This copycat Wendy's Chili Recipe is perfect for the crock pot and requires simple ingredients you may already have in your pantry. With a hearty combination of ground beef, diced vegetables, and savory spices, this slow cooker chili will satisfy your craving for classic comfort food with a fast food twist!
Wendy's, the beloved fast-food chain started by Dave Thomas known for its square burgers and frosty treats, has gained a loyal following for its iconic chili. Made with a combination of ground beef, diced vegetables, and a secret blend of spices, it has a unique taste that can be enjoyed on its own or as a topping for fries or baked potatoes, which you can also get from this fast food chain. I totally nailed it with my own Wendy's chili copycat recipe! Trust me; it tastes even better than the original! The kids can't get enough of it—they say it's spot on!
What sets Wendy's chili apart from other recipes is its special blend of flavors and texture. The combination of ground beef, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and beans creates a thick and rich base while adding diced green chilies adds a subtle kick of heat. The Worcestershire sauce and apple cider vinegar provides a tangy and savory depth of flavor that gives it an umami kick while keeping it packed full of texture with vegetables, beans, and hearty ground beef.
When it comes to making homemade Wendy's chili, using a slow cooker is the best option. The slow cooker allows the flavors to marry together over a longer period, resulting in a chili that is incredibly flavorful and tender. Simply brown the ground beef, drain off the excess fat, and add it to the slow cooker along with the rest of the ingredients. Set it on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours, and let the magic happen.
The slow cooker does all the work while you go about your day! It's an easy and hassle-free way to enjoy a hearty bowl of homemade chili that tastes just like the real deal! I guarantee this will become one of your favorite copycat recipes.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- This copycat Wendy's recipe tastes like it's straight from the fast food restaurant, except it's easily made from scratch at home!
- It's made with simple ingredients you can find at any grocery store and is packed with vegetables and beans making it a budget-friendly meal is packed with vegetables and beans making it a budget-friendly meal.
- The slow cooker method makes sure that the flavors have ample time to develop and come together, resulting in a chili that is incredibly flavorful, tender, and comforting!!
- You can customize your chili by adding your favorite toppings and garnishes or changing the amount of spices to create a bowl of chili that perfectly suits your taste!
Ingredients You'll Need
- Ground Beef - The star ingredient of this chili recipe, fresh ground beef adds richness and beefy flavor to the dish.
- Vegetables - Adds a subtle crunch and a sweet-savory taste that complements the other ingredients.
- Canned Tomatoes - The diced tomatoes and tomato sauce form the base of the chili, contributing to its thick and hearty consistency. They bring a tangy and slightly sweet flavor while also providing a balancing acidity.
- Beef Broth - Serves as the liquid component of the chili, adding moisture and enhancing the beefy flavor.
- Diced Green Chilies - Provide a subtle heat and a touch of brightness to the chili.
- Chili Seasoning - Brings a mix of smoky, earthy, and slightly spicy notes, infusing the dish with that classic chili taste.
- Beans - Provides a textural contrast to the chili adding hearty fiber and protein.
- Black Pepper - Helps to enhance the other flavors in the dish and adds a touch of spiciness.
- Worcestershire Sauce - Brings a tangy, savory, and umami taste to the chili.
- Apple Cider Vinegar - Helps to balance the flavors and brighten the overall taste profile.
How To Make Crock Pot Copycat Wendy's Chili
Cook the ground beef: Add the raw ground beef to a large skillet. Saute the meat over medium-high heat and break it up with a spatula. Cook for 6-7 minutes until browned. Drain off any excess fat. Pour the drained meat into the bottom of the slow cooker.
Add remaining ingredients: Drain the beans and chop the vegetables, then add them along with the remaining ingredients into the slow cooker with the cooked beef. Stir everything together until well combined.
Cover and cook: Add the lid to the top and cook on LOW for 8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours.
Garnish and serve: Ladle the chili into bowls and top with sour cream, cheese, or your favorite chili toppings. Enjoy!
- To enhance the flavor and texture of the ground beef, make sure to brown it well before adding it to the slow cooker. This step helps develop a rich caramelization and adds depth to the chili.
