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 can’t sat for me that this recipe tasted like Wendy’s chili. I can say it makes a darn good batch of chili.

  2. I made this and it was great. Found the recipe again and saved it. I knew I was looking for the one that added butter at the end. Soooo good! ??

  3. I made this for my family, doubled the recipe because we have a lot of people in our family when we all get together. My family has always loved but chili but decided to try this recipe. It was a HUGE hit!! Everybody wanted some to take home and I froze the reader later sometime for the hubs and me.

  4. This recipe was right on with Wendy’s Chili. I made it in a crockpot and brought it for lunch at my Quilting Bee. Everyone loved it, many got second servings and several asked for the recipe. Thanks.

  5. Delicious, but way too spicy. Maybe my Penzy’s chili powder was “high powered” but next time I would cut the amount by half, and add hot sauce to each bowl to taste.

  6. I have made this several times for my family and they love it. I use elk meat instead of hamburger and it is amazing! Does have a little kick but it’s perfect! Thank you!

  7. Overall, excellent recipe. I find canned tomatoes to be a bit bitter, so add two tablespoons of ketchup, 2 Tbsp. of sugar and half a teaspoon of baking soda.

  8. Closes Wendy’s chili recipe I’ve ever tried! Tastes great the same day and even better the day after. I share this recipe every time I make it for company or am asked about a chili recipe.

  9. This is sooo good!! My family loves this recipe. I’ve cooked it about 3 times now and it never disappoints. I altered it a bit by excluding the jalapeños and added a chili flavor pack.. Thanks so much!!

  10. I’m sorry, but this recipe tastes nothing like Wendy’s chili and 1/4 cup of chili powder is way too much. Also, it was super spicy and I typically love spicy. Will definitely not make again.

  11. I loved it! I altered mine a little just playing around. Added a packet of chili seasoning and put extra bell pepper and celery chopped fairly big (I like the crunch it adds!) and omitted the jalapeño (I don’t like spicy, even tho I’m a southern girl!). I used the “chili” diced tomatoes and it was amazing!

  12. I tried this twice but got lazy the second time. I replaced the tomatoes, onions, celery and jalapenos with a large jar of “medium”, chunky salsa and it was amazing.

    1. Wendy’s chili bean mix is kidney beans and small red beans. Canned small red beans haven’t been available at my grocery store in at least a year. I always appreciate that Sabrina makes the effort to offer a substitution, and the flavor difference here is negligible.

    2. According to the ingredients list on Wendy’s menu page for their chili, there is.

      Chili: Chili Base (Chili Sauce [Water, Tomato Paste, Tomatoes (Tomatoes, Tomato Juice, Calcium Chloride), Sugar, Modified Corn Starch, Salt, Chili Pepper, Spices, Flavor Enhancer (Dextrose, Salt, Yeast Extract, Modified Corn Starch), Citric Acid, Garlic Powder, Disodium Inosinate and Disodium Guanylate, Onion Powder, Xanthan Gum], Onions, Celery, Green Peppers), Water, Ground Beef (Beef, Salt), Chili Beans (Prepared Pinto Beans, Prepared Red Kidney Beans), Soy Lecithin.”

  13. As the weather up near the Canadian border has turned cold, it was the perfect opportunity to try this recipe. I can say as a novice in the kitchen, but with a knack for new things, this chili was amazing just as is, no changes or substitutions. My dinner guests really loved it served with honey-butter cornbread. Thank you so much. Would give this 10 stars if I could.

  14. I have a pot simmering right now. It smelled wonderful before I even turned the fire on 1 hour 40 minutes to go. Thank you, I’m sure I’m going to love this.

  15. Absolutely my go to chili recipe! Tastes just like Wendy’s, we use Tabasco to flavor in lieu of the Wendy’s hot sauce. Thank you so much!

    1. Not a great chili recipe. Too many tomato-based, would recommend least tomatoes and more seasonings especially salt. Will not make again.

  16. This is a great knock-off Wendy’s chili! Delicious! Will definitely make it again. Do you have a knock-off recipe for the Wendy’s chili sauce packet too?

