Wendy’s Copycat Chili
While this chili is absolutely delicious, I’ve since posted my all-time favorite chili recipe. It’s the one I make all fall and winter long, so I invite you to check it out!
Fall seems to have taken a permanent hold over the last few weeks and as a result, I’ve been craving a warm and hearty comfort meal full of flavor. What cures that craving better than a big bowl of chili that has slowly simmered for hours? Not much, right? I have only ever made one other version of chili, which is the one my mom made growing up. While it’s certainly a great meal, it’s not quite authentic – it doesn’t contain much in the way of seasonings and includes rice. So I went off in search of a more traditional chili recipe.
The web was full of recipes, so I finally settled on one (I love Wendy’s chili!) and then went ahead and tweaked it to suit my tastes. Since I don’t like very spicy foods, the amount of chili powder and cumin in this recipe probably seem low to the chili aficionados, but it’s just as easy to ramp them up, so adjust them to suit your own personal tastes. The amount that I include in the recipe is enough to taste the seasonings, but not enough to set your mouth tingling.
This is one of the best homemade bowls of chili I have ever had. The combination of flavors is fantastic, the beans make it a truly hearty meal, and the absolute key is the long slow simmer that allows all of the flavors to meld together and thicken into a fabulous chili with a smell so enticing that it would wake up the soundest of sleepers. I would suggest the 2-3 hours of uncovered simmer as a minimum – I actually simmered uncovered for 2 hours and then covered the pot and simmered for another 2 hours. It improved substantially in that time. I served chili with the traditional accompaniment – cornbread. I fell in love with this recipe last year and it’s probably the most authentic (save for a cast iron skillet) that I’ve tried yet. Enjoy!!
Wendy's Copycat Chili
- 2 lbs (907.18 g) ground beef
- 29 ounce (822.14 ml) can tomato sauce
- 15 ounce (425.24 g) can kidney beans (with liquid)
- 30 ounce (850.49 g) canned pinto beans (with liquid)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 cups (500 ml) water
- 1. Brown ground beef in a large pot (I used my 7.25 qt Dutch oven) over medium heat.
- 2. Drain off the fat.
- 3. Combine the beef plus all the remaining ingredients, and bring to a simmer over low heat.
- 4. Cook, stirring every 15 minutes, for 2 to 3 hours.
Did you make this recipe?
Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!
Thank you Thank you. Absolutelly delicious Chili. Perfectly seasoned not to spicy but a bit of a kick. My family loved this meal. And it was a substantial quantity to feed a crowd. I loved this just as you wrote this. Thank you. A new family favourite for us. Henrietta
This recipe is exactly what I was looking for. It was flavorful, but not spicy, which made it kid-friendly. It was also thick from the long simmer, not soupy. So, it was perfect for chili cheese dogs and dipping tortilla chips into.
This is a nice chilly fall day in Singapore.
Try this recipe – adjust cumin and chili seasoning to taste. I have never had 2 T of cumin and 3 T of my chili seasoning be too much for anyone.
• 2lbs ground beef I use 90% fat free – better for the heart and figure. I also prefer Angus meat because of flavor.
• 1(29 ounce) can tomato sauce
• 1(29 ounce) can kidney beans (with liquid) I use dark red kidney beans here, drained and rinsed. Cuts down on gas.
• 1(29 ounce) can pinto beans (with liquid) I switch this up to one 15 ounce can of pinto beans and then add 1 15 ounce can of another bean – Roman, Light red kidney, small red beans – your choice. I have used them all. Once drain and rinse. Cuts down on gas
• 1cup diced onion (, 1 medium onion)
• 1⁄2cup diced green chili pepper (, 2 chilies) In my house, I stick with bell peppers, using red and yellow to add a visual effect. If anyone wants it spicier, I have hot sauce – never used.
• 1⁄4cup diced celery (, 1 stalk)
• 3medium tomatoes, chopped I substitute 2 or 3 15 ounce cans of petite diced tomatoes – better flavor and texture than Wendy’s according to everyone who has tried my version. It is where you are adding back the liquid you washed off the beans.
• 2 -3teaspoons cumin powder
• 3 tablespoons chili powder I eyeball this and adjust to taste. I specifically use Sam’s Club chili seasoning, so if it usually is chili color, it tastes good. Adjust to taste
• 1 1⁄2teaspoons black pepper
• 2teaspoons salt I add no salt – it is in the chili seasonings, and the beans. Adjust by taste close to the end of cooking
• 2cups water I would say 1 or 2 cups water, to taste, closer to the end of cooking.
