Chili Mac in the Slow Cooker

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Chili Mac in the Slow Cooker is an easy comforting dish made right in your crockpot! Use simple ingredients from your pantry to create a hearty and comforting dish you’ll love!

overhead of chili mac in a slow cooker

Chili Mac in the Slow Cooker

I love a good one-pot meal that doesn’t require fancy ingredients! This slow cooker chili mac is just that, and it’s a long-time reader favorite!

Comfort food is the best kind of food in my opinion. You know, that stick-to-your-ribs sort of dish. Especially in times when everything is crazy and I’m super busy.

Lately, the last thing I want to do is have a sink full of dishes from trying to make a 15-step dinner. No, thanks! That’s why I love this chili mac recipe so much. Simply load up the crockpot, and let it do its thing.

A few other meals that use easy-to-find pantry staples are Mexican Casserole, Cheeseburger Pasta Skillet, or just check out this post for Recipes Using Pantry Staples.

Why You’ll Love This Chili Mac Recipe

  • Simple to make with pantry ingredients
  • Family-friendly and kid-approved
  • Wonderfully hearty and comforting
  • Cleanup is easy
  • Perfect for weeknight dinner
bowl of chili mac topped with cheese and sour cream

Key Ingredients to Make Crockpot Chili Mac

  • GROUND BEEF – I like using lean ground beef for this chili mac recipe, but use what you have at home. Just be sure to brown and drain off the grease before adding to the crockpot.
  • ONION AND GARLIC – A savory dish wouldn’t be the same without these yummy aromatics!
  • CHILI BEANS IN CHILI SAUCE – You can find this in the canned bean aisle. There are different brands and some use different beans. Use what you like. My favorite is Bush’s.
  • CRUSHED TOMATOES – To add flavor and color to the slow cooker chili mac sauce.
  • DICED TOMATOES – For even more flavor and texture.
  • BEEF BROTH – I like to use a low-sodium broth. You can also use stock.
  • CHILI POWDER AND CUMIN – Spicy, warm, and earthy, these seasonings are a must.
  • MACARONI – It wouldn’t be crockpot chili mac without macaroni! You can use another short pasta too if you prefer.

Instructions to Make Chili Mac

PREPARE THE GROUND BEEF: Brown the ground beef in a large frying pan before adding it to the slow cooker for maximum flavor.

LOAD UP THE CROCKPOT: Once the beef has been browned, transfer it along with the other ingredients (except for the noodles) to a 6-quart or larger slow cooker.

COOK: Allow your crockpot chili mac to cook on High for 4 hours, or Low for 8 hours. Stir in the uncooked pasta in the last 15 minutes of cooking.

SERVE: Plate your chili with noodles and garnish with a bit of extra cheese, sour cream, green onion, corn chips, or your favorite toppings!

bowl of chili mac topped with sour cream and cheddar

Variations for Chili with Noodles: Make it your own!

  • Change things up a bit by using ground turkey or Italian sausage instead. I love using a combo of ground beef and Italian sausage when I make chili. It adds so much flavor.
  • Add other veggies like bell peppers or even some corn.
  • Add all the toppings! We like shredded cheddar, corn chips, green onion, and sour cream.
  • Make it spicy by adding in some hot sauce or cayenne pepper.

What to serve with Slow Cooker Chili Mac

  • Simple side salad
  • All the toppings! Sour cream, shredded cheese, hot sauce, pico de gallo, corn chips, green onions.
top down view of Crockpot chili mac in a bowl.


Can you put raw ground beef in a slow cooker?

You can. That said, I definitely recommend browning it in a pan first, as this will bring out the natural flavors in the beef before you add it to the slow cooker. You’ll get the most flavorful results possible!

Is it possible to overcook chili in a slow cooker?

Yes, it is possible — make sure to follow the instructions on the recipe card below to determine how long to cook your chili with noodles. That said, if you decide to go for the low-and-slow cooking method, you can let it cook for up to 9 hours. This is the perfect dish to slow cook in a crockpot overnight!

How do you keep chili mac from getting watery in a slow cooker?

