Slow Cooker Chili Mac is an easy comforting dish made right in your crock pot!!
**Newly updated and revised recipe December 20, 2016** New text towards bottom of post in italics.
Do you guys call it a slow cooker or a crock pot?? Growing up I always heard it called a crock pot and it wasn’t until I started blogging that I learned that is actually a brand name and they are really called a slow cooker. Who knew, right?!?!
But no matter what they are called they are lifesavers and sometimes the only way I am able to get my family fed is by enlisting their help. This slow cooker chili mac is one of those meals I use quite often these days and I plan on using it once school starts too!
I know some of you have gone back to school already but my kiddos don’t go back until after Labor Day and I am ready! I feel like I am busier now than when they’re in school!! But I know as soon as school starts I will probably eat my words……. maybe!
However, regardless of your current status, this meal is pure comfort food and you need this in your life.
If you decide to cook the noodles in the crock pot with everything I suggest only cooking it on low for 2 to 2 1/2 hours max, otherwise you risk having super soggy noodles. If you are needing this to cook all day leave out the noodles and just cook them when you get home on the stove top then just stir them in. Either way makes for a great meal. Be sure to serve with all of your favorite fixings like sour cream, tons of shredded cheddar, corn chips, green onions……. hope you enjoy!
**Newly updated recipe December 20, 2016**
I finally got a new crockpot and got to work fixing this slow cooker chili mac. My old crock pot was going on 15 years old and I have learned from other readers that the new crockpots cook faster. And now that I have a new one I can definitely say that they cook much, much faster!! I think this may be because the crock itself isn’t as thick and heavy as the older ones. Just a guess though.
One thing I did change after a reader asked if she could put the ground beef in raw, and I thought why not. I do it with chicken all the time so why not beef. I tested it out and it worked out just fine! So, that’s one less step, YAY!! However, if the thought of putting raw beef in your crockpot bothers you feel free to brown it before.
Now, to address the real problem so many of you were having. The pasta. Since the older crockpots cook much slower adding it in for the full cook time wasn’t an issue but these newer ones caused a huge problem and basically made the pasta turn to mush. After several test runs I have found that putting the pasta in during the last 15 minutes of cooking, cooked the pasta perfectly.
When cooking on low after 15 minutes it was slightly chewy but the pasta also continues to cook after the crockpot has been turned off. Just the heat from the chili and crock will continue to cook the pasta so I am strongly suggesting to only cook the pasta for 15 minutes. I hope this will fix any issues you may have had in the past and I hope you enjoy!!
- 1 pound 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
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- salt and pepper to taste
- 8 oz elbow macaroni uncooked
- Desired toppings: cheddar sour cream, green onions, corn chips....
Place ground beef in the bottom of your slow cooker and break into smaller chunks. Stir in remaining ingredients except for the pasta.
Cover and cook for 4-6 hours on high or 8-10 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.
If you wish not to put the ground beef in raw, just brown before placing in your slow cooker at the beginning of cook time.