The Easiest Skillet Chili Mac

published May 28, 2020
Snapshot Cooking
The Easiest Skillet Chili Mac

This easy, cheesy chili mac comes together in just one pan.


Prep2 minutes

Cook25 minutes

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Credit: Amelia Rampe

When you’re in need a lightning-fast dinner that will warm you through and through, this three-ingredient chili mac is here for you. Starting with boxed macaroni and cheese with a pre-made sauce (I love this one from Annie’s) eliminates a ton of prep work and, best of all, everything (including the noodles!) cooks in a single skillet.

You’ll start by cooking the pasta in a large oven-safe skillet until al dente, reserving some of the starchy pasta water for the sauce (it makes it extra creamy). Drain the pasta, return it to the skillet, mix in the cheese sauce and the pasta water, and stir, stir, stir until the noodles are evenly coated. Although you’ll be tempted to just grab a fork and dig in, resist the urge and stir in canned chili and sprinkle with cheese. Bake until the cheese is melty and the mixture has warmed through.

The Easiest Skillet Chili Mac

This easy, cheesy chili mac comes together in just one pan.

Prep time 2 minutes

Cook time 25 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • Kosher salt

  • 1 (11 to 14-ounce) box

    deluxe macaroni and cheese with cheese sauce (not cheese powder)

  • 1 (15-ounce) can


  • 1 cup

    shredded cheddar cheese


  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 450ºF. Meanwhile, bring about 5 cups heavily salted water to a boil in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.

  2. Add the macaroni from a box of deluxe macaroni and cheese to the boiling water and cook for the minimum amount of time on the package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Drain the macaroni, then return to the skillet.

  3. Add the cheese sauce and 2 tablespoons pasta water, and stir until the macaroni is evenly coated. Add 1 can chili and stir to combine. If the sauce is too thick, add more pasta water a little at a time as needed. Sprinkle with 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese.

  4. Bake until heated through, about 5 minutes. Turn the oven to broil and broil until the cheese on top is browned in spots, 1 to 2 minutes.