Chili Cheese Mac

September 24, 2019
Chile Cheese Mac ~ easy, cheesy hamburger and macaroni comfort food your family will love, all with the convenience of one-pot cooking.

Plate of Chili Cheese Mac Image

There's just something about pasta that says comfort food.

When I'm in need of a little "fill the belly" comfort, about 90% of the time I'll turn to pasta for dinner - like our family-favorite quick & easy goulash or beef stroganoff casserole.  And when it's not pasta I choose?  It's a burger or something extra cheesy like meatball parmesan casserole.

Well, if you're like me and crave pasta, hamburger, and melty cheese when you want comfort food, I'm happy to say this Chili Cheese Mac's got all three!  In one easy-to-make, one-pot dish.

Chili Cheese Mac is easy, cheesy hamburger and macaroni comfort food your family will love, all with the convenience of one-pot cooking.

I ran across the inspiration for this recipe in a "lighter" cooking magazine.  But it took our family several times making it to adjust it to our liking.  We just thought the flavor of the original lighter version needed to be amped up, and it needed much more creamy cheesiness.

So we increased the spicing, added onion, increased the cheese, and sprinkled a dose of fresh cilantro on at the end.  The flavor result? - super tasty with a nice bit of spiciness.  And the cheesiness? - The nice cheesy flavor you would expect from a recipe with the name "Chili Cheese Mac."

Of course, by upping the cheesiness, we took out any "lightness" of the original "lighter" version.  Oh well.  We like our comfort food dinners to be full of flavor!

Now we absolutely love the flavor zip the sprinkling of fresh cilantro adds ... but if you're not a cilantro fan, by all means leave it out.

Serving Spoon of Chili Cheese Mac Image

Not only does this Chili Cheese Mac scream family-friendly cheesy pasta comfort food, it also gives the convenience of one-pot cooking.

That's right, just one big-old skillet or a Dutch oven is all you need to make this.  No dirtying up a bunch of dishes to make dinner here - I love that.

Just one big-old skillet or a Dutch oven is all you need to make this. No dirtying up a bunch of dishes to make dinner here.

You start the dish by browning ground beef and onion in your pot.  Once the ground beef is browned, add in the spices and liquid components - water, beef broth, and spicy Rotel tomatoes.

Then, the macaroni is cooked right in this single skillet with the ground beef, spices, and those flavorful cooking liquids.

Not only does this make Chili Cheese Mac a super-easy meal with one-pot cooking convenience, it also gives the macaroni extra-great flavor.  When it cooks, the macaroni soaks in all the deliciousness of the cooking liquids and spices.

Making Chili Cheese Mac Image

After the macaroni is cooked, add in cream cheese, milk, and a good dose of shredded cheddar cheese.

These bring wonderful creamy-cheesiness to the Chili Cheese Mac.

How to Make Chili Cheese Mac Image

After the cheeses are melted into the dish, sprinkle on some chopped fresh cilantro and a little more shredded cheddar, if you'd like.

Then you're ready to serve up the Chili Cheese Mac deliciousness.

Skillet of Chili Cheese Mac One-Pot Meal Image

So what are you waiting for?

Get out your one pot, mix up this easy cheesy goodness, and serve up bowls of creamy pasta comfort food for dinner.  Your family ... and your tummy ... will thank you.

Because this is easy, cheesy hamburger and macaroni comfort food your family will love.  And it all comes with the convenience of one-pot cooking.

Plate of Chili Cheese Macaroni Image
Thank you for stopping by The Kitchen is My Playground. We'd love to have you back soon!

chili cheese macaroni recipe, spicy macaroni and cheese, one pot dinner recipes
Main Dishes
Yield: about 8-10 servings

Chili Cheese Mac

Chile Cheese Mac is easy, cheesy hamburger and macaroni comfort food your family will love, all with the convenience of one-pot cooking.
prep time: 10 Mcook time: 20 Mtotal time: 30 M


  • 2 tsp. Canola oil
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 c. beef broth
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 (10 oz.) can original Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies, undrained
  • 2 c. (8 oz.) uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • 6 oz. (about 1 1/2 c.) finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • chopped cilantro {optional}


How to cook Chili Cheese Mac

  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground beef and onion; cook until beef is browned. Drain fat.
  2. Add garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, salt, beef broth, water, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. 
  3. Stir in macaroni. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until macaroni is done, about 12 to 14 minutes.
  4. Add cream cheese and milk; cook, stirring, over medium heat until cream cheese is melted. Remove from heat and stir in cheddar cheese until melted.
  5. Serve with chopped cilantro sprinkled over the top, if desired.
Created using The Recipes Generator


  1. Nothing like a delicious mac-n-cheese chili. Comfort food at its best. Catherine

  2. Yum, like a cheeseburger mac. I love mac and cheese in any shape or form. Thanks for sharing!

  3. We will love this at our house!!!! Miss you.

  4. I just love this combination, it looks so good! Hope you are having a great weekend and thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  5. This combo looks so good!!! Thank you so much for linking up at Tasty Tuesday! Your recipe has been pinned to the Tasty Tuesday Pinterest board! Please join us again this week!

  6. This is my kind of dinner! Thanks for linking up with What's Cookin' Wednesday!

  7. "Hamburger Helper" was very popular when I was a kid, but I've been making something similar to it since I got married, ....just off the top of my head. I always add some largely diced green bell peppers, & always use actual garlic, instead of powder. We like mushrooms, so I add plenty of Baby Bellas (sliced). I also usually use whole grain pasta, Neufrachel Cheese, & Evaporated Milk (instead of regular milk) because it makes everything creamier (since it has all of the natural water taken out of it). Your recipe sounds amazing, but please try mine and tell me what you think. Needless to say, I wasn't attempting to imitate "Hamburger Helper", but my family loves this.

  8. Double comfort food! Thanks for sharing at the What's for Dinner party!


I love your comments ~ I read and appreciate each and every one. When you choose to leave a comment, we collect and display your name, as provided by you. Clicking "publish" to submit your comment indicates your explicit consent for name collection. If you click the "notify me" checkbox {which is optional}, your e-mail is also collected. Clicking the "notify me" checkbox indicates your explicit consent for e-mail collection. Thank you so much for visiting The Kitchen is My Playground!

Blog Design: Powered by Blogger.