Don’t stop at the drive thru make Wendy’s Chili at home

Wendy’s Chili is a classic recipe that many people love. Wendy’s chili is made fresh everyday and you can do the same. Tomato juice really adds enhanced flavor to Wendy’s chili. You may want to start off with a little less chili powder, but we really do find the whole 1/4 cup isn’t too hot, but very flavorful.
Make a bowl of Wendy's Chili with this CopyKat Recipe

Wendy’s Chili

Please note: While Wendy’s may use grilled hamburger patties, I suggest that home cooks use ground meat for convenience. You can start by grilling patties first and then incorporating them into your chili if you desire.

Wendy's Chili

  • Author:
  • Recipe Type: Soup
  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Serves: 10
Wendy's Chili

You can make this mild-flavored Wendy’s chili anytime. This is easy to make, and makes enough that everyone can go back for a second bowl.


  • 2 pounds fresh ground beef
  • 1 quart tomato juice
  • 1 (29-ounce) can tomato puree
  • 1 (15-ounce) can red beans, drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chili powder (you may want to use less, as some people find this is too much)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (if you like real flavor, add more)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper


In a skillet, brown the ground beef; drain. Put the drained beef and the remaining ingredients in a 6-quart pot. Cover the pot; let it simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes.

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  • Connie Singleton

    What is the serving size for this recipe? It says “serves 10.” Trying to do Weight Watchers conversion. Thanks for anyone who can help!

    • Stephanie Manley

      The serving size for this was about a cup and half.

  • Emaw Jeanne

    Tried it, easiest recipe I have tried. I did add a small drained can of diced tomatoes since we are tomato lovers. Added the entire chili powder as recommended. It was perfect. It was definitely a Wendys chili. I have made 3 copies of the recipe. Can’t hurt to have an extra.
    Thank you. I will be checking back for more of your recipes.
    Ps. We bought 7% beef and still had to drain the grease…a no brainer

    • Stephanie Manley

      I am glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  • Christine

    Wow This was real good! Family unanimously likes this version. I omitted the cayenne due to health issues and the lack of heat did not affect the deliciousness. Must make again. Thank you.

    • Stephanie Manley

      I am glad you enjoyed the chili. It’s always great when the whole family likes something.

  • T05hA

    Also like to add, if you add corriander it tastes more like the original Wendy’s. I’ve made it several times this way and decided to add corriander to it this last time. It is wonderful!

    • Stephanie Manley

      I like corriander as well, I will have to give your suggestion a try.

  • Michelle De La Cerda-Nash

    I love Wendy’s chili, one of the better choices for me to make when forced to go the fast food route. Can’t wait to give this a shot.

  • T05hA

    Moron. Why would you post this if you don’t like the Chili, move on and stop being rude.

  • James
  • Thor Ng

    I used to work at Ralley’s Burgers. We made chilli the same process Wendi’s did. However the Wendy’s recipe was 10 times better. Does it really matter if the hamburger was fresh ? I think not. Anyways I followed the recipe and .. the entire family loved it.

    • stephaniemanley

      Thanks for your comment. Chili seems to be one of those things that people take personally. If I don’t write the hamburger I am using, people will tell me that Wendy’s uses old hamburger patties. I know this. Really I do ;). I am happy you and your family enjoyed the recipe.

  • stephaniemanley

    I am very sorry you did not enjoy my recipe. Perhaps you could share the link of the recipe you did enjoy.

    • NotWendysChili

      I also like this I know it is really close to your recipe. I’ve used this recipe before and just couldn’t find it today, sometimes I have a hard time finding goggle, google, or however you spell that thing. ….it is the closest one I’ve ever found to Wendy’s…I had to add water to your recipe because it was just a huge glob of food, while I like chili that is loaded with ingredients, it makes it very hearty, but I really need to stretch out a recipe. I have a lot of mouths to feed. I am trying to feed 32 people on this one batch of chili, so I need to be stingy with the meat…and beans …this recipe though is wonderful!!! sorry but it’s the bomb and my families favorite will stick with it from now on …bookmarked so I wouldn’t make the same mistake again…I also woke up and drank of cup of hate and decided to write on your blog and kept coming back for more. I will log off now, and go try to hate on someone else!!

      • stephaniemanley

        I am sorry you didn’t enjoy the recipe. Thank you for letting me know how it worked out for you. I haven’t had the same problem in the many times I made this recipe. Did you add the quart of tomato juice? I am certain you did.

