Easy Skillet Chili Mac With Beef and Beans

Chili mac
Diana Rattray
  • Total: 40 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
1028 Calories
39g Fat
96g Carbs
75g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 1028
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 39g 50%
Saturated Fat 17g 87%
Cholesterol 161mg 54%
Sodium 1148mg 50%
Total Carbohydrate 96g 35%
Dietary Fiber 26g 94%
Protein 75g
Calcium 676mg 52%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This chili mac is a snap to make on the stovetop, and it's especially convenient because it's a one-pot meal. The mixture of macaroni, cheese, ground beef, and beans makes a tasty everyday family meal. Everything is cooked together in the skillet making it fuss-free. The skillet method eliminates extra pans and utensils, making cleanup a breeze.

The dish is not only easy and convenient; it's versatile, too. Leave the beans out if you'd like or replace them with an undrained can of diced tomatoes. Or use black beans or pinto beans in the dish. If you don't use beans, add an extra 1/2 cup of water. For some extra heat, use part or all pepper jack cheese instead of cheddar. For a cheesier macaroni dish, feel free to add another cup of shredded cheese.

The dish is quite versatile as well. Saute some sliced mushrooms in a few tablespoons of butter and add them to the beef and onions. Or add canned sliced mushrooms. For complementary flavor and color, add about 1/2 cup of diced red and green bell peppers. If you crave heat, add minced jalapeno peppers or a bit of cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes.

The chili mac makes a satisfying meal with crusty bread or cornbread and a simple tossed salad or spring greens. 


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni (uncooked)
  • 1 (16-ounce) can red kidney beans (undrained)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Steps to Make It

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

  2. Add the ground beef to the skillet and cook, stirring with a spoon or spatula to break the beef into small pieces. Add the chopped onion and continue cooking and stirring until the beef is no longer pink and the onion is translucent. Drain off excess drippings.

  3. Add the uncooked macaroni to the ground beef mixture along with the undrained beans, tomato sauce, water, chili powder, and salt. Cover the pan and cook the chili mac over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, or until the macaroni is tender. Check the skillet occasionally and add more water or tomato sauce, if necessary.

  4. Stir the macaroni and beef mixture. Sprinkle the shredded cheddar cheese over the top. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and continue to heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or until cheese has melted.


  • Make Ahead: Prepare the ground beef and macaroni dish several hours or a day in advance without the cheese. Spoon the mixture into a greased 2 1/2-quart casserole dish. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. Take the dish out about 20 minutes ahead of time. Bake, covered, at 350 F for about 25 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with the cheese. Continue baking for about 10 minutes, or until the casserole is hot and bubbly and the cheese has melted.