Instant Pot Chili Mac

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 17 minutes
Servings 6 1 1/3 cup servings

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This Instant Pot Chili Mac is a one pot meal the family will love! With a little spice, lean ground beef, whole grain macaroni and lots of cheese!

instant pot chili mac and cheese overhead on two blue plates on white background with blue towel

I know lots of kids are back to school already, but here we still have a few weeks to go.

I’m starting to get the itch to go back to regular weeknight meals, dinners around the table (not that I’m hating on our daily picnics!), early bedtimes and routine. Anyone else?

We’re no stranger to chili mac around here, and it’s one of our favorite meals!

What to love about chili mac:

  • It’s hearty — with ground beef, beans, and whole grain macaroni it’s got loads of fiber and protein to keep everyone going when life is crazy.
  • It’s comforting — perfect for a rainy day, a cloudy day, or just a day when only cheesy carbs will do
  • It’s easy — with just a couple things to chop and brown, it’s a true one pot meal made completely in the Pressure Cooker in just a couple minutes!
  • This Instant Pot version is mostly hands off (after the browning) and cooks in 2 minutes, meaning you can set it and forget it for a few minutes while you put your feet up!
instant pot chili mac on blue plate close up with fresh parsley in the background
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Tips for making Instant Pot pasta:

Since I started making pasta in the Instant Pot I haven’t gone back! It’s so quick and totally hands off, making for easy one pot pressure cooker meals on a regular basis.

There are a few tricks to it though, and I’ve found that a lot of recipes call for way too long a cook time for pasta, resulting in an unappetizing mushy mess and then people are hesitant to try again.

Let me tell you, it can be done, and it can be done well! The secret?

A shorter cook time.

I understand the general rule of them is half of the cook time listed on the box.

I’m going to be bold enough here to say that I think this is, in fact, generally incorrect. That cook time is way too long.

For most short cuts of pasta, 2 minutes is plenty, and if you like your pasta very al dente, even 1 minute is likely enough for some cuts.

instant pot pasta with chili in pressure cooker being scooped in a metal spoon

How to lighten up this Instant Pot Chili Mac:

  • Use ground turkey instead of ground beef for a lighter meal
  • Up the veggies — try adding mushrooms, chopped carrots, more peppers, zucchini, really anything you think would go well! The cook time is short enough that most chopped veggies will be fine.
  • Use low fat cheese instead of full fat cheese

Tools you’ll need for this Instant Pot recipe:

These are affiliate links, which means I get a few cents if you click through and make a purchase.

  • I use a 6 quart Instant Pot with bluetooth for most of my recipes — I know that things sometimes cook differently in the 8 quart.
  • You’ll need some good hard utensils to scrape the bottom after browning to ensure you don’t get a burn message. I love a good wooden spoon!
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Instant Pot Chili Mac

4.89 from 34 votes
This Instant Pot Chili Mac is a one pot meal the family will love! With a little spice, lean ground beef, whole grain macaroni and lots of cheese!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Total Time 17 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Main Course
Servings 6 1 ⅓ cup servings
Calories 590cal


  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder (2 if you like it spicy!)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 3 cups low sodium beef or chicken broth
  • 1 can red kidney beans or black beans rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato pasta sauce
  • 340-375 grams whole grain macaroni (about 12-13oz)
  • 1/2 cup low fat milk
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese


  • Turn the Instant Pot to saute. Cook ground beef, onion and red pepper until beef is browned. Drain any juices.
  • On saute, add chili powder, salt, garlic and cumin. Cook and stir 1 minute. 
  • Add broth and scrape the bottom to ensure any stuck on bits are removed.
  • Turn Instant Pot off and stir in beans.
  • Top with pasta sauce (spread over the top but don’t stir) and macaroni. Press pasta down into the liquid and spread into an even layer, but don’t stir. 
  • Put the lid on, turn the valve to sealing, and select Pressure Cook or Manual for 2 minutes. 
  • When the cook time is over, do a controlled release of the pressure (slowly release the pressure by holding the valve slightly open but not all of the way).
  • Remove the lid and stir — some macaroni may appear dry or stuck together but once you stir it will be perfect. 
  • Stir in milk and cheese until cheese is melted. Serve.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 590cal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 107mg | Sodium: 1375mg | Potassium: 865mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1870IU | Vitamin C: 31.3mg | Calcium: 482mg | Iron: 5.5mg
Keywords chili mac, instant pot pasta

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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Reader Interactions


  1. Avi says

    I subbed the ground beef for vegetarian chorizo and added an extra can of pinto beans. This recipe is great and the macaroni comes out perfect! Reheats really well too.

  2. Angel says

    This recipe is absolutely phenomenal. It was loaded with flavor and the pasta was perfectly cooked. We liked it so much that I’ll probably not make (soupy) chili anymore. This was so simple too.

    I did 2 things differently but wouldn’t change up the flavor. I used frozen diced green peppers and onions because I had them. I also did not add the milk and cheese in the end. My husband is careful with dairy. I did, however, add cheese on mine after I served it.

  3. Christy says

    I made this for dinner tonight, I was a little gun-shy as the last time I tried pasta in my IP it was waaaaay over cooked and icky. This turned out amazing! The flavor was incredible and the pasta was perfect. Thank You for a quick and super tasty meal!

  4. Corrie says

    Yu,, yum, yum! We measured nothing, and used a whole bag of maraconi and upped the tomato sauce. Perfectly al dente.

      • Ashley says

        I’m going to attempt this tonight! I’m a newbie when it comes to this way of cooking. I have jusr under 2.5lbs of meat to work with, omitting beans, and have an 8qt. Would you recommend doubling the rest of the ingredients or leaving them as they are since there will be no beans?

  5. Heatherly says

    This was so easy to make and it turned out so good! I didn’t have any dairy milk on-hand so I used a combination of 2% Greek yogurt thinned down with unsweetened cashew milk and the consistency was perfect. Thanks for such a great recipe!

  6. Mary Fry says

    Delicious & very easy. I made it as the recipe states. I did added chili peppers on mine & it made it pop with flavor. My boys like it so i will be making it again. Thank you for great recipes for instapot!

  7. Shawna-Lee says

    This meal was fabulous! Easy, quick and the whole family loved it! That in itself definitely makes this recipe a keeper. Used kidney beans and added a can of corn. Delicious!!

  8. Katie says

    Looks delicious!! For the “Tomato Pasta Sauce”, are we talking marinara sauce? Or actual Tomato sauce? Thank you!! Can’t wait to try this

  9. Audrey says

    My 12 year old winced when he saw me cutting up the red pepper. “Is that for dinner?”
    He had 2 heaping bowls.
    It was delicious! Thank you! I’ve made several of your recipes and all have been great. The pot roast is to die for!

  10. Meg says

    Tried this tonight and both me and the boyfriend loved it! Will definitely be making again. Can’t wait to try more of your instant pot recipes!
    Ps. I’m also a Fehr from Manitoba, small world eh? 🙂

  11. Jenn says

    Dinners like this make my world go round! Love that I can make a tasty pot of chili mac in my IP and with so little effort! xoxo

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