Wendy’s Style Chili at Home

I love chili and I have a favorite recipe I always return to, but I still enjoy trying other chili recipes. About a year ago, I finally discovered what most of America knows: Wendy’s Restaurant makes really good chili, and it’s low-calorie! For a cheap and very filling meal, I order a small chili and dump it over one of their plain baked potatoes. Yum!

Recently, I came across this recipe for Wendy’s Style Chili and thought I’d make my own modified version because this one was too much food for my small family of three. The batch I made cost me $13.82 and made about 12 servings that were bigger than the Large size chili you can order at Wendy’s. That makes each serving just $1.15, which is cheaper than ordering it from Wendy, herself.

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Wendy’s Style Chili
Serves 12


2.25 pounds of ground beef (I used 80/20 from Safeway, on sale)
3 green bell peppers, diced
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 heaping tablespoon of minced garlic
salt and pepper, to taste
1.25 oz. envelope of McCormick Mild Chili Seasoning
10 oz. can of Original Mild Ro-Tel Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilis
14.5 oz. can of “Ranch Style” beans
14.5 oz. can of dark red kidney beans, DRAINED (this is the only can you need to drain)
14.5 oz. can of stewed tomatoes
2 14.5 oz. cans of tomato sauce
water, if needed

OPTIONAL: 2 celery stalks, chopped and added when the onions and peppers are added to the pot

Using a large Dutch oven on medium to medium-high heat, brown, drain and season the ground beef, chicken, turkey or whatever you’re using. Remove the meat from the pot and add the diced peppers, onion and optional celery. Stir and soften for three to four minutes. Add the meat back in, along with all of the other ingredients. Stir to combine. If you’d like a thinner chili like Wendy’s, add water. I found 8 ounces to be perfect for this batch. Cover, turn up the heat to medium-high and bring to a slow boil – stirring occasionally. Once it’s boiling, turn it way down to medium-low or low and let simmer for at least three hours. The longer you can let it simmer, the better. This could also be made in a LARGE slow cooker, cooked for 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on your crock-pot’s low setting. Serve over a baked potato, french fries, tortilla chips or enjoy it alone! Top with whatever your favorite toppings are: cheese, sour cream, chives, green onion, red onion, guacamole, cilantro, Tapatio sauce

Here are the step-by step photos and instructions.

These are the key players in this recipe, which is spelled out below all the photos. The real Wendy’s chili recipe uses celery, which I’ve always thought was weird. I don’t like cooked celery AT ALL, so I omitted it, but if you’d like to be more true to the original and if you can handle hot celery, throw in two stalks of diced celery.


Thanks to this handy Williams-Sonoma food chopper I got ages ago, I washed and diced three green bell peppers and an onion in ten minutes. I’m asking myself why I don’t use this tool more often.

All I do is place a flat piece of the vegetable I want diced onto the grate and then close the lid…

It pushes the veggie through into neat little cubes!


My Facebook friends know I have issues with cutting onions. I tried some suggestions: freeze the onion for ten minutes and put on eye glasses, light a candle and pour apple cider vinegar into a small dish while using a food chopper. Maybe I should have also stood on one foot, because I still was in tears and had to cool off my eyes by opening them widely into my open freezer – the only relief that works for me. Fortunately, the pain was shorter than usual because I used this food chopper.


Next I browned the ground beef in my favorite new cooking tool: my beautiful red Lodge Dutch oven from my parents. I seasoned the meat with salt and pepper and after draining off all the fat, I think I washed away a lot of the seasoning, so next time I’d use MORE seasoning and would season it after draining. I usually know better, but I was cooking while being sick and that always causes me to do weird things.


After removing the meat and draining out the fat, I added in all those beautifully diced bits of green bell pepper and yellow onion, letting them soften for about three minutes.


Then, I added the envelope of spices, a heaping tablespoon of minced garlic, the drained kidney beans, and the un-drained cans of everything else. It looked thicker than Wendy’s chili, so I added 8 ounces of cold filtered water to the pot and stirred it in.


I covered it and brought it to a boil, stirring it now and then. After turning the heat down to medium-low, I let it simmer for 2 and a half hours. I had started the meal late, so I got impatient. It tasted great, but I let it cook several more hours that day, and some more the next day.


Mmmm, it looks a lot like Wendy’s chili!


It even tastes a lot like Wendy’s chili on a Wendy’s baked potato!


Did you think I’d stop there? I had to top it off with some shredded cheese, a dollop of sour cream and some green onion pieces. Mmmm!


Thanks for reading my blog!


2 thoughts on “Wendy’s Style Chili at Home

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