. Braille is Italy’s best selling pasta made in USA.

      • Kathleen

        Thanks Laura 😉

    • Liz

      This recipe was originally adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Best Skillet Recipe cookbook, and is a favorite go to for a quick meal especially on ski trips. I like to use leftovers the next morning and hash it up with eggs. Tastes even better!

      • Kathleen

        Thanks Liz.

  2. Penny

    Oh my goodness Kathleen. This is just the kind of dish I love. And you don’t even have to buy a taco kit or one of those “helpers” to make it. Love your blog.

  3. Susan P

    This looks so yummy! Can’t wait to make it.

    • Kathleen

      Thanks so much Susan. Enjoy!

  4. Laura Parker

    It looks yummy but are you sure that it is supposed to be Tablespoons, teaspoons on the chili powder and cumin? That seems like a lot for 1 lb of meat.

    • Kathleen

      Hi Laura. Yes I’m sure it’s 1 tablespoon of each. I think that because it’s cooked in the oil with the onion they mellows significantly. I’ve made this recipe quite a few times and really love how it’s seasoned. Hope you give it a try 😉

  5. Laura Parker

    Thanks for confirming Kathleen. I will try it soon.

    • Kathleen

      You’re so welcome, Laura ;)!

  6. Nicola

    Thank you, my kids had seconds! (and I was able to make this quickly after several after school activities)

    • Kathleen

      Thanks so much Nicola! Love your comment 🙂

  7. Marianne

    I loved your goulash so I thought I’d try this. I had some reservations about serving it to my husband, who claims not to like anything “Mexican”, and thinks cumin smells like….well I won’t tell you what he thinks it smells like because I’m a lady LOL. So I was amazed when he said it was “very good – not too spicy” and to “make it again”. Whoohoo! That’s 2 for 2 – next on my list is your Pasta e Fagioli soup – as soon as the weather cools down.

    • Kathleen

      Hi there Marianne! So glad both you and your hubby are pleased! I’m excited your going to try the Pasta e Fagioli soup. We really love it. Just make sure you use a low sodium broth because so many of the ingredients in the soup already contain salt that soup could be too salty otherwise! Hope you enjoy and thanks so much for your comment!

  8. Cathi Oler

    Going to try this tonight! What about the grease from browning the meat, do you not drain it? You put it in with the onions and spices so I don’t know

    • Kathleen

      Hey Cathi, no this recipe doesn’t call to drain the pan after the meat is browned. If you’d like you can use a low fat content ground beef. Honestly, I generally use 80/20 and have never felt it was greasy at all. Hope that helps 😉

      • Cathi Oler

        Thank you so much for your quick response, I really appreciate it. I will be making it in a couple hours!

        • Kathleen

          Glad I was able to help!

  9. Cathi Oler

    Kathleen, made it tonight. It was delicious, added a little cayenne cause being from Louisiana we like the spices!
    Thanks again

    • Kathleen

      Hey Cathi so glad to hear you like it! Thanks for taking the time to report your results!

  10. Jennifer

    I used ground turkey instead of beef in this recipe tonight. It was absolutely delicious! My husband and son (both picky eaters) devoured their servings. I loved how the ground turkey felt like it melted in my mouth from simmering so long. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Kathleen

      Hi Jennifer. So glsd it was a hit in your house!

  11. Terry

    Best Chili Mac everrrrr!!!! Fabulous. Quick, but
    so so tasty….thank you!!

    • Kathleen

      So glad you liked it Terry!

  12. Ada

    Would this freeze well? It’s just me and I would like to try it and freeze in individual servings.

    • Kathleen

      Hey Ada. Well, it will definitely freeze but the pasta texture will change quite a bit. It gets mushy. Honestly, a lot of people object to the texture. I happen to not mind it at all and freeze recipes like this all the time and thoroughly enjoy them. So……it’s up to your preferences!

