Home Copycat Recipes Wendy’s Chili Copycat Recipe

Wendy's Chili Copycat Recipe

If you’re looking for comfort food, Wendy’s chili hits the spot.

Imagine savory ground beef alongside sweet, crunchy bell peppers and onions. The beans, creamy and tender, enrich every spoonful.

Meanwhile, the sauce, with its subtle spice and rich tomato flavor, is the perfect finishing touch.

Wendy's Chili
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This hearty, flavor-packed bowl will warm you up from the inside out.

Throw on some ranch oyster crackers and shredded cheese, and you’ll be in Wendy’s chili heaven!

Wendy’s Chili

You don’t have to leave home to get that classic Wendy’s flavor. You can make this copycat chili recipe in your very own kitchen.

You save some cash making a big pot – way more than you’d get at the restaurant. Plus, you’ll have plenty of leftovers to enjoy!

Also, you’re in control. You pick the beef, the beans, the spices – everything. You can tweak it, taste it, and make it better every time.

Homemade Wendy’s chili isn’t just a meal; it’s your masterpiece in a bowl.

Topped view of cooked chili in stainless steel wok.

Ingredients

Here’s what you need to make your own delicious Wendy’s Chili right at home.

  • Ground Beef – Choose 85% lean ground beef; its fat content adds richness and keeps the meat moist.
  • Chili Seasoning – I use McCormick Mild Chili Seasoning, but feel free to choose whatever you like.
  • Onion – For that classic aromatic flavor. Use any yellow or white onion for this.
  • Beans – The kidney beans bring a sweeter quality to the chili, while the pinto beans give it a creamy texture and an earthy flavor.
  • Diced Tomatoes with Green Chili – My favorite is Rotel, but feel free to use any Rotel substitute you prefer.
  • Stewed Tomatoes – Tomatoes bring that rich, distinctive flavor that you can only find in a warm bowl of chili.
  • Tomato Sauce – I’m talking about plain tomato sauce here, so don’t confuse it for tomato juice or spaghetti sauce. Juice is too thin, and spaghetti sauce is seasoned, which we don’t want in this recipe.
  • Green Bell Pepper – Be sure to take out the pith and all the seeds!
  • Vinegar – Its acidity will heighten the flavors of the other ingredients. Balsamic vinegar works great, too.
Chili with ground beef, beans and tomato sauce on wooden bowl.

How to Make Wendy’s Chili

Ready to cook up some Wendy’s chili? Here’s how.

1. Brown the beef in a large pot until no longer pink, about 15 minutes.

2. Add the celery, onion, and bell pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.

3. Add tomatoes, sauce, and seasonings. Stir well and break up any large tomatoes.

4. Mix in the beans and bring to a boil.

5. Simmer the chili for 1 hour on low heat.

6. Finish with vinegar. A splash of vinegar at the end brightens the chili, adding a subtle zing.

7. Enjoy your chili hot, maybe with some crackers and cheese on top.

Can You Make Wendy’s Chili in a Crockpot?

You sure can! Just follow these easy steps:

  1. Brown the ground beef and drain the excess grease.
  2. Add all the ingredients to a slow cooker.
  3. Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours.

How easy is that?

One quick tip for cooking in a slow cooker: take the lid off for the last 20-30 minutes to thicken it up.

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Tips & Variations for the Best Chili

Get the best out of your Wendy’s Chili with these tips and variations.

  • Don’t get teary when chopping onions. Refrigerate them for 30 minutes before chopping. Or if you’re like me (always in a rush), you can do 10 minutes in the freezer. Works like a charm.
  • Cook the onion separately from the beef. Doing so will bring out the flavor and aroma of the onion.
  • Add more spice! Adjust the seasonings or throw in extra chili powder. Or maybe mix in a few minced chipotles or diced jalapenos.
  • Add a splash of beer. Like Guinness in beef stew, it’ll give the chili a deep, robust finish.

For this last variation, I need you to have an open mind.

If you want to enhance the flavor of your chili, a small amount of either dark chocolate, cinnamon, or strong coffee works wonders.

Add cinnamon or coffee at the same time as the other spices.

But if you’re going for the dark chocolate, add it in with the tomatoes and let it dissolve into the dish.

Try it and thank me later.

Chili in a wooden bowl with cheese, sour cream and chopped parsley toppings.

The Best Chili Toppings

There’s an endless variety of chili toppings you can use to make this dish pop.

And there are no rules, either, so go nuts!