  17. When I prepared it for 6 servings, the jalapeño computed to 0.5 (one half) and the chili powder to 0.13 cup or 2 tablespoons. The result was so hot ? it was inedible! Even doubling all the other ingredients just put it still in the barely edible range! All I can do to save my mouth is eat a bunch of cheese and milk to absorb the capsaicin. When I make it next, I’ll use 0.25 jalapeño, and one teaspoon of chili ? powder to start. I can always add heat, but it’s impossible to remove it!

  18. This does taste like Wendy’s chili but it isn’t as watery as Wendy’s if cooked as directed. I would either add an additional cup to cup and a half of water, then make as directed. I did enjoy this recipe

  19. I love this recipe which is basically indistinguishable from Wendy’s. It’s a versatile starter recipe for chili that can be enhanced to your own personal preferences.

    Add a tablespoon or two of sugar to cut the acid in the tomatoes. I think Wendy’s does the same.

    Regarding tomatoes, I use San Marzano canned peeled tomatoes. Cento brand from Walmart is a good buy. I chop one can with a knife by hand. I use a food processor to turn the other can into sauce.

    One more thing – keep in mind Wendy’s uses portions of unused burger patties chopped up for their chili. So, let your meat brown in whole form in the pan, so that it’s got some decent chunks in it. One good way to achieve this is to put frozen ground directly into the pan and scrape off the chunks as it cooks.

      1. Teresa, it says “Post Comment” not “Post Review”.

        This chili is amazing and the whole family loves it! Thank you for posting this recipe!

        From Jimmy (who is not condescending to others).

  20. Sabrina, do you have a specific chili powder that you use for your chili recipes? i see that you link to the McCormick dark chili powder – is that what you use? i have found that many different chili powders have very diverse flavors which, of course is going to affect the final flavor of the chili.

  21. Going to make this but concerned about the 1/4 cup of chili powder. That sounds excessive. Is that correct??

      1. Taste great cold can’t wait till it’s done thank you for the recipe!!!!! Will say it’s fullest crackpot I’ve ever had….lol

  22. I don’t like it when people make comments without even making the recipe but since I saw this recipe by dinnerthendessert, I made an exception.
    I’ve made quite a few recipes from Sabrina and all were a total success so when I drove past Wendy’s today,I almost bought a big cup! But I thought no,we probably have all the ingredients. As soon as I saw Sabrina’s copycat recipe, I saved it on Pinterest but thought of cutting the recipe in half but I decided I’ll make the recipe and put part of it in 1 qt. Zipper bags.We’ll either use it up for ourselves or give it to someone that needs meals. (That’s confidence in the recipe for sure!)
    I love the pack that Wendy’s give out to add heat.Can anyone tell me how to make that?

  23. Great Recipe I use 2 small cans of green chilies instead of the jalapeño and with the hamburger meat I added a pound of ground pork. Instead of simmering it for 2 hours I cooked it in my 8 qt pressure cooker for 7 minutes since the beans are ready cooked I didn’t want my beans mushy. It turn out great. The pressure cooker idea I seen on YouTube for Wendy’s Chilli. It turn out great. I making some right now.

  24. This was really good and got better the next day.
    I made a few subs as I thought I had all the ingredients but I didn’t:
    subbed chipotle for jalapeno
    ran short on Tomato sauce so subbed petite diced tomatoes with a little tomato paste.
    Was still delicious. I was actually sorry I sent some home with my son 🙂

  25. I make this vegetarian with veggie ground round. I have made it several times and family love it. Great recipe. Thanks

  26. I didn’t modify this recipe (other than using the types of beans I had on hand, light, dark kidney & cannellini) I was worried the whole jalapeno would make it too spicy but it wasn’t “spicy” at all. We like a bit of spice, this was perfect for everyone. Served with some shredded cheddar, sour cream & fritos. Delicious! I did forget the butter at the end, I didn’t feel like it was missing anything. Might add some as I heat up the leftovers just for fun

    1. Very good recipe! I never leave comments but I have had to share this recipe with so many people bc it’s an instant favorite. The spice level is low .. maybe some people forgot to seed their jalapeños? Just a good chili! Thank you for sharing the recipe!

