Southwest Chicken Chili Mac

This delicious Southwest Chicken Chili Mac is easy to make in a skillet and perfect for picky eaters! It’s packed with chicken, pasta and delicious chili flavors the whole family enjoys!

chicken chili mac in cast iron skillet

Southwest Chicken Chili Mac

It’s time for chili night! Break out your cast iron skillet or favorite pot, dinner is about to be served.  This is a flavorful chicken chili seasoned with fragrant southwest ingredients along with some fun wagon wheel pasta. My boys went nuts for this dish. Top with a little sour cream and enjoy!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Kids as well as adults love this fun dinner recipe!
  • It’s not only easy to make, but delicious!
  • Makes delicious leftovers too!

Try my Taco Turkey Chili Recipe too! Be sure to follow Picky Palate on Instagram for daily recipe inspiration.

chicken chili mac ingredients

What You’ll Need

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make Southwest Chili Mac at home. See the recipe card located at the bottom of the post for full instructions.

  • small pasta shells– Use any small pasta shape you like. The wagon wheels are fun if you can find them.
  • extra virgin olive oil– Olive oil is used to saute the vegetables.
  • onion– I like to get a white onion. Finely chop before adding to hot pan.
  • bell pepper– Finely chop and de-seed bell pepper.
  • fresh garlic– Mince the garlic before adding to pan.
  • cooked chicken breast such as rotisserie– I use rotisserie chicken often for quick dinners.
  • diced tomatoes– Any canned diced tomatoes work great.
  • chicken broth– Look for reduced sodium chicken broth.
  • corn– Drain the can of corn before adding to chili mac.
  • white beans– You can substitute for any white beans you’d like.
  • chili powder– Chili powder adds that great chili flavor to the dish.
  • ground cumin– Cumin is smoky and aromatic. Great in chili recipes.
  • Ranch Dressing Seasoning mix– Find the Ranch Dressing seasoning mix in the dressing isle of the grocery store.
  • fresh cilantro– Fresh cilantro adds color and freshness to the chili.
shredded rotisserie chicken on a plate

How To Make Chicken Chili Mac

Cook Pasta. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and run under cool water to stop cooking.

Saute Vegetables. Heat oil in 9 inch deep cast iron skillet. Stir in onions and peppers, cook stirring until softened about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook stirring for 1 minute.

adding cooked pasta to chili mac

Add Chicken and Chili Ingredients. Place chicken, tomatoes, broth, corn, beans, 1 cup wagon wheel pasta, chili powder, cumin, Ranch seasoning and cilantro into pot, stirring to combine.

Simmer. Stir until well combined. Reduce heat to low and simmer until ready to serve.

chicken chili mac served in cast iron skillet

How To Serve

Serve Chili Mac hot, in individual serving bowls. Top with shredded cheese and more cilantro if desired.

How To Store Leftovers

Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in an airtight container.

Recipe Tips For Success

  • Be careful not to overcook your pasta, it will continue to cook some in the hot chili. I like to check my pasta 2 minutes before the package recommends. Once it’s al dente drain immediately.
  • Use different variations of pasta if you’d like. The wheels are fun, but any small shaped pasta works great.
  • You can substitute the beans for other varieties. Black, kidney and pinto all work well. You can even omit the beans.
  • Try using cooked beef instead of chicken for another varation.

Try More Delicious Chili Recipes

Image of Southwest Chicken Chili Mac

Southwest Chicken Chili Mac

This delicious Southwest Chicken Chili Mac is easy to make in a skillet and perfect for picky eaters! It's a healthy chicken pasta dish for the whole family!
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Southwestern
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 261kcal
Author: Jenny
Print Pin


  • Skillet
  • Stove
  • Dutch Oven or large pot
  • can opener
  • measuring spoons
  • mixing spoon
  • strainer for pasta


  • 8 oz wagon wheel pasta noodles
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped sweet peppers or bell peppers
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 cups cooked shredded chicken breast
  • 10 oz can rotel diced tomatoes mild
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup corn fresh or canned
  • 1/2 cup white beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dry ranch seasoning from packet
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro finely chopped


  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and run under cool water to stop cooking.
  • Heat oil in 9 inch deep cast iron skillet. Add onions and peppers, cook stirring until softened about 5 minutes.
  • Add garlic and cook stirring for 1 minute. Add chicken, tomatoes, broth, corn, beans, 1 cup wagon wheel pasta, chili powder, cumin, Ranch seasoning and cilantro.
  • Stir until well combined. Reduce heat to low and simmer until ready to serve.


