Chili Mac

Saturday, October 12, 2019
Leftover chili can be repurposed easily with pasta. This Chili Mac is a favorite and almost asked for first before having a bowl of chili as a meal.

The kids love when I use different shaped pasta to make this easy pasta dish.

Their favorite is always the twist or spring pasta as they call them.

The chili is a basic recipe you can use mine listed here or your favorite you make for your family.

There really isn't much to this one, it's just a filling comfort satisfying meal and a great second meal if you have that big pot of leftover chili.

I also include a quick hamburger helper suggestion below for those who don't even like making chili!

We also love pouring chili on a hamburger or over a taco bowl salad, nachos chips for an appetizer, tortilla casserole or making hot pockets.

Making a huge pot never goes to waste in our home, we always have another idea to use it up.

Check out the recipe ideas and scroll down to print this off.

This is a delicious comforting meal during the cooler months in winter.

this is a pan of chili with pasta

Easy Meal

If you're looking for an economical meal, this is it!

It's fun to eat and making a new meal out of leftovers saves time and money.

I sure know what it's like to juggle a busy day around,

Sometimes coming up with new ideas is challenging.

Pasta is always a fun choice and this dinner seems to satisfy even the picky eaters.

I even make a huge pot of chili ahead of time and freeze it in containers, thaw overnight and it's ready to dump on my favorite pasta when I need a quick meal.

this is a big pan of curly pasta with chili in it

Ingredients for Chili Mac to Keep on Hand

  • Leftover Chili
  • Your Favorite Pasta
  • Shredded Cheeses
  • Taco Toppings 
  • Sliced Olives
  • Sliced Peppers
  • Shredded Lettuce
  • Chopped Tomatoes
  • Tortilla Chips

this is homemade chili that has hamburger sauce and sausage cooked with red beans

Making Chili

As I said before, you can make your own recipe or follow mine.

If I have the time I make it on the stovetop if not, the slow cooker does its job.

I just saute the meat, add some peppers, spice, beans, sauce, and simmer.

Viola, an easy way to feed a large family in a hurry!

this is sauteed hamburger with green chili peppers

Topping Suggestions for Leftover Chili

  • Use over pasta
  • Use over rice
  • Use over tortilla chips
  • Use on top of salad
  • Use over baked potatoes or french fries
  • Not a meat-eater? Make Vegetarian Chili
  • Use as a filling for tacos, enchiladas or burritos

this is a pan of chili and cooked pasta

Pasta to Use

This particular pasta I used is sometimes hard to find, it's called fusilli twist pasta.

The kids love the rotelli pasta that they also refer to as springs or spiral pasta and that one is the other favorite.

Any pasta will do just fine, I like the baby seashells myself like my mom use to use, the beans seem to fit inside the shells and as a kid, I loved the shells in my bowl filled with the meat and bean mixture.

One tip to always remember, always cook the pasta separately, then add that at the end.

Pasta tends to sop up all the juice and sauce, so you may want to keep a can of crushed tomatoes on hand to make more sauce if your chili is extra thick.

Hamburger Helper Quick Version

Ok, you don't want to make chili?

Just do my quick version.

Saute 2 lbs of hamburger in a pan with a few bottled jalapeno or canned chilies peppers, a tablespoon of minced bottled garlic, add a package of taco seasoning mix.

Stir in a jar of your favorite sauce, open a can of white, red, black beans drained, pour that into the pan.

Heat for around 10 minutes.

Boil the pasta, drain and stir it in.

Viola, homemade hamburger helper in an instant!

Really it takes no time to do at all.

I just always use leftover chili for my recipe because I always have some on hand!

Psst, mom even used leftover sausage in meatballs from Sunday sugo!

these are seashell pasta with chili con carne on top

Mom's Version

This was my favorite growing up.

As I mentioned, I love the seashells for this pasta dish.

It always seemed tropical to me, I know it's strange but things you remember as a kid are the best memories.

These are pretty good memories for me of mom's cooking, I always loved this kind of comfort food.

Nope not Italian but as you can see, she would put a spin on it and turn it into Italian food like I do.

I prefer white beans over the red kidney beans, and love the shredded 5 cheese blends over my chili mac!

this is seashell pasta in a pretty designed flowered plate with chili on top

Get Creative

This Chili Mac and is fun and delicious to eat.

Everything tastes better with melted cheese, doesn't it?

Just get creative with making another delicious meal with leftovers, most of the time, it's better than that original pot of chili, since it's all dressed up.

I even fooled them thinking I made it all the same day and it wasn't leftovers, seriously.

Sometimes things can all taste the same and get really boring, just a few extra toppings will make this
absolutely delicious and hey the more cheese the better right?

Pin for Later Chili Mac

Some other recipes to try:

Guinness Chili
Guinness Chili topped baked potatoes
Southwest Chili
Sloppy Joe Italian Style

Chili Mac recipe card

Chili Mac

Yield: 10
prep time: 10 Mcook time: 12 Mtotal time: 22 M
This is leftover chili used with your favorite pasta, a terrific repurposed meal everyone loves in the cooler months.


  • Choose from My Favorite Chili Recipe Links Below or 1 batch of you favorite Chili Recipe
  • Italian Merlot Chili 
  • Old World Style Chili
  • Southwestern Chili
  • Vegetarian Chili
  • Garnish with any of these depending on how you like chili, you can also add the same garnishing with your pasta dish here are some suggestions:
  • Grated cheese
  • Shredded mozzarella or cheddar
  • Sliced Black olives
  • Hot pepperoncini or jalapenos
  • A dollop of ricotta cheese or sour cream
  • Shredded lettuce and tomatoes
  • Crushed Tortilla chips
  • Garlic Bread


How to cook Chili Mac

  1. Boil your favorite pasta to the package instructions and drain.
  2. (Twists, Spirals, Seashells, Elbows ( just to name of few)
  3. Heat the leftover or freshly made chili in a pan, and fold the drained pasta into the chili.
  4. Depending on how much chili you have, I usually make 1/2 pound of the boxed pasta, cook it and add to around 8 cups of leftover chili.
  5. Note: for more sauce add 1 can of jarred favorite sauce or 1- 12 ounces can of crushed tomatoes.
  6. Garnish with any toppings your family likes.
Fat (grams)
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chili pasta, chili mac, pasta and chili, old world chili recipes
repurposed chili, fast meals, quick meals, pasta recipes, casseroles
American, Mexican
Created using The Recipes Generator

Pin for Later Chili Mac

Don't Forget To Try My Chili Recipes!

Old World Chili

Italian Chili Merlot

Vegetarian Chili

Guinness Chili

White Chicken Chili

Red Chicken Chili

this is a pan of chili with pasta

Disclosure: This recipe was originally shared in 2017. It was edited and re-published in 2019.


  1. Sounds good! Our chili is always over pasta with cheese and green onions on top.


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