- If you prefer a milder chili, reduce the heat by using mild chili seasoning or reducing the amount of diced green chilies. If you like it spicier, add a dash of hot sauce or extra chili powder to amp up the heat.
- For a thicker chili consistency, slightly mash some of the beans with the back of a spoon once they are tender. This helps to release their starches and thicken the chili naturally.
- While Wendy's famous chili is delicious straight from the slow cooker, its flavors tend to deepen and intensify even more the next day. Make a larger batch and refrigerate the leftovers for even more flavor.
- Swap out the ground beef for ground turkey or chicken. The leaner meat will still provide a satisfying protein base while adding a different flavor profile.
- For a vegetarian option, omit the ground beef entirely and double up on the beans. Use a variety of beans like black beans, cannellini beans, or even chickpeas for added texture and flavor.
- To add a touch of sweetness and complexity, incorporate a tablespoon of dark brown sugar or a drizzle of molasses into the chili.
- Experiment with different types of chili seasoning or create your own blend. Combine spices like chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, garlic powder, and onion powder in varying proportions to customize the seasoning mix to your liking.
- Add additional diced vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, or butternut squash for a touch of natural sweetness and texture.
The Best Chili Toppings
There's a whole bunch of chili toppings to choose from to make this recipe your own! Add shredded cheese, diced onions, sour cream, jalapeños, or even some guacamole. Get creative and make it the perfect chili recipe!
- White Onions - brings a rich, distinctive flavor that elevates any bowl of chili.
- Shredded Cheddar Cheese - You can also go for a mix of 4-cheese Mexican goodness—Monterey Jack, Mild Cheddar, Queso Quesadilla, and Asadero cheese. It's the ultimate cheesy combo to take your dish to the next level!
- Saltine Crackers - Toss in some crunchy and salty goodness for that extra oomph! It'll give your dish the perfect texture and a deliciously addictive flavor that'll keep you coming back for more!
- Sour Cream - Throw in some sour cream to give it a creamy texture and cool it down. It's like a flavor-packed chill pill that adds that extra yum factor!
- Bacon - Don't forget to add some sizzling bacon! It brings that smoky goodness and a satisfying crunch to your chili, making it even more epic!
Storing & Freezing
Storing: Allow the chili to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat individual portions in the microwave or on the stovetop, adding a splash of water or beef broth if needed.
Freezing: Once the chili has cooled, ladle it into freezer-safe containers or zip-top bags, leaving some room for expansion. Freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, transfer the frozen chili to the refrigerator overnight. Reheat on the stovetop over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until heated through.
To make it on the stovetop, brown the ground beef in a large pot, then add the remaining ingredients. Simmer the chili on low heat for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally until cooked through.
Yes, you can use dried beans in this recipe. Soak the dried beans overnight, then drain and rinse them before adding to the chili. Increase the cooking time accordingly, as dried beans will take longer to cook compared to canned beans.
Yes, prepare the chili as instructed, then cool and refrigerate it. Reheat on the stovetop or in a slow cooker when ready to serve, and enjoy!
More Crock Pot Chili Recipes
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Copycat Wendy's Chili Recipe
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 2 stalk celery (diced)
- 1 yellow onion (diced)
- 1 green bell pepper (diced)
- 4 (14.5 oz) cans of diced tomatoes (do not drain)
- 1 (14 oz) can tomato sauce
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 (4 oz) can diced green chilies
- 2 (1.25) packages chili seasoning
- 1 (14.5 oz) can of pinto beans (drained and rinsed)
- 2 (14.5 oz) cans of red kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- Add ground beef to a large skillet over medium-high heat and saute for 6-7 minutes until browned. Drain off excess fat and add to a 6-quart slow cooker.
- Put the remaining ingredients in the slow cooker and stir until well combined.
- Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
- Serve with a dollop of sour cream and cheese or any other of your favorite toppings, and enjoy!
*All nutrition information provided is automatically calculated and is an estimate and will vary based on ingredients, brands, and changes in cooking methods listed in the recipe. If you need exact numbers on your ingredients, I would recommend calculating them with your prefered nutrition calculator.