      • too bad the recipe that you posted has almost the EXACT ingredients and method of cooking as this recipe that you said you would NEVER make again.. the only difference is subbing actual tomatoes for the tomato puree which plenty of people mentioned they subbed diced tomatoes for anyways. you just sound like a bitter Betty. keep your unnecessary, rude comments to yourself.. be constructive..

        • Stephanie

          I have no idea why some folks feel the need to get so aggressive in the comments. I do not that folks are very passionate about their chili.

      • stephaniemanley

        Well gosh, thank you for sharing the recipe you are happy with.

      • Robin

        That is the same recipe that I make. And it is wonderful..I have been doing this recipe for years… I make it in the crock pot.. I have some in there now.. I double the recipe and freeze what is left..

  • Clinton

    Looks very nice I will try this! Only thing I’m confused about is it only serves 1??? Lol 2 lbs of ground beef alone

    • Stephanie

      I fixed this, it serves a lot, like 10 people.

  • Brad Tjapkes

    This recipe is very good and the proportions are awesome.

    Here is the Wendy’s process:
    They take cooked patties and boil them for 10 minutes, drain and rinse. Chop the patties down to “smaller than a dime, larger than a pea” size.
    To make the chili you put the liquid ingredients in a double boiler, add all your spices. (Wendy’s has a prepackaged bag of spices). Blend with whisk.
    Drain and rinse the beans, add to liquid.
    Add chopped onions and green pepper also in a prepackaged bag.
    Add chopped meat. Add water and stir to desired consistency. (Not too watery). Water will evaporate during cooking process so you may have to add more water during the cooking process.
    Start cooking at 500 or high temp. Once boiling reduce to a simmer.


    Stir chili every 15 minutes in a figure 8 motion bring liquid to top.
    Wendy’s chili cooks for 4 hours before going on service line. After 14 years of working as a manager for Wendy’s it is my firm belief that Wendy’s chili is better the next day reheated!

    • T05hA

      I agree. Reheated chili is the best!

  • geena

    cant wait to try this recipe, looks good.

  • Gwartoy

    Need nutrition info

  • Courtney

    So I made this today! & it tastes good but it’s too much tomato flavor,kinda has some acid taste to it. I feel like that’s the only difference from the Wendy’s one.

    • Stephanie Manley

      You may want to add a little bit of sugar to take care of the acid the tomatoes can have.

  • Amanda in Indiana

    I made this and found it to be very close to Wendy’s! I used two cans of pinto beans because i prefer them and omitted the kidneys. Also, I added 2t. Cumin and 3T sugar and fried the onion and green pepper with the beef and was pleased! I also simmered on low in crockpot. I will say it was wayyyyy better the next day! I put two ladles in sandwich baggies laid flat and froze so I can have chili whenever I want with a minute or two of waiting to microwave. Thanks!!

  • Chantelle Rogers Rodriguez

    Why would James make it twice if its just eatable lol. I will agree it is not quite the way I remember Wendy’s . I did change the meat to chopped skirt steak which I use in tacos, I have not used ground meat in years ( Pink slime and all that ) I also added 2 cans of diced tomatoes . WE loved it especially the hard to please one He ate 2 bowls . I would call it Wendy’s style chili . It is enough to feed an army so I will have plenty of lunches frozen. We had sour cream and cheadar as well as chips and the kid loves tortilla chips in his chili . I will make it again , It is mild for us but it was good for the kiddo and a dash of hot sauce is always on the table.

    • Stephanie

      I don’t know why James would do that. If I didn’t like the recipe the first time, I wouldn’t make it a second time.

  • Carrie’s mom

    Thank you for this recipe! I love Wendy’s chili, but I live 16 miles from the nearest Wendy’s, so this is wonderful to have. One question please. How do I make this in a crock pot? Please help me if you can.

    • stephaniemanley

      I would brown the meat in a skillet, and then dump everything into the crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

    • Stephanie

      I would brown the meat first, and then toss everything into the crock pot to cook.

  • Carol

    Thank you for this recipe ……. my whole family absolutely loves it!!

  • ldmff

    When your chili turns out a bit too hot you can add beef broth or tomato juice, I’ve also added peanut butter to buffer the heat, I add it a tbsp at a time, lends an interesting flavor too.