Beef/ Casseroles

Chipotle Chili Mac and Cheese

This smoky chipotle chili mac and cheese is a delicious pasta bake with tons of beef, beans, chorizo, and cheese to make one very tasty meal.

Chipotle chili mac and cheese on an oval white casserole dish.

Today we’re combining two much-loved classics of a good chili with a comforting cheesy mac and cheese to make one genuine flavor bomb of a casserole. Then the creamy chili mac and cheese gets a smoky kick with the addition of chipotle peppers and some chorizo.

Those of you that are familiar with the flavor of chipotle know it to be less about the spice and more about the smoke-infused flavor. They are about as spicy as your average jalapeño and that’s because a chipotle chili is basically a smoke-dried jalapeño. It’s a flavor you won’t want to miss out on.

Chipotle chili mac and cheese in an oval white casserole dish.

There’s a TON of flavor going on in this casserole so be ready! If you’re not a fan of or convinced enough to try some chipotle, you can cook up this milder version of chili mac and cheese, a dressed-up bacon jalapeno mac and cheese, or a spin on another classic with this sloppy Joe tater tot casserole. Otherwise, let’s start cooking!

Preparation of chipotle chili mac and cheese with a pot full of chili beans and beef with cooked pasta and cheese on the side.


Chipotle chili: Adjust the number of chipotle chili peppers used to your liking. Any leftovers can be frozen into cubes for future use. I bought these freezer pods to do exactly that because I got tired of wasting tomato paste and/or chipotle.

As for my preferred brand of chipotle in adobo sauce, I used the La Costena brand for this recipe which I found in the Mexican grocery aisle.

Garlic: You can use fresh garlic or garlic powder, whichever you have on hand, and whatever is easier for you. For when small amounts of fresh garlic are needed like this recipe, I find it easier to use a mini grater but you can also use a garlic press.

Chipotle chili mac and cheese on a white plate.

Chorizo: I like using Goya chorizo which can be minced but you can also use fresh chorizo and slice them into rounds.

Chili seasoning: I used the Brown Bag Chili Mix for this recipe but any other brand works just as well, or you can also make your own.

Cheddar: Extra sharp cheddar is the best because the strong flavor can match the equally strong flavors of chipotle and chorizo.

And that’s about it. This is one casserole you do not want to miss. If you’re the kind of person that loves flavors that punch you in the mouth but also loves some classic, comfort food, look no further. Happy cooking and enjoy!


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Chipotle chili mac and cheese on an oval white casserole dish.

Chipotle Chili Mac and Cheese

  • Author: The Cooking Jar
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 1x


This smoky chipotle chili mac and cheese is a delicious pasta bake with tons of beef, beans, chorizo and cheese to make one very tasty meal.


Units Scale
  • 1 lb. elbows pasta
  • 2 lb. ground beef
  • 7 oz. chorizo, diced or sliced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 (28 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 (16 oz.) cans kidney chili beans in mild sauce
  • 2 (7 oz.) cans chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, diced
  • 1 (2.5 oz.) packet chili seasoning
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded and divided


  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, start making the chili. Over medium-high heat in a dutch oven, brown the ground beef and chorizo until cooked, about 5 minutes. Break up any clumps.
  3. Remove beef mixture and set aside. Drain any excess fat.
  4. In the same pot, saute onions and garlic in some oil until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add in cooked beef mixture, tomatoes, chili beans, chipotle peppers, and chili seasoning. If needed, season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. Add cooked pasta and 1 cup cheddar cheese to the chili and stir to mix well.
  8. Transfer to a 9×13 casserole dish and top with remaining 1 cup cheese.
  9. Bake at 400°F for 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
  10. Dish and serve hot.
  11. Enjoy!
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins

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