  27. To amend my previous comment, I’m a vegan, so swapped out the beef for Morningstar Farms crumbles and left out the jalapeños due to sensitive tongues in my family and it was A-FREAKING-MAZING.

    I will be making this chili forever.

  28. I work at Wendy’s and we never put butter in it….. peoples come like crazy for Chili. Because they always love it.

    Also my mother made Chili many, many years go and she never put butter in her. Not at all.

    1. The butter adds a little creaminess/depth, and fat back to the dish since it was drained from the beef the beginning. I think it’s a nice touch. I’d also add that if you aren’t watching your weight – you can forego draining the fat off the ground beef to add some additional richness to the dish.

    2. That doesn’t mean she is the only person on the world making it correctly. Butter is like the secret ingredient here for added silky texture and richness. You sound so horrified. There are other good cooks in the world besides your mother.

  29. Something I learned from a previous Wendy’s worker is that the beef they use is leftover hamburger patties. Just something to keep in mind when trying to replicate the flavor.

    I look forward to making your recipe soon. ?

  30. I found this recipe while checking my email. I just finished making it. To tell you it’s the balm would be a fib. It is the BALM and so much more. Family will be begging for this Chili again and again.

  31. I love this recipe ! I do modify a bit where I don’t use as much chili powder and I add fresh chopped tomatoes and use 1lb of hamburger and 1 lb of turkey . I also like to sauté the onion and pepper in a little olive oil or butter and then add the hamburger.

    Thanks for sharing!

  32. I made this tonight and it is DELICIOUS! It makes enough to feed a small army and I can’t wait to bring some of the leftovers to my coworkers tomorrow. Notes, I did add some beef bouillon to taste.

  33. I don’t know why you would try to compare this to Wendy’s chili…! ( just to try to get people to look at your posts…?) it’s way off(for one Wendy’s doesn’t have jalapeños…) and all the ratios are off! It looks like it might taste good though, nice try!

    1. If you new anything about cooking you would know different ingredients put together can recreate other flavors .. good try sounding smart

  34. The old Wendy’ chili is what everyone wants. It was very mild with lots of green bell pepper and nothing hotter. It had one or maybe two tablespoons of chili powder, possibly a teaspoon of cumin with 2 lb hamburger, 1 pinto and 2 cans kidney beans, 2 cans diced tomatoes and a diced sweet onion.
    very simple. Yours is too hot and definitely not a copycat Wendy’s from the good old days. I can’t eat the stuff Wendy’s makes now. IT IS HORRIBLE.

    1. Just made this! It is very tasty. We like spicy and I feel it has nice flavor it is easy to adjust the i seasoning but with the added onion we always add to our bowls this is perfect

  35. The old Wendy’ chili is what everyone wants. It was very mild with lots of green bell pepper and nothing hotter. It had one or maybe two tablespoons of chili powder, possibly a teaspoon of cumin with 2 lb hamburger, 1 pinto and 2 cans kidney beans.
    very simple. Yours is too hot and definitely not a copycat Wendy’s.

  36. Superb! Tastes just like Wendy. It’s basic bish chili but very hearty and satisfying. I will say how easy this recipe was to make and it didn’t have tons of ingredients. The simplicity of it sold me! A+++

  37. I love Wendy’s Chili & since it tastes like my own (the Crock Pot chili recipe I’ve used forever), I decided to try your Wendy’s Chili recipe. (Please note I have grown & cooked with Jalapeño peppers all of my life & worn gloves to seed & devein the peppers).
    The jalapeño in your recipe – absolutely killed the taste of the chili – because of the “burn” from the capsaicin in the Jalapeño. It was so strange in the fact that the burn from the Jalapeño pepper didn’t happen in the mouth (or on the tongue), it burned only in the throat.
    My husband loves chili & begged me to let you know that the Jalapeño in the recipe ruined the chili. I have to agree with him, and feel you should “omit the jalapeño pepper from your recipe.”
    To be fair, I made your recipe again – BUT OMITTED the jalapeño pepper. I found that omitting the jalapeño pepper – your recipe was an “exact match – to Wendy’s Chili.”

