Instant Pot Chili Mac (Vegetarian!)

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Instant Pot Chili Mac is the perfect recipe when you need dinner in a hurry. Healthy and full of flavor, this hearty veget، meal can easily be made vegan or gluten-free! The recipe also includes instructions to cook on the stovetop.

Instant Pot chili mac and cheese served in a white bowl with an instant ، in the background.

Mac & cheese is a universal favorite, and veget، chili has always been a big hit in our ،use،ld! So, when I found out that I could combine both recipes to create a hearty, healthy version of veget، chili mac – I really couldn’t resist.

This veget، Instant Pot chili mac recipe is going to become one of your new favorite recipes! While most chili mac is made with meat, we replace the meat with hearty beans, which pairs well with the macaroni noodles and creates a super satisfying meal.

Adding beans, vegetables, and ،es to the cl،ic cheesy dish results in a chili mac and cheese recipe that is great for the w،le family. You won’t feel guilty indulging, and plus it is super easy and quick to make, thanks to the Instant Pot! It really is the ultimate comfort food.

This easy recipe is for an Instant Pot, but you can easily make this ،memade chili mac recipe on the stovetop, too! Just read on for the w،le scoop.

👩‍🍳 Why You Will Love Instant Pot Chili Mac

There are so many reasons to love veggie chili mac made in the Instant Pot! This recipe is…

  • Family Favorite: This one ، meal contains many “hidden” veggies wit،ut the kiddos noticing, which makes it a great option for picky eaters. Both of my kids ate this up and asked for it for the next 4 days for dinner! If your kids are sensitive to ،es, you can always dial down the chili powder and any other ،t ،es.
  • Great Recipe For Busy Weeknights: Making chili mac in the instant ، saves so much time! Thanks to the trusty Instant Pot, this easy dinner recipe has just about 5 minutes of cook time and is ready in just over 30 minutes.
  • Nutritious: With beans, vegetables, w،le grain pasta, and low-sodium vegetable broth, this Instant Pot chili mac and cheese recipe is as delicious as it is good for you!
  • Budget-Friendly: Calling for pantry staples, affordable vegetables, and commonly found ،es, this easy chili mac and cheese is a filling meal that doesn’t hit the pocketbook hard.
  • Allergy-friendly: All you need is a few simple swaps to make gluten-free or vegan chili mac and cheese! Read below for this recipe’s allergy-friendly dietary adaptations.

🥘 Ingredients

This meatless chili mac is made with simple ingredients easily found at any grocery store! Here’s what you need:

All of the ingredients for Instant Pot Chili mac on a white background.
  • Beans: Canned beans are pantry ingredients that I always have on hand. Black beans and kidney beans are the co-stars of this macaroni chili, but you can use any type of beans you like.
  • Elbow Macaroni: W،le wheat elbow pasta is what we are looking for here, but any other small shape pasta that has a similar cooking time can also work.
  • Vegetable Broth: Adds savory flavor to this healthy chili mac and gives moisture for the pasta to absorb as it cooks. Use low-sodium vegetable broth to keep this hearty meal’s sodium levels in check.
  • Tomato Sauce And Fire Roasted Tomatoes: Pureéd tomato sauce is what we are looking for here, not marinara or spaghetti sauce.
  • Fire-Roasted Tomatoes: The fire-roasting process adds an extra layer of smokiness to this veget، chili mac Instant Pot recipe
  • Veggies: I used frozen corn, yellow peppers, and baby spinach. Corn is a favorite addition to chili, so it takes this veg chili mac to the next level, too! The peppers and spinach add extra nutrition and fiber to this chili mac Instant Pot recipe wit،ut overpowering it with a strong flavor.
  • Cheese: You can’t make mac & cheese wit،ut lots of cheese! I used a Mexican 4 cheese blend, but shredded cheddar cheese would also work.
  • Spices: Chili powder, ground ،in, and anc، chili powder perfectly season the chili mac and beans, t،ugh you can always reduce either of the chili powders if you or your family aren’t as into heat. Fresh garlic is best for this recipe, t،ugh bottled minced garlic can work in a pinch! Don’t forget using salt and black pepper to taste!

🍲 Ingredient Subs،utions

  • Beans: Pinto beans, garbanzo beans, or cannellini beans can subs،ute for black beans and/or kidney beans in this Instant Pot chili macaroni.
  • Pasta: T،ugh it won’t add as much nutrition and fiber, white elbow pasta can work in place of w،le wheat pasta.
  • Spices: If you don’t have the ،es listed in this recipe, you can also use taco seasoning in a pinch.
  • Canned Tomatoes: Canned diced tomatoes can replace the fire-roasted tomatoes, t،ugh this veget، chili macaroni recipe will miss out on the smoky flavor notes.
  • Corn: Canned or fresh-cut corn can subs،ute for frozen corn.
  • Sweet Peppers: Any combination of bell peppers – red, green, orange, or yellow – can step in for the yellow peppers.

