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Chili Mac

Traditional ground beef chili, packed with flavor and served chili mac style over macaroni pasta ~ pass the grated cheese, sour cream and hot sauce, please!

Chili mac on spoon above bowl.

It's chili time!  This is the chili I've been making for several years now, and the reason being that all members of my family like it. It's not too spicy, it has no weird ingredients, it's not white chili, no, this is a very traditional beef and bean chili.  Chili is definitely the kind of thing kids can be very picky about.  Since I am not a short order cook, I try and put something on the table that appeals to everyone.

Pot of classic beef and bean chili.

If I had my way, chili would be very spicy and made with pieces of beef chuck.  But that doesn't go over very big around here.  It's like I have to find the least common denominator of spiciness.  This chili definitely has a lot of flavor but practically no heat.  A couple of us just add some sriracha to our bowl to spice it up.  That's what's great about chili.  Everyone can doctor it up the way they want it.

Close up of chili in serving bowl with toppings.

My mom made chili when I was growing up.  This is not her recipe, I don't think she had one.  She just would make a pot with ground beef, onion, tomatoes, chili powder and beans.  She always made macaroni and served the chili over it.  She called it chili mac.  I loved it.  My kids like chili with macaroni, too.  Picky Eater tends to fill her bowl with macaroni, a very little spoonful of chili, a bit of cheese and then a huge amount of sour cream.  That's her very strange version of chili mac.

Spoonful of chili above pot.

If you are looking for a crowd pleasing chili, this is your recipe.  And it's way better the next day.  It seems like a lot of chili powder but it's not.  The chili powder I buy is consistently pretty mild, lots of flavor with little heat.  Feel free to adjust to your taste.

Put a pot of this chili on the stove, cook up some elbow macaroni, get out the toppings, and watch the bowls fill up and disappear.  Oh, and Picky Eater just won the chili cook off at work with this recipe, so I guess it's now award-winning!  Best, Kelly🍴🐦

Bowl of chili over macaroni with toppings.

You might also like my white chicken chili or turkey chili.  Three great chili recipes for the cold winter months.

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Bowl of chili over macaroni with toppings.

Chili Mac

Traditional ground beef chili, packed with flavor and served over macaroni pasta. Serve with grated cheese, sour cream and hot sauce.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 331kcal


  • 2 pounds ground chuck
  • 4 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 1½ cups)
  • cup finely chopped green bell pepper
  • ½ cup chili powder, that's right! or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can (16-oz) sliced stewed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (16-oz) diced chili tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (32-oz) crushed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (16-oz) dark red kidney beans, undrained
  • 1 can (16-oz) red beans, undrained
  • cooked elbow macaroni for serving
  • Optional toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, diced onion, cilantro, hot sauce or Sriracha


  • In a large pot, cook ground chuck, garlic, onion, green pepper and chili powder over medium high heat.  Stir frequently to break up meat and cook until beef has lost it's pink color.
  • Add all of the remaining ingredients (not the macaroni!) and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour, stirring frequently.  Break up the stewed tomatoes with a wooden spoon as the chili simmers.
  • Let the tomatoes simmer and release their juices, then, if chili seems too thick, add ½ to 1 cup water.  For best results, make a day in advance.
  • Serve over cooked macaroni and with toppings on the side.  (Shredded cheddar, sour cream, hot sauce, chopped onion, oyster crackers, tortilla chips and anything else you like in your chili.)

Recipe Notes

Makes about 3 quarts of chili.
Nutrition information does not include pasta or toppings. Use your favorite pasta shape or even gluten-free options.


Calories: 331kcal Carbohydrates: 27g Protein: 20g Fat: 17g Saturated Fat: 6g Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g Monounsaturated Fat: 7g Trans Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 54mg Sodium: 788mg Potassium: 1005mg Fiber: 10g Sugar: 8g Vitamin A: 3230IU Vitamin C: 22mg Calcium: 128mg Iron: 6mg
Did you make this recipe? Please comment, rate it and share! And mention me on Instagram @thehungrybluebird or tag #thehungrybluebird so I can see!

*Adapted from a newspaper clipping in my messy recipe drawer.


Recipe Rating


Monday 2nd of November 2015

One of my favorite foods!


Friday 30th of October 2015

When I was in 2nd Grade, the Nun said "It's chili outside, so put on your coats."

And I went outside looking for pots of chili...

fo' real.