Slow Cooker Copycat Wendy’s Chili is an easy way to prepare your favorite fast food chili right at home. You won’t believe how close this chili is to the real deal! Fall time is the perfect time for a big old crock of this mild kid-friendly, adult pleasing chili!
I don’t frequent many fast food restaurants these days, but I’m ashamed to admit, I fell prey to their charms many times when my kids were little. Since there were times we ate fast food way more often than I was comfortable with, I always searched the menus for the best “healthy” choices I could find. Wendy’s Chili was right there on the top of my list of favorite fast food choices. It was hearty and full of fiber and, most importantly, it tasted great! It has probably been about 5 years or longer since I’ve actually had anything from Wendy’s so when I stumbled across a recipe for a copycat version, I knew instantly that I just had to try it. I made a few adjustments and decided to cook it up in the slow cooker. To me, the long slow cooking process is what makes this Wendy’s chili one of the best crock pot recipes around!
Adapting this recipe to a slow cooker recipe turned out to be pure genius! Chili recipes beg for low and slow cooking and nothing does a better job at this than your trusty slow cooker. (As you can see, mine has seen some miles over the years!)
Talk about a blast from my past! This chili turned out mild and tasted so close to Wendy’s version, I could hardly believe it! The trick to getting it right involves browning the ground beef very well. I’m talking until it’s crispy brown and caramelized, not just “not pink”. I think that the browned ground beef is what gives this chili the BEST flavor!
This recipe makes a big slow cooker crock full of delicious chili that everyone will love! Keep it mild with a garnish of white cheddar cheese, or spice it up a bit with a garnish of pickled jalapeno peppers. However you serve it, you will have a crowd-pleasing dish on your hands for dinner or game day!
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- 1 TBS olive oil
- 2 pounds ground beef (85% Lean)
- 2 - 3 stalks celery, small diced
- 1 large sweet onion, small diced
- 1/2 cup green bell pepper, small diced
- 3 - 14 ounce cans Stewed Tomatoes
- 1 - 10 ounce can condensed Tomato Soup
- 1 cup water
- 1 - 14 ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 to 2 - 1.25 ounce packages of MILD chili seasonings
- 1 - 14 ounce can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 - 14 ounce can of pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- salt and pepper, to taste
- shredded white cheddar cheese, for garnish, if desired
- In large non-stick skillet, heat oil over med-high heat until it starts to shimmer. Add in the ground beef and season with a little salt and pepper, then press down into pan to form one big patty. Cook the beef until it begins to caramelize on the bottom. Break up the ground beef in the pan and continue cooking until it is cooked through. Put cooked beef into crock of at least a 6 quart slow cooker.
- On top of the cooked beef, add celery, onion, green pepper, stewed tomatoes, tomato soup, water, and tomato sauce. Stir to combine, breaking up the stewed tomatoes with the spoon as you stir.
- Sprinkle in the MILD chili seasonings and stir.
- Add the beans, and stir.
- Put cover on slow cooker and cook on LOW for 6 - 8 hours or on HIGH for 4 - 6 hours without removing lid. This chili will be thin at first and will thicken upon standing once the heat is turned off. If you like a thicker chili, remove lid during the last hour of cooking, put slow cooker on HIGH and stir occasionally to allow some of the liquid to evaporate.
- Taste for salt and pepper, and add as you like. Garnish as you like.