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Instant Pot Chili Mac

Instant Pot Chili Mac is a quick and easy weeknight dinner that is the most delicious and hearty crossover between mac and cheese and chili! This mostly hands off recipe is ready after just 4 minutes under pressure. 

chili mac in 2 bowls with gold fork in bowl

When you just don’t know what is for dinner, and you have made Instant Pot Lazy Lasagna so many times, your family wants that next family favorite, you make this chili mac! 

This is a hearty, husband friendly dish that is beefed up with … beef, beans, and elbow macaroni, and finished of with some gooey melty cheese!

Pasta Types

You can make this with just about any small pasta you like.

Try penne, bowties, shells, or campanelle. If you use pasta that is either bigger (rigatoni) or small (rotini), you will have to adjust the cook time and potentially the amount of broth.

Chili mac plated in bowl from above close up

Cook time guidance

As a general rule, take the cook time on the box and set your pressure time to half of that. As for the broth, you want it to just cover the pasta. If you use a different kind of pasta you may have to increase or decrease the amount of broth. 

Using too little liquid can cause the burn signal, and using too much can lead to a very soupy dish. 

Tips and Ingredient Swaps

instant pot chili mac ingredients side by side

  • I prefer to use whole wheat pasta – you can use white pasta with no issue. No adjustment to cook time is needed. 
  • Can I swap ground beef for a leaner protein such as ground chicken? Yes!
  • Can I use regular kidney beans vs the white ones? Yes!
  • Does this work in an 8 quart pot? I haven’t tested it, but I don’t see why not. 
  • Can I double this recipe? NO, you cannot double this recipe in the 6 quart pot. If you do, it will make the pot too full. This is a large batch recipe as written.

How to Make Instant Pot Chili Mac… at a glance

process for how to make chili mac

  1. Saute beef, onion, garlic, and dump in the green chilis and the spices. Stir to combine.
  2. Pour the broth in, making sure to scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan – if not, this will trigger the burn warning. 
  3. Add the beans, peppers, and macaroni in (not shown)
  4. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste. Adding the ingredients in this order will prevent the burn warning.
  5. Set to high pressure for 4 minutes, release the pressure, and add the cheese to get melty! 

chili mac hero shot with instant pot and 2 bowls plated

Looking for more Instant Pot Pasta Ideas? Try the popular Lazy Lasagna, One Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs, and Chicken Parm Penne! 

When you add this to your weekly meal plan, I want to see your version! Tag me @mealplanaddict on Instagram or come post a photo in the Meal Plan Addict Community! 

chili mac in bowl with sour cream and gold fork

How to Video 

chili mac hero shot with instant pot and 2 bowls plated

Instant Pot Chili Mac

Course: Instant Pot
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chili Mac, Chili Mac recipe, Instant Pot Chili Mac, Instant Pot Pasta Recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Servings: 8 servings (1 cup each)
Calories: 306kcal
Instant Pot Chili Mac is a quick and easy weeknight dinner that is the most delicious and hearty crossover between mac and cheese and chili! This mostly hands off recipe is ready after just 4 minutes under pressure. 
Print Recipe


  • 6 quart pressure cooker


  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 127mL can diced green chilis
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 14oz can drained and rinsed kidney beans
  • 2 bell peppers (any color) diced (1/2 inch pieces)
  • 2 cups dry, whole wheat elbow macaroni
  • 796mL can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
  • 156mL can tomato paste
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


  • Press the saute feature and once hot, add the beef, onion, and garlic. Cook until beef no longer pink. Drain excess fat if needed.
  • Add the cumin, chili powder, oregano, and onion powder. Stir to combine.
  • Add the diced green chilis. Stir to combine.
  • Press Cancel to turn the saute setting.
  • Pour the beef broth in and scrape the bottom of the pot so that no bits are stuck to the bottom. If you don't do this, you may trigger the burn signal.
  • Add the peppers, beans, and pasta into the pot. Do not stir.
  • Add the diced tomatoes and tomato paste in. Do not stir. Yes, the tomato paste sits on top of it all to ensure you don't get the burn signal.
  • Secure the lid, set the pot to sealing.
  • Set the Instant Pot to 4 minutes, high pressure.
  • When the pressure cycle is complete, carefully release the pressure. Depending on the pasta you use, you may have foam spurt a bit. Open and close the valve multiple times in quick bursts to avoid spurting.
  • Press cancel, and stir in shredded cheese. Place the lid back on until cheese is melted. This will also give the chili mac time to "tighten". As the contents of the pot cool, it will tighten up and be less liquidy.


This recipe has a 4 minute pressure cycle, and takes 10 minutes to come to pressure. 
The order you put the ingredients in matters. You don't want tomatoes on the bottom - or you may get the burn signal.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 306kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 8g

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  1. Haven’t made it yet. Would be nice if ingredients were consistent, ie: use ounces only and not combination of 14 oz can of one thing and 796mL of another. Just a thot. Thank you.

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