Easy Wendy's Copycat Chili Recipe + Video (2024)

ByDonna Elick


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ThisWendy’s copycat chilitastes just as good as the restaurant version! Extra hearty from ground beef and beans, there’s plenty of heat and flavor from the canned veggies and spices. Make this easy copycat Wendy’s chili recipe for dinner tonight in only 30 minutes. Copycat recipes like this are the best!

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Want an amazing salad to go with copycat Wendy’s chili? Try myApple Pecan Saladcopycat and you have the perfect meal!

It’s safe to say that this Wendy’s Chili Copycat Recipe is one of my favorite chili recipes because it’s the ultimate comfort food!

Give this easy recipe a try and I promise there will be no food waste!

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Wendy’s Copycat Chili

Not only does this dish burst with flavor, but the green chiles really give it character, with subtle smokiness and heat.

Plus, this Wendy’s copycat chili recipe is a fraction of the cost to make at home, and there’s plenty for leftovers! You can make some homemadecornbreadtoo!

If you prefer poultry instead of beef, try mySlow Cooker Turkey Chili. It has similar ingredients, and it’s ready to serve at the end of a long day.

Or, makevegetarian chilifor a plant-based option that is just as filling.

Jalapeno and bell peppers add heat and texture, while a secret ingredient ties all of the flavors together perfectly.

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Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Ground beef– Opt for a leaner blend to avoid too much grease, and be sure to drain off any in the pan after browning.

    You could also substitute ground chicken or turkey if you’d like.

  • Canned beans– Pinto and kidney beans are tender and hearty. You could swap in black or white beans, but the overall flavor will change a bit.
  • Diced tomatoes and green chiles– Choose the fire roasted versions of both to add that “simmered all day” flavor to your Wendy’s copycat chili.
  • Spices– Onion powder and cumin are the base for us to build on. New Mexico chili powder is slightly fruity, but you can use a regular chili powder blend if needed.

    Stick with smoked paprika as sweet paprika has a different flavor profile.

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How To Make Copycat Wendy’s Chili

First, brown the ground beef in a large pot. Then, add the rest of the ingredients and simmer until done. It’s that simple!

I like to drain and rinse the canned beans when I make this dish, but it’s not required.

Keep in mind that the extra liquid will affect the consistency, so you may need to leave out the additional water.

Helpful Tips and Tricks

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FAQ – Common Recipe Questions

How long does chili last in the refrigerator?

When kept in a sealed container, Wendy’s copycat chili should stay fresh for 3 to 4 days. You can also freeze leftovers for up to 6 months and thaw them in the refrigerator before reheating.

Be sure to allow the chili to cool before storing it, and leave space in the freezer containers for it to expand.

Having an airtight container is key to keeping this delicious chili fresh and is super important for storing leftover chili. This will keep it fresh and ready for the next day.

What is in Wendy’s chili seasoning?

The exact ingredients listed on packets of Wendy’s Hot Chili sauce are: water, corn syrup, salt, distilled vinegar, natural flavors, xantham gum, and extractives of paprika.

Instead of hunting down Wendy’s chili seasoning or stockpiling a pile of packets, we can pack just as much heat with pantry ingredients!

Onion powder, ground cumin, New Mexico chili powder, smoked paprika, and red pepper flakes are all you need for a scrumptious bowl of copycat Wendy’s chili.

Can you make this Wendy’s copycat chili recipe in the crockpot?

Absolutely! Follow the recipe as directed, but combine everything in your slow cooker instead. Cook on Low for 4 to 6 hours or High for 2 to 3 hours. You’ll just want to make sure that the fresh ground beef gets cooked all the way before serving.

The fun part about making this family favorite in the crock pot, is that you can prep and make this copycat version in advance so that it’s ready and waiting for you to enjoy. The first time you make it, you’ll be sure to make a double batch the next time!

What foods pair well with this simple Wendy’s chili recipe?

I’m all about adding fun ingredients and tastes to this homemade Wendy’s chili. You can add hot sauce for heat, tortilla chips for a crunch, and don’t forget that cayenne pepper is a great way to add some spice, too.

Some people like to have a side of french fries to dip into their chili, and I’m all about that! Don’t forget that you can add a little bit of sour cream to the top and some fresh green chilies as well.

The fun part about making this stove top chili is that you can easily add your favorite toppings to this easy chili recipe.

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Other Copycat Recipe Links

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Wendy’s Copycat Chili + Video

Donna Elick

This Wendy’s copycat chili tastes just as good as the restaurant version! Make this easy chili recipe for dinner tonight in only 30 minutes.

5 stars from 4 reviews

Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!

Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Prep Time 15 minutes mins

Cook Time 15 minutes mins

Total Time 30 minutes mins

Course Soup

Cuisine American

Method Stovetop

Servings 16 Cups


  • 2 pounds 93% lean ground beef
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 32 ounces tomato sauce, 4 8-ounce cans
  • 30.50 ounces pinto beans, 2 15.25-ounce cans, rinsed and drained
  • 30.50 ounces kidney beans, 2 15.25-ounce cans, rinsed and drained
  • 29 ounces fire-roasted diced tomatoes with garlic, 2 14.5-ounce cans
  • 7 ounce can roasted green chiles, diced and peeled
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons New Mexico chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, crushed
  • 1 cup water


  • In a large 12-quart, heavy bottom pot over medium-high heat, add ground beef, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Cook until browned, drain drippings if necessary. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer.

  • Simmer for 15 minutes.

  • Serve and enjoy!


Donna’s Notes

Add more or less red pepper flakes to adjust to the desired spiciness. If you don’t like anything spicier than Big Red Gum, add a pinch. If you like 4 alarm chili add more.

Honestly, you could simmer for 3-4 hours. I simmer for 15 minutes, I am quite impatient! The flavor comes together the longer it cooks, but trust me it tastes delicious either way!


Serving: 1 | Calories: 258cal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 35mg | Sodium: 747mg | Sugar: 4g | Fiber: 11g | Calcium: 82mg | Iron: 6mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Originally published January 2014, updated and republished January 2024

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Disclosure: Posts may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link your price will remain the same and The Slow Roasted Italian will automatically receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting us, it helps us keep creating new recipes.




Easy Wendy's Copycat Chili Recipe + Video (2024)


How do they make Wendy's chili? ›

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. The result is a taste that's both satisfying and sentimental, and it's the perfect comfort food anytime of the year.

What makes Wendy's chili taste so good? ›

Wendy's chili is made with a blend of beef and spices that create its unique flavor. The beef is slow-cooked and blended with a mix of chili spices, including chili pepper, cumin, garlic, and onion.

What is the secret to good chili? ›

Only Add Flavorful Liquids

Instead of adding water to your chili, add some more flavor with chicken or beef broth, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, or even beet or wine. Each one of these options brings out different notes and levels of sweetness that will enhance your culinary creation.

What is the sand in Wendy's chili? ›

One key ingredient to Wendy's chili is an anti-caking agent called silicon dioxide. Street name: sand or glass powder.

What does Wendy's use as fillers in their meat? ›

Our signature square hamburger patties have no fillers or additives because we know the beef is what matters when it comes to making the best hamburger in the game.

Why do you put vinegar in chili? ›

With only about 1 tablespoon per pot added toward the end of the cooking process, the vinegar will make the flavors more vibrant without overwhelming the dish with its biting tang. Through just a splash, everything becomes a little brighter, and the chili's flavors are more balanced.

Is Wendy's chili made with leftover burgers? ›

Yes, the meat in Wendys chili is made leftover from unsed burgers that are past the hold hold time. The chili meat is good for seven days after, usually is used within the next day.

Does Wendy's use real beef in their chili? ›

Dave Thomas didn't go into the restaurant business dying to have chili on the menu, it just sort of happened. We all know that Wendy's prides itself on using fresh, never frozen beef — the company uses that point against McDonald's and Burger King in ads again and again.

Does Wendy's put sugar in their chili? ›

Chili Concentrate: Chili Sauce (Water, Tomato Juice, Tomatoes, Calcium Chloride, Seasoning (Sugar, Salt, Corn Starch, Dried Chilies, Spices, Flavor Enhancer [Dextrose, Salt, Yeast Extract, Silicon Dioxide, Modified Corn Starch], Citric Acid, Disodium Inosinate, Disodium Guanylate, Xanthan gum), Beans (Pink Beans, Red ...

What adds the most flavor to chili? ›

If you want more of a smoky flavor, add cumin, Spanish paprika, ancho chili powder, or a combination. If you are looking for more heat, add cayenne, crushed red pepper, or Hungarian paprika. If it's too spicy add a little brown sugar and some sweet paprika.

Does Wendy's sell their chili in a can? ›

We Should. We Could. We Canned.

Enjoy the classic taste of Wendy's® famous chili from the comfort of your own home.

How to make chili taste homemade? ›

Make your own spice blend

Although canned chili will already have some seasonings, fresh herbs and spices will add bolder flavor. You can upgrade your chili using ingredients you likely already have on your spice rack, such as chili powder, ground cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper.

Why do you put baking soda in chili? ›

In this chili recipe, baking soda (that same thing the fluffs up cakes and cookies) tenderizes the ground beef while making it brown better. Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is alkaline.

What does sour cream do for chili? ›

For an extra tangy, rich bite, incorporate a dollop (or five) into your batch. This is already common practice in many white chili recipes (which, ironically, are often made with green chiles), but a dollop of stirred-in sour cream can benefit red chili, as well.

What is chili magic? ›

Bush's Chili Magic Campfire Style chili starter brings tender pinto beans together with smoky chipotle and green bell peppers for quick, unforgettable chili any night of the week.

Why do you put butter in chili? ›

Butter smooths out the bitterness and adds its unique richness, making you take another bite without quite knowing why. A dash of sugar and vinegar gives a sweet-sour flavor that also makes the sauce rounder and more satisfying.

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