This Instant Pot chili Mac is oh so yum and hearty, combining the best of both worlds making this the ultimate comfort food!
How’s the weather treating y’all? I’m sure everyone is leaning towards soups, chilis, and anything that warms you up! As promised in my previous post, I’m going to start sharing all the delicious posts I have stocked up one by one. Let’s begin with this amazing IP chili mac and cheese.
Have you tried making chili mac in the Instant Pot? If your answer is no, you are seriously missing out on some deliciousness in life!
Chili Mac is one of those comfort foods that would please just about anyone, from kids to adults alike. Meat, pasta, beans, cheese, in a tomato-ey base, what’s not to like really? Besides, it is really quick, simple, and makes for such an inexpensive meal that will easily feed a crowd. You probably have all the ingredients in your pantry right now to pull this off!
The shortest way out to make chili mac is by using some leftover chili! But if you ask me to make this from scratch, I would just use my Instant Pot to put it all together. The meat, veggies, pasta, all cook together in this ultimate and satisfying comfort food!
I love that this IP chili mac is all made in just one pot, which means I have fewer pots and pans to clean. And that’s good on any given day. Honestly, doing dishes is one of my least favorite things.
One-pot food is my meal of choice since it scores high in the ease of cooking plus flavor department and something that I can put on the table for everyone to enjoy. We never ever have leftovers of this yummy one-pot chili mac and cheese.
Besides, I think the pressure cooking process infuses even more flavor in this dish as opposed to when its made on the stovetop. Definitely try this Instant pot version!
Table of Contents
Instant pot Chili Mac ingredients
Lean ground meat of choice, beef, chicken or turkey. I’ve used turkey today. You can even use sausage if that’s what you have at hand. I know all the flavor is in the fat, but using lean meat works best for this recipe as you don’t end up with an overly greasy dish. If you don’t have lean ground meat at hand, remember to drain off the excess fat.
Pasta of choice, I’ve gone the traditional route by using elbow macaroni. But I’ve also use penne and it’s just as good. Just remember to adjust the cooking time to half of that mentioned on the pasta box cooking directions.
Veggies like onion and red bell pepper. Feel free to add in more veggies of your choice.
Aromatics like minced garlic. A must!
For my chili mac seasoning, I love using spices like ground cumin, chili powder, Mexican oregano, chipotle chili powder, cayenne, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. The quality of chili powder you use is important here, I’ve tried a couple of brands, and the taste varies from one brand to another. My go-to chili powder is the Whole Foods 365 brand (not sponsored). It has a nice smoky, depth of flavor sans much heat.
You can also use chili seasoning or taco seasoning. Though, I find that the resultant dish has so much more flavor when I use my own spice mix. The same goes for making chili too!
Other ingredients like tomato paste, fire-roasted diced tomatoes, cooked black beans or kidney beans and some stock are all that you will need. You may skip the beans if you wish to.
And of course your favorite kind of cheese for an extra delicious cheesy chili mac :p
This pressure cooker chili mac comes together in just a few steps
- Cook the ground meat mixture with veggies, aromatics, spices, and tomato paste. This is pretty much the base of the dish, so I can’t stress enough on one thing, i.e season, season, season! Or the entire dish can fall flat and taste bland!
- Add the rest of the ingredients, and pressure cook.
- Do a quick release in short bursts.
- Optional step (for a cheesy version): Add your cheese, in batches, mix it in, add some cheese on top, cover the instant pot with the lid. We just want to cheese to melt on top from the residual heat and lo and behold it’s ready!
You can easily customize this homemade chili macaroni recipe
Meatless/Vegetarian: Skip the meat, add more veggies like corn, green beans, zucchini, etc
No beans: Skip the beans all-together. No biggie! There is no need to alter anything in the recipe.
Spicy: Add chopped Serrano’s, or jalapeno’s along with the veggies. or add more cayenne pepper. You may also add more chili powder as certain brands of chili powder tend to be quite spicy.
Can you freeze chili mac?
I do not like to freeze pasta dishes, as it kind of alters the texture on reheating. However, if you have leftovers, place individual serving portions in freezer-safe containers, leaving at least an inch space between the contents and the lid. Remember to label the containers. Freeze up to 3 months.
Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat in the microwave or transfer to a shallow, oven-safe dish, splash some milk to add some moisture, cover the dish with a foil, and reheat in the oven at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.
We love this recipe because
It is very flavorful!
It is hearty, comforting, and soul-satisfying!
A good standalone meal! You really don’t need a lot of sides, pile on the toppings instead!
It is quick to put together, making this an amazing weeknight dinner option for busy parents.
