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Cheesy Skillet Chili Mac

Cheesy Skillet Chili Mac – Two comfort foods come together in a one skillet dinner the whole family will love.  Plus it is ready in only 20 minutes!

One pan dinners are my favorite kind of thing to make. They are just so quick and easy, without a lot of dishes to clean up.  My son requests Taco Pasta Skillet pretty much every time I ask him for a dinner idea. So I know they are a hit with my family.  

This Chili Mac recipe is on that is full of flavor, and comes together in no time.  Your family is going to love it, and you are going to love how easy it is to make. Because let’s face it, after a day of work the last thing you want to do it be in the kitchen for an hour cooking and cleaning up. 


penne pasta with ground beef in a skillet


What is Chili Mac

Chili mac is basically a macaroni and cheese that has ground beef and the flavors of chili all in one dish.  This chili mac recipe is nice because it all cooks in one pan. You don’t have to make two separate dishes and then combine them. You brown the ground beef and then cook the pasta with all the chili spices together. And the end you mix in all the cheese so it gets nice and gooey and delicious. 

What goes with Chili Mac

You don’t need to serve a lot along side, because this is a hearty meal.  But here are a few easy and quick ideas.

Cheesy Skillet Chili Mac - Two comfort foods come together in a one skillet dinner the whole family will love. Plus it is ready in only 20 minutes!

This Chili Mac recipe is definitely a staple in our house, it is just so simple to make. My family likes this spicy, so I tend to go a little heavy with the cayenne. But if you like it mild, just stick with the amount in the recipe. 

How to Make Chili Mac and Cheese

  1. Start by adding your ground beef and onions to a large hot skillet.  Break the beef apart and brown until the meat is cooked and the onions are soft. This usually takes about 5 minutes.
  2. Next add in the garlic. I like to add it in and let it cook for about a minute. At this point you can start to smell it, and you don’t have to worry about it getting burnt when you are browning the meat. 
  3. Everything but the cheese gets added. You add in all the spices, the milk, tomato sauce, and the uncooked pasta.  Mix it all together and bring it to a boil.
  4. You want to cover and reduce the heat to a simmer once it starts to boil. Stir it a few times to make sure it all cooks evenly. Be careful not to let it boil over, this will curdle your milk and it will not be creamy and delicious.  So just keep an eye on the temperature. 
  5. After the pasta is cooked add in the cheese and stir until it is all melted.  
  6. You can serve with sour cream, more cheese for topping, sliced green onions or anything else you would top your chili with.
penne pasta with ground beef in a pot

One pan dinners like this are great for busy weeknights. You get everything done in one pan, which means not a ton of dishes to clean up either. 

So add this Chili Mac recipe to your menu this week and you will have happy kids and adults. Plus the leftovers are great for lunch the next day. 

A bowl of chili mac pasta

More Easy Dinner Recipes

cheesy chili mac close up in a skillet
Yield: 5

Cheesy Skillet Chili Mac

penne pasta with ground beef in a skillet

Cheesy Skillet Chili Mac - Two comfort foods come together in a one skillet dinner the whole family will love. Plus it is ready in only 20 minutes!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp ground cayenne
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 (14 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 2 1/3 cup milk
  • 3 cups short cut pasta
  • 1 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, plus more for serving


  1. In a large skillet brown ground beef and onion together for 4-5 minutes, until cooked.
  2. Add garlic, and stir until it becomes fragrent.
  3. Mix in chili powder, cumin, cayenne and brown sugar. Add tomato sauce, milk, and pasta.
  4. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 8-10 minutes until the pasta is cooked.
  5. Stir in cheese until melted.
  6. Serve with additional cheese and other chili toppings if desired.

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Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 621Total Fat 31gSaturated Fat 14gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 13gCholesterol 126mgSodium 874mgCarbohydrates 41gFiber 4gSugar 7gProtein 43g

Nutrition Disclaimer: All information presented on this site is intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information shared on should only be used as a general guideline.

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Sunday 19th of June 2022

This chili mac is so rich and flavorful! My whole family will go crazy over it!


Friday 17th of June 2022

Definitely my kind of comfort food! This is SO good!


Thursday 16th of June 2022

This looks like an amazing meal for through the week that the kids will love as well!


Thursday 5th of August 2021

Such a delicious meal for weeknights! It was a huge hit!


Wednesday 4th of August 2021

Easy and delicious. Even the kids loved it!

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