Home Featured Wendy’s Copycat Chili in the Slow Cooker

Wendy’s Copycat Chili in the Slow Cooker

by Amy D

This Wendy’s chili recipe is a perfect copycat! Thick and rich chili with a variety of beans, vegetables, and spices. It’s the perfect dump and go slow cooker chili.A white bowl full of Wendy's Copycat Chili on a red checked towel.

The first job I ever had was working at Wendy’s. I was 15. And yes, this will date me, but this was in the days of Wendy’s “superbar” and fresh stuffed pitas. Anybody remember those? I want the pitas to make a comeback. 

(Also my old Wendy’s manager’s wife reads my blog. How fun is that? Hi Kathie! Hi Gary!)A white bowl of Wendy's copycat chili next to a slow cooker.

One thing about working at a restaurant, you get to see what other people love to order and eat. By golly, people love Wendy’s chili. Especially during the cold weather months.

Whether you agree or not, Wendy’s has some spectacular chili for a fast food chain. It’s way more complex than just hamburger and beans in a chili sauce. It’s thick and spicy with beans and veggies and tastes as close to homemade chili as you can get for under 2 bucks. 

This copycat chili recipe tastes just like Wendy’s. Except it’s homemade, so it’s better. A collage of photos showing the steps to make slow cooker Wendy's Copycat Chili

Stirring everything together before covering the slow cooker. This chili is comfort food at it’s best. It’s made with 2 kinds of beans, fresh chopped vegetables, tomatoes and spices. And it’s ridiculously easy. Just dump and go in the slow cooker. Watch the video and see.

Please note: You will need a slow cooker that is at least 6 quarts for this chili. It makes a big batch! I love this slow cooker I bought on Amazon because it’s got neat chalkboard inserts to you can write on it what’s inside! Perfect for potlucks. 

If you don’t have a large slow cooker, this recipe can also be made on the stove top. Simply follow the directions stated below, but simmer in a large stockpot for 45-60 minutes on low on the stove instead. 

We love to eat our chili with cornbread. If you do too, you need this Jiffy cornbread hack. The best cornbread ever!

And if you are a true chili lover you’ve got to try this recipe that uses leftover chili. It’s my family’s favorite. Chili Dog Pizza!A slice of Chili Dog Pizza made with leftover chilii

A white bowl full of Wendy's Copycat Chili on a red checked towel.

Wendy's Copycat Chili in the Slow Cooker

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes
This Wendy’s chili recipe is a perfect copycat! Thick and rich chili with a variety of beans, vegetables, and spices.


  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 (29 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (29 ounce can) kidney beans, drained
  • 1 (29 ounce can) pinto beans, drained
  • 2 (14.5 ounce cans) diced tomatoes, not drained
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cups beef broth*
  • * See note below*


    1. Brown the ground beef well. Drain off the fat and add the ground beef to a 6 quart or larger slow cooker.

    2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well and cover.

    3. Cook on Low for 8-10 hours or on High for 4-6 hours.


1. You may substitute 2 beef bouillon cubes and 2 cups of water for the broth.

2. To make this on the stove top, simply add the browned and drained beef to a large stock pot along with the remaining ingredients. Simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes to an hour.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a review or a photo! I'd love to hear your feedback!

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This Wendy’s chili recipe is a perfect copycat! Thick and rich chili with a variety of beans, vegetables, and spices. It’s the perfect dump and go slow cooker chili. #wendyscopycatchili #slowcookerchili #copycatrecipe #wendyschilirecipe

Did you make this recipe? 

Please leave a comment or review below!  I’d also love to see what you’ve been making on Instagram or Facebook.

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Rose February 11, 2021 - 3:51 pm

This chili is amazing! I like a little more heat so I added about a half tablespoon of cayenne pepper as well as a tablespoon of jalapeño “juice” from a jar of jalapeños. I also added a can of corn in after it was cooked. This was my first time making chili and I don’t need to look anywhere else, this will be my go to recipe. Thanks so much for sharing!!

Amy D February 12, 2021 - 9:10 am

Thanks for taking the time to leave a review, Rose! I’m so happy that it turned out just how you wanted it to.
Amy D.

