Wendy’s Chili Recipe

Wendy’s makes this classic recipe fresh every day, and you can do the same. Tomato juice really enhances the flavor of this chili, as does the chili powder, though you may want to start off with a little less chili powder. I find that 1/4 cup isn’t too hot, and is still very flavorful.

make a bowl of wendy's chili

Wendy’s Chili

Now, it is said that Wendy’s chili is made from grilled hamburger patties that didn’t make it into their burgers. We don’t have you start out with hamburger patties, but the fresh ground beef. We think it is easier to start out this way when you make your own chili. We suggest that you brown the beef very thoroughly before making your chili.

Wendy's Chili

  • Author:
  • Recipe Type: Wendy's, Soup Recipes, Chili Recipe, CopyKat Recipes, Copycat Restaurant Recipes
  • Prep time:15 minutes
  • Cook time:1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Serves: 6
Wendy's Chili

Now you can make Wendy's chili at home!


  • 2 pounds fresh ground beef
  • 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
  • 1 medium-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 (use less for milder chili)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (use more for real flavor)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper


In a large skillet, brown the ground beef. Drain off the fat. Put the beef and the remaining ingredients in a 6-quart pot. Cover the pot and let the chili simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes. You can also cook this in a slow cooker on low for 3 to 4 hours.

You can find this recipe in my book CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home

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  • Shine

    What type or brand of chili powder do you use?

    • http://www.copykat.com Stephanie Manley

      I often the Spice House or Penzey’s, both come from mail order places online. I highly recommend either.

  • Soulinity

    Yum, Yum, Yum. Stephanie hit the mark on this one. I made this about a month ago and it was such a hit that I have been asked to make it several more times. Each time it gets better because you can add as much or as little as you want of the “hot” stuff. Add some cheese and sour cream and your taste buds are in heaven. I do add more cayenne to make it spicier but you can have it mild or very, very spicy. This is a must for anyone who loves Wendy’s chili. It is identical to their recipe.

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  • http://thebittersideofsweet.com Nancy P.@thebittersideofsweet

    I used to work at Wendy’s in high school and loved their chili! This looks great!

  • Sue

    I made this chili today and it was very good. I did not have the celery because I didn’t want to make a trip to the store to get it. My husband said it will be better than very good the next time because I promised I would have celery in it. It will become my ‘to go’ recipe for chili from now on. Thanks for creating this recipe, Stephanie.

    • stephaniemanley

      I am glad you enjoyed the chili. It is a good recipe. I think the using tomato juice really makes a difference. I think the celery adds a little something to the soup.

  • Trish

    I will be trying this one. Thanks for sharing this.