That said, here are some of my personal favorites:

  • Shredded Cheese – I like the 4-cheese Mexican. A combination of Monterey Jack, Mild Cheddar, Queso Quesadilla, and Asadero cheese.
  • Tortilla Chips – Adds an extra crunch and a bit of saltiness.
  • Avocados – I could put this on just about anything. And it’s pretty darn healthy!
  • Bacon – Adds a rich, smoky flavor to your chili and a nice crunch.
  • Tomatoes – This one is a bit more unusual. But I love a few fresh-cut cherry tomatoes on my chili.
  • Sour Cream – Adds a creamy texture and helps cool it off.
Bowl of Chili Sitting by a bowl of chips, lemons, and red pepper flakes

How to Store

Chili is a fabulous make-ahead meal because it always tastes better the next day.

After a night in the fridge, the flavors and spices will be even more scrumptious.

But whether you’re making it ahead or just have chili leftovers, you need to know how to store them.

To Store: Let the chili cool to room temperature, then transfer it to a sealed container. Refrigerate for up to 4-5 days.

To Freeze: Divide the chili into freezer bags, leaving a bit of space at the top. It’ll stay good in the freezer for up to 3 months.

To Reheat: For the best flavor, reheat your chili slowly on the stove. Stir it now and then until it’s nice and hot.

What to Serve with Wendy’s Chili

Wondering what goes well with Wendy’s Chili? Try these tasty pairings:

  • Cornbread: A classic, sweet complement to the chili’s savory flavor.
  • Baked Potato: Top a baked potato with chili for a comforting twist.
  • Nachos: Spoon it over nachos for a fun, snackable dish.
  • Rice: Serve chili over rice for a hearty, filling meal.

More Chili Recipes You’ll Enjoy

Best Bowl of Chili
White Chicken Chili
Texas Roadhouse Chili

Wendy’s Chili (Copycat Recipe)

Course: Copycat Recipes, Dinner, SoupCuisine: American
Servings

10

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

1

hour

20

minutes
Calories

535

kcal

This Wendy’s Chili copycat recipe is made with ground beef, bell pepper, onions, diced tomatoes, kidney beans, pinto beans and spices that will warm you up from the inside out!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 pounds ground beef

  • 2 stalks celery

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped

  • 3 (14 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes

  • 1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chiles

  • 1 (14 ounce) can tomato sauce

  • 1 cup water

  • 2 (1.25 ounce) packages chili seasoning

  • 1 (14 ounce) can kidney beans, undrained

  • 1 (14 ounce) can pinto beans, undrained

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  • Place the ground beef in the pot. Press the beef down to form one large patty. Let the bottom brown for 8 to 10 minutes, then use a spatula to break it into bite-size crumbles. Cook until no longer pink (about 5 more minutes).
  • Stir in the celery, onion, and green bell pepper, and cook until the onion is translucent (about 5 minutes).
  • Pour in the stewed tomatoes, diced tomatoes with green chiles, tomato sauce, and water. Break up any large pieces of stewed tomatoes, then stir in chili seasoning.
  • Add in the kidney beans and pinto beans. Salt and pepper to your desired taste.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 1 hour.
  • Stir the vinegar into chili. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

  • Add a splash of beer. Like Guinness in beef stew, it’ll give the chili a deep, robust finish.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 535kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 63g
  • Protein: 48g
  • Fat: 10g
  • Saturated Fat: 3g
  • Cholesterol: 81mg
  • Sodium: 614mg
  • Potassium: 1994mg
  • Fiber: 15g
  • Sugar: 9g
  • Calcium: 111mg
  • Iron: 23mg
Wendy's Copycat Chili Recipe

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

10 thoughts on “Wendy's Chili Copycat Recipe”

  1. You did a great job on coping the taste. Made it exactly as you said the first time. Was great! The second time I used 1mild and 1hot. Didn't change the overall taste just kicked it up a notch. (We live in Texas) even though we are not originally from texas. Food is spicier in texas. I really like this recipe alot hubby enjoyed it too. As I am commenting on this recipe.I decided to make a big pot of it today. Going to freeze some. Also, this is so good but is lower in calories then most recipes. Again it really does taste like wendys. Don't leave out the tsp. Of white vinegar. It's the secret ingredient!

    Reply
  2. Better than Wendy’s! Rich flavor and perfect blend of veggies and spices. Cheese on top made it perfect. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  3. Today I made this Wendy’s Chili for the second time, I think it tastes great, my friend said it tastes like Wendy’s…..
    I will give it a ten thumbs!!

    Reply

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