Say hello to homemade Wendy’s chili! This copycat chili recipe is made with wholesome ingredients, serves a crowd, and tastes just like the real deal.
I’m a tried and true Wendy’s chili lover. A cup of chili plus one of their baked potatoes is seriously what dreams are made of and what I order when I go to Wendy’s.
Today we’re sharing our at-home version of Wendy’s chili that you can make right in your own kitchen. We tried to get the ingredients, texture, and flavor to be spot on with Wendy’s chili, and we think we nailed it on the head!
This chili is super basic, doesn’t call for any crazy ingredients, and comes together in about 30 minutes on the stovetop!
“I thought this tastes very similar to Wendy’s chili – which was my fave growing up! I only did 1 tbsp of brown sugar bc I didn’t want it too sweet. Very delicious! I’ve made it twice already!” – Brittany
What You Need for Copycat Wendy’s Chili
Ground Beef: Wendy’s uses ground beef in their chili, so that’s exactly what we did. Try to use a beef that has a little more fat – it adds flavor!
Beans: Wendy’s uses red kidney beans and pinto beans in their chili, so we’re using the same.
Veggies: Traditional Wendy’s chili includes onions, celery, and green pepper.
Tomatoes: This is a tomato-based chili featuring tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste. A triple whammy!
Spices: How you season a chili is what makes it unique. In our opinion, we nailed the chili seasoning for this recipe – it tastes just like Wendy’s! Use a combination of chili powder, garlic powder, ground cumin, ground oregano, and salt.
Brown Sugar: Adds a little sweetness and brings out all of the amazing flavors.
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Wendy’s Chili Variations
All of our chili recipes are incredibly versatile and this copycat Wendy’s chili recipe is no exception. Instead of:
- Beef, use ground turkey or chicken
- Kidney and pinto beans, use 2 cans of your favorite beans (black beans, garbanzo beans, and navy beans are all great choices)
- Diced tomatoes, use the same amount of crushed tomatoes
- Chili powder, garlic powder, and cumin, use 1/3 cup of our homemade chili seasoning (this won’t replicate the exact Wendy’s chili flavor, but it works in a pinch)
Is Wendy’s chili spicy?
This copycat Wendy’s chili recipe is more warm than spicy. It has a lot of warmth from the spices but not too much heat. For a less spicy chili, leave out the jalapeño.
Are you sure I don’t have to rinse the beans first?
Yes! Most of our chili recipes call for drained and rinsed beans. For this chili recipe, we use the entire can of beans, including the liquid. If you prefer to drain and rinse the beans, add about 1/2 cup of water or beef broth.
Make a batch of Wendy’s chili to enjoy all week long! Let the chili cool, transfer it into airtight containers, and refrigerate for up to 5 days. It will thicken as it sits, so feel free to add a splash of water or broth to thin it out before reheating.
How to Freeze Wendy’s Chili
You can easily freeze this Wendy’s copycat chili recipe as well as the real Wendy’s chili. Once the chili is completely cool, transfer into a freezer-safe container, and freeze for up to 3 months. Check out our guide all about how to freeze soup and chili for even more tips and tricks.
Bored of plain old chili? Here are some fun ways to serve this Wendy’s chili:
Classic Chili Toppings: We love topping bowls of Wendy’s chili with any and all of your favorite chili toppings like shredded cheese, sour cream or Greek yogurt, pickled jalapeños, sliced avocado or guacamole, and crackers or tortilla chips.
Chili Cheese Fries: Make our favorite air fryer sweet potato fries and top them with a big scoop of hot chili.
Chili Nachos: Top tortilla chips with chili and cheese and broil it for 2-3 minutes. I’ve done this countless nights at home with leftover chili and it is so dang good.
Chili Mac: We have an epic recipe for chili mac! Swap out our beef chili for this chili!
Wendy’s Chili Recipe (Copycat Recipe)
Love Wendy’s chili? Our copycat Wendy’s chili recipe tastes exactly like the real deal and it’s so easy to make at home.
- 1 lb. ground beef we used 85% fat
- 1/2 large white onion diced
- 1 stalk celery diced
- 1 medium green pepper diced
- 1 medium jalapeno pepper seeded and minced
- 30 oz. tomato sauce
- 30 oz. diced tomatoes 2 standard cans
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 15 oz. kidney beans* with liquid
- 15 oz. pinto beans* with liquid
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1.5 teaspoons salt
- 1-3 tablespoons brown sugar depending on preference
Heat a large stockpot over medium/high heat.
Add the ground beef to the stockpot and let it cook for 1-2 minutes, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks.
While the beef is cooking and still pink, add the onion, celery, green pepper, and jalapeño pepper. Stir all of the ingredients together and cook until the beef is just cooked through, about 4-5 additional minutes.
Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until combined.
Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10-15 minutes to thicken.
Top with your favorite toppings and enjoy!
Tips & Notes
- Storage: Let the chili cool, transfer it into airtight containers, and refrigerate for up to 5 days. It will thicken as it sits, so feel free to add a splash of water or broth to thin it out before reheating.
- Freezing Instructions: Once the chili is completely cool, transfer into a freezer-safe container, and freeze for up to 3 months.
- Beans: Most of our chili recipes call for drained and rinsed beans. For this chili recipe, we use the entire can of beans, including the liquid. If you prefer to drain and rinse the beans, add about 1/2 cup of water or beef broth.
- Spices: Replace the chili powder, garlic powder, and cumin with 1/3 cup of our homemade chili seasoning. This won’t replicate the exact Wendy’s chili flavor, but it works in a pinch.
Calories: 337kcal Carbohydrates: 47g Protein: 22g Fat: 9g Fiber: 14g Sugar: 20g