Crock Pot Chili Mac

Chili Mac and Cheese
Chili Mac and Cheese. William Mahar / Getty Images
  • Total: 6 hrs 15 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 6 hrs
  • Yield: 6 to 8 Servings

This easy slow cooker chili macaroni and cheese (chili mac) is made into a flavorful, hearty slow cooker meal with ground beef. A variety of spices and taco seasonings give it Southwest or Tex-Mex flavor, and you can easily tailor it to suit your family's tastes. 

Besides ground beef, macaroni, and cheese, the dish includes tomatoes, corn, and beans. Use black beans or pinto beans in the dish.

Top servings with shredded cheddar or Mexican style cheese and sliced green onion tops or chopped fresh chopped cilantro.


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds ground beef (85% to 90% lean)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 envelope taco seasoning mix
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 can (15 ounces) beans (pinto w/jalapenos or black)
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels, or 1 can (12 to 15 ounces) niblets or whole kernel corn (drained)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 2 tablespoons instant tapioca (for thickening)
  • 1 package macaroni and cheese or shells and cheese (deluxe type)
  • Dash of salt and pepper to taste
  • For Garnishes (optional):
  • shredded cheese
  • chopped cilantro
  • sliced green onion tops

Steps to Make It

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef and onions and cook, stirring, until the beef is no longer pink. Transfer the beef mixture to a 3 1/2-quart or larger Crock Pot. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, taco seasoning, cumin, beans, corn, bell pepper, and tapioca

  2. Cover and cook on low 5 to 7 hours. 

  3. Shortly before serving time, cook the package of macaroni and cheese according to package directions.

  4. Add the prepared macaroni and cheese to the slow cooker; stir to blend. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

  5. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes longer, or until hot.

Serves 6 to 8.

Tips and Variations

  • Omit the beans and use 1 1/2 to 2 pounds of ground beef, if desired.

  • Replace the diced tomatoes with zesty chili-style tomatoes or use half stewed tomatoes.

  • Add a can of mild green chile peppers or one or two finely chopped Anaheim peppers to the ground beef mixture.

  • Add a minced jalapeno pepper to the ground beef mixture.

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