wendy's copycat chili

Wendy’s Chili Copycat

5/5 (1)
50 mins
Vadim Rachok
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Recipe Ingredients Video Nutrition
8 / 10
Health score
Dairy FreeEgg free dishNut Free DishPaleo Dish

You are going to love this simple and easy-to-make Wendy’s chili recipe. It’s the best recipe out there and will quickly become your go-to chili recipe.

There's a certain satisfaction in recreating restaurant favorites at home, especially when it comes to classics like Wendy's chili. With this recipe, you can capture the comforting flavors of a beloved dish right in your own kitchen. By using simple, pantry-friendly ingredients and following these easy steps, you'll have a delicious pot of chili simmering on the stove in no time. Whether you're hosting a game day gathering or simply craving a cozy meal on a chilly evening, this Wendy's-inspired chili is sure to hit the spot!

Wendy’s  Chili Recipe:

We are always on the lookout for different soup and chili recipes, and this Wendy’s chili recipe hit the spot when we were craving chili on a chilly day.

I enjoy recreating restaurant-style dishes with simple ingredients. Chili is an easy dish to make.

wendy's chili

Is it really a “top secret” recipe?

It may seem like the recipes of restaurant dishes are closely guarded secrets, but in reality, many of them can be replicated. For example, when I tried the chili at Wendy’s, I immediately knew how to recreate it at home and even improve upon it.

I wish the taste of the chili could be improved. But don’t worry. The ingredients listed below may look intimidating, but most of the spices are already in your pantry. So, it would be easy to buy the remaining ingredients needed to make this chili.


  • Ground Beef – Brown and drain your ground beef. I usually try and use a lower fat content for ground beef. If you want, you can use ground turkey and mix it with the other ingredients.
  • Pinto Beans – You can also use chili beans or ranch-style beans. We do not drain.
  • Kidney Beans – Light or dark kidney beans. We do not drain these beans.
  • Celery – Chopped
  • Green Bell Pepper – Chopped
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Tomato Sauce – Use regular tomato sauce. I have also added in some tomato juice.
  • Diced Tomatoes – You can purchase a can of diced tomatoes, but I typically opt for a can with diced green chilis.
  • Chili Powder
  • Cumin – If you are out, check out Best Substitute for Cumin.
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cheddar Cheese (for serving)
  • Saltine Crackers (for serving)

wendy's chili recipe

How to make Wendy’s Chili Recipe

  • Brown the ground beef in a large stock pot until it is no longer pink. Add celery and bell pepper halfway through cooking and cook until tender. Drain any excess grease.
  • Add all chili seasoning ingredients except cheese and crackers. Stir.
  • Combine all ingredients in a pot, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 30 minutes to blend flavors.
  • Serve the dish by adding the shredded cheddar cheese on top. Serve it with crackers, and enjoy!

Variation Ideas:

My mother always made the best chili, and I have been trying to figure out her secret ingredient. These are some of the variations I have attempted:

  • Kidney Beans – I usually tend to use light kidney beans but have also used dark kidney beans.
  • Pinto Beans – Instead of using pinto beans, you can use chili beans as a substitute.
  • Cayenne Pepper – For a little extra spice, mix in some cayenne pepper with your chili. We usually add a small amount to ensure the kids still enjoy it.
  • Add some bacon – Everything is better with some bacon. Mix in some cooked bacon for a heartier chili with crispy bacon bits.
  • Vegetables – Do you have any vegetables that need to be cooked? Add them to this chili to change its texture and make it healthier.

What to serve with Wendy’s Chili

Chili is delicious on its own, but it’s even better with some tasty sides. Here are a few of our favorites to enjoy with your chili.

  • Saltine Crackers
  • Slice Cheese
  • Frito’s
  • Cornbread

chili recipe wendy's

Chili Topping Ideas:

We love serving chili during game day parties or get-togethers with friends. This is my go-to recipe as it always satisfies everyone’s craving for chili.

We set up a chili bar with a variety of toppings to choose from.

  • Slice Jalapeños
  • Diced Onions
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Hot Sauce
  • Tortilla Strips
  • Avocado

How to use leftover chili

We intentionally make a double batch of chili to have leftovers for lunch.

