Scrumptious Instant Pot Chili Mac made with lean beef, bell pepper, tomatoes, cheese, and classic seasonings for rich, bold chili flavor. This no-fuss chili mac recipe is on the table in 30 minutes!
Who doesn’t love chili mac any day of the week?! This quick and easy dinner geniously disguised as comfort food is so delicious, we rarely have leftovers when we make it. Frugal cooks love the army-feeding mileage they get out of a few pantry staples and lean ground beef. Instant Pot Chili Mac is among many of my easy dinner recipes to help you crush weeknight meals.
Instant Pot Chili Mac Ingredients
- olive oil
- bell pepper (i used yellow)
- garlic cloves
- ground beef
- canned diced tomatoes
- tomato paste (or tomato sauce)
- chili powder
- Kosher salt
- water (or broth)
- uncooked macaroni noodles
- cheddar cheese (or other shredded cheese)
How to make chili mac in the Instant Pot
* Get the full recipe below
- Sauté onions, bell pepper, garlic, and beef in the Instant Pot on ‘saute’ setting (I use the 6 quart Duo).
- Add diced tomatoes (with the juice), tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, and salt. stir to combine. Then add water (or broth) and macaroni, pressing macaroni to submerge it.
- Pressure cook on high pressure for 2 minutes with a full 10-minute natural pressure release.
- Stir to combine ingredients. Fold in cheese, serve, and devour!
How to make chili mac on the stove
* Get the full recipe below
- Heat olive oil in a 3.5 quart soup pot on med-high heat.
- Add onions, bell pepper, and garlic to the pot. Sauté until tender, stirring as needed (about 5 minutes).
- Add beef and continue sautéing until no longer pink, stirring as needed.
- Add tomatoes, tomato paste, seasonings, water, and macaroni noodles to the pot. Increase heat to high and bring everything to a boil for a few minutes.
- Reduce heat to simmer all ingredients until pasta is cooked through (10-15 minutes).
- Stir in cheddar cheese and devour!
- chef’s knife
- cutting board
- can opener
- Instant Pot
- Chopstir meat chopping and stirring utensil (optional)
- stirring / serving utensil
- airtight storage container
Why we love this recipe
- creamy comfort food that's easy to make
- perfect 30 minute dinner recipe for busy weeknights
- family-friendly (even the kids love chili mac?!)
- no special cooking skills needed
- budget-friendly - made with pantry staples
More EASY DINNER RECIPES from Kitchen Girl
Chili Mac Recipe Questions
Can I add beans to this recipe? You sure can! You can use any beans you'd use with chili. Just drain the beans and add them at the same time you add the diced tomatoes.
Can I use substitute the macaroni with other pasta? Yes, you can use other pasta shapes in chili mac. For thicker pasta (penne, rotini, rigatoni, etc), follow the recipe as it is written. For thinner pasta (classic shells, spaghetti noodles), subtract 1 minute from the pressure cook time and follow the recipe accordingly.
Does chili mac have cheese? I've made this recipe with and without it. I love it either way, but if I leave out the cheese, I like to add a little half and half to make it creamy.
Can I substitute other kinds of cheese in this recipe? Yes, you can substitute your favorite shredded cheese for the cheddar in this recipe.
Can I make chili mac ahead? Absolutely! You can make it ahead and reheat the whole pot when it's army-feeding time. Or you can meal prep it into portions and reheat as needed. Either way, to reheat chili mac, you'll want to add a splash of water, broth, or milk, and heat via stove or microwave.
More quick and easy dinner recipes
- Instant Pot Mac N Cheese with Kielbasa
- Instant Pot Chicken Burrito Bowl
- Instant Pot Tuna Casserole
- Juicy Oven Baked Chicken Thighs
- Taco Pasta for Instant Pot or Stove
- Lasagna Soup for Instant Pot or Stove
Instant Pot Chili Mac (with stove instructions)
- 1 tsp Olive Oil
- 1/4 Onion diced
- 1 Bell Pepper diced (I used yellow)
- 3 Garlic Cloves minced
- 1/2 lb Ground Beef
- 15 oz can Diced Tomatoes keep the juice
- 3 oz Tomato Paste *see recipe note
- 2 Tbsp Chili Powder
- 1/2 tsp Cumin
- 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
- 2 1/2 cups Water or broth
- 8 oz Dried Macaroni Noodles
- 1 cup Cheddar Cheese *see recipe footnote
Chili Mac Instant Pot Instructions
- Select "Sauté" on the Instant Pot and add OLIVE OIL.
- When the display reads "Hot", add ONION, BELL PEPPER, and GARLIC. Sauté until tender, stirring as needed.
- Add BEEF and sauté until it's no longer pink, stirring as needed. Drain any excess fat.
- Add DICED TOMATOES (with juice) and loosen any brown bits from bottom of the pot. Stir in TOMATO PASTE, CHILI POWDER, CUMIN, and SALT.
- Add MACARONI, then WATER (or broth), pressing macaroni under the water to submerge.
- Secure lid, turn pressure valve to "Sealing" position. Press "Cancel" then select "Manual" or "Pressure Cook” for 2 minutes on HIGH pressure. *see recipe note
- When cook cycle is done, allow a FULL 10-minute (NPR) natural pressure release. Don’t rush the NPR so the pasta can finish cooking.
- After 10 min, carefully turn the pressure release valve to "Venting" position to release any steam.
- Remove the lid and stir the Chili Mac until ingredients are well-combined. Stir in CHEDDAR CHEESE. *see recipe note
One Pot Chili Mac Stove Instructions
- Heat OLIVE OIL in a 3.5 quart soup pot on med-high heat. Add ONIONS, BELL PEPPER, and GARLIC and sauté until tender, stirring as needed (about 5 minutes).
- Add BEEF and continue sautéing until it's no longer pink, stirring as needed.
- Stir in DICED TOMATOES (with juice), TOMATO PASTE, CHILI POWDER, CUMIN, SALT, WATER, and MACARONI.
- Increase heat to high and bring everything to a boil for a few minutes.
- Reduce heat to simmer all ingredients until pasta is cooked through (10-15 minutes). Keep an eye on the water level, adding more in small amounts as needed to prevent pasta from sticking to the pot or drying out.
- When pasta is fully cooked, you'll have a creamy, saucy consistency. Stir in cheddar cheese and devour!
For thicker pasta (macaroni, rotini, penne), follow recipe as it is written. For thinner pasta (shells or spaghetti noodles) pressure cook the pasta for 1 minute (instead of 2 minutes) followed by the 10 minute natural pressure release. Cheese: I created this recipe with minimal cheese (1 cup). You can add more cheese or leave it out completely if you're dairy-sensitive. I sometimes like to add a splash of half and half in place of the cheese. Enjoy!
Nutrition data provided as courtesy estimates using unbranded ingredients from a nutrition database. Please consult preferred resource for precise data.