Chicken Chili Cheese Mac



When we were in Telluride, CO, after riding the gondola up one side of the mountain and down the other, we ate at a little restaurant called Poacher’s Pub. It was there that Dan ordered some seriously good chili mac and I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind ever since.
Chili mac is the marriage of two of my  food cravings– chili and mac n’ cheese. It’s hearty, comforting and a perfect meal for a crisp fall evening. My version uses chicken and is really easy to make. 
Chicken Chili Cheese Mac
Serves 4 with some chili left over
The chili is so easy to make that you don’t even need a recipe. Feel free to add things in or take things out to suit your own taste.
First, heat 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add in about 1 pound of chicken– I used boneless chicken thighs and boneless chicken breasts. Cook the chicken until it’s cooked through. Remove it from the pot and set aside.
Next, add in one diced onion, one diced red pepper, and three chopped garlic cloves. Allow them to cook for about three minutes before pouring in a 1/2 cup of chicken stock. Scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen all the browned bits. Let it all cook for another 3 or 4 minutes.
Add in a 24 ounce can of squished whole tomatoes (you will need to do the squishing part before adding). Stir to combine. Next, add in 1/4 cup of mild chili powder, 2 teaspoons cumin, and 2 teaspoons of dried oregano. 
Now add in two more cups of chicken stock, bring the pot to a simmer and then reduce the heat. Allow it all to simmer for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, add the cooked chicken and continue cooking it for 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
To make the mac n’ cheese first cook a box of pasta (I used rigatoni) according to the package directions. Drain and then return to the pot. Add in about a 1/4 cup of butter and a 1/2 cup of cream. Stir in 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.  Keep stirring until the cheese melts and evenly coats the pasta. Add in about 2 cups of the chili and stir to combine. 
Chicken Chili Cheese Mac
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Chicken chili meets mac & cheese in this warm and hearty dish!
Recipe type: Main Course
Serves: 4
  • 1 box (1 pound) rigatoni
  • ½ cup butter (divided)
  • 1 pound chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper (any color works), diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2½ cups chicken stock, divided
  • 24 ounce can whole tomatoes
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • ½ cup cream
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  1. In a large pot heat 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat
  2. Add the chicken and cook until no longer pink in the middle
  3. Remove the cooked chicken from the pan and set aside
  4. In the same pan add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic
  5. Cook the vegetables for 3-4 minutes, or until softened
  6. Add in ½ cup of chicken stock and scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan
  7. Add the tomatoes, squishing each with your hands before adding to the pot
  8. Add the chili powder, cumin, and oregano and stir everything together
  9. Add the the remaining 2 cups of chicken stock, bring to a simmer and then reduce the heat to medium low
  10. Let the chili simmer for 30 minutes
  11. Add the cooked chicken to the chili and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes
  12. While the chili is simmering make the mac & cheese
  13. First, boil the rigatoni according to package directions
  14. Once cooked, drain the rigatoni and return it to the same pot
  15. Add in the rest of the butter (1/4 cup) and the cream
  16. Add the cheese and stir the pasta to combine until the cheese has melted
  17. Add 2 cups of the chicken chili to the mac & cheese and stir to combine
This recipe makes more chili than is needed for the dish - the chili is delicious reheated with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of cheese and green onions. It's also great spooned over a baked potato.


  1. says

    This looks so yummy, I agree two of my favorites are mac and cheese and chili. I think I know what I’m going to make this weekend! Thanks for sharing!

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