  13. GB

    This looks delicious and I’m ready to try it but I’m confused about your pasta measurement. You ask for 8 ounces or 2 cups of pasta. 8 ounces is one cup so is it 1 cup or 2 cups of pasta? Thanks.

    • Kathleen

      When I measured out 8 ounces of dried elbow pasta it measured out as about 2 cups(dry measuring cup not liquid cups) of pasta. Because of the shape and volume its different than something liquid or solid.

      • Juie

        It has to do with 8 oz of weight vs. 8 oz volume. Somewhere, with some substance (probably water), I’m sure they are the same, but not all things are the same density so usually they don’t match. For instance, 8 fluid oz (in a wet cup) of water would weigh less on a scale than the same cup full of sugar (or salt…or rocks). Pasta is measured by weight on the package so 8 scale ounces of noodles fills about 2 cups.

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  15. peggy

    Wonderful recipe — so much flavor! Perfect work week meal. I got home at 6:30pm and by 7:30pm we sat down to eat. Thank you so much for sharing! I look forward to trying other recipes in the future.

    • Kathleen

      Thanks Peggy! So glad you liked this 😉

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  18. Ava

    I tried this last night for dinner and you are right, my son (who is 3) ate seconds. He even wanted a 3rd, but I had to cut him off. 🙂 I initially was worried about the Tablespoon of cumin and chili powder, but it was the perfect amount of spice. Thank you for the recipe.

    • Kathleen

      Hi Ava! Thank you for your comment! Love that your 3 year old enjoyed it!!!

  19. Jen

    made this last night for dinner and it was delicious! I added 1 can of black beans and used turkey meat. thanks for the recipe!

    • Kathleen

      Hey Jen. So glad you enjoyed. I love your changes and additions!

  20. Lianne

    I made this last night and we loved it! I will make this over and over! And very easy to throw together.

    • Kathleen

      Hi Lianne! So glad you enjoyed this recipe. It’s one I make all the time as well 🙂

  21. Yosephine

    I just tried this and it was amazing! All the ingredients were perfect. Definitely going to be my go-to quick meal

    • Kathleen

      Hi Yosephine! So glad you enjoyed this! It’s on my go-to list as well! My fam LOVES this recipe!

  22. Charissa

    Yum! I’m a new mother and I love these kinds of meals! So easy. =) But if I were to use Italian seasoning instead of the cumin, would that change the flavor? And how much would I use? Thanks! =)

    • Kathleen

      Hey Charissa. Yes that would change the flavor significantly. I’m not sure I’d like the Italian seasoning combined with the
      chili powder.

  23. Jill

    Your dish looks amazing but I’m always sad to see bloggers who encourage the use of pre-shredded cheeses. If you look in a bag of shredded cheese you can see the powdery white stuff clinging to the cheese itself and gathered at the bottom of the bag. This is cellulose. MOST of them contain cellulose, which comes from wood pulp and is used to keep the product from clumping together, repels moisture and lowers fat content as it will naturally absorb some from the cheese. I don’t know about you but that’s just not appealing. A 2 cup bag of pre-shredded is actually MORE expensive versus an 8 ounce bar of cheese. (unless you’re doing coupons or they have a sale) A bar of cheese also will last longer in your fridge since it has less surface exposed to the air to encourage mold. So yeah, you’re doing some grating but you’re not eating wood fibers either.

    • Kathleen

      Hey Jill. Ironically, out of the almost 300 recipes I’ve posted on this blog, I think this is the only one that calls for using pre-shredded cheese. Interesting info thanks for sharing 😉

  24. Sugey

    Thank you so much for sharing such a delicious recipe. We had it for dinner tonight and I couldn’t get enough of it! I love using cumin and its a great anti-inflammatory spice too.

    • Kathleen

      So glad you liked it Sugey 🙂

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  26. Monica

    Wow, this is so good! I used ground lean turkey and whole wheat noodles..added a little extra cumin and chili powder. My entire family loved it. I cannot believe how easy and delicious this was. My new favorite recipe.

