World’s Best Wendy’s Chili Recipe


Some days call for a big bowl of heartwarming, nostalgic, comforting chili. What better recipe to use than a copycat of one of the classics – who doesn’t love Wendy’s chili and it’s flavors? Now you can enjoy it from the comfort of your own couch with these simple steps.

So, how do you make one of the most delicious chili recipes? Follow these tips and you’ll have your friends and family chomping at the bit to get their hands on this version! 

wendy chili on a table with corn and tomato

What is Wendy’s Chili?

Wendy’s Chili is a popular menu item at Wendy’s. It’s a hearty blend of beans, spices, and ground beef. The chili is a filling and protein-packed alternative to traditional fast-food items. It has a savory and slightly spicy flavor, achieved through slow-cooking. The dish is served hot with optional toppings like shredded cheese, diced onions, or sour cream. Wendy’s Chili stands out for its unique taste in the fast-food world.

How To Make Copycat Wendys Chili

Inevitably to make one of the best copycat recipes around you need top quality ingredients and that’s what we have collected below.

Sweet Onion – onion is one of those essential chili ingredients that you can’t go without. You can use white or sweet onions, but sweet gives the dish a pleasant sweetness that adds to the overall flavour. If you’re sensitive to onion juices, try dicing it using rubber gloves or wear glasses to make sure that the juices don’t get on your hands or in your eyes! 

Ground Beef – I recommend using extra-lean ground beef, but you can also use ground turkey or chicken for a healthier variation. By pre-cooking it in a separate pan, you get an added flavour from the browning process that you wouldn’t get otherwise. 

Stewed Tomatoes – stewed tomatoes are different from other types of canned tomatoes because they are cooked and canned with other seasonings (like garlic or basil) and sugar. These tomatoes have more flavour than other varieties, so you’re going to want to make sure you’re adding stewed tomatoes and not swapping for plain diced tomatoes. 

Seasonings – seasonings are one of the most important parts of a good chili. One thing that most people don’t know is that seasonings lose their fragrance and taste after sitting in a pantry for a while. In order to get the most flavourful dishes, make sure that you are using fresh dried spices! One tip is to buy your spices at a bulk store. That way, you can buy only as much as you need and don’t have to worry about wasting them should you not use them all up before they lose their flavour. 

Beans – beans are a great source of fibre and they also ensure that you’re getting a thick, hearty chili. You can feel free to experiment with different types of beans to see what you like the best – black, kidney, garbanzo – the world is your oyster! 

Tips on Toppings:

Toppings are an essential part of making an incredible chili. Feel free to get creative with these flavour combinations. 

  • Classic: add shredded sharp cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream 
  • Southwest: top with shredded sharp cheddar cheese, diced green onion, diced avocado, canned corn and crumbled tortilla chips 
  • Smoky: top with shredded sharp cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon 
  • Taco Salad: top with shredded iceberg lettuce, diced fresh tomatoes, olives, guacamole and shredded sharp cheddar cheese 

Wendy’s Chili Recipe

4 from 64 votes
Recipe by Laura Ritterman Course: MainCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time







Our wendy’s chili recipe is a copycat of the real thing. With only 255 calories, this recipe will be both light on your purse and also your waist line.

wendy’s chili Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons 2 extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon 1 minced garlic

  • 1 medium 1 sweet onion, diced

  • 2 stalks celery, diced

  • 1 green bell pepper, diced 

  • 2 lbs 2 extra-lean ground beef

  • 3 (14 oz) cans stewed tomatoes

  • 1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chilies 

  • 1 (14 oz) can tomato sauce 

  • 1 cup 1 no-salt-added chicken broth

  • 4 tablespoons 4 chili powder

  • 2 teaspoons 2 garlic powder

  • 3 teaspoons 3 ground cumin

  • ½ teaspoon paprika 

  • 1 (14 oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 (14 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed 

  • 1 tablespoon 1 white vinegar

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  • 1 can 1 pinto beans

  • 2 packages 2 chili seasoning


  • In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Add the minced garlic and diced onion. Sauté until the onion is translucent (about 2-3 minutes) 
  • Add the celery stalks and bell pepper. Sauté for another 2-3 minutes, or until celery has softened. 
  • Meanwhile, in a separate frying pan, heat the other tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Add the ground beef, break apart and cook, stirring occasionally until no pink remains. 
  • Once ground beef is cooked, drain any liquid from the pan and add the ground beef to your pot with onions, celery and bell peppers. 
  • Add the stewed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, chili powder, garlic powder, ground cumin, paprika, kidney beans and black beans to the pot. 
  • Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce to low, add the lid to the pot and allow to simmer for at least 60 minutes. 
  • After 60 minutes, stir in the white vinegar and salt, pepper to taste. 
  • Enjoy!


  • There are many additions that can help make this even tastier, which we’ve highlighted below.

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Variations of this recipe exist to make is easier to complete or to speed up the process.

Crockpot: You can definitely make this recipe in a crockpot if you want to prep it once and then let it cook overnight or during the day. Just pre-cook the meat in a separate frying pan, and then add all of the ingredients to your crockpot. Give it a good stir and then cook on low, covered, for 6-8 hours. 

Chili Bar: If you’re hosting a party, this is the perfect no-fuss option to make sure you can enjoy time with family and friends without being stuck in the kitchen. Make the chili ahead of time (either on the stovetop or in the crockpot). When the chili is done cooking, you can leave it (or add it) to your crockpot and use the “warm” setting to make sure that it stays warm for your guests.

On your serving table, lay out bowls of shredded sharp cheddar cheese, diced green onions, diced bell peppers, sour cream, canned corn, tortilla chips, crumbled bacon, shredded iceberg lettuce, diced fresh tomatoes, olives and guacamole. Your guests can help themselves to whatever toppings they would prefer! 


Now you’re well on your way to creating this famous and easy Wendy’s chili copycat recipe from your home. Lovely hearty meal that will have your family and friends asking for more. To make the dish even better you can include additional toppings that we have outlined below. These will make a tasty dish even tastier.

Optional toppings: 

  • Grated sharp cheddar cheese 
  • Diced green onion 
  • Sour Cream 
  • Crumbled tortilla chips
  • Avocado
  • Bacon

Crockpot variation: If you would prefer to prepare your chili before bed or before you head out for the day, you can make this dish in a crockpot instead. Pre-cook the ground beef in a frying pan until no pink remains. Add all of the ingredients to the crockpot, including the ground beef. Stir and cook on low for 6-8 hours. 

Let us know in the comments below if this is a dish you have made yourself at home, what variations you used and the satisfaction levels of your guests. If it’s anything like my family this classic dish is always well received.

wendy's chili


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