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Crock Pot Chili Mac Recipe – An Easy Dump & Go Slow Cooker Recipe

If you are looking for an easy dinner recipe that is full of flavor and can feed a family, then you will love this Crock Pot Chili Mac Recipe. It is best described as a thick and hearty chili tossed together with cooked elbow noodles and served like a casserole.

No, this is not the same thing as Cincinnati Chili where chili is piled on top of a bed of cooked spaghetti noodles and topped with your choice of onions, cheese and beans. Instead this is recipe is a complete meal that can be made entirely in a slow cooker.

In fact, if you purchase a lean type of ground meat, it becomes a ‘dump and go’ recipe. All this means is that you add all of the ingredients into the crock pot without the need to brown the meat or saute the vegetables.

crock pot chili mac with shredded cheese and sour cream on top
A bowl of Crock Pot Chili Mac topped with shredded cheese and sour cream.

Instead, everything is placed in the slow cooker without the need to dirty any other pots or pans. However, you will need to cut a couple of vegetables before adding them to the recipe.

Although, if you really wanted a total hands off way to make this recipe then you could purchase diced onions and minced garlic at the grocery. You can find both in the produce section at the store.

However I find it more economical to dice the onion myself. As for the garlic, you can use fresh garlic or jarred minced garlic, the choice is up to you.

Why You Will Love This Recipe

1. One Pot Meal

I have already mentioned that one of the reasons that you will love this Chili Mac recipe is that it can be made entirely in the crock pot. Before you leave in the morning, place all the ingredients in the slow cooker, cover it and walk away.

Then when you get home add the dry pasta and 30 minutes later dinner will be on the table! After dinner, when it comes time to clean up, there is one pot to wash.

And if you wanted to make clean up a breeze, you can always use a slow cooker bag. Simply throw the bag away and wash out the slow cooker in under 30 seconds!

2. A Complete Meal All In One

Because there are carbohydrates, fats, protein & fiber in every bite this recipe is sure to keep you feeling full for hours. However, if you truly want to have a balanced meal be sure to serve it with a side salad so that you can get an adequate amount of vegetables in your diet.

Although, to be honest, I prefer to eat my vegetables at lunch so that I can enjoy this true comfort food meal with very little work at the end of a busy day.

ground beef and chili seasonings in crock pot
If you are using a lean ground meat you don’t even need to brown the meat first. However if using anything less than 93% lean it is best to brown and drain the meat first.

3. It Is A Versatile Recipe

Another reason that you are going to love this Crock Pot Chili Mac recipe is that you can switch up the ingredients with what you prefer or have on hand.

For instance, make it a little healthier by using a leaner cut of ground meat. Ground turkey and ground chicken can both be used to lower the fat content.

Or for those who are vegetarian or vegan, use plant based crumbles instead of a meat product. The flavor of the plant based crumbles will take on the rich and delicious flavors of the other ingredients.

And for those who like a little spice in their chili, add in hot chili beans instead of mild chili beans and increase the level of cayenne pepper. The added heat will awaken those taste buds and your overall senses.

However, another way you can adapt this recipe to make it your own is to add other ingredients. Drained or frozen sweet corn, pinto beans, and diced green peppers are common additions.

Although don’t limit yourself. Add in a little cinnamon, coffee powder, liquid smoke or beer instead of water to heighten the flavor of this dish.

chili beans and black beans
Use whatever type of beans that you prefer. Here I have Hot chili beans and black beans.

4. Leftovers Taste Even Better

Just like when you make Traditional Chili, Potato Soup, and Meatloaf, the leftovers always taste better the next day. This is because the flavors have had ample time to meld and create a concentrated depth of flavor that you just can’t get when it is initially made.

If you are lucky enough to have leftovers, be sure to not let them go to waste. This dish tastes great for up to 4 days after it is made.

However, because the pasta will continue to absorb some of the liquid, I would suggest adding a teaspoon or two of liquid when you go to reheat it. Water, chicken stock, beef stock, or beer are all great choices to reconstitute the leftovers.

