This simple Wendy’s Chili Recipe is SPOT ON! Also, easy and delicious! Make a double batch and freeze some for later, and make sure to add it to this week’s meal plan!
This Wendy’s Chili Recipe originally appeared in November of 2010 and since then it’s been one of my most popular recipes. And for good reason – it’s delicious! If you love Wendy’s Chili, then this is a great recipe for you. Go ahead and check out the comments to see what others are saying!
Wendy’s Chili Recipe Ingredients
- Ground beef – Browned and drained. We typically use something with a lower fat content since it is drained off, but you can use whatever you prefer (or what is on sale!).
- Sweet yellow onions – Rough chopped, no need to get fancy as this will be simmering for a long time!
- Green peppers – We use green bell pepper, not hot peppers. Remove the seeds and pith, then rough chop.
- Celery – Take off the leafy top and rough chop the stem.
- Garlic – Fresh garlic will give you the most flavor, but feel free to use pre-minced garlic in a jar if you don’t have any fresh available.
- Ranch Style Beans – Don’t drain! You can get these on Amazon or at the grocery store, usually near the baked beans.
- Dark red kidney beans – Go ahead and drain these, as they’re not seasoned. we typically use two of the 15 ounce can kidney beans, but if you can find 30 ounce cans, those work too. If the can sizes are a little above or below what’s called for, this is not a problem.
- Original Rotel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chili – Some grocery stores carry a generic brand; this is fine too!
- Stewed tomatoes – You can use fresh tomatoes if you prefer, but we like to use canned tomatoes.
- Tomato sauce – Not spaghetti sauce and not tomato juice! Tomato sauce is plain sauce made from tomatoes and found in the canned tomato section.
- McCormick Mild Chili Seasoning – This is definitely my favorite seasoning! It’s available at most markets and also on Amazon.
Wendy’s Chili Copycat Recipe
I am obsessed with Wendy’s Chili lately, and even though it’s reasonably priced, that’s not really a good excuse for hitting the drive-thru.
Especially when it’s something I can make at home! After several minutes of scouring the internet for ‘What ingredients are in Wendy’s chili?‘ I came up with a recipe that showed some promise. So, I wrote my ingredient list and headed to Wendy’s.
Sitting in the grocery store parking lot chowing on my chili, I made a few amendments to the recipe list and then headed on in. And, boy oh boy. FANTASTIC!
How Do You Make Wendy’s Chili?
First, brown the ground beef on the stove top, and drain off grease.
Then, combine all ingredients in a large pot.
Finally, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for at least three hours (I let mine cook all day long).
Is Wendy’s Chili Gluten Free
This copycat recipe is gluten free, if you use a gluten-free chili spice packet. The gluten free chili seasoning is readily available typically in the same area as the regular chili spice blends.
Is Wendy’s Chili Healthy?
Whether something is healthy will obviously depend on your individual dietary needs. That said, our copycat chili recipe is full of protein from the beef and beans, fiber from the vegetables and beans, as well as vitamins and minerals from the vegetables and spices.
If you’re looking for a way to make a lighter version of our chili, try substituting ground chicken or turkey for the beef. We also have a delicious quick chicken chili, or healthy ground turkey chili recipe you could check out!
Can I make this in a slow cooker?
Yes, you can make our Copycat Wendy’s Chili in a crock pot. Make sure you’re using an 8 quart or larger cooker. If your slow cooker is smaller, halve the recipe.
To make in a slow cooker, add all ingredients, cover, and cook on high for 4 – 6 hours or low for 8 – 10 hours.
Can I make Wendy’s Chili in an Instant Pot?
Yes, to prepare in an Instapot, first, make sure you’re using an 8 quart or larger cooker (you need to be sure everything fits below the fill line). If your slow cooker is smaller, halve the recipe.
Turn the cooker to saute and brown the meat, then drain it. Add remaining ingredients, stir well, and cover. Turn knob to ‘sealing’, and set the device on manual for 30 minutes. Allow a natural pressure release, then enjoy!
How long does chili last?
Chili will last about 3 – 4 days in the refrigerator or indefinitely in the freezer. Make sure to store in a well sealed container for best results.
Can Wendy’s chili recipe be frozen?
Yes, it can be frozen. This recipe makes a giant batch (it fills my 8 quart stock pot), but freezes beautifully, so we will often eat half for dinner and save the other half for another occasion.
To freeze, allow the chili to come to room temperature, then portion into freezer safe containers (making sure to leave a few inches of headroom), and freeze. It will last up to three months in an upright freezer, and as long as six months in a deep freezer before the flavor and texture begin to degrade.
It will continue to be safe to eat so long as it is consistently maintained at a temperature below freezing.
Tips and Tricks
⭐ You’ll want to stir the chili periodically, and get your spoon all the way to the bottom to make sure none of the chili is sticking to the bottom of the pot. If you find the chili is sticking, reduce heat further.
⭐ This recipe should be simmered, not boiled. Simmering is just a few small bubbles coming to the surface, versus boiling which is lots of rapid bubbles.
