Melly’s Easy Chili Mac


Anytime’s a good time for chili. I don’t know who came up with the notion that certain foods are “cold weather” foods, but it doesn’t really make sense to me. Even I’ve been known to say “it’s the perfect time of year” for this or that. Now if it’s a seasonal vegetable, that’s understandable, but everything else could and should be eaten whenever the urge strikes.

Melly's Easy Chili Mac is full of fall flavor - delicious! | Culinary Craftiness

There are a plethora of ways to make chili and everyone has their favorite. You can make it with beans or without, with meat or just beans, no pasta or with, or you can even make it with chicken instead of ground beef. I make it pretty much the way my mom always made it with the exception of using V8 Juice instead of tomato juice. We used to get some serious heartburn and/or acid reflux with tomato based soups, but when I use V8 juice, we don’t have any issues at all. Mom always added elbow mac to stretch the batch and we loved it. This recipe is super simple and takes only about 40 minutes from beginning to end.

Easy Chili Mac | Culinary Craftiness

Melly’s Easy Chili Mac

You can cut this recipe in half, but still use the whole can of beans if you’re a bean-lover.

My favorite way is with butter and crumbled crackers. YUM!

  • Easy Chili Mac | Culinary Craftiness
  • Easy Chili Mac | Culinary Craftiness
  • Easy Chili Mac | Culinary Craftiness
  • Easy Chili Mac | Culinary Craftiness
  • Easy Chili Mac | Culinary Craftiness
  • Easy Chili Mac | Culinary Craftiness
  • Easy Chili Mac | Culinary Craftiness
  • Easy Chili Mac | Culinary Craftiness

Easy Chili Mac

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: Serves 6-8

Easy Chili Mac

Created by Melissa Woolard | Culinary Craftiness


  • 1 lb. extra lean ground beef
  • 1 large onion, diced, or 2-3 tbsps. dried minced onions
  • 1 (16 oz.) box elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • 2 (48 oz.) V8 Juice
  • 1 can mild or hot chili beans
  • 2-3 tbsp. chili powder, to taste
  • 1 tsp. salt, to taste
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. pepper, to taste
  • Optional Toppings:
  • Butter
  • Crackers
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Sliced or mashed avocado


  1. Spray a large Dutch oven or stock pot with cooking spray if using very lean ground beef. Add meat and onions. Brown while breaking up into small crumbles over medium-high heat. There should be very little to no grease to drain off.
  2. Add entire contents of bean can, V8 juice, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Bring to boil then reduce to a simmer and let cook for 20 minutes to reduce somewhat.
  3. Add box of macaroni and cook for 10 minutes or until pasta is tender, but not overcooked, stirring occasionally to prevent the noodles from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
  4. Remove from heat and serve, or add your favorite toppings.

If you’re eating wheat-free (no pasta), here’s another delicious recipe, Baked Chili with Beef and Beans. In addition, my favorite canned chili beans is Brooks, but I can’t find them where I live. So I usually end up with Bush’s or a store brand. Use what you like best!

Happy eating!



About Melissa

Melissa is a wife, mother, family cook, and romance novelist. The very first thing she learned in the kitchen was how to scramble eggs in an old cast iron skillet at the age of five. Her great-grandmother put her on a step-stool at the stove and thus began her passion for whipping up great tasting foods.

2 Replies to “Melly’s Easy Chili Mac”

  1. great recipe wouldn’t change a thing .I thought I was the only one to put butter in my chili it gives it a great taste and texture

    • I’m glad you think this recipe is perfect as is, John! When I was a kid, mom always buttered crackers and set them on a plate beside the chili. I started mashing them into the bowl to disguise the beans cause I hated them. Now I just love the whole combination.

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