Wendy's Chili Recipe is the perfect dinner for a cold winter night! This make at-home copy cat recipe is easy to put together and super filling.
Wendy’s Chili Copycat Recipe
The perfect meal on these crazy cold Spokane nights. I am not sure how you are feeling about winter but I am already on a countdown to spring......dreaming of tulips, daffodils, green grass, and leaves on the trees. OK, Enough warm weather dreaming.
At least the chilly weather is perfect for crock pot recipes, chili, soups, and snack food!
This recipe can easily be spiced up a bit if you like spicier chili!
Dave Thomas the founder of Wendy's fast food restaurant started serving chili in 1969. The year that the restaurants opened their doors in Columbus, Ohio.
One thing I learned in researching Wendy's Chili is it is made with leftover burger patties at the end of the day.
We hope you enjoy this copycat Wendy's chili recipe!
Wendys Copycat Chili Recipe
This is a quick overview of the simple ingredients that you'll need to make Wendy’s Copycat Chili Recipe! Specific measurements and step by step instructions are included in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.
- Ground Beef
- Medium Yellow Onion
- Celery Stalk
- Poblano or Hatch Chilies or Jalapeno
- Tomato Sauce
- Diced Tomatoes - You can use Rotel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chili for more flavor.
- Kidney Beans
- Pinto Beans
- Ground Cumin
- Chili Seasoning
- Black Pepper
Toppings - Chopped onion, shredded cheddar cheese, Saltine Crackers, Sour Cream, Tortilla Chips, Avocados, Bacon
Equipment Needed to make Wendy's Chili
Dutch Oven - We suggest using an enameled cast iron Dutch oven
Serving bowl - Make sure to use a nice big bowl that you love.
Make sure to cook the Wendy's copycat chili for the time designated. The flavor and texture of the chili changes and mellows as it cooks.
If you are worried about it simmering for so long we suggest giving it a stir each time you walk by it. You want the chili to simmer not boil.
Preparation and Storage
Make Ahead –This copycat Wendy’s Chili can be made the day ahead and reheated when you are ready to serve it.
Slow Cooker – Brown the beef before adding it to the crockpot. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
Storage – Store leftover Wendy's Chili in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Freezing/How to freeze – Portion the chili into individual servings and store them in a freezer safe air tight container or freezer bag.
How to reheat – Frozen chili should be thawed and then reheated in the microwave or on the stove top on low heat.
Substitutions/variations - add in green bell pepper, substitute the ground beef with ground turkey, ground chicken, or a meat alternative.
Vegetarian Option - This can be made with vegetarian meat crumbles
Vegan Option – Use vegan meat alternatives
Gluten Free - This recipe is naturally gluten free. You may want to check the seasoning you plan to use to make sure there are no fillers or binders.
Smaller Serving Size – The number of servings can be changed on the recipe card below to make a smaller amount.
Make it Spicy – Add cayenne pepper, diced jalapenos, or minced chipotles to taste
Make it milder - Reduce the jalapeno peppers
Larger Group/More servings –The number of servings can be changed on the recipe card below to make a larger amount.
What to serve with Wendy's Chili
This classic comfort food deserves delicious cozy sides. Here are a few sides that go well with this Wendy's copycat chili recipe.
Side Dishes - Baked Potato, Cornbread, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Southern Green Beans, green salad
Desserts - Wendy's Frosty
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Wendys Copycat Chili Recipe
- 1 lb. Ground Beef
- ½ Yellow Onion Medium, diced
- 1 Celery diced
- ¼ Cup Pablano or Hatch Chilies roasted, skin removed and diced
- 14.5 Oz Tomato Sauce
- 14.5 Oz Diced Tomatoes
- 14.5 Oz Kidney Beans drained not rinsed
- 14.5 Oz Pinto Beans drained not rinsed
- 2 teaspoon Cumin
- 2 Tablespoon Chili Powder
- 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- In a Dutch oven over medium heat brown the Ground Beef, drain and reserve 1 Tbsp. of drippings in the pot.
- Add the Onion, Celery and Chilies to the pot and cook over medium heat until the Onions start to turn translucent.
- Add the Beef. Tomato sauce, Diced Tomatoes, Kidney and Pinto beans, Cumin, Chili Powder, Black Pepper, Salt and 1 Cup water. Bring to a simmer, cover and let cook 2 ½ - 3 hours.
- Serve hot.Add water as necessary to maintain desired consistency.
Recipe originally shared on January 14, 2015. Updated October 2020.
My husband LOVES chili. We have been to wendy's but I don't think we have actually tried the chili there! LOoks delicious!
Oh my husband is going to love this recipe! He loves their chili so much. Ill be trying it out over the weekend.
We're big chili fans. Wendy's chili is something my oldest really enjoys as a treat.
Oh I love Chili! Especially this time of year. Thanks for the recipe!
I am not a chili eater - we don't like beans here. Although Wendy's must make good chili because a lot of people want to recreate it.