Wendy’s Chili – What’s In It and How To Store It

Wendy’s is arguably one of the most famous fast-food restaurants in the world. However, besides its world-famous burgers, the company also offers one staple that is as old as the company itself, and that is …

Wendy’s is arguably one of the most famous fast-food restaurants in the world. However, besides its world-famous burgers, the company also offers one staple that is as old as the company itself, and that is Wendy’s chili. Many people are still curious about what makes this particular dish special.

Wendy’s chili is a low-calorie stew that contains beef, beans, tomatoes, and chili peppers. Wendy’s chili can be stored in the refrigerator for around three days, and it can usually be reheated, too.

In this article, you will learn more about Wendy’s chili, how to store it, what it does and doesn’t contain, and whether it is freshly made or frozen. Read on to fully understand and appreciate the dish the next time you try it.

a bowl of delicious wendy's chili

What’s in Wendy’s Chili?

Chili was one of Wendy’s original menu items when the fast-food giant opened its first store in 1969. Since then, it has become one of the crowd favorites, and many people have tried to replicate the dish at home. If you’re looking into trying to make one yourself, here are the basic chili ingredients.

Below is the list of ingredients used in Wendy’s Chili (Source: Wendy’s):

  • Chili base
  • Water
  • Ground beef
  • Vegetables 
  • Beans (pinto beans, red kidney beans)
  • Soy lecithin

Although it looks pretty straightforward, and Wendy’s does not shy away from sharing the chili recipe on their website, not everybody can copy the amazing flavor. Every ingredient contributes to the overall appeal of the chili dish. 

However, the chili base gives Wendy’s chili its distinct flavor. 

This is the part that many people may have difficulty copying. At a glance, it contains chili sauce, onions, celery, and green bell peppers. The main challenge lies in figuring out the proportion of the ingredients and the time it takes to cook the stew.

Is Wendy’s Chili Made With Expired Burgers or Old Meat?

You might have seen scary, click-bait type headlines saying that Wendy’s uses old burgers or “expired meat” in their chili. So, is this true?

Wendy’s uses burgers in its chili, but they are not old or expired (source: Health Digest). When a burger has gone past the “hold” time to serve it fresh in a bun, the burger is used to make chili instead. The burger meat is still perfectly safe to eat when it’s repurposed for the chili.

In fact, this is a good frugal tip if you have some burgers at home. When a burger has been slightly overdone and lost its juiciness – that’s the type that you can crumble up and use as chili meat.

How Long Does Wendy’s Chili Last in the Fridge?

Some people just can’t get enough of Wendy’s chili and want to keep a stash in their refrigerator that they can consume anytime they want. The good thing is that it is possible, but you might as well know how much you can store and for how long.

Wendy’s chili can last for around three days in the fridge. If stored in its original packaging, you can keep the chili for less than three days. On the other hand, moving the stew into an airtight container can help you keep the dish for up to four days.

Although most foods will last longer in the freezer, and it is possible to keep your Wendy’s chili frozen, it may be best not to do so. Besides, you can pick some up from your local Wendy’s store or have some fresh ones delivered.

However, if you want to order in bulk and keep chili to freezer, it is best to transfer them into airtight containers. Doing so can help you keep the stew for up to six months.

In addition, organizing the chili in small serving size containers can help you arrange them efficiently and take out only the amount you can eat. That way, you won’t need to needlessly thaw everything and put leftover chili back into the freezer.

wendy's chili with beef, beans and vegetables in a bowl

Is Wendy’s Chili Good Reheated?

Wendy’s chili is best eaten when freshly served at the store. However, when you order the dish for delivery or have some leftovers, you may need to reheat it to enjoy its goodness.

Wendy’s chili is good reheated. Whether you want to reheat a freshly delivered chili or the one you stored in your fridge overnight, the stew still tastes good. You can reheat the chili in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stove.

One interesting fact about Wendy’s chili is that some stores in the US offer family-size servings. Therefore, you can order some and serve it at a family gathering or a movie night with your friends to cut down on preparation and cooking time. (Source: The Square Deal).

If you plan to reheat your frozen chili, let it thaw for 30 minutes to an hour before putting it into the microwave or the saucepan.

Reheating in the Microwave

If you choose to use the microwave, be sure to move the stew into a microwave-safe bowl or container and place a wooden spoon into the bowl. The spoon is necessary to prevent the liquid and some ingredients from popping inside your machine.

You can reheat the stew in one-minute intervals, stirring it at every break until it gets warm enough for you. It will help ensure the even spread of heat and prevent hot vapors from being trapped and popping while the microwave is running. (Source: BBC Science Focus)

Reheating in a Saucepan on the Stove

Another way to reheat Wendy’s chili is by moving it into a saucepan on the stove with low to medium heat. Stir the liquid continuously until it gets heated through. The continuous stirring can help prevent burning the stew at the bottom of the pan.

Does Wendy’s Have Chili Without Beans? 

Many people have dietary restrictions that prevent them from eating specific kinds of food like beans. Some fast-food restaurants may accommodate customers’ health-related requests, such as less salt on fried potatoes or no cheese on burgers. However, that’s not the case with Wendy’s chili.

Wendy’s doesn’t have chili without beans. While it may seem like a small part of the recipe, the beans contribute to the overall flavor and identity of Wendy’s chili. In addition, the stew takes a long time to cook, making it impossible to make a bean-free serving upon request.

Wendy’s acknowledged several years ago that chili can be without beans but clearly stated that they don’t offer such an option (Source: Wendy’s Official Twitter Account).

Does Wendy’s Chili Have Pork in It? 

Wendy’s chili doesn’t have pork or any other kind of meat besides beef in it. Only ground beef constitutes the meat component of the product. It is important to note that although chili doesn’t have pork, Wendy’s in the US or the UK does not use Halal meat.

This information is vital for people with dietary restrictions due to religious or health concerns.

wendy's chili with fresh ground beef

Is Wendy’s Chili Fresh Made or Frozen?

Wendy’s chili is fresh made, not frozen. One of the company’s famous catchphrases says “fresh, never frozen beef”, which solidly supports the goal of Wendy’s founder, Dave Thomas, who opened the company with the commitment to serve fresh food. 

The company firmly sticks to its principle of serving fresh, affordable food to its customers, which means that they cook their dishes in-store. (Source: Wendy’s)

The beef may be refrigerated while waiting to be turned into patties, but it is never frozen. They use the same ground beef used for the hamburger patties, ensuring that no good, fresh ground beef goes to waste.

I hope this helps you out the next time you’ve wondered what’s true and what isn’t when it comes to Wendy’s chili!