Now you can make the Famous Wendy’s Chili in your own home! This Wendy’s Copycat Chili Recipe has ground beef, bell peppers, onions, celery, chili, tomatoes and beans for a meal that will warm you up on even the coldest day! I’ve also included instructions to make Wendy’s Chili in your Instant Pot and Slow Cooker!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- EASY – All made in one pot, this is a simple recipe with hardly any cleaning up!
- GREAT TO FEED A CROWD – Got friends or family coming over? Entertaining to watch the big game on TV? This is a great recipe that can fill a lot of bellies.
- DELICIOUS – There is a reason that Wendy’s is famous for their Chili? It’s super yummy! Now you can make a huge batch of it in your own kitchen and eat it whenever you want!
Wendy’s Copycat Chili Recipe
Since this website focuses on comfort foods. We sometimes love to take a look at famous comfort food recipes and give our copycat spin on them. From Cracker Barrel’s Fried Apples, to Starbucks Lemon Loaf, it’s so much fun to recreate some dishes that are near and dear to our hearts in the comfort of our own kitchens!
So, we thought we’d share our Wendy’s Copycat Chili.
How To Make Wendy’s Chili
Ok, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. A lot of you have made comments as to how EXACTLY Wendy’s does make their famous chili. A lot of you used to work there and can attest to their “secret ingredient”: that they use old, leftover hard hamburger patties that have been sitting in their freezer and that they cannot feed to customers. Enough of you have mentioned this that I’m assuming it must be true. We are NOT going to be using the same process. But we feel like this chili really does have the flavor of the real thing.
It’s SO easy to make, just brown the ground beef and throw all the other ingredients in. Then simmer and let the Chili start working it’s magic! Here is what you’ll need to get started:
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
- 1 packet chili seasoning mix (I used McCormick)
- 2 cups beef broth
- 2 15-ounce cans tomato sauce
- 1 10-ounce can diced tomatoes with green chilies
- 1 14-ounce can chili beans
- 1 14-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 14-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- Salt and Black Pepper – To Taste
Can You Make Wendy’s Chili In A Slow Cooker?
Yep! Also amazingly easy! To make Wendy’s Copycat Chili in a Slow Cooker, you just need to brown the ground beef first. Drain it and then add it to your Crockpot along with all the other ingredients. You can cook it on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.
Instant Pot Wendy’s Chili
You can also make this recipe in your Pressure Cooker! It’s just a little more complicated but still a breeze. To do this, you’ll went to turn on the saute function of your Instant Pot and brown the ground beef. Next, add the peppers, onions and celery and cook until translucent. Stir often. Once this is completed, you can stir in the rest of the ingredients except for diced tomatoes and tomato sauce.
Add these to the very top of all the other ingredients and don’t stir them in. You may get a burn warning. Just let them hang out on top during the cooking process.
Storage and Leftovers
Keep leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator. They should be good for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave.
You can freeze Wendy’s Copycat Chili. Just allow it to fully cool and put it in a freezer safe container and label it. It will be good in your freezer for up to 4 months. Thaw it out in the fridge overnight.
Notes, Tips and Suggestions
- SIMMER– After browning the ground beef, make sure you are cooking on simmer for the rest of the duration. Cooking at too high a heat will get rid of too much of the water and the consistency will be off.
- CHILI SEASONING– As with anything that has spice added to it. You can add or subtract to your taste. But using one packet of McCormick should do you right and it won’t be too spicy. You can also add spice post-cooking in your desired method.
- SERVE WITH BREAD– We suggest serving these with our Mayonnaise Rolls, Garlic Cheddar Biscuits, Drop Biscuits, 7-up Biscuits or Copycat Cracker Barrel Biscuits.
- TOPPINGS – Serve in a bowl topped with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, green onions, hot sauce or sriracha.
- MAKE IT LIGHTER – If you’d like, you can substitute ground beef with ground turkey or ground chicken.
Items To Help With This Recipe
- DUTCH OVEN– This 6 quart Dutch oven will be perfect to cook this, and any other soup in!
- SLOW COOKER– If you are looking to use a Slow Cooker, this one from Crockpot will work great!
- GREASE STRAINER– Seriously, everyone should have one of these. And they are only $10!
We hope you enjoy our Wendy’s Copycat Chili Recipe. We’d love it if you came back and left a comment on how it worked out for you! We reply to every comment and love hearing from you.
ALSO, MAKE SURE YOU CHECK OUT OUR HOT DOG CHILI RECIPE!
