Why have regular mac and cheese when you can have chili mac and cheese? This great recipe combines two of your favorite comfort foods to create an easy one-skillet meal that is flavor-packed and full of cheesy goodness.
Combining two beloved dishes can create magic, like when savory beef, tomato, and spicy green chiles meet creamy Velveeta cheese. This chili mac and cheese does just that!
To make it, all you have to do is grab your trusty skillet and make the chili — broth, noodles, and all. Then just add the Velveeta until melted and creamy before adding your favorite chili toppings at the end. It’s that simple!
What is in Chili Mac and Cheese?
- Ground beef: adds protein, flavor, and more substance to the mac.
- Chili seasoning: this is what gives this chili mac and cheese that classic chili flavor.
- Tomato paste: a staple ingredient for making chili. Don’t skip it!
- Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilis: this will give this one-pot meal a kick of spice and tomato flavor.
- Elbow macaroni: you can’t have mac and cheese without elbow macaroni!
- Velveeta cheese: Velveeta is what makes this dish cheesy, creamy, and delicious!
Substitutions & Variations
Protein: ground turkey, chicken, or pork would also taste excellent in this cheesy chili mac recipe.
Chili seasoning: we used this chili seasoning, but feel free to use your favorite or make your own.
Pasta: we kept it classic and used elbow macaroni pasta, but you’re welcome to use your favorite noodle.
Cheese: make this meal even easier by adding other cheeses like Monterey jack, cheddar cheese, or a Mexican cheese blend.
Why use Velveeta in mac and cheese?
Velveeta cheese brings a unique flavor and texture to macaroni and cheese that can’t be found with any other ingredient. Whether you are making a simple dish for your family or an elaborate dish for entertaining, Velveeta will take it up a notch. It’s creamy, it’s smooth, and it melts easily, making it the perfect choice for mac and cheese.
What can I use in place of Velveeta in this recipe?
If you would rather use a different cheese for this chili mac and cheese, American cheese is your best bet. However, if you’re trying to avoid processed cheese, Cheddar, Swiss, and Gouda cheeses are also great options. Just note that you won’t get quite the same rich, creamy texture that Velveeta offers.
Does Velveeta go bad if not refrigerated?
If you haven’t yet opened your Velveeta cheese, the company recommends keeping it sealed and stored at room temperature. Once opened, store it in the refrigerator to keep it fresh.
Store any leftover chili mac and cheese in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
To freeze, place your chili mac in an airtight, freezer-safe container and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Other Tasty Mac and Cheese Recipes
Couldn’t get enough of this chili mac and cheese? Here at The Cheese Knees, we’re known for our unique and flavorful mac and cheese recipes. Some of our top favorites are:
- Smoked Mac and Cheese
- Tuscan Chicken Mac and Cheese
- Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
- Truffle Mac and Cheese
- Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
Chili Mac and Cheese
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef and onion and cook for 4-5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and chili seasoning and cook for another minute.
- Add the tomato paste, rotel tomatoes, broth, and noodles to the pan and stir to combine.
- Bring the skillet to a boil and place the lid on. Reduce heat to low and cook for 10-12 minutes. Or until the noodles are cooked through.
- Fold in the Velveeta cheese and stir until melted.
- Serve immediately with your favorite chili toppings.
Tips & Notes
- Ground turkey or chicken can be substituted for ground beef.
- We used this chili seasoning.