Wendy’s Chili Recipe

Do you love Wendy’s chili? This copycat Wendy’s chili recipe is the perfect way to feed a large crowd. Grab a large pot, grab your favorite toppings, and enjoy some of the best chili. Did you know this tastes even better the next day?

A bowl of copycat Wendy's chili.

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Why This is the Best Copycat Wendy’s Copycat Chili Recipe

If you are looking for a tried and true copycat recipe look no further. I developed this copycat version over 20 years ago. This recipe has stood the test of time. People love this recipe.

This chili is perfectly seasoned, it’s not too spicy, and spiced just enough. This easy chili recipe is going to become one of your go-to recipes. It is the leftover chili you can enjoy the next day.

Wendy’s Chili Meat

Now, it is said that Wendy’s chili is made from grilled hamburger patties that didn’t make it into their burgers. You don’t have you start out with hamburger patties, you can use fresh ground beef.

We think it is easier to start out this way when you make your own chili. We suggest that you brown the beef very thoroughly before making your chili.

If you are a die-hard Wendy’s Chili fan you can start out with about 2 pounds of ground meat, and fry it up as hamburgers, but you must cook them until they are very well done.

Did you know?

  • Wendy’s Chili is gluten-free.

There are lots of fresh ingredients in this Wendy’s chili copycat recipe, and you can put this recipe together in no time. This recipe has onions, celery, green bell pepper, two types of beans, beef, and chili seasoning.

You won’t be disappointed when you make a delicious bowl of this amazing chili from scratch. You’ll enjoy the wonderful aroma of chili cooking on the stovetop.

Wendy’s Chili Recipe Ingredients

Here’s a list of what you need:

  • Ground beef – Ground chuck is recommended due to its fat and lean meat ratio
  • Tomato juice
  • Tomato puree – I use this instead of tomato sauce or stewed tomatoes because it has more flavor.
  • Canned red kidney beans – drain and rinse before using
  • Canned pinto beans – drain and rinse before using
  • Onion – white onions are recommended
  • Celery
  • Green bell pepper
  • Chili powder – McCormick brand is recommended
  • Ground cumin
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Oregano
  • Cayenne pepper – if you need your chili to have more spice, I recommend adding a bit more
  • Sugar

Tomato juice really enhances the flavor of this chili, as does the chili powder, though you may want to start off with a little less chili powder. I find that 1/4 cup isn’t too hot, and is still very flavorful.

Copycat Wendy's chili ingredients on a marble surface.

How does Wendy’s make their chili?

Wendy’s makes their chili in a big pot with leftover hamburger patties and chili ingredients. All you need is a skillet to brown some ground beef and a big pot to cook the chili. Here are the easy steps:

  1. In a skillet, brown the ground beef over medium-high heat.
  2. Drain the browned ground beef.
  3. Put the drained beef and the remaining ingredients in a 6-quart pot.
Collage of cooking ground beef for copycat Wendy's chili.
  1. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
  2. Bring the chili to a boil, then cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Let it simmer for 1 to 1½ hours, stirring every 15 minutes.
Collage of making copycat Wendy's chili.
  1. Serve this delicious chili and enjoy it as-is or with your favorite chili toppings and side dishes.
Copycat Wendy's chili in a white bowl.

Recipe Notes

It is important to cook this chili for the entire time as listed in the recipe. The flavors mellow and change over the cooking time.

I understand that some people also feel that 3 tablespoons of chili powder are too much. I think if you stick with standard brands of chili powder this is best.

Chili powder is a combination of several spices, there isn’t a chili powder plant. Stick with a well-known brand, and if you naturally like foods that are less spicy consider using less. Again, I fully stand behind the 3 tablespoons as listed in the recipe below.

You can substitute the ground beef with ground turkey. Just note it won’t have the same beefy flavor.

Overhead view of copycat Wendy's chili in a Dutch oven.

Can you make Wendy’s Chili in a slow cooker? Yes, you can!

Can you make this delicious chili in a Crockpot slow cooker? Of course! Simply brown the ground beef, drain the beef, pour everything into a slow cooker, and then cook on low for about 4 to 6 hours.

I hope you enjoy this recipe!

What to Serve with Wendy’s Chili

Here are some sides, toppings, and other dishes to go with this hearty chili:

  • Baked Potato
  • Corn Chips or Tortilla Chips (or make nachos with chili on top of them)
  • French Fries
  • Garlic Parmesan Buffalo Wings
  • Grilled Cheese Sandwich
  • Jalapeno Peppers
  • Salad
  • Saltine Crackers
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Sour Cream
Bowl of copycat Wendy's chili topped with shredded cheese and sour cream.

How to Store Wendy’s Chili

This recipe makes quite a bit, chances are if you don’t invite the whole team over for chili, you will have plenty to enjoy. Let’s go over how you can best store the chili!

  • Refrigerate – in an airtight container for up to five days.
  • Freeze – cool the chili to room temperature. Place it in an airtight freezer-safe container or a vacuum-sealed bag. Keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Best Way to Reheat Leftover Wendy’s Chili

If you need to reheat a portion of Wendy’s chili I recommend reheating in the microwave. If you need to reheat several portions I recommend reheating on the stovetop in a pot over medium-low heat.

Overhead view of copycat Wendy's chili in two bowls and two spoons.

Check out my other Wendy’s copycat recipes

More Chili and Stew Recipes

Be sure to take a look at more fast food to make and homemade soup recipes.

A bowl of copycat Wendy's chili.

