This chili beef and shells is an easy, hearty meal of ground beef, prepared chili, chili beans, and cooked pasta.
Who doesn’t like a chili recipe with beef and beans? And what if it has lots of melted shredded cheese and green onions on top? What is not to love? This meal will become a new weeknight favorite.
What should you watch while eating chili beef and shells?
The finale of Season 3 of The Boys. Forget the new Thor, these are the superheroes that I am here for! If you have not watched this show yet, you can now binge all seasons on Prime Video.
What beer should you pair cheesy beef and shells with?
The beer: Boss Tweet Double India Pale Ale from Old Nation Brewing
A big plate of this cheesy chili mac needs a big beer with a big flavor and this double India pale ale paired perfectly with this dish.
This ground beef and shells recipe has-
- Cooked ground beef. I like to use lean ground beef for this so that there isn’t much grease that needs to be drained after it cooks.
- Seasonings. Use chili powder, seasoning salt, pepper, ground mustard, paprika, onion powder, and minced garlic
- Medium pasta shells. These pasta shells are large enough that the sauce melds into the center of the noodles.
- A few different canned ingredients to easily finish off the recipe. One can each of chili beans, chili with no beans, and tomatoes.
- Shredded cheese and green onions. Sprinkle the top with sharp cheddar cheese and diced green onions.
Visit YouTube for a video on how to make
Chili Beef and Shells
How to make chili beef and shells step-by-step
Start by cooking the shell pasta according to the package directions. Instead of elbow macaroni, I am a fan of making dishes like this with cooked shells because they give a few more envelopes for the sauce to meld into.
The best ground beef to use for this recipe I find is anything above 80/20. Add the ground beef to a large skillet and cook over medium heat, breaking up the beef as it cooks. About halfway through the cooking process, I add the minced garlic and seasonings.
Drain the grease before adding the rest of the ingredients.
The chili sauce is made with simply one can of chili no beans and a can of chili beans.
Drain the can of diced tomatoes and add those to the pan too.
Take the shells off the heat and pour them into a strainer to remove the water.
Add the pasta to the chili and ground beef and stir.
While this dish is made without sour cream as I’ve seen in other chili macaroni dishes, I do add 1/4 of the shredded sharp cheese to the mixture and let it melt into the dish.
Finally, top with the rest of the cheese and diced green onions.
Heat over medium/heat for about 4 minutes to melt the cheese.
Tips & Variations
- I like to use medium shells for this dish. It gives the chili sauce lots of nooks and crannies to get into, but you can swap it out for elbow macaroni.
- Swap out the ground beef for ground turkey or chicken.
- To make this creamy, add 1/4 cup of heavy cream to the beef and chili sauce before adding the pasta.
- You can make your own homemade chili beans with this recipe from Savor the Best.
Let leftovers cool and add to a covered container and refrigerate. Eat within 3 days. Reheat in the microwave by the bowl or heat on the stovetop in a pan with 1/4 cup of beef broth.
Like most pasta recipes, I do not recommend freezing this recipe. Ground beef can be kept in the freezer in a flattened Ziploc freezer-proof bag for up to 3 months. Canned items and pasta are shelf stable for 6 months or more. Purchase these ingredients when on sale to keep to use as part of this recipe in the future.
More chili recipes
And here you are….
Chili Beef and Shells
- medium stockpot
- large saute pan
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon Spanish paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 8 ounces medium pasta shells cooked according to package directions
- 15.5 ounces chili beans
- 15.5 ounce chili no beans
- 14.5 ounces diced tomatoes drained
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
- 2 stalks green onions diced
- tortilla chips for serving
- Cook the pasta shells according to package directions.8 ounces medium pasta shells
- Add the ground beef to a large saute pan over medium/high heat until no longer pink.1 pound ground beef
- When the beef is about 1/2 way cooked, sprinkle the seasonings and add the garlic over the top of the meat. Stir to combine the seasonings with the meat.1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard, 1/2 teaspoon Spanish paprika, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 2 teaspoons chili powder, 2 garlic cloves
- Drain grease as needed for the type of beef used.
- Open both cans of chili and empty into the pan into the ground beef. Drain the tomatoes then add those to the pan too.15.5 ounces chili beans, 15.5 ounce chili no beans, 14.5 ounces diced tomatoes
- Drain the water from the pasta and add to the pan.
- Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the cheese into the chili mixture.2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
- Heat and stir the chili mac until the cheese is melted.
- Top with the rest of the cheese and diced green onions.2 cups shredded sharp cheddar, 2 stalks green onions
- Turn up the heat to the pan and let it melt for about 4 minutes.
- Serve with tortilla chips. Enjoy!tortilla chips
Tips for making this recipe:
- Make sure to drain any extra grease from the pan if you are using high-fat content ground beef.
- To store: add to a covered container. Reheat in the microwave bu the bowl or reheat in a saucepan with 1/4 cup beef broth. Eat within 3 days.
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Last Updated on April 11, 2023 by Erin@BottomLeftoftheMitten