Copycat Wendy’s Chili

 Wendy's Copycat Chili

I don’t like to eat out and I especially don’t like to eat out at a fast food restaurant but on the rare occasion that we do, Wendy’s is one of  the few places we’ll go.  They don’t use pink slime and their burger patties are actually made from beef.  It’s not pastured organic beef but it is beef, no soy crap substitutes. On the good, better, best scale, it’s at least an ok.

Anyway, this isn’t meant to be an ad for Wendy’s.  Avoid eating out (especially fast food) as much as you can. One of their menu items that we love is their chili. My kids ask for it all the time but I’m not going to to buy it for them as often as they would like.  So I’ve set out to create my own version at home.

It took a few tries but I finally got it right. My favorite part of this recipe is all the veggies that my children don’t complain about eating.  Green peppers, celery, onions and tomatoes.

Everything pictured in the bowl above is grown from our land except the celery.  Even the ground beef and beans! There is nothing more satisfying than eating a meal you grew yourself.

Copycat Wendy’s Chili


  • 4 tbsp oil divided (coconut oil, lard, tallow)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 tbsp chili powder (adjust amount to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 chipotle pepper (optional, Wendy's does not use chipotle peppers)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 lbs ground beef (grass fed, organic beef is the best)
  • 4 cups cooked beans (use less if you don't like so many beans)
  • 3, 15 oz cans chopped tomatoes (we used a mix of red and yellow tomatoes and tomatillos)
  • 1, 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 quart beef broth
  • 1-2 tbsp honey (adjust to taste)
  • 1-2 tsp salt (adjust to taste)


  1. In a large skillet, heat 2 tbsp oil over medium heat. Add spices and sauté until fragrant.
  2. Add garlic, onions, green peppers and celery. Saute until onions are transparent. Set aside.
  3. In a large soup pot, heat remaining 2 tbsp oil and brown meat.
  4. Add vegetables, tomatoes, beans, and broth.
  5. Bring to a gentle simmer and let cook for about 1 hr.
  6. Add honey and salt to taste.
  7. Serve with sour cream and cheese if desired.

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5 comments to Copycat Wendy’s Chili

  • I love Wendy’s chili. Back in college, I used to work at Wendy’s and was always impressed with their food. The meat is also never frozen…always fresh. I really don’t eat fast food anymore as I’ve gone paleo but every so often I still get that hankering for their chili. I also ask for raw onion on top. I’ll have to try your recipe…thanks!

  • Dorothy Orts

    My neighbor grew celery very successfully last summer. It was as long as store bought, but very flavorful!

  • Dorothy Orts

    It was NOT as long as store bought.

  • Cynthia

    I don’t like fast food either. Never have even before desiring to eat healthy. Are you POSITIVE that they don’t serve pink slime? It would be nice in an emergency to feel comfortable eating somewhere.

  • Pogonia

    Wendy’s chili is something I would never eat. Sorry. I’ve read too much about the old, dried out, discarded hamburger patties sitting on the edge of the grill for hours before using them for the chili.

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