“Wendy’s” Chili…do you want onions and cheese with that?!


Hon loves Wendy’s chili – he would buy and eat it every single day…and does!

My friend sent me an e-cookbook of copycat recipes and this was one of them.  I changed it up a little bit, and made the first batch.  I held my breath as SuperMan ate one…and then two bowls of it and pronounced it “Very Good – almost exactly like the original.”  Whew…

It really does look and smell pretty darn close – and is easy and economical.   Treat your family to fast-food…but you’ll know exactly what’s in it!

I read about the original-original and someone said that to make it the closest to, use frozen diced onions and green peppers.  Ever wanting to make things super easy, I do.  They also said it was imperative to boil the meat after browning.  So I do that, too.

Does it make a big difference?  Who knows.  Hon likes it…I’m going with that.  You do what you want…!




1 pound 97% lean ground beef or turkey (Vege Version: 1 pkg Morningstar Crumbles)

Salt and black pepper

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/2 cup diced celery

1/2 cup frozen diced green peppers

1/2 cup frozen or fresh diced red peppers  (I’ve not found frozen in my neck of the woods)

1 cup frozen diced onions

2 tablespoons chili powder

1/2 tablespoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

One 15-ounce can petite-diced tomatoes

One 15-ounce can tomato sauce

1 1/2 cups water

One 15-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

One 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed


In a stockpot, over medium heat, brown the meat with a little salt and pepper.  (Do NOT do next step if using Meat Substitute.) Add water, just to cover by 1/2 an inch, and bring to a boil.  Boil for 2 minutes.  Drain and rinse.

Return meat to pot – medium heat – and add the olive oil, celery, green peppers, red peppers, onions, chili powder, cumin, salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.  Cook for one minute.

Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, and beans.  Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally.  Makes approx ten 1-cup servings.

Per Serving: Calories 164; Protein 13 g; Fat 3 g; NET Carbs 13 g; Sugar 3 g; Sodium 512 mg  (The carbs are complex and from the beans and veggies – super for us!)




25 Comments Add yours

  1. Erin says:

    I make chili about once a week in a crock pot just to see if I can make it taste better. Last week I made pretty much this exact recipe, except I used celery seed instead of actual celery, green chili sauce instead of actual chilies, ground turkey, no oil, no red pepper, and sugar-free ketchup instead of tomato sauce which can be loaded with sugar anyway. I liked it because it was all stuff I had laying around.

    1. amanda says:

      hey, someone asked whether you have to boil the meat first. i used to work at wendy’s in high school and that is the way they make it. not to burst anyone’s bubble, but the chili meat is the left over hamburgers left on the grill at the end of the day. (which isn’t all that gross, since it gets all of the fat off!) they store them over night and reconsitute them the next day in boiling water. so that’s my two cents!

      1. Diana says:

        Amanda, When I read the recipe, I wondered why the meat was boiled in water. You answered my question beautifully; and I complement Wendy’s for not just discarding the left over hamburgers. What a great way to use the leftovers. THANKS again.

  2. Deb L says:

    OMG, that looks even BETTER than Wendy’s! I have been freezin all day and this looks like it is just what the doctor ordered!!

    Thanks for helpin me fix supper!!


  3. CaSaundra says:

    Ooo I love a good chili with cornbread–it’s a classic! I’d like to try this with soy crumbles!!

    Love the holiday header by the way–so festive 🙂

  4. Katie says:


    This chili is SOOO GOOD!!!! It made a good amount and was VERY flavorful! Will definitely be making it again in the NEAR future!

    You’re recipes are AMAZING, I’m almost a year out and still love trying new recipes! Thanks SO MUCH!!

  5. Cindy says:

    Linda, just made this chili and it’s very good! Thanks for another wonderful recipe!

  6. Kathy says:

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. It is always amazing to me how good Wendy’s chili is. I am sure part of the flavor is using the leftover grilled hamburgers.

    Most people do not realize how low fat and low calorie a ground turkey chili or chicken chili can be. It is also very easy to take any chili recipe and make it very healthy with only a few changes.

    I have a weight watchers chili on my website that is 4 points.


  7. Patti says:

    made it and loved!!! it…thanks

  8. vanessa says:

    tt looks awesome. looks better than wendy’s!

  9. Dr. Joe says:

    wendys puts Alot of corn syrup in it. I wish they didnt.

  10. New Gramma says:

    Dr. Joe, where does it say corn syrup in the receipe?

  11. dj says:

    amanda…i heard that many years ago and makes sense not to throw out meat. i will try that by cooking meat, chill in frig, place in boiling water…making sure the meat is in patties of course so i do not have a mess. thanks for reminding us all …

  12. Elizabeth says:

    I need the Wendys chili recipe that uses Vegetable juice, i had it but lost the somewhere

  13. lyss says:

    Quick question – is there a specific tomato sauce you use or can I just used crushed tomatoes?

  14. Lori says:

    to Elizabeth: here’s a copy of the Wendy’s chili that I have. It’s similar but has tomato juice. Hope it’s what you’re looking for.

    Wendy’s Chili

    2 pounds freshly ground beef
    4 cups (1 quart) tomato juice
    1 (29-ounce) can tomato purée
    1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained
    1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained ** note new addition
    1 medium onion, chopped (about 1½ cups)
    1/2 cup celery, diced
    1/4 cup green bell pepper, diced
    1/4 cup chili powder (you may want to use less)
    1 teaspoon cumin (if you like real flavor, add more)
    1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    1/2 teaspoon sugar
    1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    In a frying pan, brown the ground beef, then drain off the fat. Put the beef and the remaining ingredients into a 6-quart pot. Cover the pot and let the chili simmer for 1 to 1½ hours, stirring every 15 minutes. You an also put this in the crock pot on low for 3 to 4 hours while the chili simmers.

  15. Ginny Eaton says:

    I have tried a lot of Wendy’s chili recipes, but have not found the one yet. The recipes are good, but they are not THE ONE. I am considering just buying Wendy’s chile in many containers and then freezing it for future use. Don’t want to be close, don’t want to change it; just find one that tastes like it!

  16. Lee Simakis says:

    This receipe is how I make my chile,except NO CUMIN…I really dislike cumin and here.in Phx,they put it in everything. Wendy’s does have the best I’ve tried. I can’t taste the cumin.

  17. closetoend says:

    This really is the best chili I have ever made. My family loves it! If you haven’t tried it, you really must. You won’t be sorry!

  18. Lee Simakis says:

    I always order the Chili at Wendy’s. One of the
    cooks there told me they make it fresh every day.

  19. R.K.Walker says:

    I have this one and the one i like is from the old ALICE series with Linda Lavan for MEL’s Diner. great recipe! but the all time BEST recipe for chili belonged to my DAD! He would make this in an old pre-world war two cast iron dutch oven with a lid on it over a camp fire.the would bake corn bread on the fire! great memories!

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