Wendy’s Chili (Copycat)

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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)

  • Yield: 12 servings
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
  • Course: Main Course
  • Cuisine: American
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!


  • 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


Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

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

Nutrition Information

Yield: 12 servings, Amount per serving: calories

All images and text © for Dinner, then Dessert, Inc.

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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!

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    1. Loved it. Except for not draining the beans. Which means you’re leaving the ingredient that causes gas.. I have cooked many chili recipes, , as a firehouse cook. That’s how I know.

  1. This looks exactly like Wendy’s chili. Can’t wait to try this. I am really loving the fact that this only calls for 1 Tbsp of butter for the entire recipe.

    1. I did a side by side taste test and thought it was spot on but if you’d like to add garlic powder, definitely go for it! Enjoy!!

    2. If you want garlic powder, then by all means add some. You’re making the chili. Make it the way you like it. A recipe is a guideline for you to have a place to start. NOBODY has ever said that Wendy’s is the expert on chili. Personally, I drain the beans and add Beef broth, then simmer to reduce the liquid. (Tomato Paste will thicken the chili when added at the end.)

  2. Just made this for supper. I made it in the crock pot and just added half he chilli powder and 3/4 the cumin. It was delicious.i didn’t spice it as much because I have picky 3 year old. I just added till it was flavorful but not too much. My son still wouldn’t eat it. My husband he really liked it.

    Rating: 4
    1. It may seem like a lot but after a side-by-side taste comparison, that’s the correct amount to get the right flavor. Enjoy!

  3. My daughter loves Wendy’s chili, so I thought I would give this a try. It is SO much better than the one that I have made in the past. If you want it to taste like Wendy’s, though, I would suggest leaving out the jalapeno. It gives way too much heat to this – Wendy’s doesn’t have any kick/burn to it, and this was so hot I barely could eat it.

  4. Bingo! 5/5 for taste, 5/5 for simplicity, 5/5 for authenticity. This recipe is a keeper….thank you so much!

    Rating: 5
  5. How would you go about making accommodations to the recipe if the beans were omitted? That would reduce the amount of liquid so do I add more tomato sauce or water, and how much?

    1. Omitting the beans wouldn’t make it a Wendy’s copycat so I would recommend following a different chili recipe. Sorry.

    1. I haven’t tested using one so I’m not comfortable giving a recommendation. You might be able to find a recipe online with similar ingredients and use that as a guide. If you decide to try, I’d love to know what worked for you. Thanks!

  6. Made this for supper last night..and it was a huge hit! The only thing I forgot to do was add the butter at the end.What did we miss by forgetting to add it?This will be our new go to Chili Recipe

    Rating: 5
  7. Okay I never ever comment on anything really but this recipe is SOOOOO good that I needed to leave a comment 🙂
    I had tried two other chili recipes before finding this one and they were okay.
    But this- this recipe, I’ve made it 3 times already and it is just so delicious and comforting.

  8. This chili is extremely good!! It tastes very similar to Wendy’s chili but the first time I made it i found it’s too thick & “tomatoey” & not a thinner broth like Wendy’s is. So I did tweak a few things & now it tastes EXACTLY like it! So here’s my changes: If you don’t like jalepenos like me or don’t have one, I used 2tsp of banana peppers, minced fine, as well as added 2T of the juice to the browning hamburger when I added the onion & celery. Another tip is after I’ve scooped off the extra off the hamburger, I add my all my seasonings now so it can work into the burger & give it a good flavor on its own instead of tasting like boiled meat in soup. Then I add my tomatoes (that I’ve diced even smaller) & let it cook the tomatoes down slightly (I don’t like big chunks of tomatoes but love the flavor). I usually remove a 1/2 c or right here & eat it! It’s so good, i use this exact recipe up till here’s for taco meatballs sometimes) I add 2tsp of paprika also. Next I add the beans, I drained, so I didn’t need to use as much salt. I added 2T of sugar to counter the acid of the tomatoes. I diced my gr pepper fine also as we don’t like big chunks. The last big change was instead of just. 1 cup of water, which leaves it toothick thick, I added 6cups of water w/2tsp of beef base so it’s like adding beef stock/broth. You can’t taste it but it adds a really good deep flavor.. THen i brought it to a boil & reduced it to med-loan for a simmer corn 2hrs. NOW it tastes exactly like Wendy’s!!

    Rating: 5
  9. I have tried several chili recipes over the years and my husband has never liked any of them. A few weeks ago he said he likes Wendy’s chili so I tried this. I used a little less chili poweder and he loved it. (So did I). Next time we may add another jalapeño because we both like heat but it was great the way it was. It is easy too! Thanks Sabrina!

    Rating: 5
  10. This looks like the recipe to try for sure. the only question i have is, does you have to use a slow cooker for this recipe? the reason i asked is because my girlfriend is an impatient eater and i like to have dinner done by the time she gets home. i wonder if i can use a pot but slowly cook it over time.

    1. This recipe is written in the recipe card as a stove top version. I think you’re a wonderful boyfriend to have this ready for her.

  11. I made this recipe exactly as instructed. No changes. Results are in from the family. Drum roll please ????My sister said it is even BETTER than Wendy’s! Boom!? Bro-in-law said delicious and not too hot… just right. Other bro said he wants to take the left overs home! Needless to say, this recipe was a big hit in our house. Thanks for sharing this recipe. ? Wish I could post a pic but I can’t see where this site allows it.

    Rating: 5
    1. You just made my day!!! Thank you so much for taking the time to come back and let me know what a hit it was with your family, Terry! You can always post your pics on Instagram and tag #dinnerthendessert 🙂

  12. Not a fan of heavy cumin flavour so I only used a teaspoon, otherwise followed the recipe to a T and it was perfect! Thanks so much 🙂

    Rating: 5
  13. I made this chili for the first time today. My husband loved it! He said “That is darn good chili”. Will definitely make this again.

  14. I love to cook which inspired my oldest son to become a chef. I totally love this recipe for chili. Not only is it tasty but so easy to put together compared to the one I have been making for umpteen years. Thank you so much for sharing. Much better than the one from Wendy’s.

    Rating: 5
    1. Go ahead and use all of the can to make it easier. It’s chili, so that extra bit isn’t going to make much of a difference. 🙂