Instant Pot Chili Mac and Cheese

Top view of Chili Mac and Cheese in a White Bowl

This Instant Pot Chili Mac and Cheese is a family favorite dinner of lean ground beef, macaroni, chili beans, tomatoes, and spices. And, of course, melting cheddar cheese. An easy dinner to table meal in around 15 minutes, give or take a few.  

It’s a busy cook’s best friend that combines timeless Mac and Cheese with Chili. All cooked for a fraction of time in the Instant Pot.

You can’t go wrong with this easy pasta dish. Perfect for weeknight meals… or when you need a dinner that almost cooks itself. 

Side view of Chili Mac and Cheese with Spinach

What I Love About this Instant Pot Chili Mac:

Filling: with the two guys (husband and son) I cook for daily, I need hearty and filling. This is both and adds needed fiber and veggies too. 

Flavor: macaroni, cheese, ground beef, chili beans — cumin, chili powder, garlic… they blend so beautifully and deliciously together!

Easy: A one-pot meal that almost cooks itself. Easy cleanup, fast prep!

Top view of a bowl of Instant Pot Chili Mac

Instant Pot Pasta:

While I do still make pasta the traditional way, i.e., stovetop, honestly, cooking pasta in the Instant Pot is revolutionary. It’s so quick and easy, without waiting for the water to boil, cooking, and draining.

Simple and easy are perfect for weeknights or busy weekends!

I like to cook Instant Pot Pasta for 2 to 4 minutes. Often I land on 3 minutes for most pastas. I don’t like it mushy… but I also like it soft. Adjust the time to your preference.

Instant Pot with Shredded Cheese and Raw Spinach

Instant Pot Chili Mac Ingredient Swaps:

  • To lighten up the Chili Mac, swap the lean ground beef for ground turkey or even chicken. 
  • Swap in the vegetables your family loves. My aim was to make this recipe simple, quick and easy. But bell pepper, corn, carrots, spicy peppers, and fresh tomatoes make it extra delicious.
  • Change up the beans. Swap in your favorite chili bean: kidney, black or pinto beans are all great choices.

Closeup view of Chili Mac

side view of Instant Pot Chili Mac and Cheese in White Bowl

Instant Pot Chili Mac and Cheese

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 18 minutes

This Instant Pot Chili Mac and Cheese is an easy pasta dish and family favorite dinner. A blend of lean ground beef, macaroni, chili beans, tomatoes, and spices. And, of course, melting cheddar cheese. An easy dinner to table meal in around 15 minutes, give or take a few.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups low sodium beef or chicken broth
  • 14.5 oz can red kidney beans or black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 12 oz dry macaroni (1 box)
  • 3-4 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup low-fat milk
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Turn the Instant Pot to the saute function. Once hot, cook the lean ground beef and onion until the beef is browned without traces of pink. Drain any cooking juices. Then add the chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, and salt. Cook and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the broth and scrape the bottom to remove any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Turn off the Instant Pot.
  2. Add the drained beans to the mixture. and stir. Top with macaroni, but do not stir in. Press the pasta down so that it is submerged in the liquid. Attach the Instant Pot lid and turn the valve to sealing.
  3. Select the manual or Pressure Cook setting and cook for 3 minutes. Once cooked, naturally release the pressure for 4 minutes before quickly releasing any remaining pressure.
  4. Remove the lid and switch to the saute function. Add the spinach and stir the macaroni to blend. Then stir in the milk and shredded cheese. Continue stirring until the cheese is melted and the spinach is wilted and cooked through. Serve with desired toppings.

Notes

TOPPING IDEAS:

  • chopped cilantro or parsley
  • diced tomato
  • minced red onion
  • sour cream
  • red chili flakes
  • avocado

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