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Instant Pot Chili Mac Recipe with Ground Beef

The best 5 minute Instant Pot chili mac recipe with ground beef and beans is a meal your kids will love! Cassic old fashioned goulash style dinner packed elbow macaroni noodles. Dump all the ingredients into your Ninja Foodi or Crock Pot Express for a complete meal done in less than 15 minutes. Add cheese for a pressure cooker cheesy chili mac recipe too.

instant pot chili mac recipe

Our easy 5 minute Instant Pot chili mac recipe rocks! Chili mac and cheese is so easy to do and a perfect addition to our long list of Instant Pot recipes. Using diced tomatoes or Rotel to make a bit spicy it is a cheap one pot meal. (participant in the amazon program, affiliate links present)

Instant Pot Chili Mac

We have three kids which means macaroni is always in the house. We’re also huge Instant Pot chili lovers so it would only be reasonable to combine the two to make an easy dinner idea. That’s what we did and made this! You can add cheddar to make it cheesy or leave it as is.

You can use any brand you have at home too. I have a few of them so I can ensure they all cook the same. Plus to making this in your Ninja Foodi is you can melt and brown a layer of cheese on the top at the end if you want to.

If you are new to pressure cooking we have a lot of easy one pot meal recipes for you here. To begin with let’s start with a few basic tips:

For reference, this is the pressure cooker I have (a 6 quart) and use for all recipe creations.

star wars instant pot

5 Minute Instant Pot Chili Mac

Seriously, this recipe for chili mac cooks in just this short of time. Now it does take a bit to reach pressure so you have to account for that no matter what you pressure cook, but you know what I mean. Of course we add cheese to the top when it was done. That part is totally up to you though. We think everything is better with lots of cheese though y’all! 😉

We have made this 5 ingredient dump chili recipe for years and years you’ll have to make this week too. There are many ways to tweak it beyond the standard items added. I will share a few here and below in the list such as; using red enchilada sauce instead of tomato, diced onions can go in there or some bits of chiles. And heat can always be added for it to become spicy.

If you do like hot I suggest either red pepper flakes or chili powder. You can find hot enchilada sauce too or use a roll of spicy ground sausage instead of ground beef. That will do the trick well, we like half spicy sausage and half beef.

chili instant pot

Instant Pot Chili Mac No Beans

Yes this is another variance, if you don’t like beans just skip them. To us that wouldn’t make it right but you do you. 😉 If you don’t have this multi cooker kitchen appliance it is genius I tell you and I use it every night. That’s why I have so many recipes to share. lol It is so simple and perfect you add cheese to as well.

  • I just added macaroni noodles and enough water for them to cook all together in the Instant Pot and it only took 5 minutes to cook!!!
  • Seriously the easiest Instant Pot pasta recipe you will ever make. 
  • You can use the ingredients you love, make it spicy or mild so you love every bite.

Enjoy pinto beans more than kidney beans? Use those! Have a lot of ground turkey you want to use? That’s a great protein choice to use too!

Love diced bell peppers in anything called chili? Throw those in with everything else! I always say “use what you have on hand”!

chili mac instant pot

Instant Pot Chili Mac Frozen Ground Beef

Ok so let’s talk about what you need to get out. I do suggest that your meat is thawed, but there is instructions for cooking it from frozen first, then proceeding too. A seasoning packet just makes everything easier. If you don’t have that you can add Lawry’s, dehydrated onions and a bit of chili powder. Ingredients in chili

  1. Pressure cooker
    1. If you have an Instant Pot I HIGHLY suggest you get a non stick pot for this and future recipes.
  2. Ground beef
    1. this is how to defrost Instant Pot frozen ground beef in case you need it.
    2. I often times use 1/2 lb. beef and 1/2 lb. spicy ground sausage for LOTS of flavor and a bit of heat
  3. Onion
  4. Diced tomatoes
  5. Tomato sauce
  6. Kidney Beans

If I have a small can of diced green chiles I will usually add those too. Not to make it spicy but just add flavor. You can find them from hot to medium and/or mild for your chilimac.

diced chiles

Chili Mac in Instant Pot

I’ve used all sorts of small pasta shapes with it too. Those squiggly ones, shells are fun, and the classics you see here. I will be honest that what goes in there is what I have in the cupboard which is usually whatever was on sale when I was at the store. What can I say, I’m frugal.

Instant Pot Chili Mac Recipe with Ground Beef

You can include meat or not depending on your preferences. Ground sausage or turkey work just as well and the same way as instructed below. Brown first using the saute function and then proceed.

  1. Elbow macaroni noodles
    1. or any small pasta works, I use what I have on hand really
  2. 1 pkg. chili seasoning (can use a pkg. of taco seasoning instead…still great)
  3. Chili powder
    1. just a bit for some heat, if you use spicy sausage I would omit this
  4. Cheese
    1. to top with, optional but so yummy
    2. we like Mexican blend
  5. Salt and pepper optional

I have also used a packet of fajita seasoning if I don’t have the one listed below. Biggest difference between the two is this has some heat to it.

instant pot chili macaroni recipe

Easy Instant Pot chili mac

You can spice it up or add as much seasoning you’d like once you add the ground beef. Alternatively, you could use spicy ground sausage or 1/2 lb. of each for a medium spice level!

  • Another version we’ve made is to make this cheesy chili mac too in our Ninja Foodi!
  • If you only have an Instant Pot you can do something very similar by just stirring 1 cup of cheese in at the end.

