This Wendy's Chili recipe is an exact replica of the real thing – it's full of flavour thanks to green chilies, chili powder, cumin and two types of beans.
How to make Wendy's chili
Here's how to make chili just like they do at Wendy's!
- Prepare and assemble your ingredients.
- Brown ground beef.
- Add onions, celery and green pepper, sauteeing until softened.
- Stir in green chilies, Worcestershire, chili powder, sugar, cumin, onion powder, paprika, salt & pepper and garlic, sauteeing until fragrant.
- Stir in beans, crushed tomatoes and beef broth, then bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes.
- Serve with desired toppings and enjoy!
Ingredients in this recipe
The ingredient list may look a little long but it's worth it for all the flavor! This is as close to Wendy's chili as you'll get!
- extra-lean ground beef
- yellow onion
- green pepper
- canned green chilies
- Worcestershire sauce
- chili powder, cumin, onion powder and paprika
- sugar (to cut the acidity of the tomatoes)
- kidney beans
- pinto beans
- crushed tomatoes
- beef broth
Here are a few ideas for substitutions that you may want to make to this recipe.
- Beef – Feel free to use ground turkey or chicken instead of beef. Or, to make the dish heartier, use chunks of sirloin
- Vegetables – This recipe calls for onion, celery, and green bell pepper. Any or all of them can be omitted from the recipe. Or, add other veggies like zucchini and carrot!
- Chili powder – Often, store-brand chili powder sits on the shelf for quite a while, which diminishes the flavor. For fresher flavor, consider using homemade chili powder, which is simply a combination of a few common spices like cumin, paprika, dried chilies, onion powder, and garlic
- Green chiles – To boost the heat level of the dish, you can swap out the green chiles for diced jalapenos or an even hotter chile, like habanero!
- Beans – There are pinto beans and kidney beans in this chili. You can substitute them for black beans, lentils, or even cooked rice or quinoa!
How many carbs in Wendy's chili?
If you are on a low carb or keto diet, this chili recipe can definitely be part of your meal plan! According to the nutritional information on the restaurant’s website, one small serving of Wendy’s chili has 14 net carbs.
Calories in this recipe vs Wendy's
This copycat version of Wendy’s chili makes enough for 8 servings. Without additional toppings, there are 255 calories per serving.
In comparison, one small serving of the restaurant’s recipe has 240 calories, and a large serving has 330 calories. My serving size is likely on the larger size.
Is this recipe gluten free?
Unfortunately, this is not a gluten free chili recipe. One of the ingredients is Worcestershire sauce, which is not gluten free.
However, you can simply omit that ingredient if you would like to. Or, look for the Lea & Perrins brand at the grocery store. I am unsure if it is manufactured in a gluten-free facility, but their original Worcestershire sauce is 100% gluten free.
Wendy’s offers an optional topping of diced onions and shredded cheese cheese for their chili. While those are definitely tasty options, there are plenty of other ways to add flavor to the dish. Try these options:
- Crushed corn chips
- Slices of avocado or guacamole
- Fire roasted corn
- Sour cream
- Shredded lettuce
- Hot chili sauce
- Fruit salsa – for a kick of extra heat, stir in some pineapple habanero or mango salsa
Storing and reheating
Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container and use them up or freeze them within 5 days. To reheat, transfer the chili to a saucepan and reheat it on the stove top over medium heat.
Alternatively, you can use a microwave to reheat it, but if so, use medium power to prevent it from scorching. It should only take a couple of minutes to reheat this way.
Freezing this chili recipe
This chili freezes perfectly, and it’s one of my favourite meal prep recipes! It can be frozen in single serving containers to pack for lunches, or freeze an entire batch to serve a crowd.
I like to place it into large zip-top freezer bags, which I lay flat in the freezer. This way, they take up less space. Just be sure to allow the chili to cool to room temperature or cool it down quickly in the refrigerator before freezing it.
To reheat from frozen, just microwave for 6-7 minutes, stirring halfway through.
More healthier fast food recipes
Meal prep tools for this recipe
- Grab some glass meal prep bowls if you plan on storing the leftovers
- I get all my grass-fed ground beef from Butcher Box, conveniently delivered to me frozen.
Wendy's Chili recipe
- 1 lb extra-lean ground beef
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 1 (127mL) can green chilies
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp each salt & pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (540mL) can kidney beans, drained
- 1 (540mL) can pinto beans, drained
- 1 (796mL) can crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups beef broth
- Heat a large pot over med-high heat. Add ground beef, breaking up and browning for 3-4 minutes. Add onions, celery and green pepper, sauteeing another 2-3 minutes until softened.
- Stir in green chilies, Worcestershire, chili powder, sugar, cumin, onion powder, paprika, salt & pepper and garlic, sauteeing for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
- Stir in beans, crushed tomatoes and beef broth, then bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes with a fitted lid, stirring chili occasionally.
- Serve with desired toppings and enjoy!