I’ve got the warmest, coziest dinner recipe to share with you tonight – Skillet Chili Mac & Cheese.

With the 50s and lower set firmly in our sights for the next 5 months (or longer – SOB!) I thought now would be the perfect time to post a hearty supper recipe featuring ground beef, tomatoes, kidney beans, zesty spices, and elbow macaroni cooked together in one skillet. Quick, comforting, and, most important – easy to clean up!

Somewhere between spaghetti, macaroni & cheese, and chili, this dish is a total crowd pleaser.

Start the Skillet Chili Mac & Cheese by browning 1lb ground beef in a huge skillet – we’re talkin’ the biggest one you own – with 1/2 chopped onion, 2 minced garlic cloves, and a little salt & pepper. Cook until the beef is no longer pink, then drain and return everything to the skillet.

Next add 1-15oz can petite diced tomatoes that’s been slightly drained of its juices, and 6oz tomato paste, followed by 4 cups beef broth and 1 can kidney beans that has been drained & rinsed.

The tomato juices and broth will cook the pasta right in the skillet, instead of having to use a separate one to cook it in. Yet another reason why I absolutely adore these 1-skillet dishes!

Finally, add zee spices: 1 Tablespoon chili powder, 2 teaspoons cumin, 1 teaspoon each paprika and dried cilantro, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and dried oregano.

Bring the liquid to a boil, then stir in 2 cups large elbow macaroni.

Place a lid on top of the skillet then simmer for 5-7 minutes, or until the pasta is just barely al dente. It’s ok if it still has a little bite, as it will continue to cook a bit in the piping hot liquid.

Finally, stir in 2 cups shredded 2% milk reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, which is about 7oz, until smooth. I was hesitant to try this low-fat cheese, but it melted like a dream. I would have never known it wasn’t full-fat!

Let the skillet sit and thicken for 10 minutes, then scoop and serve with extra shredded cheese, if desired (I did,) crushed tortilla chips, or chopped green onions for a fresh bite.

Skillet Chili Mac & Cheese

5/5 (1 REVIEW)


Skillet Chili Mac & Cheese is cheesy, spicy, and comforting! It's the best of both worlds and it comes together in just one skillet!


Serves 6-8

  • 1lb lean ground beef
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt & pepper
  • 1-15oz can petite diced tomatoes, slightly drained
  • 1-6oz can tomato paste
  • 1–15oz can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
  • 4 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano flakes
  • 2 cups large elbow macaroni, dry
  • 2 cups shredded 2% milk reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
  • Toppings; shredded cheese, green onions, parsley, crushed tortilla chips, hot sauce


  1. Add ground beef, onion, and garlic to a very large skillet over medium-high heat. Season with salt & pepper then cook beef until no longer pink. Drain then return to the skillet.
  2. Add petite diced tomatoes, tomato paste, kidney beans, beef broth, and spices to the skillet. Bring to a boil then add macaroni noodles and place a lid on top. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until noodles are just barely al dente (do not overcook,) stirring once. Add cheese then stir until smooth. Let dish sit off the heat and thicken for 10 minutes before serving.


Adapted from Babble.com

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.

Skillet Chili Mac & Cheese is PURE comfort food! I loved topping my bowlful with extra shredded cheese and chopped green onions, but a few crushed tortilla chips would have been divine on here too.

FYI – this recipe feeds an ARMY, so halve it if you’re only feeding a small crowd. :)

Have a great night!