Copycat Wendy's Chili

Copycat Wendy's Chili Recipe

The Spruce / Kristina Vanni & Eric Kleinberg 

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 60 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Yield: 1 pot chili
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
493 Calories
20g Fat
46g Carbs
36g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 493
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 26%
Saturated Fat 6g 31%
Cholesterol 76mg 25%
Sodium 903mg 39%
Total Carbohydrate 46g 17%
Dietary Fiber 9g 33%
Total Sugars 12g
Protein 36g
Vitamin C 35mg 177%
Calcium 159mg 12%
Iron 8mg 47%
Potassium 1587mg 34%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Wendy's chili is a warm and hearty fast food favorite. It's also super easy to whip up your own copycat version at home. Everything comes together in a large soup pot and simmers for about 30 minutes. The flavor just gets better the longer it simmers, and it even tastes great when reheated the next day. Plus, leftover chili freezes well, so whip up a big pot of chili and you will have meals ready to go anytime.

Your family will love this spot-on copy of the original. The recipe is no-frills, just a great classic chili. The best part about making copycat versions of fast food favorites at home is that you get to control the ingredients. Fast food is often very high in fat and sodium, but here you can control the seasonings and adjust the amount of salt used in the recipe. For a lower fat version, use lean ground beef and drain off the excess fat. Chili is also a great source of fiber because two kinds of beans are used in this recipe.

The Wendy's version doesn't come with the classic chili toppings; it is simply served with saltine crackers for crunch. However, if you love shredded cheese, sliced scallions, or a dollop of sour cream, those are also great toppings you can add to your at-home version of Wendy's chili.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 cup chopped onion

  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper

  • 1/2 cup chopped celery

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef

  • 3 tablespoons chili powder

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

  • 1 (28-ounce) can tomato purée

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

  • Saltine crackers, for serving

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Copycat Wendy's Chili ingredients

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni & Eric Kleinberg 

  2. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, green bell pepper, and celery. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.

    Vegetables in a heavy bottomed pan

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni & Eric Kleinberg 

  3. Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Drain the fat and return to the heat.

    Beef added to pot with the vegetables

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni & Eric Kleinberg

  4. Add the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, salt, and black pepper and stir.

    Spices added to ground beef mixture in a pot

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni & Eric Kleinberg

  5. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato purée, and tomato paste. Stir to combine.

    Tomato sauce and tomato purée added to ground beef mixture in a pot

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni & Eric Kleinberg

  6. Add the kidney beans and pinto beans. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

    Beans added to chili pot

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni & Eric Kleinberg

  7. Serve with saltine crackers.

    Copycat Wendy's Chili served in mugs with saltines

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni & Eric Kleinberg

How to Store and Freeze

  • Store leftover chili for up to three days in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat on the stove or in the microwave.
  • Cooked and cooled chili can be frozen for longer storage. Place in an airtight container and freeze for up to a month. Defrost in the fridge before reheating and serving.