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!
Wendy's chili ingredient list
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! Here are some substitutions you can make if you need to:
- extra-lean ground beef – Feel free to use ground turkey or chicken instead of beef to make this chili lighter in calories. Or, to make the dish heartier, use chunks of sirloin
- yellow onion – use red onion or shallots if you'd like instead
- celery – there's no good sub for this – you can leave it out if you don't have it or like it
- green pepper – feel free to use any colour bell pepper
- canned green chilies – diced fresh or pickled jalapenos, or leaving this spicy ingredient out altogether would work
- Worcestershire sauce – you can leave this out if need be, but it does add a bit of extra kick to make it taste more like Wendy's chili
- chili powder, cumin, onion powder and paprika – this is the spice blend needed to replicate the Wendy's flavour. You can use homemade or store bought taco seasoning instead
- sugar (to cut the acidity of the tomatoes) – you can use brown sugar, honey or maple syrup instead of white sugar
- garlic – jarred garlic or garlic powder will work in a pinch, although I recommend fresh garlic if possible for the best flavour
- kidney beans & pinto beans – black beans, white beans, chickpeas, lentils, or even cooked rice or quinoa will work instead if needed
- crushed tomatoes – tomato sauce or pasta sauce will work here
- beef broth – chicken or vegetable broth will work as well
How many carbs are 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. I would recommend leaving out the beans to achieve this though.
Wendy's chili nutrition
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 with higher protein. Plus, it doesn't contain any preservatives or chemicals!
Wendy's chili seasoning
If you do a quick Google search for Wendy's chili seasoning, you'll see that the packets ingredients are made up of:
- corn syrup
- distilled vinegar
- natural flavours
- xanthan gum
- caramel colour
Doesn't seem like a great seasoning, does it?
What I suggest you use instead is a chili oil that you can buy from your local grocery store, or you can make your own. Here's an easy recipe for chili oil.
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.
To reheat individual servings from frozen, just microwave for 6-7 minutes, stirring halfway through.
I also sometimes 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.
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.
- Freeze this recipe in glass microwave-safe bowls up to 3 months
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!