Crock Pot Chili Mac Recipe

*Specific measurements and complete recipe instructions are located in a printable recipe card at the bottom of this article. However, be sure to continue to read the tips and tricks to making this recipe below.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
  • 14.5 ounces diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 3 cups beef broth, low-sodium
  • 14 ounce can chili beans, undrained
  • 14.5 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni pasta (8 ounce box)

INSTRUCTIONS

The first step in making chili mac is to determine if the ground meat can go directly in the crock pot or does it need to be cooked and drained prior. And this all depends on the type of meat that you are using.

If you use a lean ground sirloin, lean ground turkey, or lean ground chicken that is a ratio of 93% lean to 7% fat, you can place the raw meat directly in the slow cooker.

However, anything with a higher fat content will need to be cooked and drained first. If this is the case start by placing a large skillet over medium-high heat.

chili in crock pot
Once the initial cook time is up, stir the ingredients. It will smell and taste like traditional red chili.

Once the skillet is hot add the ground beef. Then when it is half way cooked, add the diced onion and continue to saute until the meat is no longer pink.

Next, add the minced garlic and saute for 1 minute or just until fragrant. You do not want the garlic to burn as it will turn bitter.

Carefully transfer the mixture into a colander that is place in a sink and drain. Then place the meat mixture in the crock pot.

Add the chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper (if using) to the crock pot and stir. Then pour the entire can of diced tomatoes with green chiles and beef broth to the mixture.

Next, add the undrained chili beans, drained and rinsed black beans, and tomato paste and stir well. Add the bay leaf in the liquid.

Cook Time Required

Cover the crock pot chili mac and cook on High for 3-4 hours or on Low for 6-8 hours. 30 minutes before serving add the dry pasta and cook on high until the pasta is cooked through.

Serve warm and garnish with your favorite chili toppings such as shredded cheese, diced onions, diced jalapeno peppers, sour cream, avocado, cilantro.

uncooked pasta
Add the uncooked pasta to the chili and cook on high for 30 minutes or until the noodles are tender.

Adjustments To The Recipe If Using Cooked Pasta Instead Of Dry Pasta

If you prefer to add cooked pasta to the crock pot chili mac instead of dry pasta, you will need to made some adjustments to the recipe. Because the pasta is already cooked, you will need to decrease the amount of beef broth.

Therefore, add only 2 cups of beef broth if you are using cooked pasta instead of the full 3 cups required in this recipe when using uncooked pasta.

Another adjustment that you will need to make is to add the al’ dente pasta to the crock pot 5-10 minutes before serving. This will allow the pasta to get coated in the chili sauce but not become too mushy.

Enjoy! Mary

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Crock Pot Chili Mac

crock pot chili mac

All the flavors of a classic bowl of chili mixed together with pasta for the ultimate comfort food recipe. A great meal to share with family and friends.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
  • 14.5 ounces diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 3 cups beef broth, low-sodium
  • 14 ounce can chili beans, undrained
  • 14.5 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni pasta (8 ounce box)

Optional Toppings

  • diced onions
  • dice jalapeno pepper
  • sour cream
  • shredded cheese
  • avocado
  • cilantro

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet placed over medium-high heat add the ground beef. Once it is half way cooked, add the diced onion and continue to saute until the meat is no longer pink. Add the minced garlic and saute for 1 minute. Drain and place the meat mixture in the crock pot.
  2. Add the chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper (if using) to the crock pot and stir.
  3. Pour the entire can of diced tomatoes with green chiles and beef broth to the mixture. Add the undrained chili beans, drained and rinsed black beans, and tomato paste and stir well. Add the bay leaf in the liquid.
  4. Cover and cook on High for 3-4 hours or on Low for 6-8 hours.
  5. Add the dry elbow noodles 30 minutes before serving and cook on high until the pasta is cooked through.
  6. Serve warm and garnish with your favorite chili toppings: shredded cheese, diced onions, diced jalapeno peppers, sour cream, avocado, cilantro.

Notes

If you are using lean ground beef, turkey or chicken (93%/7%) you can add the uncooked meat into the crock pot.

You can add cooked pasta to the mixture right before serving. However, if you are planning on doing this, decrease the amount of beef broth and add only 2 cups and not the full 3 cups required in this recipe using uncooked pasta.

Recipe provided by Make Your Meals

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 387Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 1124mgCarbohydrates: 43gFiber: 9gSugar: 6gProtein: 28g

Nutritional Information is to be used as a general guideline only . Nutritional calculations will vary from the types and brands of the products used.

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