For EXTRA cheesiness, you can then sprinkle another 3/4 of a cup of shredded cheese on to the top, put lid on ajar for 5 minutes so it can melt on top.

For us one packet of chili seasoning is just right! Of course you could use your own spice combinations but this makes it easy. My kids love it and it is a warm comfort food that’s perfect when it’s “chilly” outside or really year round.

pressure cooker cheesy chili mac 2
What is the difference between goulash and chili mac?

Not much other than the first typically has cheddar cheese stirred into it so it is ooey gooey thick, but not always. Sometimes evaporated milk is included in goulash to also make it creamier and thicker. Each one typically is slightly different depending on what region of the country you live in.

What do you serve with chili mac?

It really is a complete meal so you really don’t need a side dish. If you really thought it needed something a good choice would be garlic bread or a side salad if you want to go healthier. Typically you would find a breadstick served with it in the South. If you didn’t add ground beef into it you could serve with hamburger patties separately.

How to Make Instant Pot Chili with Elbow Macaroni

The printable recipe is below for you to follow. Any small noodle will work, any shape, that is your preferences. I love easy recipes like this especially during the summer when the last thing I want to do is turn on my oven when it is 100 degrees outside! Looking for more cheap Instant Pot recipes?

Want to make Crockpot chili mac?? We do that too! If you like your noodles more al dente then set the time to 3 minutes, a bit softer for 4-5 minutes.

crock pot chili mac

Note – I have NEVER had issues with stirring everything (other than noodles) together. Others have had false burn notifications. If your pot is super sensitive like this I highly suggest you get a non stick pot for this and future recipes.  It is a game changer and you will likely never get the burn notice again.

And as always, when removing the lid face it away from your face so you aren’t overheated by the steam.

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Instant Pot Chili Mac Recipe

The best 5 minute Instant Pot chili mac recipe with ground beef and beans is a one pot meal your kids will love! A classic old fashioned goulash dinner packed with flavor. 
Course Entree, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American
Keyword chili, easy, homemade, instant pot, mac, macaroni, pressure cooker
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 minutes
Total Time 14 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 363kcal
Author The Typical Mom




  • Turn Instant Pot to saute and add olive oil, onions, and ground beef. 
  • Brown meat until cooked.  Turn off IP.
  • Pour in your can of red beans (undrained), diced tomatoes, sprinkle in packet of chili seasoning, tomato sauce and stir together. Pour in your broth, then sprinkle noodles on top but do NOT stir!! Just gently push down to submerge noodles into the liquid but keep on top. (if you stir, you may get burn notice)
  • Turn IP to manual, pressure, high, for 4 minutes (3 if you like noodles more al dente). Close steam valve. 
  • When done do a quick release and carefully open lid. Stir. Serve topped with cheese!!


Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot Chili Mac Recipe
Amount Per Serving (8 oz)
Calories 363 Calories from Fat 180
% Daily Value*
Fat 20g31%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Cholesterol 53mg18%
Sodium 662mg29%
Potassium 782mg22%
Carbohydrates 27g9%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 7g8%
Protein 18g36%
Vitamin A 705IU14%
Vitamin C 15mg18%
Calcium 57mg6%
Iron 3.7mg21%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
instant pot chili mac recipe
Recipe Rating

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Saturday 12th of August 2023

Very good. Added some chopped peppers after browning. Added my own chili spice but could have used more (my fault). Also added avocado on top, some cilantro and lime. My husband and I had a bowl each, put another meals worth in the fridge and another in the freezer

The Typical Mom

Sunday 13th of August 2023



Wednesday 1st of February 2023

Delicious! Used my own spices (not the packet), white beans, added a little extra broth and pasta. Family is asking to have it in the meal rotation! So easy and yummy.


Wednesday 12th of January 2022

This is really good and I love how flexible the recipe is. I only used 1/2 lb of ground turkey and used pinto beans - added garlic, celery, frozen corn, green chilis and frozen diced green peppers. It was so quick and easy, especially with the ground turkey and onions already browned and frozen (I added straight from the freezer). I used water and no salt added tomato sauce and the seasoning is perfect. It is good with and without cheddar cheese. I don't usually use chili seasoning packets, but will definitely make this again and again. Thanks for posting!


Wednesday 12th of January 2022

@Kat, I also used whole wheat rotini, same cooking time .... in case anyone is curious.


Wednesday 20th of October 2021

I keep coming back to this recipe. Easy and delicious.

The Typical Mom

Friday 22nd of October 2021

So glad it is a hit


Wednesday 8th of January 2020

This is such a versatile recipe! No elbow macaroni, but I had a box of Kraft Deluxe Mac & cheese! Mixed the cheese in after cooking. I used to make this on the stove but tonight it is in the pressure cooker. I sometimes add frozen mixed veggies but this time it was riced cauliflower ( get them veggies in where ever you can). Delicious, comforting, adaptable ( didn't have tomato sauce so I used V8 juice). All those changes and it was still amazing. I have made it the "correct" way to and it rocks! Thanks for quick, yummy, every one cheers when you tell them what's for dinner! You hit this one out of the park and I am going through the rest of your recipes with all the time I have saved on cooking tonight! Oh and the tip on defrosting the meat... Genius, sheer genius!

Michelle H.

Friday 3rd of November 2023

@Suzanne, You said you used to make this on the stove, but now in the IP; when you add frozen veggies, when you add them (for both stove and IP cooking)?

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