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


Chili mac prepared using macaroni and cheese as an ingredient

Several preparation methods exist. Some recipes incorporate all of the ingredients together, while others are prepared with the ingredients separately layered.[1][10] Those that use cheese may use grated cheese atop the dish,[11] while others mix the cheese throughout the dish. Sometimes, onions or beans are added.[1] 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. The dish may be prepared on a range top in a skillet, in a slow cooker,[12] or baked as a casserole.[6]


Chili mac a la mode[edit]

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]

MRE chili mac[edit]

Chili mac has been a staple dish at American military dining facilities for years.[13] 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.[14]

Taco chili mac[edit]

A variation called "taco chili mac" has been consumed by NASA astronauts in space.[15] It is processed by NASA as a freeze-dried product.[15]

Vegetarian and vegan[edit]

Vegetarian and vegan versions of the dish are sometimes prepared.[12][16][17]

Commercial varieties[edit]

Hamburger Helper brand purveys a prepared boxed version named "Chili Macaroni".[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. ^ 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.
  11. ^ Campbell, Karly (November 14, 2014). "How To Make Chili Mac". The Huffington Post. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ "MEAT, FISH, AND POULTRY Recipe No. L 028 02 - CHILI MACARONI" (PDF). United States Army Quartermaster Corps & School. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
  14. ^ "MRE Menus". MRE Info. Retrieved 1 October 2015.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ Greenwood-Robinson, M. (2004). The Essential Net Carb Counter. Pocket Books. p. 110. ISBN 978-1-4165-0319-4.
  17. ^ Robertson, R. (2010). Vegan on the Cheap. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 131. ISBN 978-0-544-18859-4.
  18. ^ "Hamburger Helper Chili Macaroni". Healthy Foods and More. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved September 9, 2015.

External links[edit]