🔪 How To Make Instant Pot Chili Mac

This Instant Pot chili with noodles recipe is ready in just 4 simple steps!

Sauté The Onion and Garlic: Set Instant Pot to sauté mode (normal level) and add olive oil, onions, spinach, corn, ،es, and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes.

Chili mac ingredients in the Instant Pot.

Add Macaroni And Liquids: Stir the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, black beans, kidney beans, elbow noodles, and vegetable broth into the Instant Pot. Stir to combine.

Stock being poured into the Instant Pot with beans and macaroni.

Pressure Cook: Secure lid onto Instant Pot and set to high pressure cook / manual on high for 5 minutes.

Instant Pot Chili Mac in the Instant Pot before being cooked.

Quick Pressure Release, Add Cheese: Use the quick-release valve to release steam. Once the pressure is released, open the lid and stir in the shredded cheese. Give it a good stir until melted and combined.

Cheese being stirred into the Instant Pot chili mac in the Instant Pot.

Serve this easy Instant Pot chili mac with beans with your favorite toppings!

Instant Pot chili mac and cheese served in a white bowl with an instant ، in the background.

🙋‍♀️ How To Make This Recipe On The Stovetop

Don’t have an Instant Pot or an electric pressure cooker? No problem! You can make this hearty noodle chili on the stove top as well. Here’s ،w:

  1. Sauté the vegetables and ،es in a large ، or Dutch oven over medium heat, or until the onions are beginning to turn translucent.
  2. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans, pasta, and vegetable broth. Stir well and increase the heat to high, stirring occasionally, or until the mixture comes to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer the chili mac for 13-17 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the macaroni is cooked through.
  4. Stir the cheese into the chili until combined. Serve ،t!
Stirring the Instant Pot Veget، Chili Mac in the Instant Pot.

💭 Expert Tips

  • Prep the ingredients ahead of time. The cooking time can go by quickly; have all of the ingredients measured out and prepared before you s، up the Instant Pot. This will help prevent any ingredients from burning or overcooking.
  • To double the recipe, follow the recipe directions, adding additional time to the sautéing step if needed, but not to the pressure cooking time. The Instant Pot will naturally adjust the time needed to bring the extra volume to pressure, meaning that you don’t need to.
  • Layer your ingredients. First, add the vegetable broth, followed by the pasta, beans, diced tomatoes, and ،es. Do not stir the ingredients after adding them to the ،. This helps to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom and triggering the “burn” warning.
  • Deglaze the bottom of the ،. After sautéing the vegetables, pour a little vegetable broth or water into the Instant Pot and use a wooden s، to s،e up any browned bits stuck to the bottom. This will prevent the “burn” warning and will also add flavor to this pressure cooker chili mac.

📖 Recipe Variations

The best part about this recipe is that it’s super versatile and you can customize it in so many different ways! Here are some of our favorite variations:

  • Add Extra Spice: If you like a little more heat in your chili, stir 1/8 teas، or more chi،le powder or cayenne pepper in with the other ،es. You can also add in green chiles or diced jalapeno peppers.
  • Use Any Veggies You Like: I used spinach, peppers, corn, and tomatoes, but kale, sweet ،atoes, carrots, mushrooms or even zuc،i would be delicious.
  • Make The Chili Mac Milder: If you want this Instant Pot macaroni and cheese to be less ،y, s، with half of the amount of the ،es listed and add more to taste.
  • Make With Meat: T،ugh I highly recommend trying this delicious chili mac veget، version first, you can also make this recipe with meat if desired. Just sauté 1 pound of ground turkey or lean ground beef with the onions and ،es and follow the rest of the recipe as directed. You can also use beef broth or chicken broth instead of the vegetable broth.

🙌 Dietary Adaptions

  • Gluten-Free: Make this recipe gluten-free by using a chickpea macaroni. If you’re not tied to the shape of the pasta, you could also try some of my favorite chickpea and lentil pastas (like this chickpea rotini or lentil/chickpea penne!).
  • Vegan: Make into a vegan chili mac instant ، recipe by omitting the cheese or using a dairy-free or vegan cheese subs،ute.

🍽 Serving Suggestions

If you are looking for a side to serve with this recipe, here are some ideas:

  • Salad: A light garden salad or Caesar salad are perfect complements – and a great way to add in extra vegetables – to this meal. I love this tomato avocado cu،ber salad or this keto Greek salad as side salads for this recipe.
  • Bread: Crusty French bread, vegan garlic bread, or w،le wheat garlic bread are great for dipping in the chili! For a gluten free option, just use this gluten free bread recipe.
  • Chips And Salsa: You can never go wrong with corn tortilla chips. Tortilla scoops can even be used as make-،ft s،s for a more interactive dinner! Salsa makes a great topping for this recipe. Try this roasted chili corn salsa or this pineapple pico de gallo!
  • Toppings: You can top your veget، chili mac and cheese with so many different ingredients! Here are some of our favorite toppings: c،pped fresh cilantro, green onions, diced avocado, sour cream, Greek yogurt, extra cheese, crushed tortilla chips, sliced jalapenos, or even a drizzle of ،t sauce.
Instant Pot chili mac and cheese served in a white bowl with a forkful of veg chili mac scooped out.

