You know how it goes. You're tired, you have a million things to do, but you need to find something for dinner. You wind up at Wendy's, ordering some of their famous chili. It's an experience many moms have gone through time and time again. But what about when you're craving Wendy's chili with time on your hands? That's when this recipe comes into play. This imitation Wendy's chili recipe is perfect for your cravings!
Copycat Wendy's Chili Recipe
When we think of fine cuisine, Wendy’s fast food might not be the first restaurant to come to mind. But when it comes to their chili, many people think they may have perfected the recipe.
Wendy’s idea to serve chili sets it apart from other fast food chains. While other restaurants were offering fries, Wendy’s chili made for an unusual option that made the chain a family favorite.
Those that eat at Wendy’s may be surprised to find out how healthy Wendy’s chili is. Each bowl contains 6 g of fiber, 17g of protein, and only 6g of fat. The tomatoes it contains are rich in vitamin C and there are other vegetables in the chili like onion, celery, and green pepper spices that can also provide optimal health benefits. The beans in the chili are a great source of protein and fiber.
While there are some preservatives in Wendy’s chili, these are kept to a minimum.
Another surprising fact concerning Wendy’s chili is that the meat that is used in it is repurposed. Wendy’s always has a surplus of burgers that sit on the grill too long to serve to customers. Wendy’s places this meat in a refrigerator and then boils and chops it to put it into the chili.
This may sound odd to some, but it's actually a pretty smart way to avoid wasting food and money!
What we have here is a favorite recipe for Wendy’s chili that clones the dish served at the chain. Dave Thomas, Wendy’s founder, has been serving this chili since 1969, the year the first Wendy’s opened its doors. Over the years the recipe has changed a bit, but this version is an amazing copy of the of the Wendy’s chili that was served in the early 90s.
Try topping this recipe with some chopped onion and cheddar cheese, as you can request in the restaurant, for a delicious meal your family and guests are sure to love.
Wendy's Chili Recipe
2 pounds ground beef
One 29 ounce can tomato sauce
One 29 ounce can kidney beans, with liquid
One 29 ounce can pinto beans, with liquid
1 cup diced onion (1 medium onion)
½ cup diced green chili (2 chilies)
¼ cup diced celery (1 stalk)
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 teaspoons cumin powder
3 Tablespoons chili powder
1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups water
1. Brown the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat; drain off the fat.
2. Using a fork, crumble the cooked beef into pea-size pieces.
3. In a large pot, combine the beef plus all the remaining ingredients, and bring to a simmer over low heat.
4. Cook, stirring every 15 minutes, for 2 to 3 hours.
5. For spicier chili, add ½ teaspoon more black pepper. For much spicier chili, add 1 teaspoon black pepper and a tablespoon cayenne pepper. For super hot spicy, add 5 or 6 sliced jalapeño peppers to the pot.
How to Store Leftover Wendy's Chili
Whether you have it from the restaurant or from our great imitation recipe, leftover Wendy's chili can make for a great meal on a busy night. Making sure you store your leftovers properly is key. You don't want to be left with spoiled food!
When you're ready to store your leftovers, place them in a sealable, airtight container. We recommend a Rubbermaid-type container, as we've found these are the best for storing leftovers safely. They do a great job of preserving your leftovers' quality, too.
Once you've put your chili in one of these containers, seal it up tight. It's very important that the container is fully sealed, so make sure to press down hard around all of the edges. Then, transfer your leftover chili straight to the fridge or freezer.
Refrigerated chili will last for 3-4 days, including chili that has been thawed from the freezer. Frozen chili will last for four to six months before taking a significant dip in quality. Make sure you check your leftover chili for signs of spoilage before reheating and consuming!