Making pasta dishes in the Instant Pot is so darned easy and convenient. And this recipe for Instant Pot chili mac is perfect for a quick, easy weeknight meal. With under 5 minutes prep, just one pot, and no veggies to cut up, it’s perfect for feeding a hungry crowd on short notice.
You’ve probably read again and again how easy the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker is for making any number of recipes, which is so true. And i’ll be the first to admit, i’m often good and dreaming up elaborate meal plans early in the day, but when work is over and i’m hungry, and the kids are hungry, I just want something quick and fast. That’s when the Instant Pot becomes my best friend!
Easy cleanup – one pot only!
While I love to make pasta dishes, sometimes the thought of using a large pot to boil the pasta, then a colander to drain, then another pan to brown the meat, by the time i’m done cooking i’ve got a sink loaded with dishes to clean. But with the Instant Pot, all the magic happens in one place. With the saute mode we brown the meat, then the pressure cook mode does the rest. No draining, no extra pots or pans – all in one pot!
Just a few simple ingredients
This chili mac recipe is perfect because it’s full of delicious flavors and uses just a few simple ingredients. We start with 1 lb of 85% lean ground beef. I really like 85% lean beef for pressure cooking. It always provides the most flavorful and tender results. With the Instant Pot on saute mode, be brown the beef, which takes about 5 minutes or so. After the meat is browned, we drain the fat and it’s time to layer on the rest of the ingredients – not stir anything together. This is important! We sprinkle our seasonings right on top of the beef. Next we add the macaroni, then 3 1/2 cups of water. Once the water is added, we can push down the macaroni to make sure it’s all submerged with some room to spare. Next, we dump a can of tomato sauce and a can of diced tomatoes with green chilies right on top. Again, no stirring. We then secure the lid, set the vent to sealing, and pressure cook on high for 4 minutes. When the 4 minutes are up we do a quick release of the pressure.
Sauce will thicken and then add cheese
When we remove the lid, we use a large spoon and stir everything really well for about a minute. At this point the liquids will begin to thicken. We then add 1 cup of shredded colby jack cheese and stir some more and we’re ready to serve!
A delicious, full flavor chili mac that is easy to make and perfect for a weeknight meal for the whole family.
- 1 lb. ground beef (85% lean)
- 2 1/2 cups elbow macaroni
- 14.5oz can of diced tomatoes with green chilies
- 8oz can tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1/2 tablespoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 cup shredded colby jack cheese
- 3 1/2 cups water
- Set Instant Pot to saute mode and add ground beef and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir often until all the beef is browned. Should take about 5 minutes. Press cancel and drain fat.
- Sprinkle chili powder, cumin and 1/2 teaspoon salt on top of the browned meat. Then add macaroni on top (don’t stir). Add 3 1/2 cups water and make sure all macaroni is submerged. Add cans of tomato sauce and diced tomatoes right on top in the center. Do not stir!
- Secure lid, make sure vent is set to sealing and pressure cook (“manual” on some Instant Pots) on high for 4 minutes. When timer is complete, quick release the pressure.
- Remove lid and stir contents well. Everything will begin to thicken. Add 1 cup of shredded colby jack cheese and stir it in so it melts into the sauce.
- Serve with additional shredded cheese on top and enjoy!