  38. I made this, exactly as posted. It is delicious, but we needed a bit more spice. We added a teaspoon of Tony’s creole. I will half the celery next time, my family has basically demanded I do so. It adds a lovely crunch, but 2 stalks of celery is a TON. Thanks for the recipe!

  39. For the slow cooker, do you leave the top off? I can’t imagine that, but I’m not sure how enough water evaporates to make it the right consistency?

    Thank you!

  40. The family loves Wendy’s chili so I thought I would give this a try, subbing in ground turkey for the beef. Great recipe! We all just about burned our mouths sampling it after the 2hr simmer. Even got 2 “I kinda like this better than Wendy’s” comments. Thank you for the recipe!

  41. This is my family’s favorite Chili recipe! We use 1 lbs ground venison, and 1 lbs ground pork or sausage, because that’s what we usually have on hand. It’s delicious. I also usually swap out the kidney beans for chili beans (just personal preference).

  42. I am absolutely in love with this Wendy’s chili and It will always be a keeper in my family. thank you for sharing one of the best recipes hands-down?

    1. Hello Kelly, I did mean two stalks of celery for this recipe. However, you can use two ribs of celery if you would like.

      1. I had no idea it even had celery in it nevermind it’s 2 whole stalks.
        I’m eating Wendy’s chili right now actually and I’m trying to find the celery. I plan on using your recipe in the next week or 2. Thanks for posting it!

      2. Loved Wendy’s chili before going vegan, and this recipe is amazing and super easy to make vegan if you sub Impossible meat for ground beef!! Tastes just how I remember.

  43. 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.

  44. 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.

    1. Yes but they boil leftover cooked meat from previous days hence the cooking part instead of boiling. And they used pre made bags of sauce and canned sauce which contains addition fats which is why the butter

  45. !00% tastes like Wendy’s Chili! SO freakin good! This is the best copycat recipe I have ever tried. Thank you!

  46. 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?

  47. 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.

  48. 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.

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

  50. 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.

  51. 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.

  52. 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!

  53. 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!

  54. 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.

  55. 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.

  56. 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!

  57. 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

  58. 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!

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

  60. 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

  61. 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?

  62. 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!

  63. Sabrina, this recipe is spot on! Love it, love it, love it! Since you made such a perfect copycat recipe for the chili, would you PLEASE make a copycat version of Quizno’s discontinued green chicken chili verde soup? I ate it every day for two weeks years ago, then they stopped serving it, and I have been heartbroken ever since. I even begged to buy the information on the ingredients. I kind of think it came in a bag and they just added water and chicken, but I still dream about that soup. If you could come up with a semi version, I would be forever grateful and sing your praises until you became viral, lol.

    1. I’m so glad you love it so much! I’ll definitely add your request to my research list. I don’t think I’ve ever had it but I’ll start digging and see what I can come up with when I get a chance. Thanks for the suggestion.

    1. Do you want to add it in replace of something or in addition. If you add tomato paste it will thicken the chili. If that’s ok with you, then go for it. Enjoy!

  64. Perfect, simple, lovely chili. Will be making this again several times over the cold winter months. Thank you!

  65. This is an awesome recipe I have made a couple of times exactly as it is written, but tonight I was out of jalapeño peppers so I went canned chipotle peppers about 3 chopped up and it gave the chili a little bite and a great smoky flavor. Thanks again for sharing.

  66. Excellent! Accompany servings with saltine crackers, dollops of sour cream and added hot sauce. Yum!

  67. I made this recipe tonight…I cut it in half since it’s for 1-2 folks in my house but I kept the full cumin measurement (by mistake) and did about 3/4 of the chili powder requirement because…that’s my business. Delicious!! Definitely printed and stashed away ?

