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When a reader sent me her Cajun-inspired recipe for Chop Suey, I instantly knew that it would be a hit with all of you. This fast, easy, and kid-friendly dinner is perfect for busy weeknights!

Ground beef and pasta come together in this easy dinner recipe for American Chop Suey

While a classic Chinese chop suey includes Asian flavors like bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, and rice, this Southern version of the dish borrows flavors from the Big Easy — like bell pepper, onion, and garlic — for a flavorful, Americanized version of the dinnertime favorite.

The hot sauce on the side is a great way to customize your spice, too!

Southern Chop Suey is an easy stovetop dinner!

Patti participated in my 5-Day Meal Planning Challenge last year, and sent me this chop suey recipe when we were discussing our favorite go-to dinners. It’s one of those great options that comes together with just a few pantry staples, so you can always have the ingredients on hand for a last-minute meal.

P.S. — you’re welcome to join the free 5-day challenge any time by going here!

A satisfying comfort food recipe for American Chop Suey

How do you make American Chop Suey?

Patti’s recipe includes just a few very simple steps. You’ll start by browning ground beef, onion, and garlic in a skillet.

Browned ground beef for Southern Chop Suey

At the same time, boil a box of elbow macaroni pasta. Multi-tasking!Cooked elbow macaroni pasta for Southern Chop Suey

When the pasta is cooked (and drained), and the beef mixture is cooked (and drained), go ahead and combine the two in your big pot.

Stir in some tomato soup, milk, and bell pepper, cover, and let the chop suey warm through for about 20 minutes. Ta-da!!!!

You can season it with salt, pepper, and hot sauce, to taste. Then go ahead and load it up with all of the toppings!
A big comforting pot of Chop Suey is an easy dinner recipe for kids!

A few ideas to finish off your Southern Chop Suey:

  • a few dashes of hot sauce for that Cajun “kick;”
  • chopped fresh parsley or sliced green onion for a bright, green touch;
  • grated cheddar cheese for a melty, gooey topping;
  • diced avocado;
  • a dollop of sour cream to balance out the heat!

Your family will appreciate how versatile this dish truly is, since you can keep it simple and basic for the kiddos — or kick it up with some serious heat for the fiery grownups! And nobody will ever complain about a nice, hefty pile of freshly grated cheddar cheese on top…

Your family will love this ground beef recipe for American Chop Suey

More easy ground beef recipes that you might enjoy:

Southern "Big Easy" Chop Suey

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
0 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings 16 cups
Calories 211.2 kcal
This fast, easy, and kid-friendly dinner is perfect for busy weeknights!


  • 1 (16 ounce) package elbows pasta
  • 1 sweet onion, finely diced
  • 1 ½ lbs. ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
  • 1 sweet bell pepper (any color), chopped
  • 2 cans (10.75 ounces each) condensed tomato soup (NOT diluted)
  • 1 ¾ cups milk
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Hot sauce, to taste
  • Optional garnish: grated cheddar cheese, fresh parsley or sliced green onions


  • In a large pot, cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain; return to pot.
  • Meanwhile, heat about 1 teaspoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté onion, beef, and garlic in the skillet until onion is tender and beef is no longer pink (about 7-10 minutes). Drain fat from skillet.
  • Transfer beef mixture to the pot with the cooked pasta. Stir in chopped bell pepper, tomato soup, and milk.
  • Cover pot and simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add hot sauce, if desired.
  • Serve in individual bowls and garnish with grated cheese, parsley, or green onions, if desired.


Cooking for a Smaller Family? Cut the ingredients in half. The rest of the cooking instructions remain the same.


Serving: 1cupCalories: 211.2kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 14.2gFat: 3.2gSaturated Fat: 1.1gCholesterol: 24.9mgSodium: 187.9mgPotassium: 282.2mgFiber: 1.5gSugar: 6.2g
Keyword: easy dinner, ground beef, pasta
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Southern
Author: Blair Lonergan

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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  1. James Card says:

    Cheddar cheese melts well on macaroni, but it will be perfect if you add a little parmesan to it.