I think chili tastes even better the day after it’s made. This allows all of the spices to marinate together.

Here are some creative ways to use leftover chili.

  • Have you ever tried making a Frito Chili Wrap? This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy leftover chili. All you need is a tortilla, a serving of chili, Frito’s, and cheese. Simply spoon the chili onto the tortilla, sprinkle Frito’s and cheese on top, and wrap it up. It’s a great option for a snack or lunch!
  • Top your plain baked potato with chili, cheese, and sour cream for a delicious dinner idea.
  • We enjoy serving chili in bread bowls as the chili mixes well with the bread.
  • Do you have any leftover pasta? Why not mix it with chili to create a delicious chili mac dinner?
  • Having chili dogs for dinner is a great and easy idea that my kids love.

How to store Wendy’s Chili?

Chili can be easily stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Once it has cooled, transfer it to an airtight container and keep it in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

If you want to freeze chili, put it in a freezer-safe container and freeze it. We prefer freezing individual servings for quick lunches.

Leftover chili saves me time and money, providing a nutritious lunch instead of fast food.

From a nutritional standpoint, this recipe has both positive and negative aspects. On the positive side, it includes ingredients like ground beef, which provides a good source of protein, essential for muscle growth and repair. Pinto beans and kidney beans add dietary fiber, aiding digestion and promoting a feeling of fullness, which can help with weight management. Vegetables like celery and green bell pepper contribute vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, enhancing the nutritional profile of the dish. However, the Worcestershire sauce and tomato sauce may contain added sugars and sodium, which can increase the calorie and sodium content of the chili. Additionally, serving the chili with cheddar cheese and saltine crackers adds more calories and sodium to the meal. While this chili recipe offers protein, fiber, and some essential nutrients, individuals should be mindful of portion sizes and consider using low-sodium or homemade versions of sauces to make it a healthier option. Overall, it can be a nutritious dish when consumed in moderation and paired with healthier side options.

Jenny Dobrynina
Jenny Dobrynina
Nutrition Editor
Health score:
8 / 10
Wendy’s Chili Copycat
5/5 (1)
Author:Vadim Rachok
After trying several Wendy's chili recipe clones and adjusting them to my tastes, I've concocted what I think is the best. Serve it topped with finely diced white onions and/or shredded cheese. Enjoy!
wendy's copycat chili
Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
50 mins
Ingredients you will need
▢2 lbs Ground Beef
2 cans Pinto Beans 15 oz. each, not drained
2 cans Kidney Beans 15 oz. each, not drained
3 Stalks Celery Diced
1 Green Bell Pepper Diced
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 cans Tomato Sauce (15 oz. each)
2 cans Diced Tomatoes 15 oz. each
1/4 cup Chili Powder
1 Tbsp Cumin
2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Pepper
2 cups Cheddar Cheese for serving
Saltine Crackers for serving
Let’s start !

1 Brown the ground beef in a large stockpot. Add celery and bell pepper halfway through cooking and sauté until tender. Drain excess grease.


2 Add the remaining ingredients, except for cheese and crackers. Stir.


3 Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes to combine flavors.


4 After preparing the dish, add shredded cheddar cheese on top of it. Then, serve it with crackers and enjoy!

Nutrition Information
Servings Per Recipe: 10
Calories: 326
% Daily Value *
 % Daily Value *
Total Fat 15 g19%
Saturated Fat 5 g24%
Cholesterol 55 mg18%
Sodium 1521 mg66%
Total Carbohydrate 29 g10%
Dietary Fiber 8 g28%
Total Sugars 8 g 
Protein 23 g 
Vitamin C 26 mg129%
Calcium 97 mg7%
Iron 5 mg29%
Potassium 762 mg16%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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Watch How To Make It

For an extra depth of flavor in your Wendy's chili, consider adding a splash of brewed coffee or a square of dark chocolate to the pot. These unexpected ingredients may seem unconventional, but they add a rich and robust undertone that elevates the overall taste of the chili. Just a small amount can make a big difference, enhancing the savory notes and complementing the sweetness of the tomatoes. Give it a try next time you whip up a batch of chili for a truly memorable dining experience!

Vadim Rachok
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