Wendy’s Original Chili Recipe

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I have a bone to pick with Mother Nature.  She completely threw off my plans for the New Year.


And, yes, I’m still talking about the New Year. Even though talking about the New Year as we near the end of January is so passé …


but I digress.


I have a bone to pick with Mother Nature.  She threw a giant, frozen wrench in my New Year’s resolution plans.   Like the plan to get organized.  And the plan to get my sh*t together.  And how I was going to, once and for all, finally drop those extra quit-smoking pounds that have been accumulating since, well …


since I quit smoking 3 years ago.




Because, somehow, all these Polar Vortex school closing days have thrown me off.   Even though they really shouldn’t …


My kids are self-sufficient, after all.  They don’t need my attention for entertainment.  They aren’t tugging at my sleeve begging me to play cars or Barbies or Legos.  Shoot, they don’t even need me to hydrate them.  Or feed them.  Or dress them.


My number one job is get them out of bed before noon.

Winking smile

And yet …


yet …


their presence at home when they should be at school is throwing off my schedule.  Altering my plans.


And this whole subzero cold thing is throwing off those diet plans too.  Instead of eating salads and lean proteins, I’m indulging in warm and cozy comfort food like chili …



Granted, this original Wendy’s chili recipe is low in fat, low in sodium, and high in fiber.  Unfortunately, I undo the the good when I smother it with cheese and sour cream.


Oh, and did I mention that this is the original Wendy’s chili recipe?  As in the one Wendy’s uses?  I’m serious.  My husband worked for the PR agency that represented Wendy’s when they first introduced Dave’s Rich and Meaty Chili on the menu.  As part of the marketing campaign, they sent a press release with the recipe to food editors.  Here’s page 2 from that release (digging that old school courier font!) that my husband has diligently been following for 20 years when he makes chili for us …


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Wendy’s Original Chili Recipe

Dave’s Rich and Meaty Chili

(Yields 16 8-oz. Servings)


2 lbs. fresh ground beef

1 qt. tomato juice

1-29 oz. can tomato puree

1-15 oz. small can red beans, drained

1 medium onion (1 1/2 cps), chopped

1/2 cup celery, diced

1/4 cup chili powder

2 tsp. cumin

1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. each: black pepper, oregano, sugar

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper


1. In frying pan, brown ground beef; drain.

2. Add remaining ingredients and drained ground beef into 6 qt. pot.

3. Cover pot; let simmer for 1 – 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes.

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The weather experts are forecasting double-digit temps on Wednesday.  I’m hoping the promised ‘balmy’ weather will inspire me to double up on my New Year resolutions …


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  1. deb says

    Thanks for sharing this – I’m going to have to make it! Also…how the heck did you manage to quit smoking?! I’m still not there, even though my husband managed it about 3 years ago… Seriously…

    • says

      Deb – I have not idea. Really. I was full on cold turkey. It was driven by economics and vanity. I wish I could say health, but that was not the driving force. I just woke up one morning and said I’m going to quit smoking next week. I picked a Monday (turns out it was February 14). And when I made that decision in my head … and knew that I only had a few more days to smoke … it didn’t freak me out. It just felt right. And it stuck …

  2. ColleenB. ~ Texas says

    I'[m going have to be making some chili if this weather stays cold here.
    Thanks for sharing the recipe.
    Congratulations on your accomplishment on quit smoking.

  3. says

    Almost to zero here this morn. Not sure if I’m excited or still depressed. Either way I’m pinning Dave’s chili.
    (Congrats about the 3 yr. thing).

  4. kelly says

    It is freaking freezing here in Southern Minnesnowta…
    Thanks for the Chili recipe, we used to have a Wendy’s here, but they only lasted around two years, McD’s ran them out of business (bummer).
    It has been 14 years for me, people told me I couldn’t quit so I showed them!!! And I gained around 25 lbs, but hey I finally got boobs!!!

  5. says

    I have a love hate with these snow days. Teens who really dont need me do throw me off when they’re home. Okay, we did go to the mall twice. Mostly it’s going cut into our pool days in June. Thanks for sharing this Wendy’s recipe which is just about the best!

  6. says

    That is NOT Wendy’s Chili recipe. Tomato juice is not an ingredient. Also it contains 3 green chili peppers. I have had the recipe for several years and I acquired it from a website that duplicates recipes from chain restaurants in a lab. Once perfected they put it on their website.

    • says

      Sorry – but you are wrong. My husband worked for the public relations firm that handled the Wendy’s business. It’s from a very old press release that we’ve had for 18+ years from when Wendy’s first announced that they were putting chili on the menu. They shared the recipe with food editors. This recipe comes directly from the source: Wendy’s test kitchen. Not a recipe duplication website.


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