Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Wendy's Chili Copycat

Wendys Chili Copycat #copycatrecipe #beef

This recipe is for the Wendy's chili lover in you.  Say what you will, Wendy's really makes some spectacular beef chili.  It's one of their signature sides, so if you have ever eaten at Wendy's you have to know about the chili.  It's so thick and rich you can stand a spoon straight up in it.  

Well now a fabulous hearty copycat chili packed with beef and beans is now available in your own kitchen!  This recipe is bursting with flavor, the green chiles really give this chili great character; with a little smokiness and a little heat (adjust to your liking).

Chad was not really excited about the idea of making a copycat Wendy's chili recipe at first.  He already had his own favorite recipe and is not a big fan of messing with perfection.  I have to say once the chili was served he was eating his words (along side the chili) as he declared this is some FANTASTIC CHILI!  Well that was a week ago.  He has had it every day for lunch since then.  Yes!  Seriously its that good.

You know I actually worked at Wendy's for a short time when I was about 16.  Cashier.  True story!  Wore one of those fabulous uniforms in the late 80's.  I ate their chili every day when I was working there.  So, what happened you ask?  Well, we had a little disagreement over a manicure.

Apparently there was a store policy against pretty nails.  We couldn't come to terms so I left.  A girl has to have priorities.  Well, Wendy's...  Now I have my manicure and your fabulous chili at home, whenever I want.

With love from our Kitchen Table to yours!

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Check our some of our favorite copycat recipes below. Click on the image or the link to open in a new window. 

Copycat Magic Shell, with only 2 ingredients!

The Best Ever McDonald's Copycat Shamrock Shake. Simple and so delicious you may never have to buy one again!

Copycat Wendy's Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce perfect for chicken nuggets, fries and even on a spoon!


Wendy’s Copycat Chili
MAKES 16 Cups  |  ACTIVE TIME 15 Min  |  TOTAL TIME 30 Min    

2 pounds 93% lean ground beef
2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
4 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
2 (15.25 ounce) cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 (15.25 ounce) cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 (14.5 ounce) cans fire roasted diced tomatoes with garlic
1 (7 ounce) can roasted green chiles, diced and peeled
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons New Mexico chili powder
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
pinch – 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup water

In a large 12 quart heavy bottom pot over medium high heat add ground beef, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper.  Cook until browned, drain drippings if necessary.  Add remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce to simmer.

Simmer for 15 minutes.  Serve and enjoy! 

Cook’s Note:  Add more or less red pepper flakes to adjust to desired spiciness.  If you don’t like anything spicier than Big Red Gum, add a pinch.  If you like 4 alarm chili add more.

Honestly you could simmer for 3-4 hours.  I simmer for 15 minutes, I am quite impatient!  The flavor some together the longer it cooks, but trust me it taste delicious either way!


Recipe developed by Donna Elick - The Slow Roasted Italian
Copyright ©2014 The Slow Roasted Italian – All rights reserved. 

Originally published 1/10/14


  1. This sounds great Donna! I love Wendy's chili, but like your husband I have my own way to make chili. Also like your husband I'm going to have to try this! Is New Mexico chili powder a brand of chili powder or a type?

    1. NM Chili powder is a type. You can use regular chili powder if you can not find New Mexico variation. It is a little smoky and it adds great flavor. Let us know how it goes. Enjoy.

    2. Or try, Hungarian paprika, Mexican paprika. Nice flavors.... :)

  2. I love chili and a pretty manicure! Pass me a bowl!

  3. Just had this chili for dinner. It was delicious!! Thanks for the recipe.

  4. I tried Wendy's chili about two weeks ago and I was blown away at how delish it was! You bet I am going to try your recipe. Looks wonderful!

    1. Awesome! Let us know how it goes.

    2. Delish! Cooked it till the boil and put in a crock pot for about 4 hours. This chili was just waiting for us after the basketball game! Thank you from the bottom of our bowls!

    3. I'm sure this chili is delicious but I have made chili at wendy's and all they use is the left over meat off the grill, tomato juice, crushed tomatoes and mccormic chili sesoning packets . Some store dice onion and green peppers to sprinkle on top with some grated cheese

    4. Too funny, that's exactly how i make my chili and i always thought Wendy's tasted alot like mine.

    5. It looks like you could easily halve this recipe for smaller families.

    6. Why make half when you can stow leftovers in the freezer because this tastes amazing a few weeks or months later.

  5. Just finished making this, and it is delicious. I substituted fresh onions, garlic, and bell peppers, but this recipe is spot on. Now I don't have to drive 60 miles to go to Wendy's. The one thing that is missing is celery.

  6. I kind of stopped eating Wendy's chili when it made headlines around 10 years ago. Even though the whole thing turned out to be a scam, since that time I have given Wendy's chili a big thumbs down.

  7. I'm surprised to hear anyone call Wendy's chili thick. The last time I had it, it was so watery that I vowed I'd never eat it again. Here's hoping your recipe is much better. If you want to copy some REALLY good chili, try Steak 'n' Shake's or Cincinnatti Chili's. Now THAT is good chili.

  8. I think it's even better the next day!!! Good stuff!!

    1. Hey Kim....I wonder how many people out there would enjoy chili much more if they heeded your comment. Chili that is properly prepared will always taste better the next day. And, if there is any left, it even improves on the third day. Pinto beans turn out the same as chili....the older it gets, the better the taste gets....By the way, today (01/22/16) in Glasgow, Kentucky is a very good chili day. Temp is 28 degrees. It has been snowing hard for over 4 hours with about 5 inches on the ground and still peppering down.

  9. Cincinnati Chili is an acquired taste, so one is used to or expecting Texas style chili, Don't do it!!

  10. Can I use fresh tomatoes instead?

  11. Your nails were a priority over making a living and contributing to society and taking care of yourself? Not a good look for a female.

    1. Get over yourself... she was being funny not to mention I'm sure she was a teenager.

  12. To the Anonymous with the snide comment...she said she was 16! Probably only working 12 hours a week for personal spending money, and maybe save a little. Why don't you MYOB? Jeez Louise.

  13. This looks interesting. Wendy's Chili is not one of my favorite dishes, but your photo looks delicious and I do love spicy food. I usually put peppers in my risotto dishes.

    Do you have any spicy risotto recipes? I'd really love to know some traditional ones.

  14. There are only 2 of us and this recipe makes tons. How can I make only enough for 2

    1. I would say the recipe makes 8 grown adult (2 cups) servings. You could reduce the recipe by 4 to get the proper serving size you are looking for.

      1/2 pound 93% lean ground beef
      1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
      1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
      1 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
      1/2 (15.25 ounce) cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained
      1/2 (15.25 ounce) cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
      1/2 (14.5 ounce) cans fire roasted diced tomatoes with garlic
      1/4 (7 ounce) can roasted green chiles, diced and peeled
      1/2 teaspoons onion powder
      1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
      1 1/2 teaspoon New Mexico chili powder
      1 scant teaspoon smoked paprika
      smallest pinch crushed red pepper flakes
      1/4 cup water

      Enjoy and let us know how it goes!


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