Wendy's Chili Recipe (Copycat) (2023)

Wendy’s Chili is one of my all-time favorite comfort foods. It’s like a warm hug on a cold day. Just a few spoonfuls can turn your day around.

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!

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Wendy's Chili Recipe (Copycat) (1)

Wendy’s Chili Recipe

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 and have plenty of leftovers to enjoy.

In fact, I think it’s even better on day 2. There’s just something about how the flavors meld together overnight.

Top it off with some shredded cheese, sour cream, bacon, tortilla chips, and you’ll have a new family favorite.

But… do you know the secret of what makes Wendy’s Chili so unique?

Their beef is always fresh, never frozen. It’s also not made specifically for chili.

Instead, they use meat from the grilled hamburger patties that don’t make it into their burgers.

This gives it that uniquely charred, caramelized taste. This is one of the things that makes their chili truly unique. Making it a fan-favorite.

So, let’s get to it, shall we?

Wendy's Chili Recipe (Copycat) (2)


Ground Beef – For this recipe, it’s best to use beef with low fat content. Ground turkey is an excellent low-fat alternative if you’re looking for a healthier option. Be sure to brown the beef first before adding other ingredients.

Chili Seasoning – My seasoning of choice is McCormick Mild Chili Seasoning, but feel free to choose whatever you like.

Onion – Just one will do. I like to wear a thin pair of gloves to avoid smelly hands. But you can also rub your hands and the cutting board with a slice of lemon.

Want to reduce the tears? Place your onions in the fridge 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.

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Beans – The kidney beans bring a sweeter quality to the chili, while the pinto beans give it a creamy texture and an earthy flavor.

(Video) How to make the best Wendy's Chilli Copycat Recipe! Unbelievable Side by side tasting! Chili

Diced Tomatoes with Green Chili – My favorite is Rotel, but any other brand will do.

Stewed Tomatoes – Tomatoes bring that rich, distinctive flavor that you can only find in a warm bowl of chili. You can use fresh tomatoes if you prefer, but I find the canned just make my life easier.

Tomato Sauce – I’m talking about plain tomato sauce here, so don’t confuse it for tomato juice or spaghetti sauce. Only tomato sauce will do.

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.

The Best Chili Toppings

There’s an endless variety of chili toppings you can use. There are no rules. But 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.

Salsa – I’m not sure what’s wrong with me but I can never get enough salsa.

Sour Cream – Adds a creamy texture and helps cool it off.

Wendy's Chili Recipe (Copycat) (3)

Can You Freeze Chili?

Sure you can! You can store chili for up to 3 months in an air-tight container. Just be sure to let it cool to room temperature first before placing in the freezer.

The History of Wendy’s Chili

If you’ve read this far, I assume you’re a fan of Wendy’s Chili. We can be friends now. But have you ever wondered how and when it all began? Well, here’s a little history lesson for you.

The first-ever Wendy’s restaurant opened its doors on November 1969 in Columbus, Ohio. Its famous chili has been on the menu since day one. That’s four decades of warm, spicy goodness.

But did you know? The beef in Wendy’s famous chili is made from leftover burger patties. That’s part of what gives their chili that distinctive flavor.

But, how did Wendy’s came up with the idea? Well, burger joints almost always have unused leftover burgers at the end of the day. So instead of throwing those out, Wendy’s used them for chili. The rest is history.

Can You Make Wendy’s Chili in a Crockpot?

You sure can! Brown the ground beef, drain off the oil, and then add all the ingredients into a slow cooker. Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours.

It’s a perfect meal for winter nights, game days, and get-togethers.

Tips & Tricks for Making the Best Chili

First on my list: bacon. You can never go wrong with bacon. Throw in a few strips to add texture and flavor to your chili.

Now, if you have a little extra time on your hands,you can also cook the onion separate from the beef. Doing so will bring out the flavor and aroma of the onion.

(Video) Wendy's Chili by CopyKat.com

Cooking the onion together with the beef tends to just steam it rather than saute it.

If you want to add a little extra heat to your chili, you can always season it with more spices. And just because it’s called chili doesn’t mean you can only use chili powder.

Why not add some minced chipotles or diced jalapenos to your dish? These spices will kick things up a notch.

To make things even more interesting, add in a splash of beer. Doing so will give your chili a more robust flavor.

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. You can thank me later.

More Chili Recipes You’ll Enjoy

Best Bowl of Chili
White Chicken Chili
Texas Roadhouse Chili

Wendy's Chili Recipe (Copycat) (4)

Wendy’s Chili Recipe




Prep time



(Video) Wendy's Chili - Ripoff Recipe

Cooking time








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!



