American Chop Suey is more than just a comforting meal; it's an ode to simple, hearty cooking that brings families together around the dinner table. This classic American dish, with its roots in New England, combines tender pasta and savory meat sauce for a meal that's both satisfying and easy to prepare. Whether you're a beginner cook or a pasta lover looking to expand your culinary repertoire, this guide will walk you through making the perfect American Chop Suey.

american chop suey

Ingredients You'll Need

Before we get started, gather the following ingredients:

  • Pasta: 1 pound elbow macaroni or other short pasta
  • Ground Meat: 1 pound of ground beef or turkey
  • Vegetables:
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Tomato Base:
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • Spices and Seasonings:
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Optional Add-ins:
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • A dash of red pepper flakes for some heat

Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Preparing the Pasta

First, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, usually around 8-10 minutes. Drain the pasta and set it aside.

2. Cooking the Meat

In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef or turkey. Break the meat into small pieces as it cooks until it’s no longer pink. Add the onions and garlic to the skillet and sauté until they are soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes. If you are adding bell peppers or mushrooms, now is the time to toss them in.

3. Making the Sauce

Pour the tomato sauce and diced tomatoes (with their juices) into the skillet. Stir in the salt, black pepper, dried basil, and dried oregano. Lower the heat and allow the sauce to simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. This allows the flavors to meld together beautifully.

4. Combining Everything

Once the sauce has had time to simmer, add the cooked pasta to the skillet. Mix everything well to ensure the pasta is fully coated in the sauce. Allow it to cook together for another 5 minutes so the pasta can absorb some of the sauce's flavors.

Tips for Perfect American Chop Suey

  • Seasoning: Adjust the seasoning to your taste. You can add more herbs, a pinch of sugar to balance acidity, or even some Worcestershire sauce for depth.
  • Pasta Cooking Times: Make sure to cook your pasta al dente, as it will continue to cook slightly when mixed with the sauce.
  • Ingredient Substitutions: Feel free to use ground chicken instead of beef or turkey. You can also use whole wheat or gluten-free pasta based on your dietary preferences.

Serving Suggestions

American Chop Suey is a versatile dish that pairs well with various sides:

  • Garlic Bread: Perfect for soaking up any extra sauce.
  • Green Salad: A fresh side to balance the hearty pasta.
  • Steamed Vegetables: Add some extra nutrition with a side of broccoli or green beans.


American Chop Suey is a delightful dish that's easy to make and sure to please everyone at the table. With its straightforward ingredients and simple preparation, it’s perfect for busy weeknights or a cozy family dinner. Give this recipe a try and enjoy the comforting flavors of this classic American meal.

Recipe Card

American Chop Suey


  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano


  1. Cook pasta until al dente, drain, and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, brown the meat. Add onions and garlic, cooking until soft.
  3. Pour in tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Add salt, pepper, basil, and oregano. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Mix in the cooked pasta, cooking for another 5 minutes.


  • Adjust seasonings to taste.
  • Use whole wheat or gluten-free pasta if preferred.
  • Serve with garlic bread, a green salad, or steamed vegetables.

Enjoy your homemade American Chop Suey!

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