Copycat Wendy’s Chili Recipe

Wendy’s calls it a “signature rich and meaty Chili that’s low in fat and high in fiber. Good taste and good feeling, too”. Here is a copycat Wendy’s chili recipe, originally proposed by Todd Wilbur, that will give you a taste that is pretty darn close to the original.

This is the real deal Wendy's chili recipe. It tastes just like the original chili, and is very easy to make.

There is a lot of talk out there that Wendy’s uses unused, old cooked beef patties to make its signature chili. According to those who work/worked there, yes, it is true. They say that those old and dry unused cooked beef patties are refrigerated and used to make chili the next morning. They are boiled before being added to the chili. This explains the ‘low in fat’ claim by Wendy’s. If you really want to be true to the authentic recipe, make beef patties, grill them really well, then boil for 2o minutes or so before adding to the rest of the ingredients. This sure will kill a lot of flavor, so is not recommended.

This is the real deal Wendy's chili recipe. It tastes just like the original chili, and is very easy to make.
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Copycat Wendy's Chili Recipe

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time3 hrs
Total Time3 hrs 10 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Author: Todd Wilbur


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • one 29-ounce can tomato sauce
  • one 29-ounce can kidney beans with liquid
  • one 29-ounce can pinto beans with liquid
  • 1 cup diced onion 1 medium onion
  • 1/2 cup diced green chili 2 chilies
  • 1/4 cup diced celery 1 stalk
  • 3 medium tomatoes chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups water


  • Make beef patties from ground beef and brown in a large skillet over medium-high heat, flipping once. The meat will brown much better if you brown it as patties as much less water will be released during browning.
  • Drain the fat from the meat and crumble it with a work into pea-size pieces.
  • In a large pot, combine the browned beef with the rest of the ingredients. Bring the pot to boil, lower the heat to low and simmer the chili for 2 to 3 hours, stirring every 15 minutes or so.


For spicier chili, add 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
For much spicier chili, add 2-3 teaspoons of cayenne pepper.
For extreme real heat add 5-6 jalapeno or 1-2 red serrano peppers.
The chili can be frozen for up to 3 months if necessary.

Top Secret Recipes Version of Wendy’s Chili by Todd Wilbur

One Comment

  1. When I found a Wendy’s chili copycat recipe many years ago, the ingredients included cinnamon but none of the recipes I’m finding now include cinnamon.

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