Wendy’s Chili (Copycat)

Wendy’s Chili copycat made with kidney beans, onions, chilis, bell peppers and tomatoes with a spicy chili powder and cumin spices. The perfect copycat!

Wendy's Chili copycat made with kidney beans, onions, chilis, bell peppers and tomatoes with a spicy chili powder and cumin spices. The perfect copycat!

Wendy’s Chili is a no brainer now that the weather is cooling down in a hurry. This copycat recipe is actually so spot on that when I tested it on an unsuspecting family member who loves it she replied, “If you got Wendy’s where is my FROSTY!!”

Sadly, I had not made a Wendy’s Frosty for her, but the chili is in fact a very spot-on copycat. Plus I love serving it with my Jalapeno Popper Cornbread Muffins.

Wendy’s Chili seems like it would be a tough recipe to make, but honestly the most difficult part is waiting for it to cook low and slow. In fact here are some tips and tricks for making this the PERFECT chili recipe.

  • Add in a tablespoon of butter at the end of cooking. It helps mellow flavors and provide the best texture. It adds a richness with minimal calories (it is only 1 tablespoon for the whole pot!).
  • Cook on a “simmer” which is lower than “low” usually. Cooking on a simmer is just the smallest of bubbles.
  • If you find your chili doesn’t look the same as below you may have the heat on too high so too much water has evaporated or on too low and too much water is remaining.
  • If you’re nervous about cooking it uncovered just stir more frequently. You’ll be able to feel if any of the chili is sticking to the pot.

Slow Cooker Wendy’s Chili Recipe?

  • Brown the beef before adding to the slow cooker. Add in the rest of the ingredients and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.

An amazing Wendy's Chili Copycat!

Looking for more soups?

Looking for more copycat recipes?

The ultimate chili, JUST like Wendy's chili and perfect for your gameday crowd!

Tools used in the making of this Wendy’s Chili Copycat:
Cast Iron Dutch Oven: Great heavy bottomed pan is amazing for low, even cooking and high quality for not a lot of money! Plus the lid is a second pan!
Pot Strainer: MY LIFESAVER. I strain everything in a pot through this and it is SO MUCH easier than a colander. Perfect for cooking 1 pot meals.
Pinto Beans: I also use this variety with jalapenos when I don’t want to go to the store for fresh jalapenos.
Kidney Beans: My favorite for salad toppings too, this variety is my favorite.

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Wendy's Chili (Copycat)

Wendy’s Chili copycat made with kidney beans, onions, chilis, bell peppers and tomatoes with a spicy chili powder and cumin spices. Taste like a perfect copycat!
Yield 12 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 2 lbs ground beef 85/15
  • 29 ounces canned tomato sauce
  • 29 ounces canned kidney beans not drained
  • 29 ounces canned pinto beans not drained
  • 28 ounces canned tomatoes chopped (not drained)
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 1 diced jalapeno de-seeded and de-veined
  • 2 stalks celery chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon butter


  • In a heavy bottomed stockpot brown the ground beef.
  • Drain the fat.
  • Add in the rest of the ingredients (except the butter) and bring to a boil.
  • Lower to a simmer and cook uncovered (please keep at a simmer level) for 2 hours stirring occasionally.
  • Add in the butter and stir until fully melted and incorporated.
  • Serve.


Calories: 358kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 1259mg | Potassium: 1048mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 540IU | Vitamin C: 20.8mg | Calcium: 108mg | Iron: 5.3mg
Keyword: Wendy's Chili (Copycat)
Wendy's Chili copycat made with kidney beans, onions, chilis, bell peppers and tomatoes with a spicy chili powder and cumin spices. Taste like a perfect copycat!
An amazing Wendy's Chili Copycat!

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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  1. I thought it was too simple to be any good and I was wrong. Perfect Wendy’s chili copycat, and excellent pot of chili all around. The only thing I would change is that with 85/15 beef, I actually didn’t have any liquid to drain, so I was able to skip that step. Very impressed. So good.

    1. I haven’t made this but will definitely try to. I’m pregnant and have been craving nothing but Wendy’s chili and that can get pricey for such a small portion! I worked at Wendy’s in my teenage years and while I never made the chili I did watch it a few times. They actually take the beef Patty’s that weren’t used at the end of the night and cop them up into the chili. This makes for bigger chunks of beef! I think I’ll do that because that one of the best parts of Wendy’s chili.

  2. Wendy’s always drains as well as rinses the beans that go into their chili. They take steps to take the fat out of their chili, they boil the meat and then drain and chop it. I do not understand the butter.

  3. !00% tastes like Wendy’s Chili! SO freakin good! This is the best copycat recipe I have ever tried. Thank you!

  4. I’ve been making a Wendy’s copycat chili recipe for at least 10 years and the recipes floating around all that time used tomato JUICE in the recipe. Why have all these copycat recipes changed over the years?

