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This perfectly spiced Wendy’s chili recipe is famously delicious. Now you can create this popular, hearty bowl-full at home!!

Wendy’s chili recipe is best served topped with cheese or sour cream, and a side of Sweet Cornbread or in a warm Bread Bowl! It’s simple and perfect for any fall or winter night.

A white bowl of Wendy's Chili recipe topped with shredded cheese and Frito chips.

a spot-on copycat recipe!

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE chili. We love to whip up batches in the fall/winter, and trust me I have no shortage of chili recipes. From White Chicken Chili to Chili with Spaghetti, we eat and love them all!

This copycat Wendy’s chili recipe is a family favorite, though. Wendy’s chili is famously delicious and known for being hearty. If you happen to have any leftovers, it’s also great to freeze.

I’ve taken that meat and bean-filled chili and created a copycat version that tastes at least as good as the original, if not better! The kids all agree the flavor is spot on!

It’s a pretty simple and straightforward chili, which is probably why it’s so popular. And we are so glad we can now make it at home.

Beef and veggies cooking in a pan on the stove.

How to Make Wendy’s Chili

This Wendy’s chili is simple to put together and tastes amazing!

MEAT. Heat olive oil in a large pot or large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook meat until no longer pink.

VEGGIES. Stir celery and green bell pepper into ground beef for 4-5 minutes.

SAUCE. Pour in chopped stewed tomatoes, diced tomatoes with green chiles, tomato sauce, and water. Break apart large chunks of stewed tomatoes. Stir in chili seasoning (and any other spices desired).

BEANS. Mix kidney beans and pinto beans into chili, season with salt and black pepper, and bring to a boil.

COOK + SERVE! Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour. Mix vinegar into chili.

Simmer: Be sure that your stove temperature is at a simmer. If it is too high then much of the liquid will evaporate leaving you with a thicker chili. If the stove is set too low, then not enough will evaporate and it will be too watery.

So what is the right setting for a simmer? I turn the setting down to low so that there are still a few small bubbles coming to the top. 

In the Slow Cooker

Follow these steps to make this recipe for Wendys chili in the crock pot:

  1. Brown the beef as directed in steps 1 and 2. Drain excess fat if necessary. 
  2. Scrape the browned beef into the crockpot and add the ingredients listed in steps 3 and 4.
  3. Cook on LOW for 4-6 hours or on HIGH for 2-3 hours.
Scoop of chili in a ladle above a pot.

recipe Tips

Feel free to make this copycat wendys chili your own by adjusting the seasonings.

Ground beef. If you happen to have leftover hamburger patties, this is the dish to make. After all, in an effort to reduce food waste, Wendy’s developed this recipe using leftover cooked burgers.

I suggest using leaner meat so you won’t need to drain the fat (ground turkey works fine). If you do use beef with a higher fat content, you’ll need to drain the excess fat.

Mccormick chili mix. If you can’t find this mix, or simply want to make your own version, here’s a close recipe: 

  • 2 teaspoons cumin 
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper, 
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder

Add more spice. This particular version is fairly mild so if you prefer a spicier dish, you can easily change up some of the ingredients. 

  • Buy spicier versions of the ingredients such as Rotel Tomatoes with Habanero Peppers, Hot McCormick Seasoning, or stewed tomatoes with jalapeno. 
  • Add in chopped jalapenos or increase the amount of cayenne pepper. 
  • Have red pepper flakes or hot sauce on the side for people to add as much heat as they wish to their own bowls.

Serving + Storing Chili

STORE. Store Wendys copycat chili recipe in an airtight container in the refrigerator, whether you want to make this ahead of time, or store leftovers. It will keep for 3-4 days until you are ready to heat and serve.

FREEZE in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Serving suggestions. We love to serve our chili with cornbread! Try any of these suggestions:

We have a feeling you will love this Wendy’s chili copycat recipe!

Bowl of Wendy's Chili recipe topped with cheese and Fritos.

Recipe FAQ

Is Wendy’s chili healthy?

