This Wendy’s copycat chili tastes just as good as the restaurant version! Extra hearty from ground beef and beans, there’s plenty of heat and flavor from the canned veggies and spices. Make this easy copycat Wendy’s chili recipe for dinner tonight in only 30 minutes.
Want an amazing salad to go with copycat Wendy’s chili? Try my Apple Pecan Salad copycat and you have the perfect meal!
Wendy’s Copycat Chili
Not only does this dish burst with flavor, but the green chiles really give it character, with subtle smokiness and heat.
Plus, this Wendy’s copycat chili recipe is a fraction of the cost to make at home, and there’s plenty for leftovers! You can make some homemade cornbread too!
If you prefer poultry instead of beef, try my Slow Cooker Turkey Chili. It has similar ingredients, and it’s ready to serve at the end of a long day.
Or, make vegetarian chili for a plant-based option that is just as filling.
Jalapeno and bell peppers add heat and texture, while a secret ingredient ties all of the flavors together perfectly.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Ground beef – Opt for a leaner blend to avoid too much grease, and be sure to drain off any in the pan after browning.
You could also substitute ground chicken or turkey if you’d like.
- Canned beans – Pinto and kidney beans are tender and heart
y. You could swap in black or white beans, but the overall flavor will change a bit.
- Diced tomatoes and green chiles – Choose the fire roasted versions of both to add that “simmered all day” flavor to your Wendy’s copycat chili.
- Spices – Onion powder and cumin are the base for us to build on. New Mexico chili powder is slightly fruity, but you can use a regular chili powder blend if needed.
Stick with smoked paprika as sweet paprika has a different flavor profile.
How To Make Copycat Wendy’s Chili
First, brown the ground beef in a large pot. Then, add the rest of the ingredients and simmer until done. It’s that simple!
I like to drain and rinse the canned beans when I make this dish, but it’s not required.
Keep in mind that the extra liquid will affect the consistency, so you may need to leave out the additional water.
Helpful Tips and Tricks
- Customize the spices. Adjust the amount of red pepper flakes based on how spicy you like your food.
Cumin and chili powder also adds some heat, so feel free to experiment with those amounts as well. Taste as you go and add more until it’s just right.
- Develop those flavors. The longer chili simmers, the more the flavors come together.
While this copycat Wendy’s chili recipe tastes delicious either way, you could easily leave it on the stove for 3 to 4 hours if you’d like.
- Want to save some time? I love making a big batch of crockpot ground beef as meal prep for future recipes.
Just portion it out into storage bags and freeze. Then, add it to your chili, soup, or baked dishes without even having to thaw it first!
FAQ – Common Recipe Questions
When kept in a sealed container, Wendy’s copycat chili should stay fresh for 3 to 4 days. You can also freeze leftovers for up to 6 months and thaw them in the refrigerator before reheating.
Be sure to allow the chili to cool before storing it, and leave space in the freezer containers for it to expand.
The exact ingredients listed on packets of Wendy’s Hot Chili sauce are: water, corn syrup, salt, distilled vinegar, natural flavors, xantham gum, and extractives of paprika.
Instead of hunting down Wendy’s chili seasoning or stockpiling a pile of packets, we can pack just as much heat with pantry ingredients!
Onion powder, ground cumin, New Mexico chili powder, smoked paprika, and red pepper flakes are all you need for a scrumptious bowl of copycat Wendy’s chili.
Absolutely! Follow the recipe as directed, but combine everything in your slow cooker instead. Cook on Low for 4 to 6 hours or High for 2 to 3 hours.
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
Other Copycat Recipe Links
Wendy’s Copycat Chili + Video
- 2 pounds 93% lean ground beef
- 2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 32 ounces tomato sauce, 4 8-ounce cans
- 30.50 ounces pinto beans, 2 15.25-ounce cans, rinsed and drained
- 30.50 ounces kidney beans, 2 15.25-ounce cans, rinsed and drained
- 29 ounces fire-roasted diced tomatoes with garlic, 2 14.5-ounce cans
- 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
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, crushed
- 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!
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published January 2014, updated and republished January 2023
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