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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.

Wendy's Chili copycat

Wendy’s has been serving its rich and meaty chili since 1969.  The gluten-free menu item is delicious as a side dish, 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 at home.

How To Make Wendy’s Chili (Copycat) at Home

To make the chili, you need the following ingredients:

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cans chili beans
  • 2 cans Ro*Tel
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup of water
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • 2 -4  Tablespoons cumin

Ingredients to make Wendy's Chili

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 more than one kind of bean.  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.

To make the 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 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 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.

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.

chili spices

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

chili that tastes like Wendy's
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4.16 from 13 votes

Easy Wendy's Chili Copycat

This Easy Wendy’s Chili Copycat Recipe is a delicious version of America’s favorite chili. It’s beefy chili goodness made at home.
Course Main Dishes
Cuisine American
Keyword chili, dinner, easy, Instant Pot, recipe, Wendy's
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 384kcal
Author Lynda

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 onion diced
  • 3 cans chili beans or tri-colored beans
  • 2 cans Ro*Tel
  • ¼ cup chili powder
  • 2 - 4 Tablespoons cumin
  • 1 8- ounce can 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!

Video

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

bowl of Wendy's Chili copycat

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 low carb.

When I was working on developing this recipe, I went to Wendy’s website to see what ingredients are in the real thing.  According to Wendy’s, their chili has:

Chili: 

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.

bowl of Wendy's ChiliLarge 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.  Be sure to check out these different cornbread recipes at Southern Kissed:

jalapeno cornbread
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