As a general rule, I don’t consider any menu item at a fast food place to be healthy. Per Wendy’s site Wendy’s chili has 240 calories, 16 grams of protein, 22 grams of carbs, and 11 grams of fat. It also contains a few ingredients that I don’t know how to pronounce. However, I would note that it is hearty and a small amount will keep you full for longer. I much prefer making Wendy’s copycat chili recipe at home. It’s automatically healthier because I get to control the exact ingredients that go into the chili and I have a hard time telling the difference.

How much is a serving of Wendy’s chili?

When serving chili as a main dish plan to provide 1½ to 2 cups per person. However, if the chili is served as a side dish or appetizer, plan for only 1 cup per person.

How do I make Wendy’s chili less spicy?

The easiest way is to reduce the amount of chili powder and cayenne pepper you add to the soup. If the chili is still too spicy you can add a sweetener like honey or brown sugar, or dilute the chili by adding more broth, beans, or tomatoes. You can also add sour cream or yogurt.

For More Chili Recipes, Try:

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5 from 116 votes

Wendy’s Chili Recipe

By: Lil’ Luna
This copycat Wendy's chili recipe captures the bold spices and hearty comfort of the fast-food favorite, for a hearty bowl-full at home!!
Servings: 12
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Simmer: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped, optional
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 (14-ounce) cans stewed tomatoes, chop them up a little more
  • 1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chilies, such as RO*TEL
  • 1 (14-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 (1.25-ounce) packages chili seasoning, such as McCormick® Mild Chili Seasoning Mix
  • 1 (14-ounce) can kidney beans, undrained
  • 1 (14-ounce) can pinto beans, undrained
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar, or more to taste
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  • Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Cook meat until no longer pink.
  • Stir celery and green bell pepper into ground beef for 4-5 minutes.
  • Pour in chopped stewed tomatoes, diced tomatoes with green chiles, tomato sauce, and water. Break apart large chunks of stewed tomatoes. Stir in chili seasoning.
  • Mix kidney beans and pinto beans into chili, season with salt and black pepper, and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour. Mix vinegar into chili.



Calories: 343kcal, Carbohydrates: 26g, Protein: 20g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 54mg, Sodium: 437mg, Potassium: 868mg, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 490IU, Vitamin C: 21mg, Calcium: 89mg, Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
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About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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5 from 116 votes (97 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. Hailie says:

    My mom used this recipe with McCormick and I knew it was delicious so I used this recipe. I didn’t have McCormick seasoning so I followed the recipe in the description. I believe it meant 1 Teaspoon of cayenne instead of 1 tablespoon. I’m terrible at making chili so I followed the recipe even though I was skeptical of the amount. It was so incredibly spicy that my brother in laws couldn’t even handle it. They both love a ridiculous amount of spice. I’ll be trying again tonight with 1 teaspoon instead.

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:

      Thanks so much for the feedback. We will revisit the measurements of that homemade chili mix option. Let us know how the 1 tsp turns out.

  2. Ron Morgan says:

    Where’s the onion?

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:

      This recipe doesn’t call for any onion, but if you love onion, go ahead and add it in! 🙂

  3. Lynn says:

    5 stars
    This is the best chili ever. My husband loves Wendy’s chili. This is my go to recipe for chili.

  4. Louise B says:

    Made the Wendy’s Chili last week. It was so good! Better than Wendy’s. Wendy’s Chili isn’t consistent in taste/texture. I prefer this recipe. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Joan says:

    5 stars
    This is seriously delicious! I don’t normally eat chili but this recipe has made me rethink that. Easy to make and truly yummy.

  6. Jim Fox says:

    I’m looking at two different recipes for “Wendy’s Chili” and your recipe has half as much beans as the other recipe. Both are highly rated. Which is closer to actual Wendy’s chili?

  7. Jordan says:

    5 stars
    This recipe does taste so similar to the chili from Wendy’s! We loved topping ours with fritos and cheddar cheese.

  8. jess says:

    5 stars
    this is just as good, even better than the original chili! thank you for sharing this recipe!

  9. Jessica says:

    5 stars
    I absolutely LOVED this recipe! It’s our favorite chili when we go out and this was so much like it, that I’m not sure we’ll go out of our way to go there now. We’ll just make it at home. Haha!

  10. Jessica Cooley says:

    5 stars
    This is one of our favorite chili’s!! It’s crazy good, and always gets rave reviews at our chili cook offs. I love that it’s easy. This is a must-make chili.