Wendy’s Chili

You can recreate the famous taste of Wendy’s Chili at home
4.93 from 224 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Wendy’s Chili, Wendy’s recipes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories: 257kcal


  • 2 pounds fresh ground beef
  • 1 quart tomato juice
  • 29 ounces canned tomato puree
  • 15 ounces canned red kidney beans drained
  • 15 ounces canned pinto beans drained
  • 1 large onion chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chili powder you may want to use less, as some people find this is too much
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • Brown the ground beef in a skillet and drain the grease.
  • Put the drained beef and the remaining ingredients in a 6-quart pot or slow cooker and stir to combine.
  • If using a pot, cover and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes.
  • If using a slow cooker, cook on low for 4 hours.



Calories: 257kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 308mg | Potassium: 508mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 575IU | Vitamin C: 23.3mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 2.4mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

REVEALED: Copycat Secrets for 2023

free email bonus

Yes, you CAN make it at home! I'll show you how.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Reader Interactions


  1. John

    I would really like to see a recipe for Wienersnitzel chile thats close to the real thing. Every copycat I’ve ever tried is so far off the real stuff the recipes are a joke. Even wienersnitzel doesn’t know what their doing. They canned the chili and sold it for a while for $5.00 a can and the stuff was like dog poo.

  2. Dennis Oneill

    Thank you. My wife and i love Wendys chilli. But my wife cant deal with the spices. So i cook two pots. One for her and one for me. Its now the only chilli we make. Bottom line.


  3. Gary

    5 stars
    I followed this recipe, exactly how it was written, and enjoyed making this chili. I did add two cans of 15 ounce diced tomatoes. It taste exactly like Wendy’s chili
    Thank You So Much For A Great Recipe.

  4. Julie Saeed

    5 stars
    I currently have this in my crockpot and just finished a taste test. I immediately put the spoon down and flounced past my partners office, and said, “You may want to taste that chili. I just owned Wendy’s. This is theirs but even better.”

    It legit tastes like theirs when it’s a GOOD day and it hasn’t been sitting around for 12hrs getting crusty.

    THANK YOU so much for this!!

  5. TK

    5 stars
    Except for the celery, this is pretty much identical to a recipe I grabbed from All Recipes called Chili By George. I’ve been making it for many years which is why I recognized it just by the ingredients. Is it Wendy’s? Is it George’s? Who knows? It’s a good recipe, but it’s also all over the internet.

  6. Paige Pritchard

    Super recipe….my “go-to” always. I double the beans as we like It less soupy, and add a red pepper and some jalepenos now and again. Thanks so much for sharing…its a big hit in our house!

  7. Bill J

    I have not tried this one yet, but just looking at the recipe, I likely would back off the chili powder just a little and step up the cumin and oregano substantially. Otherwise, the use of onion, bell pepperand celery is exactlyhow i like chili..

  8. Greg Besse

    5 stars
    Stephanie, I was looking for a good copy cat recipe for Wendy’s chili when I came across your website. I read everything on this recipe and even watched your video and have a few questions.
    In your video, you dropped in the hamburger to cook it and then you added all of the other ingredients but without draining the grease. But in your instructions, you always say cook the hamburger and drain the grease. Not sure why the process is different in your video? I did drain the grease by the way. And there is the question on the Celery – I went out and purchased a large order of Wendy’s chili and found no celery but everything else so when I made mine, I didn’t include the celery. So I’m wondering why you added that – just curious! You also called out Red beans in your ingredients instead of Red Kidney beans – was that a typo? Also, I did have McCormick’s chili powder but only added 3 tablespoons vs the 4 in your recipe. Next time I will add all 4. You know when I cook hamburger and the recipe calls for onions, I always cook them together which simplifies things a bit as well as add salt and ground pepper at the same time. I suppose that it falls into the “6 of one and 1/2 doz of the other logic”. But when I finished this recipe – I felt that your recipe was just like Wendy’s. So Thanks! This was great! I did double the Cayenne pepper amount as I love hot/spicy in my chili. Now I can’t wait to try some of your other copy Kats!

    • Stephanie Manley

      Lots to unpack here.
      The video was not edited to show that I drained the grease. Please drain your grease in the chili.
      The recipe requires 1/2 cup of sliced celery in the chili, it was in the recipe. It was called for in step 3 of the stovetop directions.
      I have amended the recipe from red beans, to red kidney beans, I made a typo.
      Let me know if you need anything else.

  9. Ana D

    5 stars
    Love it! I have lost count how many times I have made this. I speed it up with an instant pot most times on chili mode. I will sometimes make it with ground turkey or bison or go vegetarian with impossible burger. It’s a hit with all involved which is a feat since we have several nutritional restrictions in our household. Thank you!

  10. Alice Faye Serna

    5 stars
    This is my youngest son’s favorite chili. He no longer lives close enough to a Wendy’s so I make a double batch and can what’s left from a meal. I love this recipe but do tweak it by using what ever beans I have on hand from canning. Black beans are great just rinse them off, great northern are good also. You are only limited by your imagination add what you love and delete or cut back what your family doesn’t care for. I also ad 2 grated carrots for sweetness, after cooking they just about disappear.

    • Wendy Hampton

      5 stars
      I love this recipe so much! I could eat the whole batch by myself, but I DO freeze some of it …most of the time. I also took the suggestion of adding black beans and like that a lot. Today I will be making it again and I’m out of tomato juice so I’m going to substitute V8 juice…couldn’t hurt, right? Thanks again for this wonderful recipe. It is definitely a keeper!

4.93 from 224 votes (152 ratings without comment)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

homemade Olive Garden Asiago Torgelloni Alfredo with chicken on a plate

Copycat Recipe Secrets for 2024


Yes, you CAN make it at home! 
I'll show you how.