Beef and Macaroni

This is one of my most popular pressure cooker pasta recipes. It's similar to what many Americans from the northeast would call "American Chop Suey" and can easily be adjusted with different spices and vegetables.

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Beef and Macaroni

  • Prep Time: 10 m
  • Cook Time: 16 m
  • Total Time: 26 m
  • Servings:


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • teaspoons dried oregano
  • teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 28 ounces can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • ½ pound dried elbow macaroni, or other pasta
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Parmesan Cheese, for serving


  1. Pre-heat the pressure cooker using the BROWN setting.
  2. Add the oil and brown the beef. Avoid breaking up the beef too much, but let it cook in larger chunks. Add the onion, peppers, herbs and spices, salt and pepper and continue to cook for a few minutes, stirring well.
  3. Add the tomatoes, stock, ketchup and elbow macaroni and lock the lid in place.
  4. Pressure cook on HIGH for 6 minutes.
  5. Reduce the pressure with the QUICK-RELEASE method and carefully remove the lid. Give the ingredients a good stir, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve with grated Parmesan cheese or for a cheesy dish, stir in the grated Cheddar cheese.
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Comments (51)Post a Reply

  1. 5 stars
    This recipe is incredible … easy to make and the flavors are off the charts. It’s supposed to serve 6, but I only manage to get 4 meals out of it. Can’t imagine why .

    1. Hi Lee. You can definitely make this on the stovetop. I think the best way is to cook the pasta separately and make the sauce on the stovetop without adding any stock. Then, marry the two together and enjoy.

  2. I saw this recipe and quickly got pen and pad to write it down. When I got to the recipe I found it to be for pressure cookers, which I do not have.
    My question is, can it be made on the stove top. I was thinking browning the beef and sauteing the onion and peppers and then finishing in a stock pot adding cooked pasta.

    Do you think that would work. I really do miss seeing you on QVC. I do enjoy your FB postings.

    1. Hi Sandra. Yes – that’s exactly how to make it on the stovetop. I would eliminate the stock, however, if you are going to add cooked pasta.

    2. Hi Sandra, You can make this on the stovetop. I would make the sauce and pasta separately on the stovetop just as you thought, but I would leave the stock out of the sauce. If you want to cook everything in one pot, then leave the stock in and be prepared to add about another ½ cup. In a pressure cooker, there is no evaporation of liquids, but on the stovetop some of that liquid will evaporate and you do need the liquid to cook the pasta. I think, however, I would make them in separate pots. Hope you enjoy it.

  3. 4 stars
    Our family LOVES this recipe, but every single time I make it the bottom burns. I have added more broth and/or more tomatoes and the result is still the same. Anyone else have this problem? The only change I have made, is to use gluten free pasta. But I also weigh the pasta and add the same amount as regular pasta that the recipe calls for. Any advice would be great. Thank you!!

    1. Hi Jen. Make sure you give everything a good stir before locking the lid and setting the pressure. Then, as the cooker comes to pressure and is releasing steam from the valve, give the lid a firm push down to set the seal between the lid and the cooker. This way, you’ll lose as little liquid as possible to steam. It sounds like your cooker probably has a very strong heating element in the bottom so a little more broth (not tomatoes) is a good idea. Sorry you’re having trouble with it.

  4. I check the recipes for fat calories and sugar. Since I am a diabetic and on a diet to loose weight most of the recipes have too much fat, calories and sugar. Do you have any recipes that I could make?

  5. 5 stars
    First time making this in my pressure cooker. It was Yummy!!! It’s a hit with my family also. Will be making it again !

  6. 5 stars
    This was a great recipe. Flavorful, comforting and oh so quick and easy to make. I have tried several of your recipes and they have all turned out great!

  7. 5 stars
    Even though I’m teleworking, some days I still have little time to make dinner for my family. I love to use my pressure cooker whenever possible. When I saw this recipe, I knew it would be a meal my family would enjoy. And it was!
    What I liked about this recipe was that it was easy to prepare. I served it with a salad and garlic bread. The end result was a delicious, flavorful, tasty meal. My sons enjoyed the beef and macaroni with extra cheese! When my husband went for seconds, I knew it was a hit!
    Thanks, Meredith!

  8. In high school my friend Mary Lynn would make this after school. However, she did not use 1/2 as many ingredients as you list. I have been asking her for the recipe for years and years and I believe she is somehow protecting the recipe because her mother showed her how to make this. BTW, why are more and more recipes looking like onion is the main ingredient. Really, all the different salsas I’ve tried have way too many onions. I opened a jar of Chi-Chi’s cilantro salsa the other evening and it was loaded with onions. More onions than I think any other ingredient. Your photo of the Beef and Mac does show a lot of onions. Yet the recipe calls for finely chopped. I don’t think yours are finely chopped. What’s with all of the onions? I’m 70 years old. I like onions, but not as much as chefs are using.

