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Maw-Maw’s Chili Mac Soup (Hoosier Chili)

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Chili mac soup has the perfect combination of pasta, beef, tomatoes and chili beans for a hearty meal. This is the chili soup we grew up with. It has beef and beans and plenty of macaroni noodles too! 

bowl of chili soup with pasta in it and cheese on top.

Believe it or not, this soup is what we knew as chili growing up.  Of course, the chili I make for the football watching crew these days is quite a bit different than this.  

But you can certainly see why a mom with 6 hungry kids would whip up this more kid friendly version. A mild chili flavor with just enough beans to make it a complete meal and plenty of macaroni to make it kid friendly makes it accessible to everyone.

Of course we knew the difference between chili and this, that is why this was always chili soup and chili was just chili.  We used to eat a lot of chili soup and not much chili.

pot with ground beef, onions and chopped bell peppers inside.

Now we eat a lot of chili, but every once in a while you still need to break out some chili soup.  When you do, be sure to have oyster crackers and cheese on hand.  It’s the only way to fix it!

You want to know the funny thing about chili soup?  If you put a lot of macaroni in it, like I normally do, the leftovers are practically goulash.

spoonful of chili mac soup being lifted out of pot.

The pasta soaks up a lot of the “juice” and magically it turns into something new that is very reminiscent of goulash.  Voila!  It’s like a whole different second meal with no extra effort.

I will have to ask my mom to confirm, but I am pretty sure this is the chili she grew up with as well.  I know she refers to it as Maw-Maw’s recipe, so that has to be the case!  

No matter where the recipe came from, it is sure to be a budge friendly family pleaser on a cold day.

We always make this with elbow macaroni noodles. Then the day I was in the mood to make it for the blog, I went to the pantry to grab a box and guess what… no elbows!

bowl of chili soup with pasta in it.

I was heartbroken and discouraged and almost scrapped the plan to make chili mac, but decided to persevere in the face of adversity. So I forged on with rotini instead. Though it still tasted good, it just wasn’t the same.

More recipes from Maw-Maw: 

Maw-Maw’s Lamb Curry is a simple curry recipe loosely based on Indian curry.  It is a warm and comforting fall or winter meal that is great over rice.

Maw-Maw’s One Pan Scalloped Potatoes and Pork Chops is another great comfort food meal.  The pork chops bake right on top of the scalloped potatoes and both give such great flavor to the other.  All you need is a vegetable and dinner is done!

Maw-Maw’s American Cheese Lasagna is definitely different than you classic lasagna, but oh so good.  It would be fun to have your family be surprised by what is inside!

bowl of chili mac soup with cheese on top, ready to eat.

For another fun pasta filled soup idea, try making taco soup in the instant pot. It is family friendly and super easy to make! Or try slow cooker chicken cacciatore soup for an Italian twist on a tomato and pasta soup.

bowl of chili soup with pasta in it and cheese on top.

Maw-Maw’s Chili Mac Soup

Servings: 12 Servings
Author: Carlee
Chili mac soup has the perfect combination of pasta, beef, tomatoes and chili beans for a hearty meal. This is the chili soup we grew up with. It has beef and beans and plenty of macaroni noodles too! 
4.63 from 8 ratings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 cans chili beans
  • 2 cans kidney beans
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 4 cups tomato juice
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • Optional: small green onion diced
  • 6 oz macaroni noodles or shape of your choice


  • In a large stock pot, cook the ground beef, onions and green pepper (if using) with a bit of salt and pepper until meat is brown and onions are soft.
    1 small onion, 1 pound ground beef, Optional: small green onion
  • Stir in beans, tomatoes, chili powder, broth, and tomato juice. Simmer for at least a half hour or as long as you’d like. Be sure to stir occasionally.
    2 cans chili beans, 2 cans kidney beans, 1 can chopped tomatoes, 2 Tablespoons chili powder, 4 cups tomato juice, 6 cups beef broth
  • Bring to a boil and stir in pasta. Cook to your liking using the instructions on the box to estimate time required.
    6 oz macaroni noodles
  • Garnish with shredded cheese and oyster crackers, if desired.


Serving: 1ServingCalories: 213kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 17gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 878mgFiber: 4gSugar: 4g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Cooking With Carlee” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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Recipe Rating

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen

Saturday 19th of January 2019

I'm making this now, Carlee, but adapting it to what I have on hand. It will be a welcome bowl tonight. I started it in my Instant Pot, and put it on slow cook to finish it up.


Monday 21st of January 2019

That is one of my favorite things about soups, they are so easily adaptable! I hope it is wonderful!


Saturday 19th of January 2019

Oh my goodness, this looks so comforting!!!


Monday 21st of January 2019

It is so warm and yummy! Thanks, Jan!

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen

Thursday 17th of January 2019

This sounds wonderful, Carlee, and so comforting for a wintertime meal. Thank you for sharing!


Monday 21st of January 2019

It is definitely a perfect dinner for a cold day. Thank you!


Thursday 10th of January 2019

I am going to try this recipe and see if my son that is so picky will eat it. Maybe I can disguise the beans with the noodles! It looks so amazing!


Monday 21st of January 2019

Hopefully he likes it enough to not complain about the beans!

Andrea Nine

Wednesday 9th of January 2019

I think that is cool, that this was your chili. It sounds delicious and I would devour it! Yummo!


Monday 21st of January 2019

It is a nice mild version with a comforting pasta twist!