Slow Cooker Chili Mac

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Slow Cooker Chili Mac is an easy comforting dish made right in your crockpot!! Uses simple ingredients right from your pantry!

Chili Mac in a 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!

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.

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.

Lately, things have been sort of crazy and the last thing I want to do is have a sink full of dishes from trying to make a 15 step dinner. No thanks!

Bowl of chili mac topped with cheese and sour cream.


  • Ground Beef: I like to use lean ground beef for this recipe but use what you have on hand. Just be sure to brown and drain off the grease before adding to the crockpot.
  • Onion and Garlic
  • Chili Beans in Chili Sauce: you can find this in the canned bean isle. There are different brands and some use different beans. Use what you like. My favorite are Bush’s.
  • Crushed tomatoes
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Beef broth: I like to use a low sodium broth. You can also use stock.
  • Chili powder and cumin
  • Macaroni: you can use another short pasta.
Bowl of chili mac topped with sour cream and cheddar.

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.

Top down view of chili mac in a bowl.

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.

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4.45 from 18 votes
Slow Cooker Chili Mac
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
8 hrs
Total Time
8 hrs 10 mins

Slow Cooker Chili Mac is an easy comforting dish made right in your crockpot!! Uses simple ingredients right from your pantry!

Course: Main Dish, Slow Cooker
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chili mac
Servings: 8
Calories: 220 kcal
Author: Malinda Linnebur
  • 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….
  1. Brown ground beef and drain grease. Add to a 6 qt slow cooker or larger and stir in remaining ingredients except for the pasta.

  2. 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.

  3. Serve immediately with desired toppings.
Recipe Notes
  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.
Nutrition Facts
Slow Cooker Chili Mac
Amount Per Serving
Calories 220 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Fat 6g9%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 37mg12%
Sodium 168mg7%
Potassium 411mg12%
Carbohydrates 24g8%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 16g32%
Vitamin A 297IU6%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 22mg2%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the information shown is just an estimate.

187 thoughts on “Slow Cooker Chili Mac”

  1. I’d love to try this recipe but may I ask what are chili beans? I live in Europe and I’m afraid I probably won’t be able to find them here. Can I substitute with anything?

    • Great question. They are canned beans (usually pinto or kidney) in a sauce flavored with chili powder and other seasonings similar to what you would use in an American chili. I’m not sure what you have available over there but you could try regular canned beans and add a small can of tomato sauce and I would probably double the seasonings. Let me know if that helps and let me know how you adapted the recipe.

  2. 5 stars
    Just made this for my family tonight and it was a big hit!! Followed the recipe but instead of regular elbow, I used the large elbow.

  3. I am hosting approx 25 people. What would you suggest to accommodate this amount of people? Triple the recipe? How many lbs of ground beef, etc?

    • Hi Meg, Great question and so sorry I didn’t get back with you sooner!! I would triple the recipe and that should be plenty especially if you are planning to serve other foods along with this. So, if you tripled the recipe you will need 3 lbs of ground beef, 3 small onions, 12 cloves garlic, 3 (30oz) cans or 6 (15oz) cans chili beans in chili sauce, 3 (28oz) cans crushed tomatoes, 3 (15oz) cans diced tomatoes, 6 cups beef broth, 3 tablespoons chili powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin, 24 oz elbow macaroni. However, this will not all fit in 1 crockpot at the same time. Without tripling the recipe this dish fills a 6qt crockpot. Some solutions: borrow additional crockpots or make this on the stove top. Just brown the meat with the onion until no longer pink. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add remaining ingredients EXCEPT for pasta. Simmer covered on low for 1-2 hours stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Add in pasta and cook until tender. Do not be alarmed at how soupy this is before you add the pasta. It needs that liquid to cook the pasta. Please let me know if you have any more questions!! 🙂

      • It seems to me if you add raw burger to the crockpot you’re going to end up with a much greasier version of your chili beans. This will affect the calorie count. Chefs should take that into consideration. Thank you for the recipe! I will be making this but I will be browning the hamburger first.

  4. 5 stars
    I came across this recipe on Pinterest the other day. Looks absolutely delicious. I can’t wait to make this for supper tomorrow night

  5. 5 stars
    I am a recent widower and find myself looking for recipes like this so I can freeze single portions for later use. It is really difficult to buy groceries for one. I hate fast food, TV dinners, and the like because my wife was an excellent cook. This is so far my favorite and I am making a second batch today. Thank you so much.
    PS. I like all the tomato in the recipe, but if I didn’t I would leave some out.

    • 4 stars
      Dennis – Condolences on your loss. Having lived alone for the last 45 years I can sympathize with your problem of cooking for one. Most crockpot meals are freezeable, be careful with anything with dairy in it (leave the dairy, i.e. sour cream or milk out and add when reheating). Also you can google “cooking for one” – the internet is a wonderful thing.

    • I am so sorry for your loss!! Your comment really touched me today and I can’t thank you enough for leaving it!! I lost my mom 3 years ago and now my dad is on the same journey of learning to cook for one. I am so glad you liked this meal!! Take care and thank you!! 🙂

  6. 1 star
    Took one bite and threw out the entire pot. Tasted like tomato soup. Did exactly as the recipe said & both my boyfriend and I absolutely could not stomach it.

  7. 5 stars
    Tried this recipe on the weekend and it was a HIT!!! Stayed true to the recipe and added on top of the garlic cloves … 2 tsp of garlic salt as my family love garlic
    I found that I left the uncooked macaroni for 30 mins opposed to 15 mins … it was perfection … will definitely be making this again … so easy to make on a busy schedule. Uncooked hamburger meat adds moisture and flavour to the meal …thanks for sharing!!!!

  8. Loved this recipe! It was flavorful enough for my husband, but not too spicy for my two year old…or my prego belly!

    It was still soupy after cooking the noddles for 20 minutes (on low), but thickened after we turned it off and ate our first bowls.

    • I am so glad you liked this! I have definitely learned from this recipe that different crockpots can cook very differently. Thanks for your comment! 🙂

  9. 5 stars
    Made this for dinner tonight and it was AMAZING! We had my mother in law and niece and nephew over and she asked for the recipe. My 9 year old asked to take the leftovers to school, which is a big deal around here. Great recipe, thanks!

    • It doesn’t have too. It just helps develop some flavor and it’s for convenience to be able to set it and forget it. Thanks for asking!

    • I have not tried freezing this meal so I can’t say for sure how it would turn out. However, I have frozen similar pasta dishes and they have turned out just fine.

  10. if I cook the noodles ahead of time, would I add less broth? I usually cook on Sunday and eat it later. I’m worried pasta will be mushy.

    • Yes add less broth. Start with 1/2 cup of broth and go from there. If you would like it a little soupier add more broth as needed. That is a good idea to keep the pasta out if you will be eating it later because it will become mushy. Thanks for asking and I hope you enjoy! 🙂


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