Easy Skillet Chili Mac With Beef and Beans

Chili mac
Diana Rattray
  • 40 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings
Ratings (8)

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. 

What You'll Need

  • 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

How 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.
  1. 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.


Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
Calories 1028
Total Fat 39 g
Saturated Fat 17 g
Unsaturated Fat 14 g
Cholesterol 161 mg
Sodium 1,148 mg
Carbohydrates 96 g
Dietary Fiber 26 g
Protein 75 g
(The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)