⭐ If you like it spicy, add some chipotle seasoning, chili powder, or a handful of fresh chopped jalapenos (or all of them!). I personally like to spice my personal bowl after it’s done cooking with a generous splash of Frank’s Red Hot sauce.
⭐ If your chili seems too thick or is sticking to the bottom, turn the heat down and stir in a cup of water at a time until it reaches the thickness you are looking for.
What to serve with Wendy’s Chili
To complete the meal, we like to enjoy our chili with a big salad (like this spinach salad with strawberries, or even an easy cobb salad). I always make a batch of cornbread muffins, and since there’s something special about chili and cinnamon rolls, we like to top things off with our cinnamon roll cookies!
Can you get Wendy’s Chili without beans?
One of the most frequent question is does Wendy’s chili have beans in it, and the unequivocal answer is yes.
Wendy’s chili is not available without beans (they’re an integral part of the recipe!). But if you’re looking for a delicious bean-free recipe, we’ve got you covered with our easy chili recipe without beans.
More chili recipes we love
Chili Dog Casserole – This simple chili dog casserole is a fan favorite in our house. So much easier than making chili dogs one by one!
Breakfast Chili – Chili for breakfast is a thing! And it’s a really really GOOD thing! After you try this you’ll wonder where chili for breakfast has been all your life.
Chili Mac – Sing it with me… these are a few of my favorite things… woah. Yes. Chili + mac and cheese = happy mouth.
Chili with NO Beans – Not so hot on the beans but still love chili? Then this fantastic bean free chili is just what you need. You won’t believe what some of the ingredients are, but you’ll love how they work together! Yum!
Chili Pot Pie Recipe – Only a few steps and you’ve got a delicious and unique dinner recipe! I like to use a pre-made crust for quick prep.
Turkey Chili – Trying to keep it light? This recipe is low in fat and calories, but high in flavor!
Easy Chili Dogs – Classic and delicious. My dad asks for these when he visits!
Pumpkin Chili – Get into the feel of fall with this hearty chili made special with the addition of pure pumpkin.
Quick Chicken Chili – No time for an all day chili simmer? No sweat. This Last Minute Chicken Chili is ready in no time and perfect for a simple weeknight meal.
Make sure to check out all our easy chili recipes!
More game day recipes we love
More recipes with ground beef
Make sure to check out all our ground beef recipe ideas!
More copycat recipes
Make sure to check out all our copycat recipes!
Wendy’s Chili Recipe Making Tools
- Farberware 16 quart covered stock pot – You can’t beat a good heavy stock pot and this one has happily graced my kitchen for years now.
- 7 quart Crock Pot – Most soup and chili recipes can be converted back and forth from stove-top to slow cooker. This is the slow cooker we got for our wedding in 2003 and it’s still kicking butt!
- Giant soup bowls – Because why would you eat chili out of a small bowl?
- McCormick mild chili seasoning – you could totally make your own chili seasoning, but if that’s not your game, I really love this one. They have a gluten free version too!
- Ranch style beans – I’m pretty sure this is the secret ingredient. I know the cans look like they were made in 1972, but I promise they’re delicious.
- 4 cup glass measuring cup – Everyone needs a good measuring cup!
- Stainless steel measuring spoons – I have a really bad habit of melting plastic measuring spoons, so we’ve recently purchased these stainless steel ones and they’ve been great. I also love that they don’t absorb odors. I’m looking at you, curry.
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How to make Wendy’s Chili Recipe
Wendy's Chili Recipe
- 4.5 pounds ground beef browned and drained
- 2 large yellow sweet onions, chopped
- 7 large green bell peppers chopped
- 4 celery ribs chopped
- 2 heaping tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 cans Ranch Style Beans NOT drained (15 ounce cans)
- 2 cans dark red kidney beans drained (15 ounce cans)
- 2 cans Original Rotel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chili 10 ounce cans
- 2 cans stewed tomatoes 15 ounce cans
- 4 cans plain tomato sauce 15 ounce cans
- 2 packages McCormick Mild Chili Seasoning 1.25 ounce packages
- Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot.
- Simmer for at least three hours (I let mine cook all day long).
- Make sure you’re using an 8 quart or larger cooker. If your slow cooker is smaller, halve the recipe.
- Add all ingredients (remember to brown and drain the meat first), cover, and cook on high for 4 – 6 hours or low for 8 – 10 hours.
- Make sure you’re using an 8 quart or larger cooker (you need to be sure everything fits below the fill line. If your slow cooker is smaller, halve the recipe.
- Turn the cooker to saute and brown the meat, then drain it. Add remaining ingredients, stir well, and cover. Turn knob to ‘sealing’, and set the device on manual for 30 minutes. Allow a natural pressure release, then enjoy!
ACK! But, Wait!!! Are you looking longingly at this recipe but thinking to yourself that you don’t eat beans? Never fear! I have the Ultimate Bean-Free Chili just for you! You’re welcome!!!
What kind of meat is in Wendy's Chili?
Wendy's chili contains ground beef.
Is there dairy in Wendy's chili?
There are no dairy ingredients in the recipe.
Is Wendy's chili bad for you?
This will depend on your diet, but the chili is high in protein, fiber, and is gluten free.
Original images: (yes, these are embarrassing!)