Chili Mac and Cheese

chili mac and cheese in a large pot

Chili Mac and Cheese is the ultimate fall comfort food, perfect for feeding the family or a hungry game day crowd.  Comfort food lovers will appreciate the epic combo of meaty chili, pasta, and lots of gooey cheese.


  • a large stock pot


  • 28 ounce can whole Italian tomatoes
  • 1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce more to taste
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion cut in small dice
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 pound lean beef cut in cubes
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 8 ounces beer
  • 8 ounces beef broth
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder or cayenne to taste
  • salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • 4 ounces uncooked elbow pasta
  • 1 bell pepper cut into small dice
  • 15 ounce can pinto beans drained
  • 2 cups of your favorite shredded cheese


  • 8 green onions finely sliced
  • 3 Tbsp snipped chives


  1. Process the canned tomatoes and chipotle pepper in a food processor until crushed, about 7 good pulses. Set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large cast iron pot and sauté the onions, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes until softened. Toward the end of cooking, add the garlic. Remove to a plate.
  3. Turn the heat up and brown the cubed beef on all sides. Try to get a good bit of browning here because it will provide flavor for the chili. Remove the beef to the plate with the onions.
  4. Brown the ground beef in the pan, breaking it apart as you cook. When the ground beef is browned, add the onions and cubed beef back into the pot. Stir to loosen any browned bits at the bottom of the pan.
  5. Add the crushed tomatoes, broth, beer, and spices. Season with salt, start with 1/2 teaspoon, and fresh cracked pepper.
  6. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat to low, and cook for 30 minutes, covered. (Make sure that the chili is simmering.)
  7. Meanwhile cook the elbow pasta in salted boiling water about 3 minutes less than the box directions. Drain, rinse, and set aside.
  8. Uncover the chili, add the bell peppers and beans, and continue to gently cook with the cover off. Taste and adjust the seasonings. I usually add more salt at this point.
  9. Add the pasta to the pot and stir to combine. Sprinkle the cheese over the top and cover to let it melt.
  10. When the cheese has melted, sprinkle the chili with the green onions and chives and serve.

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