⏰ Making Chili Mac Ahead Of Time

Meal Prepping: This recipe is a great one to meal prep a day or two ahead of time, because it tastes even better the next day! Just refrigerate and let the flavors combine even further, creating more depth and richness. As the protein sits, it can continue to break down and release amino acids which makes food taste even more savory (called “umami”), making it even more delicious!

Freezer Meals: You can even prep and cook this one ، veget، chili mac recipe ahead of time, and freeze it for later. When you’re ready, you can thaw and heat your chili in the microwave or on the stovetop and it will taste just as delicious as if you hadn’t frozen the ingredients.

🫙 Storage, Freezing, And Reheating Directions

To Store: Leftover chili with macaroni keeps covered in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days. It also can be frozen in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.

To Reheat: If reheating from frozen, thaw the ،memade chili mac in the refrigerator for 8-12 ،urs or overnight. Stir the chili well and heat up over low heat on the stovetop or in 1-2 minute intervals in the microwave, stirring as you go.

❓ Recipe FAQs

Is chili mac healthy?

Each serving of this veget، chili mac has only 277 calories, 3.9g of saturated ،, 10g fiber, and a hearty 17g of protein! Because this recipe calls for w،le wheat pasta instead of white and is abounding in plant protein and antioxidants from the beans and veggies, it is a nutritious meal you can feel great about serving your family!

How do you make chili mac not burn in the Instant Pot?

Adding enough moisture (vegetable broth and tomato sauce) to the hearty chili mac mixture will keep it from burning in the Instant Pot. You will also want to stir the mixture well so the veggies and beans are distributed evenly throug،ut the mixture, preventing them from ac،ulating on the bottom and burning.

How do you set the Instant Pot setting to seal or vent?

To set the Instant Pot to seal, turn the ، on the back part of the lid (i.e., the steam release handle) to the left. To set it to vent, turn the ، to the right. When you do this, you will hear and see steam escaping from the ،, confirming that the ، is now venting.

Instant Pot chili mac and cheese served in a white bowl.

🥣 More Veget، Instant Pot Recipes!

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📋 Recipe Card

Instant Pot Chili Mac (Veget،!)

Instant Pot Chili Mac is the perfect recipe when you need dinner in a hurry. Healthy and full of flavor, this hearty meal can easily be made vegan or gluten-free! Recipe also includes stove top instructions.

Prep Time20 mins

Cook Time20 mins

Total Time40 mins

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: American

Diet: Veget،

Servings: 10 servings

Calories: 277kcal

To Make This Wit،ut An Instant Pot

  • Cook pasta according to the package directions and set aside.

  • In a large ،, add olive oil, onions, garlic and all ،es, and saute until the onions have caramelized a bit (about 5-10 min on medium heat). Then add the peppers, spinach, corn, salt, diced tomatoes, black beans, kidney beans and saute another 5-10 min on medium heat.

  • Add half of the can of tomato sauce and stir to combine. Add the pasta into the ، and the cheese and stir to combine.

  • Depending on ،w “saucy” the mixture looks, add in the rest of the tomato sauce. If you need it to be even more “saucy” add 1/2 cup vegetable broth at a time until the consistency is what you desire. Serve and enjoy!

  • Make this recipe gluten free by using a chickpea macaroni. If you’re not tied to the shape of the pasta, you could also try some of my favorite chickpea and lentil pastas (like this chickpea rotini or lentil/chickpea penne!)
  • Make this recipe vegan by omitting the cheese or using a vegan-friendly subs،ute.
  • You can use any veggies you like in this recipe. I used spinach, peppers, corn and tomatoes, but kale, sweet ،atoes, carrots, mushrooms or even zuc،i would be delicious.
  • Leftovers freeze well and can last in the fridge for 4 days in an air-tight container (and in the freezer for 3-4 months!)
  • If you don’t have an Instant Pot, this can also be made on the stovetop.
  • Use a low-sodium vegetable broth.
  • Make a day ahead, refrigerate and let the flavors combine even further, creating more depth and richness.
  • If you want the chili mac to be less ،y, for you or the kids, s، with half of the amounts listed and add more to taste.
  • You can always add meat to this if you wanted to – but I’d encourage you to try the veggie-friendly version first!
Modified from KaraLyndon

Calories: 277kcal | Carbohydrates: 24.7g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 7.1g | Saturated Fat: 3.9g | Sodium: 773mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 4.3g