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Slow Cooker Wendy’s Chili (+Video)

If you like the fast food version, you’re going to love this Slow Cooker Wendy’s Chili! Turn on your slow cooker and let it do the work so you can come home to an amazing dinner that evening!

WENDY’S CHILI MADE IN THE CROCK POT

We love a good pot of chili in my house. We love it so much, I probably have about 5 different versions of it on my site! But most everyone I know loves a good bowl of Wendy’s chili so I knew I had to re-create it. This Slow Cooker Wendy’s Chili is really the perfect weeknight comfort food. It’s an easy recipe to make with little preparation time needed. Other than cooking the ground beef, you are literally just dumping everything into the crock pot and letting it go. The result? A delicious meal that you know everyone in your family will love! Honestly, this is one of those recipes that the longer it cooks, the better it gets. I let this cook for 10 hours, and it was AMAZING! Even better than the original!

A spoon holding a bite of homemade Wendy's Chili.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

Doesn’t Wendy’s use their hamburgers in their chili?

Yep, they sure do! Of course, most of us don’t have access to some cooked Wendy’s hamburgers to make this chili at home so we’re going with ground beef. I played with the seasonings a bit to get it just right so that you won’t mind it wasn’t made with crumbled up hamburger patties. Now, if you really want, you can cook up some hamburger patties and cut them up into bite sized pieces to get a more authentic feel but I’ll leave that up to you how much work you want to put into this.

Can I use different toppings?

Sure thing! I made this with the toppings you get at Wendy’s but you can absolutely add your favorite chili toppings instead. You can even serve it over some rice!

Can I use different meat?

Of course. Free to swap it out for ground pork, ground chicken or even ground turkey. Or you could make a mix of any of these ground meats together for a unique flavor combo. It obviously won’t be like Wendy’s, but it’s your chili, do what you like!

Can I make half of this?

If you don’t need as much chili, just cut the recipe in half. But keep in mind that this a great leftover recipe or recipe to use for make ahead freezer meals.

Can I make this spicy?

Sure, feel free to add your favorite hot sauce, fresh chili peppers, cayenne, or red chili flakes for a little pop of heat.

What can I serve this with?

If you want to keep it like Wendy’s, try serving it with a baked potato! I think a small side salad would be delicious too! Or how about serving it with some cornbread? I have two recipes that would work well with this: Skillet Cornbread and Sweet Cornbread.

How do I reheat this chili?

Pop it back in the slow cooker or in a pot on the stove until warmed through. You can also microwave individual servings as well.

Can I make this ahead of time?

Yup! This has to take time to cook in the slow cooker and the more it sits, the more flavor it gets. You could let this go overnight if needed and then reheat in the slow cooker or on the stove.

How to store leftovers?

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

A bowl of DIY Wendy's Chili in the Slow Cooker.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR THE FULL RECIPE)

  • ground beef – to save money, try buying ground beef in bulk. The 3 pound logs and 5 pound logs will often be more economical in the long wrong. You can divide it up and freeze whatever you aren’t using right away.
  • celery – if you aren’t a fan of celery leave it out but it is in Wendy’s chili.
  • frozen peppers and onions – you can use fresh, however, I would cook them up with the ground beef so they soften up a bit. Also, if you like smaller pieces, you can chop them up a bit first as well.
  • tomato sauce – if you need to watch your sodium intake, you can get low sodium options of this one.
  • stewed tomatoes – if you’ve never purchased these before, see my ingredient photo below so you can see what to look for. Again, you can get low sodium options of this one too.
  • dark red kidney beans – you can certainly substitute with another type of bean if you prefer. Pinto beans are delicious too.
  • chili beans in sauce – see my ingredient photo below if you aren’t familiar with these – they add a lot of flavor. I got the Walmart Great Value Brand but Bush’s beans also makes it.
  • diced tomatoes and green chilies – also called Rotel. If you want to make this a bit more spicy, you can get the hot version. You can also purchase the store brand version as well.
  • low-sodium beef broth – because there is salt in some of the other ingredients, I suggest using a low sodium beef broth.
  • packet chili seasoning – as I stated above with the tomato sauce, you can get a low sodium option for this one as well.
  • granulated sugar – this does not make it sweet it all and the amount per serving is minuscule. It just cuts a bit of the acidity from the tomatoes.
  • white vinegar – I know it sounds really weird to add vinegar but adding an additional acid to your chili really makes the flavors more flavor. This is optional but if you have the vinegar, give it a try!
  • garlic powder and onion powder – yep, I add just a bit more seasoning than the chili seasoning. It’s up to you whether you want to add the additional seasoning but I think it just bumps up the flavor even more.
Ground beef, celery, frozen peppers and onions, tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, red kidney beans, chili beans, diced tomatoes, beef broth, chili seasoning, sugar, white vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and kosher salt.

