TURKEY CHILI MAC & CHEESE MADE IN ONE POT
This ground turkey chili mac and cheese has been twice in just one week! My kids love it. I love it. My husband loves it. It is so cheesy, delicious, full of pasta, and a yummy ground turkey chili with pinto beans and my secret chili ingredient…. cocoa powder. It makes any chili recipe so much better. Just try it 🙂
The best part of this recipe is that it all cooks in just one pot. The ground turkey and the pasta all in the same pot which makes for an easy, 30 minute weeknight dinner idea.
HOW TO MAKE GROUND TURKEY CHILI MAC AND CHEESE
Ground Turkey, Onion, and Salt – Cook and crumble the ground turkey until it’s no longer pink. Drain any extra grease or liquid. Ground turkey tends to give off liquid because it is so lean, so I always drain it.
Chicken Broth, Tomato Sauce, Pinto Beans – Add these to the cooked and drained ground turkey mixture right in the same pot!
Chili Seasoning, Garlic Powder, Cumin, Cocoa Powder – Add these in with the above mixture and stir everything together. Bring it to a boil.
Small Shell Pasta – Once boiling add the dry small shell pasta and bring it to a boil again. Once boiling, cover the pot with a lid and reduce heat to medium low. Let simmer/cook for 20 minutes.
Shredded Cheese – Add the shredded cheese and stir it all together. That’s it!
MY TIPS FOR THIS ONE POT DINNER RECIPE
- Can I substitute the ground turkey with something else? You can use ground beef if that’s what you prefer but we love it with the ground turkey so I highly recommend using it.
- What kind of onion should I use? You can use any onion you want. I always use a yellow onion but a white onion or a sweet Vidalia onion would all work great.
- Should I use low-sodium chicken broth or regular chicken broth? This recipe has been tested using full salt chicken broth. You can use low-sodium to reduce the sodium content if wanted. It may affect the end flavor just slightly. I have also used chicken stock in this recipe with great results.
- Do I have to use the small shell pasta? After testing this recipe several times the small shell pasta is the best one to use. It’s small, it cooks in the time given, and it’s about the same size as the other ingredients like the beans and ground turkey crumbles, so it’s easier for little ones to eat. If you must use another pasta I would stick with something similar in size like elbow pasta or medium shell pasta.
- How can I make this spicier? This dish as is, is not spicy, it’s just flavorful. All 4 of my kids eat it with no problems. If you want it spicy then try adding some cayenne pepper in with the other spices. Garnish with jalapenos. You can even add in a can of diced green chili peppers if wanted.
TRY THESE OTHER GROUND TURKEY RECIPES
- turkey taco rice skillet
- crock pot turkey sloppy joes
- white bean turkey chili
- green chili turkey tacos
- turkey chili taco soup
- turkey taco burrito bowls
- pesto turkey skillet
- greek turkey meatballs
One Pot Turkey Chili Mac and Cheese
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1 onion finely diced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 2 cans (8 oz each) tomato sauce
- 1 can (15 oz) pinto beans drained & rinsed
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon cocoa powder
- 3 cups small shell pasta (dry, do not cook beforehand)
- 2 cups shredded cheese (I use Colby Jack)
- In a large skillet pan over medium-high heat, cook and crumble the ground turkey, onion, and salt until the turkey is no longer pink. Drain any excess liquid (there will be some from the turkey).* Make sure that the skillet pan you use has high sides and a lid. I use a 3 QT pan for this recipe.
- Add the chicken broth, tomato sauce, pinto beans, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and cocoa powder. Stir together and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling add in the dry pasta and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and cover with the lid. Cook for 15-20 or until all the liquid is absorbed. *Mine is usually done right around 18 minutes.
- Take the lid off and add the shredded cheese. Stir to combine and melt the cheese. It's ready to eat now!
- Can serve with sour cream, green onions, and additional shredded cheese if wanted.