Calories: 261kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 127mg | Potassium: 455mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 931IU | Vitamin C: 24mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 3mg
Keywords: chicken chili, chicken chili recipe, chicken pasta dish, chicken pasta recipe, chili mac, chili mac and cheese, chili mac recipe, easy chicken pasta recipe
photo collage of chicken chili mac
71 Responses
  1. Karen

    I finally gave in and made this recipe and although I’m not a huge fan of Chili, my boyfriend absolutely loved it. It was soo easy && healthy, which is a plus!It had a bit of the kick to it so I will have to adjust the seasoning for next time but still very good! This is a good recipe I can make and put in the fridge for whenever my boyfriend plans to be home for lunch–Thanks for the recipe!

  2. RitaB

    Made this for dinner last night and it was AMAZING!! So fast, so easy and definitely full of flavor! We topped the bowls off with shredded co-jack cheese and sour cream! Served with a sweet corn bread. This will be a regular at our house this winter!!

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  5. Katie

    I think i’m going to make this tonight. Going ot use one of the readers advice and add some cream cheese to “tone down the spice” since I have a 3yo. Can’t wait!

    1. Katie

      Well my 3yo wanted mac-n-cheese so…. there was more for my husband and I to eat. Loved it–had 2nds and will add to our rotation!

      A chicken tip–i’ve been buying a package of bone-in chicken breasts each week (they are like $5 for 2 huge pieces). I bake them on Monday (with some poultry seasoning etc.) while im preparing another dinner. Then I shred it after it cools. I can usually get 2 meals out of all that chicken!

  6. Anna

    I did not have any sour cream so I decided to throw some heavy cream in at the end and it is delicious. I also tried it with a little parmesan cheese on it and it is oh so good! Thanks for the recipe!

  7. sweetpumpkin

    What an adventure this recipe was! Right after I began preparing a storm swept in and kept the electricity flickering in and out about 5 times. In the end I had a wonderful result of very yummy chili and a happy husband. I did add more broth since my husband loves broth.

  8. Kimmy

    this was most excellent and super easy!!! I used spicy ranch and also a tex mex rotel, and it gave it an extra kick!! So YUMMY!! Thanks for this great recipe!!

  9. Charline

    This looks amazing! Can you tell me how many portions this recipe is? I have a family of 8…three of which are teenage boys. I just wasn’t sure if I needed to double or triple!?!

  10. carol

    The chicken chili looks great, but with wagon wheel pasta there’s a lot of difference between 8 oz (all of a small box) and a cup. Which is it? I assume it goes in raw.

  11. Erin@TheHumbledHomemaker

    Great recipe! Someone had included a link to this post with their Plan It, Don’t Panic menu plan at Keeper of the Home last week, and I put it on my plan for tonight! My family loved it! Definitely a winner!

  12. Erin

    I made this tonight, and my husband and I loved it. Thanks for sharing your wonderful recipes 🙂

  13. Sarcasm in Action

    Made this for dinner last night, doubled the recipe for everyone to have leftovers today, and it was GREAT!
    The only changes I made was since 2 cans of Rotel made it a tad spicy, I stirred in a half block of cream cheese to “cool” the spice, plus I added cornstarch to thicken it up a bit into a more “stewy” consistency.
    SO GOOD.
    Thanks for sharing. Love your blog and am sharing it with friends who are looking for good recipes as well 🙂

  14. Sara

    This was really good! I did brown rice instead of the pasta (because I was out of pasta). I cooked the rice in the chicken broth then added all the other ingredients. Really good flavor and seasoning was perfect! I think I’ll use black beans next time for a bit more color!

  15. Sarah

    Made this last night and it was a hit! Love that it makes a ton so there is is plenty for leftovers–thanks for sharing the recipe!

  16. Debbie

    I have a question….you say to use 8 oz. of wagon wheels pasta, but then you say to use 1 cup of the boiled pasta. What do you do with the rest of the pasta you boiled? If you boil 8 oz. of dry pasta, you get a lot more boiled pasta than 1 cup. ???

  17. Christan

    Love your site! This recipe is amazing. I am a fan of mexican, southwest, and tex-mex recipes. I followed your recipe, except I made this vegetarian by using vegetable broth with one can white beans and one can black beans.

    Thanks for the ideas!!

  18. Mindy

    This was AWESOME! My little barely-2-year-old keeps asking for more! He is such a picky eater when it comes to trying new things. I thought it was a little spicy (maybe cut back a little on the chili powder if you are sensitive), but my little boy didn’t seem to care – he just wanted a drink of water after his first bowl (he’s working on his 2nd!). Thank you for the great recipe!

  19. Bev

    I made this for our supper tonight and it is delicious, my husband is delighted that there is some leftover for his lunch tomorrow. Thank you Jenny for another wonderful recipe.

  20. Jenny

    Hi everyone, sorry for the website hiccups lately. We just went through a hosting change. Thanks for bearing with us!!

  21. Sues

    This looks awesome! And pretty simple if you get a rotisserie chicken, which is one of the BEST tricks in the book 🙂

  22. Heather (Heather's Dish)

    the wagon wheel pasta is so adorable! i want to make this over the weekend 🙂

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