HOW TO MAKE SLOW COOKER WENDY’S CHILI

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the ground beef. Break it up into crumbles and cook, stirring occasionally, until there is no pink left. Drain off any excess grease and place it into the bottom of a 6 to 8-quart slow cooker.

A slow cooker insert filled with ground beef.

Add the celery, peppers and onions, tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes (crush these by hand first if you like smaller pieces of tomato), kidney beans, chili beans, diced tomatoes with green chilies, beef broth, chili seasoning, sugar, vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, and salt. Stir well to combine.

Slow cooker with ground beef, celery, peppers and onions, tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, kidney beans, chili beans, diced tomatoes with green chilies, beef broth, chili seasoning, sugar, vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, and salt.

Place the top on and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours or high 4-5 hours. Stir every so often if you are able to.

A ladle holding some Wendy's Chili above the Slow Cooker.

Serve with your favorite toppings, such as cheese, sour cream, and saltine crackers.

A bowl of Slow Cooker Wendy's Chili.

CRAVING MORE RECIPES?

Looking down on a bowl of Wendy's Chili made in the Slow Cooker.

Slow Cooker Wendy’s Chili (+Video)

If you like the fast food version, you're going to love this Slow Cooker Wendy's Chili! Turn on your slow cooker and let it do the work so you can come home to an amazing dinner that evening!
5 from 12 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours 10 minutes
Total Time: 8 hours 25 minutes
Servings: 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 celery stalks, small diced
  • 2 cups frozen peppers and onions
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes
  • 16 ounce can dark red kidney beans, undrained
  • 15 ounce can chili beans in sauce, undrained
  • 10 ounce can diced tomatoes and green chilies, undrained
  • 1 cup low-sodium beef broth
  • 1.25 ounce packet chili seasoning
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)

Instructions

  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the ground beef. Break it up into crumbles and cook, stirring occasionally, until there is no pink left. Drain off any excess grease and place it into the bottom of a 6 to 8-quart slow cooker.
    A slow cooker insert filled with ground beef.
  • Add the celery, peppers and onions, tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes (crush these by hand first if you like smaller pieces of tomato), kidney beans, chili beans, diced tomatoes with green chilies, beef broth, chili seasoning, sugar, vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, and salt. Stir well to combine.
    Slow cooker with ground beef, celery, peppers and onions, tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, kidney beans, chili beans, diced tomatoes with green chilies, beef broth, chili seasoning, sugar, vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, and salt.
  • Place the top on and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours or high 4-5 hours. Stir every so often if you are able to. Serve with your favorite toppings, such as cheese, sour cream, and saltine crackers.
    A ladle holding some Wendy's Chili above the Slow Cooker.

Video

Notes

  • Please refer to my FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) and ingredient list above for other substitutions or for the answers to the most common questions.
  • Honestly, this is one of those recipes that the longer it cooks, the better it gets. I let this cook for 10 hours, and it was AMAZING! So even though I put 6-8 hours in the recipe card, you can go longer if you need to (especially if you are putting this on before going to work). 
  • I served this with the options you can get at Wendy’s but add your favorite chili toppings.
  • This recipe can be cut in half if you don’t need as much; however, it does freeze really well.
  • Reheat back in the slow cooker or in a pot on the stove or in the microwave.
  • Keeps in the fridge for up to 3 days and freezer for up to 3 months.
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American

Nutrition

Calories: 338kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 17g | Sodium: 952mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 9g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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6 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I have made many different chilis using different recipes. I had a favorite,and I say had,until I found the slow cooker,Wendy’s chili recipe,on the country cook. This is now my favorite chili. Anytime I make chili,this is the recipe,I will be using. My wife even told me,it was better than Wendy’s. A ringing endorsement!

  2. 5 stars
    Recipe sounds really good and plan to try it. If I prefer to cook on the stovetop, how long should I let everything simmer? Enjoy your blog.