    • Kathleen

      Hey Monica. Love your tweeks! Sounds delish 🙂

  27. Kristin

    Made this on a whim tonight b/c I had some ground turkey to use and it was delish! The flavors work very well together!

    • Kathleen

      Hi Kristin. So glad you liked this recipe 🙂 I think it’s really delish as well!

  28. Michelle

    This looks so good! My husband and I are not spending any money this month (besides gas for our cars and bills), so I actually think I can make this with things I already have in my pantry and freezer. Although, we usually like to have leftovers for work, etc., do you know if it would be too much pasta if I were to add a 16 oz. box to the skillet? Thanks for any help you can provide!

    • Kathleen

      Hi Michelle. Yes I think it would definitely be too much pasta. I think it would throw off the sauce to pasta ratio and be dry and not very flavorful. Sorry! Hope that helps!

  29. Marnee

    Just wondering if you have any ideas on calorie and cal from fat estimate? The dish was fabulous! I used gluten free pasta (12 oz was the size of the box) so I increased the water to 3 cups

    • Kathleen

      Hey Marnee. I’m sorry I don’t have that info. I’m really glad you enjoyed the recipe. The gluten free pasta is a great idea 😉

  30. Shiloh

    I made this tonight and it was excellent! Since I used my stainless skillet my noodles stuck a little but other than that, I followed your recipe and it was delish. Thanks for sharing!

    • Kathleen

      Hey Shilo! Glad the recipe worked well for you. 🙂

  31. Meghan

    This was really good! I’ve actually never had chili Mac but I was looking for a ground beef recipe and found this. I was worried at first that the water was too much but in the end it all came together perfect. I followed the recipe exactly

    • Kathleen

      Hi Meghan. So glad you tried this and enjoyed it 🙂

  32. Joelle

    Hi Kathleen, my husband and I are non-onion eaters. Do you have any recommendations for cooking this recipe without the onions?

    • Kathleen

      Hi Joelle. Great question! Onions are such a foundational flavor ingredient that honestly omitting them is tough for me! Do you eat shallots or leeks? I know they’re from the same family as onions, so they may be out for you as well, but if you do eat them, they would be perfect to add instead of the onions.

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  35. Eugenia

    Hi Kathleen!
    This is my second time making this chili Mac. My family loves it, especially my 4 children. I didn’t use the Mexican mix of cheese. I have used cheddar, and Monterey Jack both times, and because of the spices, it comes out tasty! Thanks again, and keep up the good work. Your blog is one that I come to for recipes.

    • Kathleen

      Hi Eugenia. Thank you so much! Honestly, that is so very nice to hear.

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  37. Anjeline

    Thanks for this recipe! This was quick and easy and I’m pretty sure my bf is gonna love it! I added some smoked paprika to it (we have been OBSESSED!) and since I didn’t have enough tomato sauce, I used diced tomatoes and its juices with it. Also, I just used cheddar since that’s what he had! Turned out great in my opinion 🙂

    • Kathleen

      Hi Anjeline! Im so happy to hear you liked this recipe! Smoked paprika is a great addition 🙂

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  39. Valerie

    I made this tonight and both my husband and I loved it. I have been searching for one skillet meals for both lunches and dinners during the work week and this is definitely a keeper we will be coming back to often. The only change I made was to use ground turkey – other than that I followed the recipe exactly. My next try will be your goulash and can’t wait!!

    • Kathleen

      Hey Valerie. So glad you enjoyed! I love skillet meals. They make dinner enjoyable rather than a chore!

  40. Jessica

    Just finished making this for my family and they LOVED it. My 2 yr old ate 2 bowls. I doubled the recipe due to having a lot of mouths to feed. Turned out awesome. I will definitely be making this again.

    • Kathleen

      Hey Jessica so glad you liked it 🙂

  41. Allison

    Hey there! Made this tonight with the meat from half of a left over rotissare chicken we had for dinner yeaterday! We loved it!!!!