  5. Hi, could you tell me what brand of chili powder you use. I clicked on link and it goes to Amazon.com but says the app is no longer supported. So it doesn’t show the brand . Thanks

    1. I make this chili a lot. It taste good anytime. It really does taste like Wendy’s. Thank you for the recipes. It helps a lot to have a restaurant taste without having to go to the restaurant.

  6. This is such a delicious chili. It hits all the right notes for me and my family. I grow chilis in my garden and of course have to chop and add a few for a touch more heat. Also didn’t have enough tomato sauce on hand so I added one can of tomato sauce and 2 cans of La Costena chipotle salsa (chipotle pepper sauce) for the additional tomato sauce needed and it turned out great. Thanks for a great chili recipe….this is a regular in my home.

  7. Excellent family meal with a cold Winters in Chicago we have made this three times this winter today will be my fourth.

  8. I’ve been eating Wendy’s chili forever!!! They recently changed the recipe and now I don’t like it anymore, I don’t want the pinto beans that they have added recently…?

    1. Yes, for years, along with the kidney beans, it used to be just pink beans, but now the ingredients on the website, along with kidney beans, list “pink and/or pinto beans”. I suspect that pink beans have become more difficult to source, and/or have become more expensive. I like the taste and texture of the pink beans better than the pinto beans.

    2. Copycat recipes for Wendy’s chili have been on the internet for a very long time and never included beans, much less multiple kinds of beans! And the old recipes always included tomato JUICE in the ingredients. The recipe has changed so much that I now consider these recipes fraud.

  9. We loved this, even my mother in law who does not like spicy food. This has a lot of spice but mild hotness. At first I only used less than 1/4 c. Chili powder thinking it was too much but added in the rest to taste right. Only thing I changed was I used canned roasted medium hot green chili peppers. Also made it with 1 3/4 lb beef which was all I had. Much better than my chili which only had 1 lb beef. Thank you very much? Making this again in time for getting snowed in this weekend.

  10. It doesn’t matter what kind of beans go in the recipe (had black beans, and pinto beans. It’s very good, thank you for sharing your recipe!

  11. My guest loved this chili recipe made as is and felt it tasted ‘just like Wendy’s chili’. I will make this again as it’s super easy. Thanks for the recipe. If I could post a picture, I certainly would as it was lovely.

    1. It doesn’t matter what kind of beans go in the recipe (had black beans, and pinto beans. It’s very good, thank you for sharing your recipe!

  12. Making this, literally as it’s simmering as i write this.

    But my house smells like i bought a gallon of Wendy’s Chili, it’s that close. I did a few small mods, but essentially made the recipe as written. Smells so good, i’ve tasted it and it will definitely be a regular in my house. The main thing I changed was in another version who used V8 instead of Tomato sauce and it adds a little of the characteristics of V8 which isn’t a bad thing.

    Overall, it’s really good and maybe better than Wendy’s in some ways. Probably healthier since i know exactly what’s in it.

  13. Wendy’s uses kidney and pinto beans. If the chili you’ve tried has anything different, they are not making it by the original recipe. I used to have the original recipe, but sadly, I’ve misplaced it. I got the recipe from my cousin, who managed a a Wendy’s, in the 70’s and 80’s.

    1. Betty Missouri

      Ashley I remembered seeing this recipe from my cousin, who managed a Wendy’s, in the 70’s and 80’s. I know I took a snap shot of it but I can’t find it still looking.
      It was the best Chilli

      I am going to try this recipe. If I find the recipe I will try to find this spot again and send it to you.

  14. I worked at Wendy’s in the early/mid 90s. I love their chili always have. Flavor is wonderful. This recipe is pretty much on point!

  15. I just made this the 2nd time in 2 weeks
    I have had 4 people I shared it with gave me 5 stars. It’s very delicious almost the same as the restaurant Wendy’s.
    I saved the recipe for future making

  16. Hi Sabrina, my question is…Can this recipe be made without meat in beginning? I have one son who is vegetarian and one not. I was wondering if I can add ground beef later. If so, how would or should I season the meat during the browning process. My idea was to split the chili, half with meat half without. Please help! These twins are making it very difficult to feed everyone at dinner time ?

    1. I’m thinking that would work. You may need to thicken the meatless portion though so once split, possibly add more beans. Good luck!

  17. What can I substitute instead of the jalapeno de-seeded and de-veined? Can I use a canned product of some kind?

  18. Very good chili but I went light on the bell pepper. Very easy to put together. Made some jalapeño cornbread to go with it. I like mine with sour cream and shredded cheddar. Delicious

  19. I have tried several of these Wendy recipes. They are all similar in ingredients–this one may need an edit as there seems to be a duplication of the 29oz of tomato sauce. Also, one of the commenters is right about the real product has a mix or 14 1/2 can of kidney beans and 14 1/2 oz can of pinto beans–both drained. Otherwise, this appears close. Who can really discern a difference in kidney and pinto in chili?

  20. Omg this is seriously just like Wendy’s chili! Absolutely easy to make and you can’t tell the difference because it seriously tastes just like it! Excellent recipe!

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