• 1 tablespoon of masa flour, as found in Maseca Tortilla Mix. Stir into the water you add. Gives a beautiful sheen, a “something extra” hint of flavor (corn), and slightly thickens and binds the ingredients with the liquid.
1. Brown the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat.
2. Drain off the fat.
3. In a large pot, combine the beef plus all the remaining ingredients, and bring to a simmer over low heat. Do not add the water or masa flour at this time. Save them for the last 30 minutes of cooking. When you add the salt until you have added the masa flour mixture. Please salt to taste.
4. Cook, stirring every 15 minutes, for 2 to 3 hours.
Where is the recipe for Wendy’s chili? I do not want to print it if I do not know what it is in it. Thank you.
Hi Joey, The recipe is above, in the recipe box.
Made your recipe exactly the way it is posted. Came out amazing. Even my picky husband ate and liked. I served with white rice and your cornbread recipe.
Needs beer, smoked paprika, coriander, oregano, jalapeno, and/or chipolte in adobe. Also crushed fritos or taco shells for a thickener.
Agree with jalepeno but I have two other suggestions. First, after browning the beef, set the beef aside to drain and sweat the onions, peppers, and celery in 2 tsp of olive oil in the bottom of the pan. Gotta get the flavors together. Second, if you want more heat/chile spice, try using one or two chipolte peppers in adobe sauce…not the whole can…..just one or two peppers and some of the sauce.
How about some cole slaw like KFC???
I love this chili..I make it all the time..Been doing it for years this way with this recipe.. I make it in the crock pot…
Could I make this in the crock pot?
Hi Kelly, I don’t see why not!
Needs a jalapeno pepper and a pinch more cumin. I make up for this difference with my Alton Brown chili powder and half a jalapeno.
My husband and I LOVE Wendy’s chilli and for four years we have been trying to duplicate it at home. I’m really hoping this is the one that works for us. We have made plenty of good chillis and a few really good ones too, but it never quite tastes like Wendy’s. Mine is still simmering away, but it looks and smells like the real thing! I hope this is it! Thanks!
My family loves chili. Right now we are using the Carroll Shelby mix. It really needs very little tweeking for us. Our very favorite is a mix you can buy via internet from Hammett House in Claremore, OK My family does not like beans period, and they like their chili somewhat soupy, simmered for hours. If I do sneak beans in I use the Bush’s chili beans and use the immersion blender and they really aren’t aware there are beans.
I don’t know why this recipe doesn’t have more comments! I made this recipe a couple weeks ago and couldn’t believe how flavorful it was! I’m a college student so usually recipes have too many ingredients, but I already had all of these and it turned out great! The only thing I added was a jalapeno :) Making it again tonight for dinner. :) Thanks!
Hi Rachel, Love the addition of a jalapeno, will try that next time! Thanks for coming back to comment, so happy you enjoyed the chili! :)
It’s getting to be that time of the year where chili sounds perfect. Will try browning the meat in my Dutch Oven too.
This looks like a great chili recipe! Can’t wait to try it out on my new cooktop this weekend.
I love all kinds of chili. Did your husband think it tasted like Wendy’s? I actually like Wendy’s chili as well but I spice it up a bit. I’ve never really dissected Wendy’s chili but I didn’t think it had celery or two kinds of beans.
Chili is kinda the best comfort food ever, huh? I love it! Yours looks delish :)
This reminds me that I must make chili! I never make the same version twice. the only constant ingredient are beans, everything else is varied: makes it more fun :)
Yum! I LOVE LOVE LOVE chili! I am definitely going to make this next time its a rainy day outside and all i want is comfort food! plus i love wendy’s chili too! thanks for the recipe!
What a great way to warm up!
Yum! I love chili of all kinds. I’m making some this week, too.
Mmmmm! Chili, chili, I LOVE chili!!! Glad you found a recipe that made both you and Nick happy. Looks great!
Unlike you, I have a million chili recipes. I feel like I rarely make the same one twice. I’ll have to add this to the arsenal!
We don’t like spicey chili here either so this would be perfect for us, through in some cornbread and this is one good dinner.