One Pot Chili Con Queso Mac and Cheese
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Chili con queso mac and cheese that requires just one pot and 30 minutes to make. This pasta is loaded with lots of flavor and the macaroni cooks right in the same pot as the rest of the ingredients. This is going to be your families new favorite meal!
Will you look at that. Chili con queso mac and cheese all up in your personal space. You don’t mind, do you? Because if you do, I can just eat this big ol’ pot all by myself. Don’t think for a second that I won’t. It’s a 30 minute pasta that requires just one pot and is loaded with tons of southwestern flavor. Think hamburger helper, made from scratch, mixed with macaroni and cheese, and cooked in a chili con queso sauce. Comfort food with flavor, is there anything better?
TGIF. This had to be the longest week ever. The sun has finally decided to peak out from behind the clouds. I had completely forgotten what it was like to feel the sun shining down on you. t’s going to be sunny here all weekend, i’m so looking forward to it.
Have you got big plans? The hubby and I are excited to be doing a room escape game with some friends this weekend. Have you heard of it? This is our second time going. We went once before in Toronto and it’s super fun. What typically happens is you get locked in the room with a group of people and you use elements from the room to solve a set of puzzles, look for clues in places, and basically try and escape the room in an hour. If you know me, you know that mysteries, puzzles, and clues of all kinds are my guilty pleasure. Sure, I may be an amateur detective but I always know who ate the last piece of the pie. 😉
Chili con queso is the melty, cheesy dip with fire roasted tomatoes, spices, and hatch chilies that they serve you with a bucket full of chips at Mexican restaurants. Is there anyone on the planet that couldn’t make a meal out of that stuff?
This one pot pasta recipe is simple it’s 3 classics combined to make one phenomenal 30 minute dinner:
1.) chili con queso
2.) seasoned ground beef <– think hamburger helper
3.) macaroni and cheese
This recipe for chili con queso mac and cheese is actually one that i’ve adapted slightly from Rachael Ray. I’ve made her version tons of times and she likes to call it a ‘pasta bake’ because she cooks all the components separately and lets the cheese get all nice and bubbly in the oven. I like my easy one pot routine which lets me do all the cooking right on the stove and takes me just 30 minutes from start to finish and tastes just the same.
It’s macaroni and cheese mixed with flavorful ground beef and a spicy chili cheese sauce. <– It’s definitely ‘man food’. The hubby devoured it. There’s was no need for words. It was plain and clear that sometimes I deprive the man of the simpler food in life.
To make this chili con queso mac and cheese, get the onions, garlic, and the ground beef going in a large pot with just 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Let the ground beef cook up. It takes about 5 minutes to brown the meat. Drain any excess grease from the pan, you’re not gonna need it.
Next we’re going to season up our ground beef mixture with all of our favorite southwestern seasonings. We’ve got smoky cumin, some coriander, a little chili powder, and my personal touch – a little sriracha. In go the fire roasted tomatoes and a 4 oz. can of hatch chilies. Also, you wanna season the mixture with a little salt and pepper.
Now add the pasta and bring to a full boil, lower the heat to medium low and cover. Allow the pasta to cook to al dente. It should be between 13-15 minutes. Mine took exactly 15 minutes. Add in 1 cup of cheese, the parsley and the cilantro. Give it a good stir to mix everything up. Then top the pasta with the remaining 2 cups of cheese, turn off the stove, and cover the pot with the lid. The heat with melt the cheese and get it all nice and stringy. <— the stuff my dreams are made of!
I like to serve my chili con queso mac and cheese with just some chopped scallions and another handful of chopped cilantro.
Make 30 minutes count this weekend and try out this recipe. I wanna see your beautiful chili con queso mac and cheese pictures when you make it. Take a picture and either tweet it to me or hashtag it on Instagram with #littlespicejar. I can’t describe the amount of joy I get from looking at the food you’ve made.
Say CHEESE. Have a great weekend kids!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 4-5 cloves garlic, minced (use less if you're not a fan)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1-2 tablespoons sriracha (optional)
- 1 (14.5 oz) can fire roasted tomatoes
- 1 (4 oz) can diced hatch chilies
- 2 cups milk
- 1 3/4 cup chicken broth
- salt and pepper to taste
- 12 ounces elbow macaroni
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
- 3 cups cheddar or colby jack cheese
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the onions, garlic, and ground beef and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes. Make sure to rumble the beef as it cooks, drain any excess grease.
- Add in the cumin, coriander, chili powder, sriracha if using, fire roasted tomatoes, hatch chilies, milk, chicken broth, and salt and pepper to taste, stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and stir in the pasta. Bring to a boil; cover with lid, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the pasta is cooked through, about 13-15 minutes. Mine took exactly 15 minutes. Add in the cilantro, parsley, and 1 cup of cheese, stir to combine. Remove from heat, add the cheese to on top, cover with lid and let sit for 3-5 minutes until cheese melts. Serve warm garnished with scallions and additional cilantro, if desired.
- Recipe inspired and slightly adapted from Rachael Ray.
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