  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  • Place the ground beef in the pot. Press down the beef to form one large patty. Let the bottom brown for 8 to 10 minutes. Use a spatula to break up the beef 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 onion is translucent. Should take around 5 minutes.
  • Pour in stewed tomatoes, diced tomatoes with green chiles, tomato sauce, and water. Break up any large pieces of stewed tomatoes. (You can also run the stewed tomatoes through a food processor before adding if you like.) Stir in chili seasoning.
  • Add in the kidney beans and pinto beans. Salt and pepper to your desired taste. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour. Mix vinegar into chili.
  • Enjoy!
Wendy's Chili Recipe (Copycat) (5)

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(Video) Wendy's Chili | Copycat Recipe


What is Wendy's chili sauce made of? ›

The Real Hot Chili Seasoning From Wendy's

Water, corn syrup, salt, distilled vinegar, natural flavors, xanthan gum, and paprika extractives are among the ingredients used in the real Hot Chili Seasoning. In a single packet, it contains 5 calories.

What is the secret ingredient to amazing chili? ›

Cinnamon. The beauty of ground cinnamon is that it brings a warmth to your chili, without being spicy. It works well with other flavors commonly found in chili (like tomato, cumin and chile powder) so you only need a little bit to achieve the desired balance.

Does Wendy's use leftover hamburger for chili? ›

Okay, so we told you that Wendy's uses its leftover hamburger patties to make its chili, but how does that work, exactly? When a Wendy's chef makes a hamburger patty, it will stay fresh for a little while. However, if they make too many and leave them sitting out for too long, the meat will start to dry out.

What makes Wendy's chili taste good? ›

What is it about chili that makes it so desirable? The Wendy's Chili recipe ingredients are simple at their core, but at Wendy's it's all about blending our signature beef with the perfect mix of hearty vegetables, chili beans and savory spices.

Why does Wendy's chili taste different? ›

Wendy's uses both red kidney and pink beans in their chili recipe. A red kidney bean adds a strong flavor to a pot of chili. Pink beans are distinct from their kidney bean cousins because they are not the same type. Wendy's chili has 160 calories per small serving and 250 calories per large serving.

What is hot chili seasoning from Wendy's? ›

What Is Wendy's Hot Chili Seasoning For? Wendy's chili seasoning is a blend of spices that is used to add flavor to chili. It is made with chili peppers, cumin, garlic, salt, and pepper. Wendy's chili seasoning is simple to make in the kitchen in just 5 minutes.

Does Wendy's put sugar in their chili? ›

The Wendy's chili recipe consists of a chili base, tomatoes, sugar, green peppers, onions, ground beef and pinto and kidney beans. A small Wendy's chili is about 250 calories, 10 grams of fat, over 20 grams of carbs and 15 grams of protein.

What adds the most flavor to chili? ›

Here are some of the most common (and most effective) flavor boosters to add to your chili recipe.
  1. Booze (Beer, Wine, or Liquor) ...
  2. Liquid Smoke. ...
  3. Brine or Vinegar. ...
  4. Soy Sauce. ...
  5. Fish Sauce. ...
  6. Worcestershire Sauce. ...
  7. Coffee or Espresso Powder. ...
  8. Chocolate.
23 Aug 2021

What is the most important ingredient in chili? ›

Once again, I was a little doubtful whether a rich and delicious chili could actually be made with so few ingredients. But when it comes down to it, the main seasoning you need for chili is true to its name sake — lots of chili powder.

What gives chili the most flavor? ›

Spices: While cumin, chile powder, and cayenne pepper tend to be common additions to many chili recipes, there's a broad world of flavor out there to experiment with. Try a little fenugreek, turmeric, garam masala, or sumac to layer in more complex flavors. Smoky paprika is my own personal favorite.

Did Wendy's change their chili recipe 2022? ›

Wendy's chili is still made with the same recipe and ingredients, so the taste has not changed. Some customers have expressed disappointment with the change in color, while others say they don't mind. Wendy's has said that they may consider changing the color back to red in the future based on customer feedback.

Can you buy Wendy's chili by the gallon? ›

Yes, you can buy Wendy's chili by the gallon. The fast food restaurant offers a wide variety of menu items, including chili. Wendy's chili is a popular menu item and is available in a variety of sizes. The gallon size is the largest size available and is perfect for large groups or events.

Does Wendy's use pink slime in their burgers? ›

Wendy's decided to post the ads after receiving “many questions from customers and online communities,” spokesman Bob Bertini said in an email. “We felt it was important to set the record straight. We are very proud of our beef, and have never used lean finely textured beef, or 'pink slime. '

Does Wendy's put onions in their chili? ›

Vegetables. The vegetable mix that Wendy's uses in their chili contains diced onion, celery and green pepper pieces. Along with the tomatoes and beans, this vegetable mix contributes fiber to the dish.

