Cheesy Chili Macaroni Soup - This hearty dinner combines cheesy chili and macaroni soup right in your crockpot or instant pot!
We originally published this recipe back in February, 2018! It became one of our most popular, so we are adding directions for the instant pot along with the slow cooker. As well as updating a few photos, but the tasty recipe stays the same! This macaroni soup is the best of both worlds, mac and cheese, and chili! Two things nobody can get enough of around here. If you haven't be sure to try out our Chili Recipe too!
Making Chili Macaroni Soup:
SLOW COOKER: If making in the slow cooker, you will simply brown your ground beef along with your diced onion, drain and add to the slow cooker. Then, you'll dump everything else in except the macaroni and the cheese. After 6-8 hours, you can cook your pasta and add to the slow cooker, along with the cheese. I don't recommend trying to cook the noodles in the crockpot. I've never had good luck with this as they tend to get very mushy.
INSTANT POT: Very similar to the slow cooker. You'll cook your beef with onion in the bottom of your pot on saute mode. Drain if you need to. The difference is, now, you can add everything else along with the macaroni noodles. You will cook on the manual/high pressure setting for just 5 minutes. Then, you can mix in your cheese as you wish. Note that I have not tried doubling this in the instant pot, and this recipe has been tested in my 8 quart pot.
Recipe Tips for Chili Macaroni Soup:
- I love this recipe for it's simplicity. Of course, it's not entirely a crockpot recipe because you will need to boil your macaroni noodles and add them along with the cheese before serving. If making in the instant pot, you can boil the noodles along with the liquid.
- As far as the diced tomatoes, if your family doesn't go for that sort of thing, feel free to swap them out with another can of tomato sauce. But, please know that they do really cook down into the sauce, so you won't have any big chunks of tomatoes.
- As far as seasonings, I give my recommendations in the recipe card. However, please feel free to season to your taste. If you really like things spicy, give your chili a few extra drops of hot sauce!
- Make sure to only cook your macaroni to al dente as they will continue to cook a tad in the hot chili when you add them into your slow cooker.
- Freshly shredded cheese will taste best and be less likely to clump. But, pre-shredded is just fine if that's what you have on hand!
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Crockpot Cheesy Chili Macaroni Soup
- 1 Pound Lean Ground Beef
- 1 Large Onion, Diced
- 1 15 Ounce Can Tomato Sauce
- 1 15 Ounce Can Diced Tomatoes
- 3 15 Ounce Cans Chili Beans
- 3 Cups Beef Broth
- 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
- 2 Teaspoons Garlic Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Cumin
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Hot Sauce, Optional
- 2 Cups Macaroni, Cooked if using slow cooker
- 1 ½ Cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese
SLOW COOKER DIRECTIONS:
- Brown the ground beef in a large skillet over medium high heat along with the diced onion until no longer pink. Drain grease if neccessary.
- Add the beef mixture to the bottom of your slow cooker along with the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, chili beans, beef broth, and seasonings.
- Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
- Before serving, add the shredded cheese and cooked macaroni and stir well, until the cheese is melted. Serve immediately.
INSTANT POT DIRECTIONS:
- Turn the Instant Pot on to saute (high) mode. Once hot, add the ground beef and diced onion and cook until no longer pink. Drain any grease if necessary and return the beef to the pot.
- Add in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, chili beans, beef broth, seasonings, and UNCOOKED macaroni and stir to combine.
- Place the lid on the pot and seal the valve.
- Set the pot to manual (high pressure) for 5 minutes.
- Once the cooking time is up, do a quick release. Remove the lid and stir the cheese into the soup. Serve immediately.
- For the slow cooker method, make sure you add COOKED macaroni noodles. For the Instant Pot method the macaroni should be UNCOOKED when added to the pot.
- You do not need to drain the beans for this recipe. The liquid should be added with them for flavor.
An absolutely delicious and hearty chili/soup! So easy to make and added plus; house smelled incredible! Served with homemade cornbread to make a satisfying meal! Definitely will make again...and again!!
Hi. I see where this said this was tested in an 8qt Instant Pot. Can it be made in a 6 quart?
Hi! I’m making this tonight and wondering if it’s 2 cups of dry noodles or 2 cups of cooked noodles? Thank you! 🙂
Side note: I’m making the crockpot version. 🙂
I would like to make this recipe, but I am not sure what chili beans are? If I have dry pinto or black beans at home, can I heat them up and use those instead, or do they come with special sauce in the can?
Hi! Yes, chili beans are labeled "chili beans" on the can, and the do have a sauce giving them more flavor. You could use your dried beans, but you just might want to add more seasonings to make up for the lack of the sauce. Hope that helps 🙂
Just wondering if anyone has tried this with ground turkey rather than ground beef?
Yes, it's great with ground turkey or chicken 🙂
Carrie Zengler-Kretz says
Making this tonight! Should I still cook the noodles separately or put them in to cook with the soup at the last 15 minutes or so? Making it on the stovetop! Thanks!
I'd go ahead and still cook them separately 🙂
I made this tonight for my family and I put the noodles into the pot and cook them inside the soup itself and it turned out amazing
Mia Bryant says
Has anyone made this with ranch beans? What type of chili beans are best for this recipe?
Tammy Stout says
I made mine on the Stove and it was amazing ! My husband loved it.
Going to try this Sunday. Any thoughts on adding corn to it too? Anyone have a side with it, if what?
Hubby had to take the crockpot to work for a potluck today, but this is on the menu. Would you do this the same over stovetop, or make adjustments to cooking time/ingredients some way?
Hi! You can certainly make this on the stovetop. I would make as directed, except it won't need as long to cook. Combine the cooked meat along with everything else except for the macaroni and the cheese in a large pot. I'd simmer over low heat for 30 minutes to an hour, just to let the flavors combine then add the mac and the cheese in. Hope that helps! 🙂
Thank you! Excited for this warm and hearty dinner on a below freezing night! Happy holidays!
Can you just put the noodles in about 2 hours or so before done n let them cook in the soup or must you cook them separately? Looks very good!
Hi! I think you could, but, I haven't actually tried it so I can't say for sure!
Super good! But don’t freeze, the noodles got pretty mushy!
Made this recipe today and we just love it.....I did omit the hot sauce because I can't handle to much spice, but my husband really likes it....I will definitely make it again.