  68. Made this recipe this weekend for the first time and my family loved it! Definitely will be making again! Thank you so much for sharing.

  69. I added a clove of minced garlic & fresh parsley (since my herb garden is doing so well) & I used a yellow pepper instead of the green pepper. I made mine in the crock pot…DELICIOUS!!

  70. Interesting as it may be This is not the perfect copycat recipe.. Wendy’s does not use jalapenos what is to be perceived as is actually Anaheim peppers and also is not green bell peppers…their also is tomato paste in the recipe and no butter…refer to the hack Masters recipes…Todd Wilbur at top secret recipes site.. it’s hard to argue with the man that’s has 33 years experience professionally reverse engineering well over 1500 famous recipes

    1. Back in the day Wendy’s always drained and rinsed their beans, there was a can of tomato base/sauce and then a larger can of diced tomatoes, so many cans of water after you dumped the tomatoes, a spice pack, then the old chili meat was boiled and chopped, added, then everything simmered. I’ve heard that they have made many changes in the way they make it now, tomato base comes with the veggies already in it, they use microwaves to boil the meat before they chop it;.

  71. This is great chili! Quick, easy and tasty!love it in winter, it makes the house smell so good as it simmers. It makes a lot so I put it in quart containers and freeze it.

  72. This is the best chili! It has tremendous flavor and so easy to make. I use ground bison and ground turkey to reduce the fat a bit. I do add a couple of bay leaves and a couple of teaspoons of Mexican Oregano (since I can never leave well enough alone). I would recommend this recipe to anyone who is a real fan of Wendy’s Chili!!!

    1. It may not be Wendy’s but it is one great pot of chili. I made it stove top and drained the beans in error. I used one can of everything because I am the one I am cooking for. I used half of the other ingredients as well and just seasoned up or down to my liking. I had no celery and no green pepper. I accompanied it with Krusteaz honey cornbread!! Good eating!!

  73. Hi did everyone use two stalks of celery? I only used 1 because two just seems way too much and I feel like them only meant 2 celery sticks. I hope still chili comes out good. 🙁 help please!

    1. I used the 2 stalks of celery, large ones at that. It was not too “celery-ish”.

      I also substituted “Bush’s Southwestern Style Pinto Beans in a … red chile sauce with mild jalapeno peppers” for the pinto beans and did not add the jalapeno called for in the recipe (my husband does not like spicy hot food) but you can taste the chili, once mixed before it’s fully cooked and add jalapeno to your taste (jalapenos come in different sizes).

      I used petit diced tomatoes & their juice instead of chopping whole canned tomatoes & adding their juice and made my own chili powder from an online recipe, going mild on the heat, because I didn’t have any (plus your own spice mix will probably be fresher & therefor more flavorful than a store’s brand.)

      Tip: if you find the chili to be too wet, you can thicken it with a bit of corn meal and cook a little longer.

      We liked the chili very much.

  74. Made this today took out the celery and jalapeños. And subbed with turkey meat. Has great flavor but way to liquidy for my liking. Uh

  75. I haven’t made this yet but is it possible to substitute tomato juice for the tomato sauce? If so would I use the same amount?

    1. It’ll be thinner if you use juice vs the sauce. You might want to add a bit of tomato paste to thicken it a bit before adding. Good luck!

  76. This is an excellent recipe. I have made it many times. You actually need the sugar, butter and a lot of chili powder to get it just right. (But some may prefer less spice of course) Thank you for the recipe and detailed directions.

  77. This was delicious! Only change I made was that I added more chili powder and used hot chili beans instead of mild, because I wanted a kick to my chili. I highly recommend!!

  78. Great recipe! I personally thought the 1/4 cup chili powder was too much, so will be adjusting that down next time. And possibly less tomato sauce – too tomatoey for us, so counter-balanced it with a bit of brown sugar and double the butter. But definitely a keeper!

  79. Just made tonight and my husband and I are making this our go to chili! Absolutely delish!!! Thanks so much for this recipe! Love, love, love it!!!

