Chili Pasta Bake is a delicious and easy to make recipe that’s great for weeknight dinner. Made with ground turkey, canned beans, and chili seasoning, this cheesy comfort food takes just minutes to put together!
It’s dinnertime and you need to get something on the table fast! This recipe for Cheesy Chili Pasta is a great option to have on hand for busy weeknights. You probably already have all of the ingredients on hand and it’s so simple to make!
Be sure to also check out my one-pot Cheesy Taco Pasta recipe that uses similar ingredients and flavors and tastes like homemade Hamburger Helper!
Why this recipe is the BEST!
If you enjoy making baked pastas, you are going to love this recipe for Chili Pasta Bake! It’s a simple baked pasta with delicious southwestern flavors.
This recipe is the best way to get your chili and pasta fix in one place. The hearty sauce for this recipe is delicious enough to be a main course.
You only need a few ingredients for this Chili Pasta Bake, most of which you probably already have on hand. Here, I like to use ground turkey, but you could substitute whatever ground meat or meat alternative you have on hand.
This is also a great make ahead recipe. You can prepare the entire dish, refrigerate, then bake when you are ready to serve. It’s also super kid-friendly and always a hit with whoever tries it.
Give this recipe a try today. I guarantee it’ll be one of your family favorites!
The ingredients for this dish are simple: round pasta shells, ground turkey, onion, garlic, chili seasoning, pinto beans, canned tomatoes, and cheddar cheese.
- Pasta: I recommend using a short pasta for this recipe, one that works well with the chunky sauce. Rotini pasta, penne, ziti, or rigatoni are all good options.
- Ground Turkey: Any ground meat works here. You could use ground turkey, beef, chicken, or even a plant-based ground meat.
- Chili Seasoning: To keep things simple, I use either chili or taco seasoning in this recipe. You can find packets or larger containers of seasoning in the grocery store.
- Pinto Beans: Pinto are a great option here because they hold their shape better than some white beans. You could also substitute black beans or kidney beans.
Read on to see how simple this recipe is to make!
How to Make Chili Pasta Bake
With little prep and hands on time, you can put together this recipe for Chili Pasta Bake in no time! That’s why it’s so perfect for weeknight dinner.
To start, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a pot of water to boil. Cook a 16 ounce box of pasta until al dente, according to package instructions. Save half a cup of pasta water, drain, and set aside.
Step 1: In a large pot or dutch oven, heat the oil. Add in the ground turkey (or whatever meat you are using) and cook until slightly browned. Add in the onions and continue cooking until meat is cooked through. Stir in the chili seasoning and garlic and cook for an additional minute.
Step 2: Add in reserved pasta water along with a two cans of diced tomatoes and pinto beans. Bring to a simmer and let cook for about 5 minutes.
Step 3: To the pot, add in the cooked pasta and one and a half cups of shredded cheddar cheese.
Step 4: Stir together the pasta, cheese, and sauce until well combined. Mixture will be thick.
Step 5: Pour the pasta in a large casserole dish. Or use a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with high sides.
Step 6: Sprinkle on the remaining shredded cheddar cheese. (Add more if you’d like!)
Step 7: Bake in preheated oven until the cheese is melted and the pasta is bubbling; about 20-25 minutes.
Step 8: If desired, garnish with diced green onions. Let the Chili Pasta Bake sit for about 5 minutes before serving. This dish is delicious as is or even better with a dollop of sour cream on top.
Recipe Tips and Substitutions
Be sure to follow my tips and tricks for making the best chili pasta bake recipe:
- You could substitute ground beef or chicken for the ground turkey. If the meat is frozen, cook it low and slow, breaking it up with a spoon as it cooks.
- Don’t have cannellini beans? You can also substitute kidney beans, pinto beans, or black beans.
- If you don’t have chili seasoning or taco seasoning available, you can substitute with some chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, kosher salt, and whatever other seasonings you enjoy in your chili. Check out this Homemade Chili and Taco Seasoning Recipe from My Baking Addiction for ideas.
- Also, note that the chili seasoning packets tend to be on the mild side, which is great for my family! But if you wanted to add some heat, you could add in a teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes or ¼ teaspoon of cayenne.
- You can top with whatever shredded cheese you like. Also, you can substitute non-fat Greek yogurt for the sour cream.
- Great topped like traditional chili with jalapeños, onions, salsa, and chips.
Leftover chili is perfect for making chili pasta bake. Just mix together the chili with pasta and shredded cheddar cheese. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, or until the mixture is warm and bubbly.
Yes, you can prepare this recipe ahead of time and bake later. Cover and refrigerate the dish until ready to bake. Then, cook as instructed, adding 5-10 minutes to the cooking time.
Chili and pasta is the perfect combination! Spoon the hot chili over pasta or bake it with pasta and cheddar cheese. Then garnish how you would normally garnish a bowl of chili with ingredients like sour cream, green onions, jalapenos, and salsa.
More Baked Pasta Recipes!
Nothing screams comfort like a delicious baked pasta recipe! Here are some of my favorites that I know you are going to love too:
Chili Pasta Bake
- 9 x 13 baking dish
- 1 pound rotini pasta (can substitute any short pasta)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 cup diced onion (about ½ an onion)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons chili or taco seasoning mix
- 2 15 ounce cans diced tomatoes
- 1 15 ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
- diced green onion and sour cream for serving (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and position oven rack in the center of the oven. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook the pasta until al dente, according to package instructions. Reserve ½ cup of pasta water and drain; set aside.
- In a large pot or dutch oven, heat oil over medium high heat. Add in the ground turkey and cook for about 2 minutes, breaking up with a spoon. Add in the diced onion and continue cooking until the meat is no longer pink and the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and chili or taco seasoning and cook for another minute.
- To the pot, add in the diced tomatoes with juices, pinto beans, and reserved ½ cup of pasta water. Bring mixture to a boil and then simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the cooked pasta and 1 ½ cups of shredded cheddar cheese. Pour the pasta mixture into a large baking pan and top with remaining ½ cup of cheddar cheese. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the mixture is bubbly, melted, and heated through. Serve with sliced green onions and sour cream (optional)