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Instant Pot Chili Mac

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This Instant Pot chili mac will feed the hungriest of crowds any night of the week! Full of ground beef, spices, beans, and gooey cheese, you’ll love how easily it comes together!

Chili mac in a white bowl with a fork.

This Instant Pot chili mac will feed the hungriest of crowds any night of the week! Full of ground beef, spices, beans, and gooey cheese, you’ll love how easily it comes together!

Need an easy one-pot meal to get you over the midweek hump?

Full of meaty ground beef, savory diced tomatoes, kidney beans, warm chili spices, and gooey cheese, all wrapped around curly cavatappi, this Instant Pot chili mac is an instant crowd-pleaser!

And because it’s all done in the Instant Pot, clean-up is a breeze!

Trust me, with this Instant Pot chili mac, you can have a delicious, filling, homemade meal even after a long day.

Ingredients to make Instant Pot chili mac.

Ingredients for Instant Pot chili mac

  • Ground beef – Full of protein and meaty flavor, ground beef is the perfect meat for this chili mac.
  • Onion and garlic – Classic additions that will add earthiness to the dish.
  • Spices – Chili powder, smoked paprika, and cumin are all warm and savory flavors that are classic to chili.
  • Kidney beans – Kidney beans are firm, slightly nutty, and creamy.
  • Whole milk – This helps add creaminess to the chili mac.
  • Shredded cheese – Feel free to use your favorite homemade or pre-shredded store-bought blend!
  • Beef stock – To add moisture to cook the pasta and extra meaty flavor.
  • Cornstarch – Cornstarch helps thicken the sauce.
  • Diced tomatoes – Slightly sweet and savory, diced tomatoes add the perfect burst of freshness.
  • Cavatappi pasta – Cavatappi pasta is an S-shaped tube pasta, like a corkscrew. Feel free to use elbow macaroni if you can’t find cavatappi.
Instant Pot container filled with sauce and pasta.

Other proteins

I’ve chosen to use ground beef here because it’s classic in chili mac, but feel free to use ground chicken, or ground turkey, for a lighter texture and flavor. 

To bean or not to bean?

Beans in chili can sometimes be divisive, so if you’re not a fan of kidney beans, no worries! Feel free to substitute black beans, or leave them out entirely.

Easy freezer meal!

You could easily make a giant batch of this Instant Pot chili mac, let it cool to room temperature, and carefully fill freezer-safe zip-top bags and freeze for up to 3 months!

What is an Instant Pot?

An Instant Pot is an electric multi-cooker that can sauté, slow cooker, and of course, pressure cook.

There are a lot of horror stories about using old-fashioned stovetop pressure cookers but these are much safer and WAY easier to use.

They use high-pressurized steam to help cook meat and vegetables at a much quicker rate than traditional stovetop or slow cooker options.

Instant Pots are VERY easy to use and very safe. Don’t worry if you’re new to the electric pressure cooker world. You will absolutely LOVE it!

A fork going into a bowl of chili mac.

What is the difference between an Instant Pot and an electric pressure cooker?

Instant Pot is a brand-name electric pressure cooker. Since most people recognize the name “Instant Pot” and think of an electric pressure cooker it’s often easier to just title a recipe with IP in the name.

I have also used the crockpot version electric pressure cooker with equally delicious results.

This is the same as most people calling a plastic bandage a Band-aid or a tissue a Kleenex. Over time the brand names become synonymous with a type of product.

What is the difference between natural release and quick release?

When a recipe calls to let your Instant Pot “natural release” it means your pressure cooker will naturally (and very slowly) release the pressure.

Many recipes call for the pressure cooker to naturally release for a period of time because this helps the recipe cook just a little longer.

Since the pressure cooker will be slowly losing pressure you do not have to do anything it will eventually lose all its pressure and the lid will unlock.

When a recipe calls for quick release this means you will manually be letting the pressure out of the Instant Pot.

You will have to turn the vent to the “venting” position and a bunch of hot steam will come out of the vent. It is very important that you do not put your hand in the steam as it is VERY HOT.

This will then immediately unlock the lid and the food can be served.

Instant Pot Chili mac in a bowl with a fork.

Storage and leftovers

Leftover chili is delicious the next day! 

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

To reheat, place in a microwave-safe dish, covered loosely with a damp paper towel, and heat 3-4 minutes until heated thoroughly. 

More Instant Pot recipes

Instant Pot Chili Mac

Instant Pot Chili Mac

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

This Instant Pot chili mac will feed the hungriest of crowds any night of the week! Full of ground beef, spices, beans, and gooey cheese, you’ll love how easily it comes together!


  • 1/2 pound 80/20 ground beef
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 1-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 8 ounces dried cavatappi pasta
  • 1 (15 ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch


  1. Heat the Instant Pot using the Sauté function.
  2. Add the beef and cook, stirring occasionally until it is broken up into small pieces. Continue to cook for 3-5 minutes or until the beef is just beginning to brown. 
  3. Next, add the onion and cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until the onion is soft and the beef is browned and crisp. 
  4. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and paprika, and cook for an additional minute. 
  5. Next, add beef stock and scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the Instant Pot with a wooden spoon - we don’t want to get a “Burn” notice! 
  6. Next add the milk, pasta, diced tomatoes, and kidney beans. Stir to combine and ensure the pasta is fully submerged.
  7. Season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper, about 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. 
  8. Attach the lid and ensure the valve is in the “sealing” position. Set the Instant Pot to Pressure Cook - Manual for 5 minutes. 
  9. When the Instant Pot finishes, release the pressure manually by switching the valve to the “venting” position. Be careful! It will steam and may splatter! 
  10. In a small bowl, stir together the cheddar cheese and cornstarch. 
  11. Turn the Instant Pot to the Sauté function again and add the cheese ½ cup at a time, stirring constantly. When the cheese has fully melted, add the next ½ cup. Continue stirring until the Chili Mac is thick and creamy. 
  12. Season with additional salt and pepper, if needed.
  13. Serve this Chili Mac garnished with sliced green onion, sliced jalapeño, or chopped parsley. 
  14. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. 
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 630Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 93mgSodium: 1166mgCarbohydrates: 53gFiber: 9gSugar: 11gProtein: 39g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

Did you make this recipe?

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Instant Pot Chili Mac pin for Pinterest.

Shadi Hasanzadenemati

Thursday 8th of September 2022

Easy and delicious, this one is a keeper. I know I’m going to make it over and over again!

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