It is a rather inexpensive dish and a great option to feed a crowd for tailgate parties, potlucks, gameday gatherings, etc
More Instant Pot recipes that you may enjoy
- Carrot ginger soup
- Chicken noodle soup
- Southern red beans with sausage
- Chana masala
- Brown lentil curry
- Creamy steel-cut oatmeal
- Quinoa pilaf
- Strawberry jam
- Mongolian beef
- Instant pot chocolate cheesecake jars
- Corn and potato chowder with bacon
- Instant Pot Pumpkin cheesecake jars
- Instant pot cheesecake jars
- Minestrone soup
- Broccoli cheese soup
How to make easy Instant Pot chili mac and cheese – Step by step instructions
Step 1: Brown ground turkey
Press the ‘SAUTE’ button, set it to “NORMAL’ and wait until it displays ‘HOT’. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, once it heats up, add 1 lb of ground turkey or lean ground beef, cook until no longer pink.
Step 2: Saute onions, bell peppers, and garlic
Add1 cup finely chopped yellow onion and 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced,1 tablespoon minced garlic, and chopped jalapenos (1 jalapeno, if using), and continue to sauté for another 3-4 minutes.
Step 3: Add seasoning and tomato paste
Add the spice mix (1 teaspoon Mexican oregano, 1 tablespoon ground cumin, 2 tablespoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper) mix well, and cook until fragrant.
Add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and cook for another minute.
Step 4: Deglaze the pot and add rest of the ingredients
De-glaze the pot with 1/4 cup of stock if there are browned bits at the bottom of the pot, or else you may end up with a “BURN’ error. Add the rest of the low-sodium chicken stock (2.75 cups), and mix well. Press ‘CANCEL’ to turn off the ‘SAUTE’ mode.
Add1-(15.5) oz can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed, 8 oz dry elbow macaroni, and 1-(14.5) oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes. Do not stir, make sure to press the macaroni down in the liquid.
Step 5: Pressure cook
Close the lid of the Instant Pot with the valve on ‘SEALING’ position. Press the manual or pressure cook button and pressure cook on high for 4 minutes It will take some time for the pressure to build up (about 12 minutes), after which the timer will start.
Step 6: Quick release
After the cooking cycle is complete, do a quick release of the pressure, in short bursts. Once the silver pin drops, open the lid. It will go to the ‘KEEP WARM’ mode. You can leave it on the warm mode, or press ‘CANCEL’ to turn off the Instant Pot.
Step 7: Stir the contents
Stir the contents in the pot gently.
Step 8: Add cheese
Add 1.5 cups of shredded cheese (I used sharp cheddar & Monterey Jack), mix well.
Sprinkle the remaining 1.5 cups of cheese all over the top.
Close the lid and let it sit for 5 minutes so that the cheese melts.
Step 9: Serve
Open the lid and dish out! Top with any of your favorite fixin’s like chopped onions, green onions, sour cream, shredded cheese, diced avocado, sliced jalapenos, etc Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
1.You can skip the tomato paste, and add an 8 oz can of tomato sauce in step 4 along with the fire-roasted tomatoes.
★ If you try this easy Instant Pot Turkey Chili Mac recipe, I would love to hear from you! I’d appreciate it if you could rate and leave a review below in the comments. Your reviews help others know the recipe better too. Feel free to share your feedback and suggestions at [email protected] Thanks so much 🙂
Instant Pot Chili Mac | How To Make Chili Mac
- Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1
- 1 lb lean ground beef or turkey, I used turkey
- 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
- 1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, seeded and diced finely, optional, add as per desired heat
- 1-(14.5) oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- 1-(15.5) oz can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed, or 1.5 cups cooked beans
- 8 oz dry elbow macaroni, about 2 cups
- 3 cups shredded cheese of choice, I used sharp cheddar & Monterey Jack
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Chili mac seasoning
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons chili powder, adjust as per desired heat
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder, optional
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- Press the 'SAUTE' button, set it to "NORMAL' and wait until it displays 'HOT'. Add the oil, once it heats up, add the ground turkey, cook until no longer pink.
- Add chopped onions, red bell peppers, garlic, and chopped jalapenos (if using), and continue to sauté for another 3-4 minutes.
- Add the spice mix, mix well, and cook until fragrant.
- Add the tomato paste and cook for another minute.
- De-glaze the pot with 1/4 cup of stock if there are browned bits at the bottom of the pot, or else you may end up with a "BURN' error. Add the rest of the stock, and mix well. Press 'CANCEL' to turn off the 'SAUTE' mode.
- Add the beans, macaroni, and fire-roasted diced tomatoes. Do not stir, make sure to press the macaroni down in the liquid.
- Close the lid of the Instant Pot with the valve on sealing position. Press the manual or pressure cook button and pressure cook on high for 4 minutes It will take some time for the pressure to build up (about 12 minutes), after which the timer will start.
- After the cooking cycle is complete, do a quick release of the pressure, in short bursts. Once the silver pin drops, open the lid. It will go to the 'KEEP WARM' mode. You can leave it on the warm mode, or press 'CANCEL' to turn off the Instant Pot.
- Stir the contents in the pot gently.
- Add half of the cheese, mix well.
- Sprinkle the remaining cheese all over the top.
- Close the lid and let it sit for 5 minutes so that the cheese melts. Open the lid and dish out! Top with any of your favorite fixin's like chopped onions, green onions, sour cream, shredded cheese, diced avocado, sliced jalapenos, etc Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days.