Creamy Four Ingredient Chili Mac (Instant Pot / Conventional)

Chili, beer, and elbow pasta. I know of no other dinner that takes less effort than the Instant Pot version of this. It's literally for nights when take-out takes too long, and is too much effort. Seriously.

Creamy Four Ingredient Chili Mac (Instant Pot / Conventional)

Chili mac is a thing. And I suspect it's a thing for a few good reasons. Namely, it's a family-friendly dinner solution, something nearly everyone can get behind. Chili + macaroni, what's not to like? I decided to a take a stab at it last week, in part because I was working on this Slow Cooker Black Bean Chili with Kahlua, and I had to go a few rounds to get it just right. So much leftover chili. So much.

Chili Mac: Ingredients

The ingredient list for this chili mac is short and to the point. You combine four ingredients: your favorite chili, a beer (or broth), elbow pasta, and a splash of cashew, coconut milk, or other nut milk. It's as healthful as the chili you use. The last thing I'll say before jumping into the recipe is this, I know of no other dinner that takes less effort than the Instant Pot version of this. It's literally for nights when calling in take-out takes too long, and is too much effort. Seriously.

Creamy Four Ingredient Chili Mac

Don't Skimp on Toppings!

This is where the magic happens. Pile on toppings to boost the chili mac nutritionally, and to flair it out in general. I mean, treat it like a taco bar, or a chili bar - anything you would on those things is fair game here. Also, if you don't have leftover chili on hand - a good canned chili will absolutely work here. I'll put some related thoughts in the head notes.

Creamy Four Ingredient Chili Mac

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Creamy Four Ingredient Chili Mac

3.55 from 11 votes

You can use a homemade chili, or if you're in a time pinch, grab something like Amy's low-sodium spicy chili (you'll need two cans) - you can always adjust your seasoning to taste with more salt, etc. To keep this gluten-free, use a GF pasta. I like to add a bit of creaminess here with a good splash of homemade cashew milk, but if you don't have that on hand, coconut milk is perfect as well.

  • 3 1/2 cups of favorite chili (or two 14-ounce cans)
  • 1 12- ounce beer, or equivalent amount of broth
  • 1/2 cup / 4 ounces water
  • 2 cups of dried elbow pasta
  • a generous splash of cashew or coconut milk
  • to serve, any/all of the following: scallions, salted yogurt (regular on non-dairy), cilantro, red onions, chopped olives
  1. Combine the chili, beer, water, and pasta in the Instant Pot. Close the pot, and secure the lid. SEAL the valve. Select PRESSURE COOK (or MANUAL) and calculate your cooking time. To do this, refer to your pasta package, the time will be half of the shortest recommended cooking time, rounded down to nearest minute. For example my pasta package recommended 8 - 10 minutes. Take the smaller number (8), cut in half (4), and round down to nearest whole number (if necessary). SET/ADJUST TIME - in my case, to 4 minutes. 

  2. When finished, carefully QUICK RELEASE pressure by shifting the valve to VENTING. Gently shake or tap the pressure cooker, and then carefully open away from you. Stir in cashew milk. Taste and adjust seasoning, serve topped with lots of scallions, cilantro, red onions, etc.


To make this on a conventional stovetop: Bring the chili, beer, and water to a simmer in one medium pot. Boil the pasta separately in salted water, drain, and stir into the chili. Add the cashew milk, season to taste, and serve with toppings.

For reference, this is the Instant Pot I used for this recipe: Instant Pot DUO Plus 6 Qt 9-in-1

Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
15 mins
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!
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Recipe Rating


I’m making this right now, but my IP keeps telling me over and over again that it is burning… And sure enough, the mixture is getting stuck to the bottom of the pot. This is happening no matter if I pressure cook or high nor low, and I’m having to add a lot of additional liquid each time as well. I think this is something I’m getting wrong with the IP itself. Does anyone have any tips?


I made this today for my 3qt Instant Pot by halving the recipe. It was so easy and a great week day meal. Thanks for all your pressure cooker recipes lately, they are a great source of inspiration!

HS: Thanks Carol!


just wanted to chime in that i tried this recipe last night (with the leftover black bean chili) and it turned out beautifully! i didn’t have any milk in the house, so i just used sour cream as one of the toppings. super-simple and tasty. your quick recipes as of late (especially the instantpot ones) have really been calling to me. thank you!

HS: Thanks GK!


Super excited to try this out with my preschooler! I love that this is quick & easy, yet still adult friendly.

HS: xo Maggie! Your work is beautiful :)!


For those of us who don’t drink alcohol or nut milk, I assume normal milk will suffice?

HS: Or a dollop of creme fraiche ;)!


When still going to school this used to be called the poor man’s dinner, without the beer of course. It kept us alive when it’s all we could afford. It’s good and filling and sometimes I make it just for old times sake.


I saw your photo on Instagram and had to investigate! I love the idea of combining chili, pasta, and beer – it looks delicious!

HS: Thanks Sarah! xx!

Sarah | Well and Full

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