Layered Chili Mac and Cheese

Layers of creamy macaroni and cheese and  spicy beef chili in a casserole topped with crunchy tortilla chips and baked until gooey.

Layered Chili Mac and Cheese

Layered Chili Mac and Cheese

By Sue Lau |  Palatable Pastime

My recipe of the day is for a layered chili mac and cheese casserole, which combines two  of my favorite foods this time of year: chili, plus creamy macaroni and cheese. It’s being posted jointly with a group of blogging friends for National Cheese Lover’s Day.

Umm…that’s all of us, right?

Look how yummy it is.

Layered Chili Mac and Cheese

Personally,  I think  this is the bomb for game day because it feeds a crowd, plus, it  offers the classic choice of tailgate chili, and everybody loves mac and cheese?

Except that one person who we all know. Well, more for the rest of us.

This starts of by making a nice garden variety chili-  nothing too fancy or Texan, and not necessarily spicy, although it has some.

Chili with Beans

Then we cook up some macaroni  and mix it up in a creamy bechamel sauce, that has been loaded to the hilt with cheddar cheese.

Mac and Cheese

The macaroni gets spooned onto the chili mixture.

Top chili with mac and cheese

And then spread it out with  a spoon.

casserole before baking

This is topped with crushed tortilla chips, which I didn’t bother to measure. Just grab a few handfuls out of the big bag,  crush them in your hands, and sprinkle away. Top that with a little bit extra chili powder. I didn’t measure that one either. Would you?

top with crumbled chips

As you can see,  it transforms while baking into  a golden delicious, creamy, melty, gooey cheesy thing you can’t wait to spoon into. So let’s get to it, shall we?

baked until hot and bubbly

It’s all part and parcel of:

National Cheese  Lover’s  Day

Look at all that  Cheese! I don’t know where  to start. 

At the top, maybe?

Chicken Madeira by House of Nash Eats
Gooey, Gorgeous Raclette from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Easy Italian Sausage Pasta Bake from Cooking For My Soul
Extra Cheesy Garlic Bread from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
Slow Cooker Creamy Mac and Cheese with Bacon from Cheese Curd in Paradise
Baked Parmesan Cheddar Crisps from Blogghetti
Smoky Beer Cheese Dip with White Cheddar from Food Above Gold
Layered Chili Mac and Cheese from Palatable Pastime
Cheese Danish from Kate’s Recipe Box
Macaroni and Cheese Pierogi from The Spiffy Cookie
Waffled Pizza Bites from Jolene’s Recipe Journal
Pizza Grilled Cheese from A Day in the Life on the Farm
Sweet Gherkin Pimento Cheese Spread from Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice
Easy Cheese Sauce from The Gingered Whisk
Creamy Homemade White Cheddar Mac n Cheese from Jonesin’ for Taste
Adjaruli Khachapuri (Georgian Cheese Bread) from Caroline’s Cooking
Cheese Charcuterie and Pickled Onions from Our Good Life

And who doesn’t love cheese? I’m hungry for another plateful. Good thing it feeds so many, because I am going to enjoy these leftovers.

Layered Chili Mac and Cheese

And here’s the printable recipe. It’s also pinnable. Jut click  the button there. Do you see it?

Layered Chili Mac and Cheese

  • Servings: 9-12
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Layered Chili Mac and Cheese

Chili Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup  chopped green pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon black pepper
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili  powder
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can Red Gold chili ready diced tomatoes
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans in chili sauce (or other chili ready beans), drained

Mac and Cheese Ingredients:

  • 3 cups uncooked elbow  macaroni
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black  pepper
  • 2-1/4 cups whole milk
  • 16 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 big handfuls of tortilla chips, crushed
  • sprinkle  of chili powder


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Heat a pot of salted water to cook pasta.
  3. In a large skillet, brown the beef with  the onions,  pepper, garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin.
  4. Then drain off any fat.
  5. Stir in the chili powder along with the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes.
  6. Simmer mixture for ten to fifteen minutes, then stir in the beans.
  7. Spread the chili in the bottom of a large oven-proof casserole dish (lasagna pan).
  8. Cook the macaroni in the boiling salted water until tender (see package for precise timing, which differs per brand), then drain.
  9. While pasta cooks, heat the butter in a skillet (I just washed out the chili skillet and used again), and stir in the flour, salt and pepper to make a roux.
  10. Add the milk and stir until thickened, about one minute after it comes to a boil.
  11. Remove from heat and add the shredded cheese, stirring until it melts. Don’t do this on the heat or your cheese might break and become unpleasantly grainy.
  12. Stir the drained pasta into the cheese sauce.
  13. Spread the mac and cheese on top of the chili.
  14. Sprinkle with crushed chips and a touch of chili power.
  15. Bake the casserole about twenty minutes or until hot.

From the kitchen of

Layered Chili Mac and Cheese

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