  9. Hi! This looks like a great recipe…and its fast too. If I use whole wheat pasta, should I make any changes in the cooking time or the amount of liquid?

    1. Hi Janet. It should be the same. Just make sure the cooking time is roughly half of what it says on the box of pasta.

  10. 5 stars
    OMG love this recipe so easy & taste great.
    I took a pic but don’t see where I can share it

    1. Thanks Pat. I would love to see your photos. You can share your photos on my Facebook page or Instagram and tag #bluejeanchef and they will appear on the bottom of the homepage of my website.

  11. 5 stars
    YUM! Another winner! Thank you, Meredith! I used ground turkey, and didn’t have any bell peppers on hand. So- I substituted with jarred roasted red peppers. Delish!

    1. Hi Jane. The recipe calls for lean ground beef. I usually use 90/10 beef which does not produce much fat and what is left adds flavor to the dish, but you certainly can drain off the beef if you like.

  12. Made this last night for my Sicilian husband. He loves it and has renamed it Italian Goulash!! I added the cheddar cheese. I didn’t eat it, because I despise green peppers and I don’t do hunks of tomato (weird, right?) I made it as listed because I knew he’d love it!

  13. 5 stars
    I made the recipe in a Crock-Pot 6 qt. since I don’t have a pressure cooker. I cooked it with turkey meat and veggies on the stovetop then added the rest of the ingredients and gave it a good stir. Spooned it into the crockpot. I set it on high for 4 hours and checked it after 1 hours and 20 min. The pasta was over cooked – mushy.It still tastes great. I omitted the ketchup in order to avoid added sugar and I didn’t miss it in the dish. I will make it again in the crockpot but check it after an hour. I didn’t set it for low because I wanted it done by dinner and I started it late in the day. Overall great recipe, versatile (perhaps some sausage next time) and comes together quickly.

  14. Made this tonight. Really delicious. Comfort food. When I first started eating it I thought it needed more salt. Then I figure what it needed was for me to eat more of it. That is when all the flavors came together. I do not like tasting one flavor more than another. I also did a half of the recipe. I cooked my ground beef in a separate pan. Since I only had a little of the grease/juices from the beef I felt I needed to add a little more broth next time. Some of the macaroni was not cooked throughly. Still eatable. I will make this recipe again. Thank you Meredith.

  15. 5 stars
    I made this recipe today in my stovetop pressure cooker. We are eating it for dinner right now. It is so full of flavor and the addition of the parmesan and cheddar cheese is an extra treat but i don’t think you really need it. Can’t wait to try another recipe.

  16. 4 stars
    If you make enough for a second meal, to fill a casserole and bake it at 350 for 30 min, you have crunchy bits and almost an American Lasagna .

  17. 5 stars
    Needed something quick to make for dinner and wanted some comfort food as well and this did the trick. I didn’t have a green pepper so I used canned tomatoes that had green pepper, celery and garlic in it (2 cups) and 1.5 cups of a spicy chopped tomatoes in a can. This gave it a hint of heat but definitely not overpowering. Will be making this again.

  18. 5 stars
    Did this again, second time. Perfect proportions, macaroni came out slightly al dente, which by the time you mix in the cheddar, makes it perfect,. Great one BJC

  19. From Nancy….I’m making the base on the stove….x4 pounds of meat and ingredients to eat one recipe and freeze 3 pounds in bags, right now. Will eat one batch tonight with macaroni. Will cook the rest of the macaroni as needed.

  20. 4 stars
    Made this today. Thought it was a little flat. Probably my fault. I added garlic powder and it perked it up a bit. Next time I will add fresh garlic. Yes I am going to make it again. Love your recipes.

    1. Great you were able to adjust the seasonings in the recipe to your liking. Meredith always encourages people to make recipes their own.

    1. Ground sausage would work well with this recipe. You probably will want to drain the fat from the sausage after browning it.

  21. 5 stars
    I have been making this recipe for at least 6 years (when I bought my first pressure cooker that you were demonstrating on QVC! This is easy and DELICIOUS! A family favorite!!!

  22. 5 stars
    I had American Chop Suey in mind for dinner and, poof, this recipe appeared in my feed. I left ot the peppers because I don’t like them, and just upped the tomatoes. It was well spiced and quite delicious.

  23. 5 stars
    Have made this several times and it’s been delicious each time. Very easy and it all disappears each time. Actually, think I’ll make this tonight!

  24. 5 stars
    I made this stove top as you suggested and it was delicious. I added some red pepper flakes for a bit of heat and minced fresh garlic. I’ve been looking for a great beef and Mac dish and yours fits the bill. Thanks!

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