Wendy’s Chili Recipe

5 from 2 votes

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Our copycat Wendy’s Chili tastes just as good as the fast food classic. This recipe brings together savory, perfectly seasoned beef and tender vegetables to create a hearty, flavorful dish. 

White Bowl of wendy's chili.
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If you have ever had Wendys’ chili then you will absolutely love this homemade copycat recipe! The ground beef is cooked to perfection in a fragrant mix of savory spices and then cooked along with a blend of veggies, beans, and tomatoes.

Simmering the chili allows the flavors time to fully combine, ensuring every bite is full of flavor. We love serving our chili with a variety of toppings. Shredded cheese, sour cream, and crumbled bacon are just a few of the toppings you can use to elevate your chili.

Spoonful of chili.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • It tastes just like the nostalgic Wendy’s chili.
  • Comes together in under an hour.
  • Is the perfect dish for picky eaters.

Recipe Ingredients

Digitally labeled ingredients for wendys chili.
  • Ground Beef—You can use 85/15, 90/10, or 93/7 ground beef.
  • Spice Blend—A flavorful blend of cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and paprika.
  • White Onion—Can be replaced with a yellow onion.
  • Green Bell Pepper—Diced.
  • Beans—A 1:1 mixture of black and kidney beans.
  • Diced Tomatoes—Either canned or freshly diced.
  • Tomato Sauce—Serves as a flavorful base for your chili.
  • Water—To help combine all of your ingredients and bring the flavors together.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

How to Make Wendy’s Chili

Ground beef mixed with spices in a bowl.

Step #1. Combine the ground beef and spice blend in a pot over medium heat until the beef is fully cooked.

Added veggies to the ground beef and spices.

Step #2. Add the veggies and allow them to cook until softened.

Beans added to the Wendy's chili.

Step #3. Stir in the beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and water.

Ingredients for Wendy's chili in a pot.

Step #4. Allow your chili to simmer until it is warm all the way through. Serve and enjoy! 

Recipe FAQs

What ground beef works best for chili?

It is really up to you! Because you are adding so many other ingredients to this dish, the fat percentage of your ground beef will not make a big difference in the taste or consistency of your chili. If you are using 85/15 ground beef then you might want to remove some of the excess grease before adding your veggies, but it is not necessary. In addition to using ground beef, you can also use ground turkey for a slightly healthier chili.

Do I need to use tomato paste in my recipe?

While some people like to use tomato paste in their chili, it is not necessary. It is often used to elevate the tomato flavor in the dish, but we want to make sure all the flavors come through equally. By only using tomato sauce we are able to tone down the sweetness of the tomato flavor and ensure that every ingredient has a chance to shine.

Close up view of Wendy's chili in a pot.

Expert Tips

  • You can replace your ground beef with one pound of ground turkey or ground chicken.
  • We like to use canned diced tomatoes to cut down on our prep time, but you can also use freshly diced tomatoes. If you go the canned route then make sure you drain them before adding them to your chili.
  • In addition to using kidney and black beans, you can use pinto beans and great northern beans. You can use any combination of these beans as long as it comes out to about 3½–4 cups of beans.
  • Other veggies you can add to your chili include diced celery and chopped spinach. While traditional Wendy’s chili doesn’t have any spinach, it is a great way to add some extra nutrients to the dish.
  • For a spicier chili, replace your chili powder with chipotle chili powder.

How to Store Your Leftover Chili

You can store your leftover chili in the fridge for up to 4 days before it goes bad. When you are ready to enjoy your leftovers, place a single serving in a microwave safe bowl covered with a paper plate or paper towel to prevent any splatter. Reheat your chili in the microwave for 45-60 seconds, or until it is fully reheated. Stir your chili halfway through to ensure it reheats evenly.

In addition to storing your chili in the fridge, you can freeze your chili for up to 3 months. To freeze your chili, let it cool down on the counter before transferring it to a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. Lay your bag in the freezer as flat as possible to decrease the thaw time. The night before you want to enjoy your chili, let it thaw in the fridge and then reheat it on the stovetop.

Optional Toppings and Sides

One of our favorite things about this chili is being able to pair it with so many tasty toppings! Some of our favorites include sharp cheddar cheese, sour cream, tortilla strips, and diced green onion. We like to serve our chili alongside easy homemade cornbread and a side salad like spinach salad with apples. This recipe is also delicious with easy chili hot dogs. No matter what you serve with or add to your chili, it is sure to be a hit!

More Soup Recipes To Consider

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Bowl full of copycat Wendy's chili.
5 from 2 votes

Wendy’s Chili Recipe

Our copycat Wendy's Chili recipe matches the fast food favorite, blending savory seasoned beef with tender veggies for a hearty, flavorful meal.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 ½ tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ white onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 can black beans, 14 ounce, drained
  • 1 can kidney beans, 14 ounce, drained
  • 3 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup water


  • Add your ground beef, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, and paprika to a large pot and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the beef is cooked all the way through.
  • Once the beef is fully cooked, add the diced onion and bell pepper. Allow the veggies to cook for about 5 minutes, or until they begin to soften and the onions begin to brown.
  • Add the black beans, kidney beans, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and water to the pot. Bring the mixture to a simmer and allow it to cook for 20 minutes over low-medium heat.
  • Serve and enjoy!


  • I like to grab a can of diced tomatoes and drain them to cut down on my prep time, but you can also use freshly diced tomatoes in this recipe.
  • Feel free to use any kind of ground beef. We have used everything from 85/15 to 93/7 and they all worked fine. You can also use ground turkey.
  • It is important to drain the liquid from your diced tomatoes and beans so that the chili is not overwhelmed with moisture.
  • Other veggies you can add include diced celery and a little bit of chopped spinach.
  • You can store your chili in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat a serving of your chili in the microwave covered with a plate for about 45-60 seconds. Stir the chili halfway through to ensure it reheats evenly.


Serving: 1 of 4 servings, Calories: 536kcal, Carbohydrates: 47g, Protein: 34g, Fat: 25g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 10g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 81mg, Sodium: 996mg, Potassium: 1619mg, Fiber: 15g, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 1848IU, Vitamin C: 44mg, Calcium: 136mg, Iron: 10mg
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