Barb Feist February 10, 2021 - 11:21 am

Can’t wait to try this! Fellow ex-Wendy’s employee here also and of the same superbar/pita generation. So miss those!! I’m excited to have the recipe, I always just cheat and get a cup or two to take home from my old stomping grounds when I have the craving 🙂

Amy D February 12, 2021 - 9:12 am

How fun is that Barb, I wish that the pitas would make a comeback. They were one of the best things on the menu. Hope you’ll enjoy this slice, err cup, of nostalgia!

Amy D.

Amy February 9, 2021 - 9:52 am

This is my new go to chili recipe. I have made several times now. Incredible recipe!! Thank you!

Amy D February 12, 2021 - 9:12 am

Amy, That’s great to hear! Glad you’ve found a keeper.

Amy D.

Sue Coats January 10, 2021 - 12:48 pm

This is a delicious recipe. However, I did not put 1/4 C of chili powder in it because my husband doesn’t like it spicy. It is plenty spicy for us with 1 T of chili powder. I sautéed the onions and celery and added garlic to it too.

Sherri December 31, 2020 - 4:30 pm

This is in the crock pot now! Thanks for the recipe!

Teri December 15, 2020 - 1:52 pm

Do you sauté onion, green pepper and celery before slow cooking?

Amy D December 16, 2020 - 1:13 pm

No, you don’t.

Christine Olson December 12, 2020 - 9:21 am

I made this chili last month and it was better than Wendy’s! I was checking the recipe to add the ingredients to my shopping list that I needed to make it again and I swear you had a jalapeno pepper in the recipe. I know I would never have bought a jalapeno unless a recipe called for it. I guess I’ll add one since I did the first time I made it. This is the best chili I’ve ever made.

Amy D December 15, 2020 - 11:41 am

Isn’t is crazy how stuff like that happens with recipes. There are recipes that I love that I am certain are made one way and then when I look at the recipe card aren’t the way I thought I remembered them being at all.
Regardless, so glad you love the chili Christine! Thanks for the comment.

paulette prince November 11, 2020 - 9:25 pm

Sounds wonderful! I’am going to make some tomorrow. Instead of the hamburger could you use stew meat?

Amy D November 12, 2020 - 2:47 pm

Hi Paulette! I think that stew meat would be wonderful in this chili. I will say that if I was making this chili with stew beef I’d brown it first before adding it to the crockpot.
Please let me know how you like it when you try it your way!
Amy D.

Haily Denney October 13, 2020 - 10:02 pm

Does this require soaking dry beans before cooking?

Amy D October 26, 2020 - 2:27 pm

No, it doesn’t.

Trisha January 1, 2021 - 3:42 pm

I’ve made this three times and we love it. There’s just two of use so I freeze what’s left. It doesn’t hurt the taste at all. The last time and this time I was out of tomato sauce so I used a can of tomato paste and filled the can with water and mixed it well also I was out of celery so I used a tsp of celery salt works perfect.

Yolande Morrier September 9, 2020 - 9:08 pm

I used to make other kind of Chili, but this one is sooooo goood.

Yolande Morrier September 9, 2020 - 9:07 pm

I used to make other kind of Chili, but this one is sooooo goood. Thanks for the receipe!

LaToy September 9, 2020 - 2:29 pm

OMG! It turned out sooooo amazingly great!!!

Darci Shannon August 30, 2020 - 5:55 pm

Do you know how many servings this makes? I’m trying to see how many calories and macros are in one serving. Thanks!

Amy D August 31, 2020 - 2:03 pm


It makes a very large batch, approximately 12 servings.

Briana June 29, 2020 - 10:50 am

Am I reading it correctly of 1/4 “CUP” chili powder?

Amy D June 30, 2020 - 10:13 am

Yes ma’am that’s correct! 1/4 cup chili powder might seem like a lot, but this recipe makes a big batch and a 1/4 cup is only 4 Tablespoons. I haven’t found anyone who thinks it’s too spicy so far. 🙂

Daniele February 6, 2020 - 11:35 am

Is there an ingredient missing? There is a blank spot after an * under the beef broth like there should be an ingredient there. I want to make this recipe tonight and I’m looking forward to it.

Amy D February 6, 2020 - 12:30 pm

Nope, Daniele, no ingredients missing, just some weird formatting! Hope that you enjoy the chili!


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