    • Kathleen

      Hey Allison! Great idea! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  42. christina

    Excellent! My boy has celiac disease so I made it with gluten free corn macaroni noodles (and had ground turkey only on hand so was a little worried) but it was amazing! Thank you so much for this quick and delicious recipe!

    • Kathleen

      Hi Christina. Love your changes! Glad you enjoyed 😉

  43. Meaghan

    This was super tasty! We also modified a bit, using an above commenter’s suggestion of adding a can of black beans, then also added a small can of diced green chiles. Next time, I plan to chop up some fresh tomatoes and throw that in, too. Thanks for sharing!

    • Kathleen

      Hi Meaghan. So glad you liked the recipe. Love your changes 😉

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  46. Janet

    This is a favorite dish of my husband and since I’m a lazy cook, i’ll tackle it. Going to use buffalo for the meat. Think he will notice :-). Looks yummy!

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  48. Kimberly

    I ran out of ideas as to what to do with ground turkey and thanks to pinterest found this website. Dinner was amazing! I added some sour cream to help balance the spice and it to make it super creamy. I love one pot/pan recipes so thank you!!!!

    • Kathleen

      Hi Kimberly. So glad you enjoyed the Cheesy Chili Mac 🙂

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  50. Dee

    The plan was to make this for the family since I don’t eat cheese. Before I added the cheese, I took a taste and oh my goodness….. had to have a second bowl. It’s delicious without the cheese. I can only imagine how it is with the cheese. Awesome recipe!

    • Kathleen

      That’s quite an endorsement! Thanks Dee 🙂

  51. Marilyn

    Wow! Phenomenal! I’ve been collecting recipes for chili-mac for a couple months now since I’ve been really, really craving chili-mac lately (why, I have no idea since I’ve NOT eaten it since my school cafeteria days 50 years ago!). Threw out those recipes. This recipe is very forgiving: I don’t like the taste of a chili powder blend – I used pure ground ancho chili peppers with a couple of shakes of cayenne instead. I thought I had enough leftover frozen tomato sauce – wrong – only six ounces, but I substituted three ounces of (gasp!) ketchup with enough water to make 15 ounces. I forgot to deduct the additional water from the recipe’s 2 cups but took the lid off for the final five minutes. Also, I only had 75%/25% hamburger on hand and, in the future, I’ll just semi-brown the meat in a separate skillet. But, can you believe – it still came out perfect!! Thank you, Kathleen – this one’s a keeper!! It sure didn’t taste like cafeteria slop. 🙂

    • Kathleen

      Hi Marilyn. So glad you liked the recipe. Yes, I find it’s very forgiving and easily customized. Love the ancho chili powder.

  52. Liz

    Made this tonight – yum! I was out of lettuce to make a salad to go with it, so I just threw some frozen corn in with it while the pasta was cooking and it turned out great. Didn’t realize I was out of macaroni noodles until I was making it, so subbed with rotini. Will definitely be making again. Thanks for posting!

    • Kathleen

      Hi Liz. So glad to hear you liked the recipe. Rotini sounds perfect!

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  54. Bbkeef

    This was great! Definitely a keeper and in the meal rotation now.

    • Kathleen

      So happy to hear that 🙂

  55. Kristi

    Made this for supper tonight and it was really good! I used Colby jack cheese and added some taco seasoning in addition to the chili powder and cumin. Thought it was interesting to cook the onion with the spices and it did have a nice flavor. Love that it was a one pot recipe!

    • Kathleen

      Yay Kristi! So happy you like the recipe and customized it for yourself 🙂

  56. Haley

    We made this tonight, and it was DELICIOUS! My husband rarely comments on meals, even when he likes them. He must have complimented this dish three or four times! Thanks for sharing it!

    • Kathleen

      Hi Haley. So glad you guys enjoyed the Cheesy Chili Mac!

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