Love Wendy’s Famous Chili? Try our Copycat Recipe!
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Wendy’s is famous for many things…
From their signature Frosty to thick cut fries and square hamburger patties, they really do stand apart from the masses. Upholding their mission to be unique, it’s no surprise that chili is a staple on the menu.
Whether it’s on a potato, in a taco salad, or à la carte with a side of saltines, do you love Wendy’s chili as much as we do? If the answer is yes, then you’re sure to love our knock-off version as well… maybe even better!
What I learned about Wendy’s chili (and didn’t really want to know.)
While researching all the deets on the real Wendy’s chili ingredients, apparently, the trademark flavor of Wendy’s beloved chili comes from (drum roll please)…left-over, cooked hamburger patties!
In 2017, an employee reported that the meat in Wendy’s chili is not quite as fresh as one might think. The ex-burger jockey claimed the ground beef used in the signature chili comes from leftover hamburgers. When the burger patties aren’t used within a certain amount of time, they’re “discarded” and placed in a container to be refrigerated. Then they’re boiled down and chopped up to be used in good, old (pun intended) Wendy’s chili.
Wendy’s states that everything it does follows health and safety procedures and using leftover hamburger meat in the chili decreases food waste. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with being economical—after all, we are Hip2Save! Go, Wendy’s!
That said, my family prefers the Hip2Save Wendy’s copycat chili WAY more than the real thing!
While there’s really no easy way of mimicking the flavor of old, greasy burger patties, this Wendy’s copycat chili hones in on the flavors we love so much about the original. It’s wonderful the night I make it and even better the next day. Leftovers are fabulous on a hot dog, smothered over nachos, or when I’m feeling healthy, poured over a steamy baked potato. 🥔
Hip Tip: If you like a kick to your chili, add 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the spice list or try a splash per individual serving of your favorite hot sauce. In our house, we love Merf’s! (My personal fave is Electric Lime.)
Wendy's Copycat Chili Recipe
yield: 8 SERVINGS
prep time: 15 MINUTES
cook time: 1 HOUR 30 MINUTES
total time: 1 HOUR 45 MINUTES
The closest thing to Wendy's chili, made from scratch at home!
- 2 pounds ground beef (I use 85/15)
- 1 1/2 cups yellow onion, finely diced
- 1/2 cup celery, finely diced
- 1/4 cup green bell pepper, finely diced
- 1 (15 oz) can light red kidney beans, drained
- 1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, drained
- 1 (15 oz) can crushed tomatoes in puree
- 1 (15 oz) can petite diced tomatoes, with juice
- 4 cups tomato juice (1 quart)
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Our homemade Wendy’s chili recipe makes a happy belly!
Your whole family is sure to love this knock-off Wendy’s chili. It’s mild enough for the kiddos and versatile enough to use the left-overs as a meal starter the following day. Try it over elbow macaroni topped with shredded cheddar for a quick chili mac—Yummm!