What is Bobby Flay's favorite chili? ›

“The general rule,” says Flay, “is the bigger the chile, the less heat it has.” “My new favorite ingredient? Calabrian chiles. I learned about them from Esca's Dave Pasternack while eating at Il Pesce, his seafood restaurant in Eataly.

How many different beans are in Wendy's chili? ›

Beans: the two types of beans that Wendy's uses are red kidney beans and pinto beans. You can find both types for less than $1.00. SCORE. Veggies: You can see on their ingredient list, that their chili includes onions, celery, and green pepper.

Does Wendy's actually use fresh beef? ›

Yes, Wendy's beef for our hamburgers is really never frozen*. Every hamburger on our menu is made with fresh, never frozen beef. That's something many other hamburger places like McDonald's and Burger King just can't say.

Does cooking chili longer make it taste better? ›

Chili is a delicious and hardy dish that can be made at any time of year. Many chili recipes call for just a few minutes of cooking time, but longer cooking times produce better results. The longer the chili cooks, the stronger the flavors will become and the tenderer the meat will become.

Why does my chili not taste like chili? ›

If you don't give the chili enough time for all of the flavors to come together, it could be unbalanced, watery, and flavorless. Slow cooking chili for several hours (a slow cooker can help in this regard) will ensure that your chili has a hearty, rich, beefy flavor.

What's the secret message in Wendy's? ›

The Wendy's brand has always revolved around home-cooking, and the logo itself is inspired by the founder's daughter. Fans believe that Wendy's collar spells out 'Mom' in a nod to the company's humble home-cooked roots.

What is the controversy of the Wendy's? ›

Wendy's restaurants associated with E. coli outbreak that sickened 84 people in 4 states, CDC says. Wendy's restaurants have been associated with an E. coli outbreak reported in four states, with 84 people infected and 38 hospitalized, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

Is Wendy's chili healthy to eat? ›

Why it made the cut: Wendy's chili is surprisingly lean, with 7 grams of fat, 5 grams of fiber and 23 grams of protein. It has 250 calories, so it's a great option when you need something hearty and filling that doesn't pack on calories.

Does Wendy's chili have garlic in it? ›

Ground beef is the first ingredient in this recipe, which is then cooked in tomato juice, tomato puree, red kidney beans, small red beans, onion, celery, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, salt, and oregano. The cayenne pepper and sugar are then added to heat up the sauce.

What does Wendy's put in their beef? ›

3. Wendy'sAlthough they don't refer to the product as “pink slime,” Wendy's states directly on their website that their beef is "100 percent pure beef from North American raised cattle, has no fillers, no additives, no flavor boosters and no ammonia treatments."

What kind of meat does Wendy use? ›

Wendy's sources beef from younger (42 months or younger), U.S. grain-fed beef cattle raised specifically for high quality grades such as USDA Prime, Choice and Select.

Why do you put brown sugar in chili? ›

The real key to great chili however is brown sugar! In fact, brown sugar is what gives the chili a subtle sweetness you never even knew you were missing. With both subtly sweet tones and punches of heat, this Sweet and Spicy Chili, lives up to it's name, it truly is sweet and sassy!

Is Wendy's chili okay on keto? ›

Wendy's Chili is not keto friendly because of its high carb and high sugar content. Wendy's Chili has a total of 18.9 total grams of carbs and 6.2 grams of sugars, which can put your body at risk of being kicked out of ketosis if not properly accounted for.

What is the best liquid for chili? ›

Chili cooks low and slow, so you need enough liquid to tenderize the meat and keep everything from drying out. That liquid should also add flavor to the chili, so use chicken, beef, or vegetable stock, or beer.

What can you not put in chili? ›

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Making Chili
  1. Not browning the meat first. Raw meat and pot of chili are two things that just don't belong together. ...
  2. Not making your own chili seasoning. ...
  3. Seasoning at the end of cooking. ...
  4. Not adding some acidity at the end. ...
  5. Skipping the toppings.

Should I put butter in chili? ›

The answer is yes, you can add butter to chili. Doing so will add a richer flavor to the dish. If you are using unsalted butter, you may want to add a little salt to taste. You can also use margarine or even cream cheese in place of butter.

Why is vinegar good in chili? ›

Stirred into the pot right before serving, a spoonful of vinegar brightens up the finished product, and gives it that full, rounded taste that was missing. Even if the chili recipe you're using doesn't call for vinegar, go ahead and add it anyway. You won't actually taste the tang or sharp flavor of the vinegar.

