This Crock Pot Chili Mac is an easy, delicious meal that will surely become a family favorite. Packed with flavor from seasoned ground beef chili and plenty of cheese and pasta, it's the perfect slow-cooker recipe for busy weeknights or meal prep throughout the week!
Chili mac is a classic dish that combines two comfort-food favorites: chili, macaroni, and cheese. This slow-cooker version of this classic dish is easy to put together and slow-cooked for an entire day, making it a delicious and convenient meal!
Slow cooker chili with pasta is a hit among families because it comes together in just minutes and slow-cooks all day to create a delicious, flavorful dinner. The slow cooker does all the work while you can enjoy your day without worrying about last-minute meal prep.
When it comes to the ingredients, this slow cooker chili mac is packed with flavor from seasoned ground beef chili, pasta, and plenty of cheese. All of the ingredients can be found in your local grocery store and are budget-friendly!
Enjoy chili mac on a cold night, or make it for meal prep for a quick and easy weeknight dinner!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- It's an easy slow cooker recipe that can be thrown together in minutes.
- The pasta cooks in with the chili, so there's no need to make more dirty dishes!
- Packed with flavor from seasoned ground beef chili and plenty of cheese and pasta.
- This entire meal is made with budget-friendly ingredients and produces enough to feed the whole family!
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Ground Beef - Chili gets its hearty beef flavor from the addition of ground beef that pairs well with the seasonings.
- Bell Pepper & Onion - These chopped vegetables give the chili a fresh garden taste and add lots of flavor.
- Chili Seasoning - A pre-measured blend of chili spices, including paprika, oregano, and cumin, properly season the base of the chili.
- Canned Kidney Beans - Adds texture to the chili and provides an extra boost of plant protein and fiber.
- Rotel, Tomato Sauce & Tomato Paste - These canned ingredients add natural sweetness as well as a complimentary tomato flavor.
- Elbow Macaroni - This pasta is the perfect shape and size for this dish because it cooks in the slow cooker and absorbs all of the flavors of the chili.
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese - Gives this dish its signature cheesy flavor.
How To Make Chili Mac In The Crock Pot
Cook the ground beef: Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and break it up with a spatula. Cook until the beef is browned and cooked through completely. This will take about 7 minutes. Add the cooked beef to the crock pot.
Assemble the ingredients: On top of the beef, add the onion, green pepper, chili seasoning, kidney beans, Rotel tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and water to the crock pot. Stir until well combined.
Cook and add pasta: Add the lid and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 6 hours. Forty-five minutes before the cooking time is up, stir in the pasta and continue cooking until the pasta is tender. Stir in half of the cheddar cheese, then add the rest on top. Enjoy!
- Make sure the ground beef is fully cooked before adding it to the crock pot, as it won't continue cooking in the slow cooker, as raw ground beef slow-cooked will have a rubbery texture and will make the dish greasy.
- The water and the tomato sauce are enough liquid to cook the pasta without having to boil. The time it takes for the pasta to cook will depend on your slow cooker and the type of pasta. Check periodically to make sure it does not overcook.
- If you can't find a chili seasoning packet, use one teaspoon of chili powder, ½ teaspoon of garlic powder, ½ teaspoon of onion powder, ½ teaspoon of cumin, ¼ teaspoon of smoked paprika, and a pinch of oregano.
- Use beef broth instead of water in this recipe for an even more beefy flavor.
- Change up the meat: Use ground turkey or chicken instead of ground beef.
- Add veggies: You can add more vegetables such as corn, diced tomatoes, mushrooms, jalapenos, and black beans to make this slow cooker chili mac even heartier.
- Make it low-carb: Swap out the pasta for spiralized zucchini noodles or cauliflower rice.
- Use different beans: Instead of kidney beans, use black beans or pinto beans.
- Make it spicy: Add some crushed red pepper flakes or sriracha to the chili mac to kick up the heat.
- Topping ideas: Sprinkle some diced scallions, cilantro, sour cream, or tortilla chips on top of the chili mac before serving.
Storing & Freezing
Storing: Once cooled, any leftover chili mac can be portioned out into airtight containers and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Freezing: Chili mac can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Place cooled chili mac in freezer-safe bags or containers, label with the date, and freeze. Keep in mind that the pasta will be a bit more mushy after freezing. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
Yes, you can make this recipe on the stovetop. Simply cook the ground beef in a large pot over medium-high heat until cooked through. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes or until pasta is tender.
Yes, you can use any type of small pasta shape, such as macaroni, rotini, or shells. For a gluten-free version, you can use quinoa, brown rice, or chickpea pasta.
Yes, simply swap out the ground beef for vegan crumbles like Beyond Meat Beefless Ground. You can also omit the cheese to make this a vegan chili mac.
More Slow Cooker Pasta Dinners
- Crock Pot Chicken Lasagna
- Crock Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs
- Slow Cooker Lasagna
- Slow Cooker Chicken Stroganoff
- Crock Pot Lazy Lasagna with Ravioli
- Creamy Crock Pot Mac and Cheese
SHARE IT & RATE IT
Crock Pot Chili Mac
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 yellow onion (diced)
- 1 green pepper (diced)
- 1 oz packet chili seasoning
- 2 (15 oz) can kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
- 1 (10 oz) can Rotel tomatoes
- 1 (29 oz) can tomato sauce
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 cups water
- 3 cups elbow macaroni (uncooked)
- 2 cups cheddar cheese (shredded)
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook ground beef until completely brown. It takes about 6-7 minutes. Drain and add to a 6-quart crock pot.
- Add onion, green pepper, chili seasoning, kidney beans, Rotel tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and water to the crock pot. Stir until well combined.
- Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours. Forty-five minutes before the cooking time is up, add in the pasta. Stir and continue to cook.
- Stir in 1 cup of cheddar cheese and top with the remaining cheese.
- Serve while hot, and enjoy!
*Nutrition information is an estimate. It may vary based on ingredients, brands, and changes in cooking methods listed in the recipe. If you need exact ingredient numbers, I recommend calculating them with your preferred nutrition calculator.