The Best Wendy’s Copycat Chili Recipe

With Wendy’s drive-thru available just about everywhere, you may be thinking, “Why do I need The Best Wendy’s Copycat Chili Recipe?” That’s a fair question, especially since we hear you can even purchase branded cans at certain local supermarkets. But sometimes it just feels good to have a pot of chili on the stove, filling your home with a spicy warm fragrance on a cold fall or winter day. And honestly, Wendy’s version has a pretty great flavor. So if you don’t have your own traditional recipe for the beloved saucy bowl of beans and meat in a thick tomato broth, this just might become a go-to for future bubbling pots of chili in your kitchen.


The Best Wendy’s Copycat Chili Recipe


2 lbs. ground beef
1 qt. tomato juice
2 14.5 oz cans of stewed tomatoes with green chilies (do not drain – we used Petite Cut® Diced Tomatoes with Hatch Green Chilies)
15 oz can red kidney beans (do not drain)
15 oz can pinto beans (do not drain)
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 small green pepper, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
10 TBSP  chili powder (you can use up to 1/4 cup if you prefer a stronger flavor)
1 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2/3 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Optional ingredients:
Grated sharp cheddar cheese
Sour cream
Sliced scallions


  1. In a large skillet, brown the ground beef.
  2. Drain browned beef and transfer to a 6 quart pot.
  3. Add all of the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
  4. Bring to a boil, cover, lower heat and let simmer on low for 1-1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  5. Serve with your favorite crackers, or a slice of delicious grilled bread.

If you’re looking for an infinitely adaptable chili recipe, try Mom’s Basic Chili.

Recipe and Styling and Story by Star Laliberte / Photography by Keith Recker

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