Copycat Wendy’s Chili Recipe: An Easy Dinner Idea



While I do love Wendy’s spicy chicken nuggets and chocolate frosty (usually enjoyed together), another classic order I like to snag at the restaurant is a small cup of their homemade chili. It’s the epitome of comfort food on a cold, winter day, which is why I decided to make a copycat Wendy’s chili recipe I could cook up at home.

Thanks to a clear list of ingredients on the Wendy’s website, it was easy to put together this recipe. According to the list, the Wendy’s chili has a chili base, tomatoes, chili beans, pink beans, kidney beans, onions, celery, green peppers, ground beef, chili pepper, garlic powder, and spices. While the recipe also has sugar and modified corn starch in it, I know that you can have a delicious chili without either of those additives, so I didn’t bother adding them into my version.

The trick to a delicious copycat Wendy’s chili

It may be surprising to you, but for my chili base, I like to use my homemade taco seasoning for the recipe. I like to have a jar of it prepared in my cupboard, so it’s easy to throw into the pot.

My trick to making the chili flavorful is to let it simmer for a long period of time. This recipe calls for a 30-minute simmer, but to be honest, you’ll get the best flavor if you let the chili sit for an hour—even two! Just make sure to stir it occasionally.

Don’t have garlic cloves? Try this instead

I also personally like the flavors that come from freshly minced garlic versus garlic powder, which is why I put it in this recipe. However, if you would rather use garlic powder, you can substitute the minced garlic for 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder.

RELATED: The easy way to make healthier comfort foods.

close up bowl of copycat wendy's chili with shredded cheese and sour cream
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

Copycat Wendy’s Chili

Makes 8 servings


1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 lb. ground beef
1 tablespoon taco seasoning
1 10 oz can. pinto beans
1 10 oz. can kidney beans
1 10 oz. can tomato sauce
1 10 oz. can diced tomatoes
Shredded cheddar cheese, for topping
Sour cream, for topping

How to Make It

  1. Heat up a dutch oven or a stockpot over medium heat. Add in the olive oil, minced garlic, onion, celery, and green bell pepper. When the vegetables start to become soft (about three minutes), add in the ground beef.
  2. Using a wooden spoon, break up the ground beef and stir in with the vegetables. When the ground beef is no longer pink, using a spoon, drain the grease into an excess can.
  3. Add in the beans, tomato sauce, and diced tomatoes into the dutch oven. Sprinkle in the taco seasoning and mix together.
  4. Turn the chili on simmer, and let it cook for at least 30 minutes, stirring once in a while so nothing burns at the bottom. The longer you let it sit, the better the flavors will become.
  5. Serve with shredded cheese and sour cream, if desired.

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