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
In other words, it’s the perfect meal on these crazy cold Spokane nights. I am not sure how you feel about winter, but every time it arrives, I begin my 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 CrockPot recipes, chili, soups, and snack food!
You can easily spice this recipe up if you like spicier chili!
Dave Thomas, the founder of the iconic fast-food restaurant, started serving chili in 1969 in Columbus, Ohio.
I learned in researching Wendy's Chili that the original recipe uses leftover burger patties at the end of the day.
We hope you enjoy this copycat Wendy's chili recipe!
Wendys Copycat Chili Recipe
Here is a quick overview of the simple ingredients needed to make an epic Wendy’s Chili! The printable recipe card at the bottom of the post includes specific measurements and step-by-step instructions.
- Ground Beef
- Medium Yellow Onion
- Celery Stalk
- Poblano, Hatch Chilies, or Jalapeño Peppers
- Tomato Sauce
- Diced Tomatoes
- 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 recommend using an enameled cast iron Dutch oven. A large pot can also be used
- Hamburger Mix and Chop: This kitchen tool makes breaking apart ground beef effortless.
- Serving Bowl: Use a nice, big serving bowl in which you’d enjoy serving your Wendy’s Chili.
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.
How to Make Wendy’s Chili
I've included complete instructions in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post, but here's a quick version.
- In a Dutch oven brown the ground beef
- Add the onion, celery, and chilies to the pot
- Add the beef, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, kidney and pinto beans, cumin, chili powder, black pepper, salt, and water. Bring to a simmer
- Serve hot. Add water as necessary to maintain desired consistency.
Preparation and Storage
Make Ahead: You can make this CopyCat Wendy’s Chili the day before and reheat it when you’re ready to serve it. For freshness, refrigerate it in an airtight container.
Storage: Store leftover Wendy’s Chili in the fridge for three to four days.
Freezing/How to Freeze: Portion the chili into individual servings and store them in an airtight, freezer-safe container or freezer bag.
You can make a double batch on the stove top so you can meal prep.
How to Reheat: Thaw any frozen leftovers overnight in the fridge or on your kitchen countertop until defrosted but still cold, then reheat using your microwave or stovetop on low heat.
Recipe Variations + Tips for the Best Wendy’s Chili
Substitutions: You can replace the diced tomatoes with Rotel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chilies for more flavor.
Feel free to use ground turkey or ground chicken to replace the hamburger.
Vegetarian Option + Vegan Option: Plant-based eaters should replace ground beef with a meat crumble alternative, such as Beyond Meat.
Gluten-Free: This recipe is naturally gluten-free. You should check the seasoning you plan to use to ensure it contains no fillers or binders.
Smaller Serving Size + Larger Group/More Servings: The written recipe yields four servings. Scale it up or down to the size of the crowd you want to feed.
Make it Spicy: Add cayenne pepper, diced jalapeños, or minced chipotle for a spicier Wendy’s Chili.
Sugar-Free: Our CopyCat Wendy’s Chili contains 9 grams of sugar per serving, some of which naturally comes from the pinto beans. Use a can of sugar-free diced tomatoes to lower the sugar content, as some brands add sugar to this ingredient.
What to Serve with Wendy’s Chili
This classic comfort food deserves equally cozy side dishes. Here are some delicious sides that go well with this Wendy’s CopyCat chili recipe.
Desserts: Wendy's Frosty
When to Serve
- Family and Friends Gatherings
Great Copycat Recipes
Don't miss all of our slow cooker soups and stews.
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.
- Dutch Oven
- Hamburger Mix and Chop
Recipe originally shared on January 14, 2015. Updated October 2020, September 2023