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top down view of a bowl filled with wendys chili recipe

Wendy's Chili Recipe Copycat

Enjoy the delicious flavor of your favorite takeout chili recipe at home.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Servings: 6
Calories: 492kcal


  • 2 pounds (907g) ground beef
  • 2 stalks celery chopped
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 1 green pepper seeded and diced
  • 1 jalapeño seeded and finely minced
  • 2 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried ground oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
  • 4 cups tomato juice
  • 2 cups water
  • 15 ounces (422g) 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup (236ml) tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 15 ½ ounces (439g) 1 can of kidney beans rinsed and drained
  • 15 ½ ounces (439g) 1 can of pinto beans rinsed and drained


  • Add the beef, celery, onion, green pepper and jalapeno to a large soup pot over medium heat.
  • Stir and cook until the ground beef is no longer pink, about 10 minutes.
  • Drain the excess fat from the pan, then add the garlic, sugar, oregano, cumin, chili powder, black pepper, salt and cayenne pepper to the pan and stir and cook until the garlic becomes fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the tomato juice, water, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and butter and raise the heat too high until the chili starts to boil.
  • Reduce the heat to a low medium and let it simmer for 30 minutes before stirring in the kidney and pinto beans.
  • Let it simmer for another 10 minutes before serving with freshly chopped parsley or green onions for garnish if desired.

Slow Cooker Method

  • Add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker, cover and cook 4-6 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low. You can brown the meat in advance if you prefer, but it’s not required. 



  • Finely chop the celery, onions, peppers, and jalapeno so they cook evenly. 
  • Drain the excess fat before adding the spices. 
  • Allow the spices to cook and become fragrant before adding the stock to allow the flavors to develop.
  • Storage - keep in an airtight container inside the fridge for up to 5 days.


Calories: 492kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 117mg | Sodium: 863mg | Potassium: 1141mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 1383IU | Vitamin C: 59mg | Calcium: 89mg | Iron: 5mg