There are a few different solutions for watery chili mac. I suggest simmering it with the lid off to help any excess liquid evaporate. You could also introduce a bit of flour or cornstarch to the mix until you get the consistency you’re after.

Is it better to cook chili high or low?

Chef’s choice! Some folks swear by cooking on Low for 8-9 hours, while other recipes recommend cooking on High for up to 4 hours. You can choose whatever method works for you.

More Slow Cooker Recipies To Try

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Chili Mac in the Slow Cooker

Course: Main Dish, Slow Cooker
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chili mac
Chili Mac in the Slow Cooker is an easy comforting dish made right in your crockpot! Use simple ingredients from your pantry to create a hearty and comforting dish you'll love!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 220kcal
Author: Malinda Linnebur
Print Recipe Save Recipe


  • 1 pound (550g) very lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (30 oz) can chili beans in chili sauce or 2 (15-16 oz) cans chili beans in chili sauce
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • Desired toppings: cheddar,sour cream, green onions, corn chips….


  • Brown ground beef and drain grease. Add to a 6 qt slow cooker or larger and stir in remaining ingredients except for the pasta.
  • Cover and cook for 4 hours on HIGH or 8 hours on LOW. In the last 15 minutes of cooking stir in the uncooked pasta and cover. Stir and test to see if pasta is to your liking. However, even with the slow cooker off the pasta will continue to cook just from the heat of the chili and crock itself so unless your pasta is really chewy or crunchy I strongly suggest only cooking it for the last 15 minutes of cook time.
  • Serve immediately with desired toppings.


  1. If you wish not to brown the beef first place ground beef in the bottom of your slow cooker and break into smaller chunks.
  2. Nutrition facts: Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the information shown is just an estimate.


Calories: 220kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 168mg | Potassium: 411mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 297IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 2mg

187 thoughts on “Chili Mac in the Slow Cooker”

  1. How do you stop the noodles from going mushy. I added them at the very end, and they’re nothing but mush. Other than that, it’s very good!

    • I am sorry they went mushy. The longer they cook or sit they will get mushy, sort of like anytime you add pasta to a soup. Try testing the noodles after 5 minutes of cooking, then 10 minutes until you get the right texture you are looking for. Unfortunately different slow cookers cook at different rates so it is really hard to give an exact solution. Hope that helps!

  2. 5 stars
    Recipe was so yummy thank you. For those using elbow mac I would actually recommend doubling at least. I added 24 oz of elbow mac and was great.

  3. 5 stars
    Love this recipe. The only thing I did differently is cook my pasta and added it to the crock pot when the chili sauce cooled down. I usually don’t care for chili Mac because it tends to be dry. This was perfect! Definitely will be making this again.

  4. 5 stars
    I must cook on a tight budget, making a little food go a long way, and I found that if you double the corkscrew noodles (pasta) it will increase the amount of food without diminishing the flavor – Think goulash with a chili flavor
    It was delicious, thank you Malinda

  5. Made this for a work Crocktober event. It was such a hit!! I had requests for the recipe. I am adding this recipe to my collection. Its delicious, & so easy.
    Highly recommend making.

  6. 2 stars
    Not a hit in our house. Something about it just wasn’t what we liked.. were expecting? I don’t know for sure but won’t be making this one again.

    Super easy to make though!

    • I can’t say for sure but I am afraid there wouldn’t be enough liquid to completely cook the pasta. I haven’t tried it though.

  7. Hi there…so want to make this recipe. However, I’m confused about the cans of chili beans in chili sauce. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that. We’ve always used canned red kidney beans…but not in sauce.

    • Hi Lynda! You can find the chili beans in chili sauce in the canned bean section. Bush’s makes a chili bean and depending on where you live there may be another brand as well. Hope that helps!

  8. 5 stars
    My entire family loves this recipe, my boys always ask for seconds even my picky eater. And it makes alot all in one pan and leftovers are just as delicious. I add a can of diced Italian tomatos and some Worcestershire sauce to the ground beef before I add milk. I’ll even sometimes throw in a can of beans. We serve with a salad or green of some kind and dinner rolls. Thank you for posting.


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