What spices taste good in chili? ›

Most Common Chili Spices. Cumin, Chile Powders, and Paprika are the most common spices in chili followed by garlic, onion, coriander, Mexican oregano, and bay leaves. These ingredients can be combined to create a savory and well-balanced pot of top notch comfort food.

How do I bring my chili to the next level? ›

Cook Your Spices

Most chilis begin with sautéeing onions and garlic in a bit of oil. To get the most flavor out of your spices, like cumin or chili powder, add it to the oil while you're cooking the onions. This will toast the spices, bring the most out of their natural flavors and oils.

What is the tastiest chilli in the world? ›

Orange Habanero

"The Habanero is the king of chillies – very, very hot with a superb tropical fruit flavour. This wonderful variety is perfect for cooking Mexican and Caribbean hot dishes but chop very finely and remember to wash your hands!"

What city eats the most chili? ›

“Despite being the official dish of Texas, chili has grown to become America's dish,” said Doug Koegeboehn, chief marketing officer for Wienerschnitzel.
According to Wienerschnitzel, the top 10 chili cities are:
  • Los Angeles.
  • Dallas.
  • Phoenix.
  • Houston.
  • San Francisco/Oakland.
  • Chicago.
  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
  • Springfield, Missouri.
22 Feb 2018

Should I simmer chili with lid on or off? ›

For stove-top chili recipes, it's recommended that you bring the chili to a boil with the lid on. This will trap heat and bring the chili to a boil faster. But once it's boiling, remove the lid and reduce the heat. An uncovered pot will release moisture and help your chili thicken up to a good consistency.

Is Wendy's chili good the next day? ›

You can use the leftovers after three to four days in the refrigerator. Wendy's chili is well-known for its spicy flavor and hearty texture. It's also a good idea to freeze any leftovers you have on hand. A container or pot of hot food should not be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.

Can diabetics eat chili? ›

The beans in chili are also low on the glycemic index, meaning that they don't mess with your blood sugar much. That means that if you're diabetic, chili can actually be good for you! Just make sure to use low-sodium chicken broth and lean ground beef to keep it healthy.

Does Wendy's use filler in their hamburgers? ›

We use nothing but pure, fresh, frozen 100 percent North American beef. We've never used fillers, additives, preservatives, flavor boosters or ammonia treatments. We've never used “pink slime” and we never will.

How many ounces are Wendy's chili sizes? ›

Small Chili (6 Fl Oz)

Does Wendy do free refills? ›

We offer a bring in your own cup fountain drink price at a lower cost than the menu drink price, which is refillable for free for that same visit. This doesn't apply to our Coffee. regardless if you bring your cup or use ours it is the same cost per cup.

How can you tell if ground beef has pink slime? ›

Simply look for terms like “lean finely textured beef” (LFTB), “textured beef,” “finely textured beef” or “boneless lean beef trimmings” (BLBT). “Finely textured beef” is perhaps the most common name for what would otherwise be called “pink slime” today, according to meat packer Cargill.

Does Wendy's use antibiotics in their beef? ›

Our goal is that 100% of our U.S. and Canadian beef, chicken and pork will be sourced from suppliers that prohibit the routine use of medically important antibiotics.

What fast food burgers are 100% beef? ›

Whataburger Original Whataburger

Their original burger is still voted the best. It features a grilled, 100% American beef patty topped with mustard, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and diced onions on a toasted bun.

Does Wendy's sell their chili? ›

While Wendy's doesn't sell their chili by the pint or gallon, they do sell it by the quart. So, if you're looking to get your hands on some of Wendy's delicious chili, your best bet is to head to your local Wendy's and pick up a quart. We will serve over 83 million servings of chili in the United States alone by 2020.

What is Wendy's secret sauce? ›

What is S'Awesome Sauce? S'Awesome sauce is a blend that combines the creaminess of ranch dressing, smoky barbeque, a kick of hot sauce, a hint of honey mustard and a dash of Worcestershire. Originally introduced as a side for chicken tenders, it quickly became a fan favorite, with customers adding it to their burgers.

Is Wendy's chili healthy? ›

Why it made the cut: Wendy's chili is surprisingly lean, with 7 grams of fat, 5 grams of fiber and 23 grams of protein. It has 250 calories, so it's a great option when you need something hearty and filling that doesn't pack on calories.

How much is Wendy's large bowl of chili? ›

Wendy's Menu Prices (Updated: December 2022)
Rich & Meaty ChiliSmall$2.09
Rich & Meaty ChiliLarge$2.79
Caesar Side Salad$1.49
Garden Side Salad$1.49
118 more rows


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