Wendy's Copycat Chili Recipe
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 green bell pepper finely chopped
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 1 celery stalk finely chopped
- 1 packet chili seasoning mix I used McCormick
- 2 cups beef broth
- 2 15- ounce cans tomato sauce
- 1 10- ounce can diced tomatoes with green chilies
- 1 14- ounce can chili beans
- 1 14- ounce can pinto beans drained and rinsed
- 1 14- ounce can kidney beans drained and rinsed
- Brown the ground beef in a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the bell pepper, onion, and celery.
- When the beef is cooked through, add the chili seasoning and beef broth and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low.
- Add the tomato sauce, chili beans, pinto beans, and kidney beans. Stir to combine.
- Allow the chili to simmer for at least one hour, stirring occasionally.
Comments & Reviews
Kimberly Jefferson says
Love the chili recipe taste wonderful only exception is I added 2 Mccormick chili season pack so much more flavor….nevertheless Happy 😊 Thank you for your recipes.
Awesome! Thanks for the comment!
I used to work at Wendy’s. I GUARANTEE your recipe is fresher!! I’ll just leave it at that.
Savannah N Linville says
Y’all should know that the meat is old hamburger patties they cant sell you on a burger. When the timer goes out to throw out the unsellable meat it All goes in a 5 gallon bucket and they chop it up and serve it back to you as chili.
I’ve heard rumors about that. Did you used to work for Wendy’s?
That’s so true, its old hamburger meat. It goes into the cooler until it’s time to make chili.
Joseph Thomas says
Can you use dried beans instead of the can beans, and does it really need 3 kinds of beans
Not sure. You may need to presoak the beans if you use dry. Also, this recipe DOES have 3 kinds of beans already.
Terry A Medina says
I can’t wait to make it. I also want to reply to the negative comments, I haven’t heard of anyone that died!
Ha! And, the best way to eat Wendy’s Chili without having to use old hamburger meat is to just make your own!
If you wanna make Wendy’s chili then leave old hamburger Patties in a warmer all day. Then soak them in water, drain, crush them up and throw them in the freezer for days. That’s right! Wendy’s uses the old, dry, hard unused patties for the chili meat that wouldn’t be acceptable to feed to customers.
Yeah. You are about the 5th person to leave that comment. All the more reason to just make your own at home with fresh hamburger!
Gloria jean Toeniskoetter says
My very favorite chili, and I make it at home with fresh hamberger meat. I add more chili seasoning to mine, and 3 different colored peppers, and stewed tomatoes. If I don’t have kidney or pinto beans then we do without them ,but have to have mild chili hot beans. You can eat this with.fried potatoes, hot dogs, crackers, spaghetti, and you can add your own favorite toppings like onions, or any kind of cheese. It’s good, y’all.
Thanks so much for the comment and great suggestions!
Dale A Deimel says
I have been eating Wendy’s chili for over 40 years. I love me some old hard hamburger patties. I have never gotten sick from their chili nor has it ever tasted bad. In fact it has never tasted any different from city to city. I will be making this recipe and thanks to the comments I’ll probably make some patties ahead of time and let them get old in a warmer, soak them in water then crush them up for the chili. When something works why change it.
Ha! I love it! Go for it!
I worked at Wendy’s and it may be true they use the leftover patties, but as you said, why change something when it works. I never saw the meat sit out for to long and the chili always tasted fantastic and I also never got sick. I will continue to eat there chili when I’m not in the mood to cook my own.
Robert Joyner says
I wish someone would come up with and publish a copycat recipe for the packets of hot chili seasoning packets at Wendy’s. It is so good.
Gloria W says
Dear Ms. Bubbapie, this is STRAIGHT UP DELICIOUS! It’s been years since I tried an internet recipe and you made me realize that there’s some good cooks out there. Thank you!
Thank you for the kind words. We are so happy to have you visit our little part of the world.
Maureen Hodson says
Well said, Gloria! Bubbapie is my go-to site for easy, great comfort meals! They have a ton of easy dessert recipes also!
Can I add zucchini and mushrooms to this ?
Sure! Go for it and let us know how it turns out!
Can you make this in a crockpot?
Yes. I’m sure you can brown the ground beef first, then put all the ingredients into a crockpot and cook it low for 6-8 hours or high 4-6 hours.
My Chilli is currently simmering. It looks just like Wendy’s Chilli. The only thing is in the recipe it didn’t tell you to add the diced tomatoes with the tomato sauce and everything else. I can’t wait to eat. Smells great. For now I give a 4 star rating bc of the missing item in the instructions and I haven’t tasted yet.
Also, I made my own Chilli powder from scratch and added ancho Chile powder along with the other seasonings