Homemade Cheesy Chili Mac Skillet

5 from 10 votes
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This Homemade Cheesy Chili Mac Skillet has two secret ingredients that make this the BEST cheesy chili mac skillet you are ever going to eat! I promise! 

Table of Contents
  1. How to Make Homemade Chili Mac
  2. Chili Mac Secret Ingredients
  3.  Pin This Recipe to Your Dinner Recipes Board and Remember to FOLLOW ME ON PINTEREST!
  4. Homemade Cheesy Chili Mac Skillet Recipe
Cheesy Chili Mac Skillet topped with parsley in marble background

How to Make Homemade Chili Mac

Have I ever told you how many chili contests I have been a food judge for? Probably not, because I honestly have lost count. I have eaten SO MANY CHILI’S in the name of Edmonton food goodwill that I can barely make chili at home anymore. Well, not quite, but you get my drift. The bonus to eating all that chili is that I got to look at the recipe’s for allllll those amazing chef’s chili’s – and you want to know what I have learned?

The winning chili almost always has ketchup in it.

top down shot of Homemade Cheesy Chili Mac Skillet in marble background

Chili Mac Secret Ingredients

  • Ketchup.

That’s the first secret ingredient to making the best cheesy chili mac skillet. I kid you not my friends, the best chefs in Edmonton would use ketchup in their winning chili’s time and time again. It’s the sweetness that cuts through the acidity of the tomatoes that does the trick, something that I will mention on every tomato recipe on this website.

Spoon of Homemade Cheesy Chili Mac Skillet with Ketchup

The trick to a superb tomato based dish is a bit of sugar to cut the acidity. It can come in the form of ketchup or sugar, take your pick. I prefer to use ketchup and reap all the flavour benefits but I’ll also throw in a teaspoon or so of brown sugar when I don’t have ketchup handy.

If you see a tomato based dish like my homemade cheesy chili mac skillet and it doesn’t have sugar or ketchup, add some. Just a bit, a teaspoon or two of sugar will do – and usually a 1/4 cup of ketchup will amp up the flavour if ketchup works in the dish.

Your cooking world will be all the more amazing for it.

Close up Cheesy Chili Mac Skillet topped with parsley

Secret ingredient #2 for my homemade cheesy chili mac skillet?

  • Velveeta cheese, of course.

You would be surprised how little Velveeta is needed to make the best chili mac. Not only that, we used one cup of Velveeta, cubed, and we didn’t need cheese on top.

top down shot of Homemade Cheesy Chili Mac Skillet in marble background

You can of course, top this with cheese, but I was amazed at how adding just that one cup of Velveeta made it just cheesy enough. I garnished it with parsley, skipped the shredded cheese and it was perfect for our palates. The Velveeta cheese does this wonderful job of melting seamlessly into the chili mac skillet, thickening it up sooooo perfectly. You will also save a ton of calories if you leave the cheese off, if that’s your wish.

Let me tell you, this cheesy chili mac skillet is on the permanent dinner rotation list – the kids loved it!

Happy cooking!



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This Homemade Cheesy Chili Mac Skillet has two secret ingredients that make this the BEST cheesy chili mac skillet you are ever going to eat! I promise! #chili #pasta #chilimac #skillet #dinner #supper #recipe #food #cheese #Cheesy
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Homemade Cheesy Chili Mac Skillet

This homemade Cheesy Chili Mac Skillet is one of my family’s new favourite meals! The addition of my two secret ingredients ( Veleeta & ketchup) makes ALL the difference!
5 from 10 votes
Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Total Time
30 minutes
Main Course
6 servings
Karlynn Johnston


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 cup of white onion diced
  • 1 tablespoon diced garlic
  • 1 540 ml can of petite diced tomatoes – if you can find the chili flavoured ones, they are the best
  • 1 15 oz can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 4 cups of beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups of dry elbow macaroni one 454 gram box
  • 1 cup of Velveeta cheese cubed
  • 1-2 cups of shredded old cheddar cheese optional
  • green onions and parsley to top


  • In a large lidded skillet OR large lidded pot, fry the ground beef and onion until the beef is no longer pink and the onions are soft and translucent.
  • Drain the fat then sautee the garlic for two minutes.
  • Stir in the tomatoes, beans, ketchup, broth and spices. You can also use 2 tbsp of my homemade chili mix instead.
  • Once those are incorporated, stir in the dry macaroni. Cover with a lid and simmer on low for 10 minutes, stirring every once in a while to make sure the macaroni doesn’t stick.
  • Once the noodles are al dente and the liquid has mostly evaporated, remove from the heat and stir in the Velveeta. Cover again for 5 minutes to let the cheese melt.
  • Stir the now melted cheese throughout the pasta and serve topped with cheese, green onions or parsley.

Recipe Notes

My Homemade Chili Mix is perfect in this recipe! Just use 2 tbsp of it instead of all the spices!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 516kcal, Carbohydrates: 53g, Protein: 38g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 83mg, Sodium: 1984mg, Potassium: 768mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 1270IU, Vitamin C: 3.2mg, Calcium: 415mg, Iron: 3.9mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

Learn more about me

Site Index Chili Ground beef Macaroni One pot meal

Reader Interactions

Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. Dina says

    This is by far the best chili mac recipe! The first time I made it as written and it was delicious. The second time I added a can of chopped green chiles and only 2 cups of elbow mac because that’s all I had and it was out of this world!! Next time I might sub catsup for Heinz 57. The chili style diced tomatoes are a must IMO. Thank you for a great recipe!5 stars

  2. Brianne says

    Yummmm! Followed the recipe exactly and it turned out perfect. My whole family loves this recipe.5 stars

  3. April says

    This was SO good!
    Thanks for the easy recipe, even my picky son ate it and he likes nothing. 5 stars from us!5 stars

  4. Barbalicious says

    Oooh my gawd this was AMAZING AND THE BEST CHILI MAC Ever!!! thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!! Five stars!5 stars

    • Karlynn Johnston says

      Awesome to hear!!!!! Thanks for letting me know!5 stars

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