Copycat Wendy’s Chili

Anita and I were on our way to Gatlinburg, TN, tootin’ along down the interstate, when lunch time crept up on us. A glance at the GPS showed that our choices were pretty much fast food or nothing. A hankerin’ for a Wendy’s burger came over me, so into Wendy’s we went. Anita got the chili. And it was good, which of course meant that I instantly started searching for a copycat version of Wendy’s chili. And here it is. A little thicker than the real deal served at Wendy’s, but definitely a great copycat of the fast food favorite.
Copycat Wendy's ChiliThis chili is about as easy as you can get to make, yet it is quite tasty and has great texture. It’s not hot, but it can be by just adding cayenne or substituting hot chili powder for the mild. You can also substitute cubed chuck for the ground beef for a more traditional chili. Cincinnati chili lovers need only add a bit of cinnamon. And yes, if you like your chili with pasta, you can serve it over pasta.

Also try my copycat of Cin Chili, the best chili mix ever.

Copycat Wendy's Chili

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 25 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Mike


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 28 ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 16 ounce can kidney beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 15 ounce can pinto beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 large sweet onion diced
  • 1/4 cup celery diced
  • 1/4 cup green bell pepper diced
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder


  • Brown ground beef in a large pot. Drain.
  • Add the water. Bring to a boil, then drain completely to remove more fat.
  • Add remaining ingredients.
  • Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and simmer for 3 hours, stirring often.

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