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Easy Wendy’s Chili Copycat Recipe With Beans

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Indulge in the classic taste of Wendy’s beloved chili right in the comfort of your own kitchen with our Wendy’s Chili copycat recipe. Wendy’s restaurants are renowned for their hearty and flavorful chili, a favorite menu item that has filled the bellies of countless customers.

Now, you can replicate that same deliciousness at home, savoring every spoonful of this iconic comfort food. See how to recreate Wendy’s famous chili and enjoy its rich and comforting flavors whenever you desire.

Bowl of chili topped with shredded cheese, sour cream, and a jalapeno slice.

Wendy’s has been serving its rich and meaty chili since 1969. The gluten-free menu item is delicious as a side dish, a main dish, on top of a potato, or as part of the Wendy’s Taco Salad.

Wendy’s sets the standard for great chili and it is surprisingly easy to make. Let’s take a look at how to make a version of the famous chili at home, shall we?

Ingredient List

To make the chili, you need the following ingredients:

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cans chili beans, dark red kidney beans, or bean blend
  • 2 cans Ro*Tel
  • 8-ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 cup of water
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • 2 -4  Tablespoons cumin

If you are very observant, you will notice in the picture above that there are three cans of tri-colored beans. Why? Wendy’s Chili is made with different types of beans. According to Wendy’s website, “Prepared Pink Beans and/or Prepared Pinto Beans, Prepared Red Kidney Beans” are listed as ingredients. However, I find that using canned chili beans produces better results.

Let’s look at how to make this Wendy’s copycat chili recipe, shall we?

How To Make This Copycat Wendy’s Chili Recipe

To make this hearty chili, brown ground beef and onions until the beef is no longer pink. I like to use my Instant Pot since I can both saute and slow cook with only one pot to clean.

If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can adapt the recipe and brown the beef and onions on the stovetop on medium heat in a large pot and then simmer the chili on the stove or finish cooking it in a slow cooker/Crockpot.

Cooking beef and onion in an Instant Pot.

Once the beef has cooked, add the chili beans, Ro*Tel, chili powder, cumin, tomato sauce, and 1 cup of water. For convenience, I take the 8-ounce container of tomato sauce and use that for measuring my water. (One cup = 8 ounces.)

If you like cumin like I do, then you might want to go heavy and use 4 tablespoons (which is equal to 1/4 cup). If you aren’t sure, start with 2 tablespoons. You can do a taste test after about an hour. You can always add more cumin, but you cannot take it away once it has been added.

Pot of beans topped with cumin and chili powder.

Stir all of the ingredients together and allow it to slow cook for 4-8 hours.

Ladle chili into bowls and top with shredded Cheddar cheese and sour cream.

Bowl of chili with cheese, sour cream, and jalapeno.

How To Store Leftover Chili

Storing chili is simple. Once you’ve prepared a batch, allow it to cool to room temperature. Then, transfer the chili to an airtight container or a resealable freezer bag, ensuring there’s minimal air inside to prevent freezer burn. You can refrigerate leftover chili for up to three to four days, or if you want to enjoy it later, store it in the freezer for up to three months. To reheat, simply thaw frozen chili in the refrigerator overnight and warm it on the stovetop or in the microwave, adding a splash of water or broth if needed to achieve your desired consistency.

Chili Topping Ideas

Chili topping ideas are a fantastic way to elevate your chili and customize it to your taste. The beauty of chili toppings is that you can mix and match them to create your perfect bowl of chili, tailored to your cravings and preferences. Here are some creative chili toppers:

  • Freshly chopped green onions or chives lend a burst of freshness. 
  • Diced tomatoes or avocado chunks bring a cool, refreshing element.
  • For a kick of heat, consider jalapeño slices or a drizzle of hot sauce. 
  • For some crunch and texture, don’t forget crispy tortilla strips or crushed corn chips. 

And if you’re feeling adventurous, experiment with unique toppings like pickled red onions, crumbled bacon, or even a fried egg for that extra touch of indulgence.

What is Wendy’s chili made out of?

According to the Wendy’s website, Wendy’s chili ingreidents are:
Chili Base (Chili Sauce [Water, Tomato Paste, Tomatoes (Tomatoes, Tomato Juice, Calcium Chloride), Sugar, Modified Corn Starch, Salt, Chili Pepper, Spices, Flavor Enhancer (Dextrose, Salt, Yeast Extract, Modified Corn Starch), Citric Acid, Garlic Powder, Disodium Inosinate and Disodium Guanylate, Onion Powder, Xanthan Gum], Onions, Celery, Green Peppers), Water, Ground Beef (Beef, Salt), Chili Beans (Prepared Pink Beans and/or Prepared Pinto Beans, Prepared Red Kidney Beans), Soy Lecithin. CONTAINS: MILK AND SOY.

Is there MSG in Wendy’s chili?

No and yes. While monosodium glutamate is not a listed ingredient, Wendy’s uses yeast extract.

According to Healthline, “Yeast extract contains glutamates, which are forms of an amino acid that are found naturally in many foods. They’re sometimes extracted and used as additives to prepared food. This product is commonly known as monosodium glutamate (MSG). Yeast extract contains naturally occurring glutamates, but not as much as MSG.”


I love being able to recreate recipes at home because it allows me to choose what ingredients go into it. I prefer to use organic when I can, including grass-fed beef. This recipe can be made using non-organic ingredients, if necessary.

For those who want to know, like the original, this recipe is gluten-free. However, it is not a low-carb dish.

Bowl of Wendy's Chili.
Large container of Wendy’s Chili

The one thing that my recipe does not have is celery and I doubt you will even miss it. Actually, there are a few other ingredients missing in my Wendy’s Chili clone, such as Disodium Inosinate, Disodium Guanylate, Yeast Extract, Modified Corn Starch, Milk, and Soy. I don’t think anyone will miss those ingredients.

What goes with Chili? Cornbread, naturally. Check out these different cornbread recipes at Southern Kissed:


chili that tastes like Wendy's

Easy Wendy’s Chili Copycat Recipe

This Easy Wendy’s Chili Copycat Recipe is a delicious version of America’s favorite chili. It’s beefy chili goodness made at home.
4.41 from 27 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 384kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 onion diced
  • 45 ounces chili beans or tri-colored beans
  • 2 cans Ro*Tel
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • 2 – 4 Tablespoons cumin
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water

Instructions

  • Brown ground beef and onion in an Instant Pot using the Sauté function. Cook until the beef is no longer pink.
  • Stir in chili beans, Ro*Tel, tomato sauce, spices, and 1 cup of water.
  • Press SLOW COOK and cook for 4 – 8 hours on LOW.
  • Remove lid from the Instant Pot, stir, and enjoy!

Notes

If making on the stovetop, simmer at a low temperature for 30 minutes.
If using a CrockPot or slow cooker, cook the beef and onions on the stovetop first and then transfer to slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients, stir, and cook on LOW setting for 4 – 8 hours.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 384kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 101mg | Sodium: 712mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g
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Be sure to come back and tell us how your chili turned out!

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