    1. I’ve not tested it using an instant pot but I’m sure you could find a similar recipe online and use that as a guide. Good luck!

  80. I don’t like chunks of tomatoes…what do you
    Suggest for the 28 ounces chopped tomatoes?? Also not a fan of jalapeños – would it be the end of the world if I left them out?!!!! Help!!

    1. I would recommend pureeing the chunks of tomato with an immersion blender to help reduce. You could also substitute with more tomato sauce but you may need to add tomato paste too to thicken it up. Hope this helps.

  81. I hate recipe review when they aren’t exact but i felt I should for anyone in my position. I have the pickiest of eatiers so I left out the jalepenos and chili powder and only used a few shakes of cumin and these finiki eaters devoured their plates. They requested to have it again. I was completely shocked so I had to add a review Incase they’re others out there who don’t like the traditional heat of chili.

  82. Made this in the slow cooker on high for about 6 hours. Made frito pies with it. My family loved it and asked me to keep the recipe. Definitely making this again.

  83. I have made this many times now. It’s easy, and the taste is excellent. I usually make a double batch and keep lots stashed away in the freezer.

  84. Just a question: 1/4 cup chili powder seems like a LOT. I have had Wendy’s Chili often and the difference between what I use in my recipe and this is WHOA! A lot. Is this amount correct? (I know the old start with less and taste taste taste…just wondering).

  85. Can you please tell me what kind of tomato sauce you used? Did you use the normal plain sauce or a sauce with added ingredients like basil/oregano? Same with the chopped canned tomatoes please. Thank you. 🙂

  86. You absolutely nailed it. I cannot tell the difference to the real thing. In fact this is so much better and fresher. I did leave out the pinto beans though in an attempt to make it more Keto friendly. I also added shredded cheddar.

  87. Adding 2 teaspoons of Lawry’s Seasoned Salt brought the flavor up to almost an exact match to Wendy’s chili.

    Thank you

  88. This is the best “Copy Cat” Wendy’s chili I have ever had. It’s a go to every time I want chilli. I put it in the slow cooker for 7 hours, and it’s wonderful, especially on hot days here in Florida. I don’t change a thing. Been fixing it for several years for family and friends and it’s a big hit. Thanks so much, your the best!!

  89. I have been looking for a copycat recipe for Lance Oatmeal Cookie. I don’t know when they stopped making them or delivering them in my area (if they still make them). My favorite oatmeal cookie. If you come up with this recipe I would love you to send it to me.
    I have just found your site. Thanks

  90. Made the chili recipe today. I used a red pepper rather than green. The chili is wonderful. This recipe is a keeper.

  91. Let me start by saying two things. 1) I. Hate. Chili. and 2) I am not a rate/review kind of person, and this is actually probably the first time I have ever done it, but I feel this needs to be said. I LOVED this recipe! I just had left overs for dinner and I already cannot wait to have it for lunch at work tomorrow. I’ve shared it with three people today alone because I am so impressed with it. We put it together in the Crock-Pot Tuesday evening (today is Thursday), put it in the fridge, and cooked it on low for 8 hours yesterday. Aside from a couple recommendations by other reviewers, we made it exactly as it says and we we won’t change a single thing when making it next time. The only things we changed was draining the beans, as someone said it makes it chalky or pasty I believe, and then we cooked the meat with the cumin, salt, pepper and 1/2 of the chili powder. I had never heard of using butter in chili, but I dropped it in the Crock-Pot just before serving since I wanted to follow the recipe as much as possible. I don’t know if it did anything or not, but again the final outcome was so perfect we will continue using it. My wife, a chili lover, thanks you for finally giving me a recipe I will make for her!

      1. This is the first time using this recipe, i just put all in Crock-Pot. And I don’t have any cumin ? which I thought I did. Will that make a big difference? Thanks in advance

        1. Sorry that I didn’t see this sooner. The cumin shouldn’t have affected it too much, hopefully it turned out delicious for you!

