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Instant Pot Chili Mac

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 Instant Pot Chili Mac is a hearty meal that mixes your favorite ground beef chili with pasta and warm, rich spices. Load on your favorite chili toppings and enjoy this for tailgating, dinner or even lunch! 

Instant Pot Chili Mac in white bowl

INSTANT POT CHILI MAC 

There is nothing like a hearty bowl of chili mac this time of year. If you have an Instant Pot you have to try this Instant Pot Chili Mac. I also have a Slow Cooker Chili Mac for those that don’t have an instant pot.  

It is so easy to make in your pressure cooker and is perfect for a crowd or freeze half for later. You can check out my other Beef Instant Pot Recipes here

I use my instant pot a lot for chili recipes including my favorite Instant Pot Turkey Chili, Instant Pot Taco Soup and this Easy Beef Chili. All of these recipes are perfect for the cold months and come together so easily in an instant pot. But there is nothing like a big bowl of chili macaroni as my kids call it. 

Instant Pot Chili Mac with red onions

HOW DOES THE PASTA HOLD UP IN THIS RECIPE?

Similar to my Instant Pot Turkey Taco Pasta recipe, the pasta is soft. It isn’t mushy but it definitely isn’t al dente. If al dente is your preference then your going to want to cook your pasta separate not he stove and stir it in with the cheese at the end of the cook time in the Instant Pot. 

I love how easy Instant Pot pasta recipes are. A few of my favorites include this Creamy Instant Pot Pasta and this Instant Pot Ground Beef and Pasta

Insta Pot side view photoHOW DO YOU MAKE PRESSURE COOKER CHILI MAC?

  1. Set your Instant Pot or your pressure cooker to sauté and wait until it shows HOT. Add the 2 Tablespoons olive oil and after 30 seconds add the ground beef or turkey. Cook until the meat is browned. Drain the meat and set aside. 
  2. Add another 1 Tablespoon olive oil and add the garlic, onion and sauté for 1 -2 minutes. Add the bell pepper and jalapeño {optional} and sauté for another 4-5 minutes until the bell pepper is tender. 
  3. Add the ground beef back in and 1/2 a cup of beef or chicken broth. Use your spoon to deglaze the Instant Pot, making sure to scrape away all of the browned bits of food. This helps to ensure that your food doesn’t burn during the pressure cooking phase.
  4. Add the remaining beef or chicken broth, kidney beans, diced tomatoes and pasta and stir. Cancel the sauté mode. Put the pressure cooker lid on and set the steam release knob to the sealed position. Change the Instant Pot to MANUAL HIGH and set the time to 4 minutes.
  5. When the Instant Pot beeps showing that it is done, do a quick release. Once all of the pressure/steam is please turn off the Instant Pot. Remove the lid keeping the lid pointed away from you and stir the taco pasta together. Add the cheese to the pasta mixture, stir and let the cheese melt. Serve the chili mac in bowls with your favorite garnishes. 

Instant Pot Chili Mac with spoon

WAYS TO ADAPT THIS CHILI MAC AND CHEESE RECIPE

VEGAN OR VEGETARIAN: If you want a vegan chili mac and cheese or a vegetarian version simply leave out the meat and bulk up with more vegetables and beans. For vegan leave out the cheese or use your favorite vegan cheese.

You can also find ground meat alternatives that are plant based or chopped up mushrooms and use those instead of the beef or turkey for texture. 

VEGETABLES: I love adding extra vegetables to my recipes. A few additions I like in this recipe are carrots, celery, poblanos or zucchini. You can sauté them with the bell peppers. 

SPICES: I don’t make this chili mac recipe spicy so that my whole family can enjoy it. My kids aren’t a fan of spicy food yet. If you like spicy chili add in jalapeños or cayenne red pepper. Hot sauce also makes a nice topping at the end. 

BEANS: You can use any beans you have in your pantry. I also like black beans or red beans added in to this recipe. 

Instant Pot Chili Mac with pasta

CAN YOU FREEZE THIS EASY CHILI MAC RECIPE? 

This recipe makes a nice sized batch so I often will freeze half. You will want to make sure you completely cool the chili before you store it in an air tight container in the freezer. Keep in mind once the chili mac is reheated it might make the pasta a bit softer than the first time around. 

Kitchen tools you’ll need for this Instant Pot recipe:

6 Quart Instant Pot 

Soup and Chili Crocks 

This post may include Amazon affiliate links.

Instant Pot Chili Mac

Yield: 6-8

Ingredients

  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound ground Beef {I use 80/20} or use ground turkey
  • 3 cups beef stock or chicken stock
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeds removed, diced {or color of your choice}
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds removed, diced {optional for spice}
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper {optional for spice}
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 - 15 ounce can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1- 15 ounce can of crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
  • 2 cups dried elbow macaroni pasta {whole grain for healthier chili mac}
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro {optional}

Instructions

    1. Set your Instant Pot or your pressure cooker to sauté and wait until it shows HOT. Add the 2 Tablespoons olive oil and after 30 seconds add the ground beef or turkey. Cook until the meat is browned. Drain the meat and set aside. 
    2. Add another 1 Tablespoon olive oil and add the garlic, onion and sauté for 1 -2 minutes. Add the bell pepper and jalapeño {optional} and sauté for another 4-5 minutes until the bell pepper is tender. 
    3. Add the ground beef back in and 1/2 a cup of beef or chicken broth. Use your spoon to deglaze the Instant Pot, making sure to scrape away all of the browned bits of food. This helps to ensure that your food doesn’t burn during the pressure cooking phase.
    4. Add the remaining beef or chicken broth, kidney beans, crushed tomatoes and pasta and stir. Cancel the sauté mode.
    5. Put the pressure cooker lid on and set the steam release knob to the sealed position.
    6. Change the Instant Pot to MANUAL HIGH and set the time to 4 minutes.
    7. When the Instant Pot beeps showing that it is done, do a quick release. Once all of the pressure/steam is please turn off the Instant Pot. Remove the lid keeping the lid pointed away from you and stir the chili mac.
    8. Add the cheese and cilantro to the chili, stir and let the cheese melt.
    9. Serve the chili mac in bowls with your favorite garnishes. 

Notes

You can leave the jalapeño out or you can even add more spice but using more jalapeño or adding crushed pepper.

If the chili mac is not thick enough for your liking add tomato paste or corn starch to thicken it up.

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