This is one of those dishes that is just not that pretty to look at, but it’s so delicious. Two of my favorite comfort foods mashed up together and made in the instant pot to make the best ever chili mac? Sign. Me. Up. Sundays are my favorite days for throwing an easy instant pot meal together that is both comforting and quick. This was actually also my first time cooking pasta in the instant pot and I was definitely a little nervous.
I’ve heard a lot of folks say that it’s really easy to overcook your pasta and I was worried it would end up mushy, but honestly it was perfect al dente. The trick is the partial quick release of the steam valve. I let it naturally release for 5 minutes and then switched to quick release. The pasta had absorbed all the good chili flavors and it was perfectly cooked. The Instant Pot is seriously such a miracle.
The best part of this meal, for me at least, is the toppings. I am SUCH A TOPPINGS PERSON. Nachos, baked potatoes, burgers, hot dogs, chili, and literally anything that I can throw a million toppings on. I like to mix it up too. In a couple of these photos, I topped my chili mac with sliced jalapeños, avocado and more shredded cheese and on the others I did fritos and sour cream (green onion would have been delicious too). The toppings really are endless. I’m also a huge bean person so I added a couple of my favorite types. If you aren’t a ‘beans in the chili’ kind of person, feel free to leave them out! I would reduce the liquid by at least a cup in that case.
The most important part to cooking the pasta is making sure that there is just enough liquid to cover the macaroni, but it shouldn’t be swimming in it. This will ensure that you end up with chili mac and not chili macaroni soup. Otherwise, this recipe is cinch. I like to throw in my own spice blend, but feel free to sub in your favorite chili seasoning. Enjoy this super easy meal!
Products I used in this recipe:
I am a huge comfort food person and nothing beats a classic chili mac. This recipe is made so quick and easy with the use of the instant pot!
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil
- 1 lb. ground sirloin (90/10)
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 poblano pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- 1 15oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15oz can white beans, drained and rinsed
- 4 cups chicken broth (homemade preferably)
- 1 lb. dried macaroni elbows
- 4 oz. velveeta cheese, cubed
- 4 oz. monterey jack cheese, grated
- sliced jalapeño, for serving
- diced avocado, for serving
- Set your instant pot to sauté on high. Add the oil once the pot heats up and cook the onion for 2-3 minutes until soft. Add the ground beef and brown well, breaking up the ground beef as you go. Add the poblano peppers to the pot with all of the spices, and cook for another 2-3 minutes and then add the tomato. Add the mustard, worcestershire, beans, broth and salt.
- Lock the lid in place and change the setting to ‘manual’ for 15 minutes. Allow the pressure to naturally release and then remove the lid. Stir in the macaroni. The macaroni should be completely submerged, but not soupy. Add a little more liquid if necessary to make sure the macaroni is submerged and replace the lid and set to ‘Manual-Normal’ for 2 minutes. Allow the pressure to naturally release for 5 minutes and then quick release. Remove the lid and stir in the cheeses. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
All of my instant pot recipes are made using a 6 qt Instant Pot. You can adjust the recipe up or down to suit the size of your Instant Pot.