Chili mac

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Chili mac prepared with macaroni noodles, chili, cheese, onion and green onion

Chili mac is a dish prepared using chili and macaroni as primary ingredients, which is often topped or intermingled with cheese.[1][2][3][4] Some versions are made using prepared or homemade macaroni and cheese.[5][6] It is a common dish in the Midwestern United States, and is also popular in other areas of the United States.[1]

Several variations of the dish exist, and prepared canned and boxed versions also exist. It can be a relatively inexpensive dish to prepare,[7] and has been described as a comfort food.[8][9]

Chili mac has been a staple dish at American military dining facilities for years.[10] It was introduced into the Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE) field ration menu in 1995 and is one of only three of the twelve MRE meals offered in 1995 that has remained on the MRE menu to date.[11] A variation called "taco chili mac" has been consumed by NASA astronauts in space.[12] It is processed by NASA as a freeze-dried product.[12]

Hamburger Helper brand purveys a prepared boxed version named "Chili Macaroni".[13]


Chili mac prepared using macaroni and cheese as an ingredient

Several preparation methods exist. Basic versions may be prepared using chopped meat, tomato, spices, and elbow macaroni.[7] Another basic preparation method incorporates boxed, prepared macaroni and cheese and canned chili. Some recipes incorporate all of the ingredients together, while others are prepared with the ingredients separately layered.[1][14] Those that use cheese may use grated cheese atop the dish,[15] while others mix the cheese throughout the dish. Sometimes, onions or beans are added.[1] Some diners in St. Louis, Missouri serve a version called "chili mac a la mode", in which the dish is served topped with fried eggs.[4][1]

The dish may be prepared on a range top in a skillet, in a slow cooker,[16] or baked as a casserole.[6] Vegetarian and vegan versions of the dish are sometimes prepared.[16][17][18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Stern, J. & Stern, M. (2011). The Lexicon of Real American Food. Globe Pequot Series. Lyons Press. pp. PT59–60. ISBN 978-0-7627-6094-7. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
  2. ^ Stern, J. & Stern, M. (2009). 500 Things to Eat Before It's Too Late: And the Very Best Places to Eat Them. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 287. ISBN 978-0-547-05907-5.
  3. ^ López-Alt, J. Kenji (September 23, 2014). "American Chop Suey: The Cheesy, Beefy, Misnamed Stovetop Casserole That Deserves a Comeback". Serious Eats. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  4. ^ a b Livingston, A.D. (2013). Chili: Recipes for a Bodacious Bowl of Red. Lyons Press. pp. 174–175. ISBN 978-1-4930-0605-2.
  5. ^ "Emeril's 'Better Than Mama's' Chili Mac". ABC News. September 8, 2015. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
  6. ^ a b Little, D.D. (2010). Cowboy Food. Infinity Pub. p. 95. ISBN 978-0-7414-6210-7.
  7. ^ a b Shopsin, K. & Carreño, C. (2008). Eat Me: The Food and Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin. Borzoi book. Alfred A. Knopf. p. 237. ISBN 978-0-307-26493-0.
  8. ^ Fiduccia, K. & Rowinski, K. (2013). The Ultimate Guide to Making Chili: Easy and Delicious Recipes to Spice Up Your Diet. Skyhorse Pub. p. 118. ISBN 978-1-62087-189-8.
  9. ^ Rothman, Julie (April 14, 2015). "Recipe Finder - Chili mac". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
  10. ^ "MEAT, FISH, AND POULTRY Recipe No. L 028 02 - CHILI MACARONI" (PDF). United States Army Quartermaster Corps & School. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
  11. ^ "MRE Menus". MRE Info. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
  12. ^ a b Bourland, C.T. & Vogt, G.L. (2009). The Astronaut's Cookbook: Tales, Recipes, and More. Springer New York. p. 101. ISBN 978-1-4419-0624-3.
  13. ^ "Hamburger Helper Chili Macaroni". Healthy Foods and More. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
  14. ^ Smith, A. (2013). The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America. OUP USA. p. 382. ISBN 978-0-19-973496-2.
  15. ^ Campbell, Karly (November 14, 2014). "How To Make Chili Mac". The Huffington Post. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
  16. ^ a b Kuchar, K. (2013). Mac 'N Cheese to the Rescue: 101 Easy Ways to Spice Up Everyone's Favorite Boxed Comfort Food. Ulysses Press. p. 122. ISBN 978-1-61243-168-0.
  17. ^ Greenwood-Robinson, M. (2004). The Essential Net Carb Counter. Pocket Books. p. 110. ISBN 978-1-4165-0319-4.
  18. ^ Robertson, R. (2010). Vegan on the Cheap. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 131. ISBN 978-0-544-18859-4.

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