  92. This is my go to recipe when I want some lovin..Lol. I learned to use pickled tamed jalapenos for the taste and barely any heat. Thanks for this!

    1. I haven’t tested it so I’m not really comfortable giving a recommendation. You might be able to find a recipe online with similar ingredients to follow as guideline. Good luck!

  93. Do I throw the celery, onion,jalapeno bell pepper in when frying ground meat? Or after? Your cooking instructions Arnt very detailed I apologize I’m a beginner and need detailed instructions
    Can you email me detailed instructions please? Thanks!

    1. No, you brown the beef alone then just add everything else in together. No need to add the vegetables to the beef. Wendy’s does not caramelize the vegetables in their chili.

  94. Great recipe, simple to make, Just the right amount of kick to it and I’m not even a big chili person but the family is and they love it.

  95. I love that you DON’T drain the beans. There is so much flavor and nutrition in them. I never drain my beans and it always turns out so flavorful and delicious and it adds body!! The gas equation is nominal. I’d rather have the flavor and nutrition for sure!!

  96. I’m not a huge fan of chili, but when I want it, my go to is Wendy’s. I don’t think this recipe is a true Wendy’s copycat, but it doesn’t matter
    at all because the result of this recipe is a really really good chili. I’m not a fan of spicy hot food, but even with the jalapeno this chili has only a mild kick. The only thing I did differently was, I drained and rinsed the beans and replaced the liquid with an additional cup of water. This recipe is easy to make (I’m a bachelorette with a crockpot, lol). My only warning is, if you’re going the crockpot route, you need one that’s at least 7qts to make the recipe as measured. Thank you for this recipe, it’s a keeper. I’ll be eating chili more often, for sure.

  97. I followed the recipe except for cutting the chili powder in half. I can tell the flavor was good, but it was extremely salty for us. I will use less salt and less cumin the next time.

  98. Me and my 11 yr old granddaughter made this today, both my daughters and granddaughters love Wendy’s chili, my youngest daughter is pregnant and craves Wendy’s chili almost daily.. needless to say this recipe was a HUGE hit today with my entire family and a few friends that were over today, so much so I had to go to the grocery store and buy more ingredients to make a double batch if this chili tomorrow for the football game and for the up coming snow storm we’re getting.. and for me the most important thing about this recipe is my granddaughter who is 11 is able to follow the recipe and basically make it on her own with my guidance of course. Thank you for giving us all the better than Wendy’s chili recipe..

  99. Ok so I’ve been making this every week and it’s absolutely delicious. This is my second post. The reason why I’m posting again is because I’ve been making this a “crock pot” meal. So on that note – when making this in the crock pot; Completely omit the water. You don’t need it at all. Thanks for sharing this perfect recipe! Yummy!

  100. This is DELCIOUS! I am a huge fan of Wendy’s chili and this is so close to their recipe. My family loves it, no matter if it’s 100 degrees outside or if it’s 30. I make this often!

  101. This is by far the best chili recipe ever! My entire household loves it! Thank you for posting. (just a heads up – I put 1/2 cup beef broth instead of 1 cup and put it in my crock pot) Delish!

  102. Hi,

    Why is it that you use tomato sauce and not tomato juice as this is what it says is in the ingredients of the real Wendy’s chili?

    1. Because I’m not adding any unnatural products and after the side by side tasting I did, it was the closest match. I hope you enjoy it!

  103. This chili is very good! I followed the recipe exactly as written and it definitely tastes like Wendy’s! I paired it with my jalepeno cornbread and it was so delicious! Thank you, Dinner, Then Dessert!

  104. I have to say, I am not a huge fan of chili. My partner, however, LIVES for it. Especially during football season l. I’ve tried multiple recipes but this is THE WINNER. He’s as happy as a pig in sh*t right now. Thank you!

    Only thing I added was diced a garlic clove.

  105. This chili is really good. I agree it doesn’t really taste like Wendy’s, however I added 1 Tbsp sugar and substituted beef broth for the water and it’s much closer! I think it needs more green peppers to match Wendy’s. I’m going to try that next time. Yes, next time. I love this recipe!

