This is my family’s favorite chili because it is simply fantastic! Up until I tried out this recipe, when my husband and kids wanted Wendy’s chili I would go through the drive through and pick up several orders. Now I don’t have to make that extra stop and there is the added bonus that the house smells fantastic after the chili has been cooking to perfection in the slow cooker. It is also so easy to put together that there is no added time or hassle making it from scratch…at home!I love making this in the slow cooker because you do not need to remember to stir it occasionally (which I forget to do). You just brown the meat, place the ingredients in the slow cooker, and set the heat level – unbelievably easy!When I was young, I developed a love for baked potatoes topped with chili thanks to Wendy’s. I still love the combination and it makes for an easy meal to prepare, pack, and reheat. If you love Wendy’s chili, or just want an excellent chili recipe, this one will not disappoint!


2 lbs. ground beef – 90/10 or 93/7 (I prefer the leaner varieties.)
1 yellow onion – diced
2 stalks celery – chopped
1 green bell pepper – chopped
29 oz. canned tomato sauce
29 oz. canned kidney beans – not drained
29 oz. canned pinto beans – not drained
28 oz. canned tomatoes – chopped and not drained
1 diced jalapeño – de-seeded and de-veined (or a small can of green chilies for milder flavor)
1 Tbsp. cumin powder
¼ cup chili powder
1 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. salt
1 cup beef broth or tomato juice
1 Tbsp. butter (Optional but makes a big difference so add it if you can!)


Place a large skillet on the stove and turn the heat to medium.
Add the ground beef, then cook until crumbly and brown. Remove from heat.
Very carefully, drain the grease from the pan from browning the meat.
Transfer the browned ground beef into a 6-quart large slow cooker.
Add the rest of the ingredients (Except for the butter) into the slow cooker to the browned ground beef. Stir until well combined.
Place the cover on the slow cooker and cook for about 8 to 10 hours on the low setting or 4 to 6 hours on the high setting.
Stir in the butter and the chili is ready to serve.
Ladle into servings bowls and garnish with your preferred toppings.
Toppings: Adding a variety of garnishes on top of the chili is not only fun, it allows for each person to “doctor” their bowl to just how they like. Our favorites are: Fritos, shredded cheese, sour cream, black olives, extra jalapeño, diced red onion… or, anything else your family loves.
Ground Beef Alternatives: I have made this recipe with ground turkey and ground chicken and bother turned out delicious!
Vegetarian: Substitute vegetarian crumbles for the ground beef and it is still delicious!
Beans: Sometimes I use pinto beans with jalapeños instead of plain pinto beans. Also, if you don’t already have the specific beans called for in the recipe, but have other types of beans, you can substitute the whatever you have on hand. I have used Great Northern beans and they were great.
Storing: Cool any leftover chili and place in an airtight container. Refrigerate up to 5 days.
Freezing: Cool a whole batch, or any leftover chili, and place in an airtight container. Freeze for up to 3 months.

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