  106. I’m a big Wendy’s chili fan. Now I won’t have to go to Wendy’s to get my chili fix. It was so easy to prepare – just dump the cans in and chop up a few vegatables. It was hard to wait the two hours to simmer. Delicious! Thank you

  107. I just made this chili today. I loooooove Wendy’s chili and this tastes so much like it. I’ll definitly be making it again. One thing I did was but the tomatoes with peppers in them and still added the jalapeño. It made it more spicy than I was hoping for but it is still delicious!

    The recipe is super easier and makes a lot of chili.

  108. This recipe is amazing! I made it for a chili potluck at work and it was the first to go. I love Wendy’s chili but to me this doesn’t take anything like it. Nevertheless, this is a wonderful recipe. I have a pot simmering as I type. This will continue to be my go to chili an at home chili recipe. Thank you for sharing!!

      1. Hi Sabrina! I made the chili in my crockpot tonight. Great flavor.. you are spot on. However mine was a tad bit watery. I left the lid on the crockpot. Should I have taken it off for the full 4 hours? Think it will get thicker as leftovers? Thanks!

        1. If it was too watery, you may have had the heat too low. Next time, try and increase the temperature just a bit and that should help evaporate some of the water. The lid should stay off the entire time. Hope this helps! Glad you enjoyed it.

  109. Ewwwww so nasty I didn’t like it this is soooo fake fake fake does not even taste the same !!!!!!! !!! …….. JK it was amazing

  110. My husband made an odd request for chili recently.. he said he’d like to have some like Wendy’s. So I just made this chili (omitted the celery) and OMG! It is soo delicious! I made a pan of sweet yellow cornbread and my,my, my… Yum-my.
    Thank you for sharing
    This is gonna be a family favorite

  111. Where do you find 29 oz cans of pinto beans and 29 oz cans of kidney beans??????
    My cans are 15 ozs and 15.5 ozs.

    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. 🙂

  112. 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.

  113. 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.

  114. 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 🙂

  115. 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.

    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 🙂

  116. 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.

  117. 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!

    1. It has a bit of a kick but you can adjust the spices to your liking though it won’t be a true copycat anymore. Enjoy!

  118. 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 too
    thick 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!!

      1. Sabrina I must say you are a better person than me. I absolutely love your recipes, but I don’t understand how one can give your recipe 5 stars when that person created a totally different recipe. I will never understand that if the person recreating a recipe doesn’t submit it to a place like all recipes rather that posting on a blog.

      2. I have to say after rereading my comment, it sounds like I completely reworked it! Lol but I didn’t, truly! Just adapted it to our tastes & thought maybe others might have the same likes. I dislike it when someone totally redoes another’s recipe on their page ..it’s rude so please forgive me if it seems like I did that!! Take care & happy cooking!! I follow your recipes/posts so can’t wait for more good ones!! ?

        1. No worries! I know that everyone has different tastes and I think at times it is helpful to know how others have tweaked the recipe.

    1. I like your suggestions and will adjust this recipe after I’ve made it according to original recipe. Sometimes tomato sauces need that little bit of sugar to balance out the acidity. I also like paprika in my chili. Last time I made a copy cat recipe for Wendy’s Chili I didn’t like the beans added with the juices. It made it taste thick and pasty. So this time I will drain them but not rinse them. Hoping this all turns out well for my “Chili Night” party I have planned in a few days.

  119. 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.

    1. This just made my day! Thank you so much for taking the time to come back and let me know, Les! It really means a lot.

  120. 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

    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!

  121. 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.

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

  123. 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.

    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!

  124. 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.

    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.)

      1. Great Chili but would like to see the size of the crock pot it fits in. LOL Had to use a large roasting pan and 2 burners of the stove. lol

  125. 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.

  126. This looks sooo yummy! I have always liked Wendy’s chili, and I haven’t had any chili for a while now. I’ll have to make some, and test it our on the hubby. ? Thanks for sharing your recipe! Pinned!

    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.