Wendy’s vs. Tim Horton’s Chili

Posted by: Greta on: August 4th, 2006  »  18 comments

Chili is one of my favourite foods, even in the summertime. In fact, I just made a big batch the other day in my crockpot and it was deee-lish! (Look for my new crockpot chili recipe in the November issue of Reader’s Digest.) It’s low in fat, full of fibre, and a big serving is roughly 300 calories…pretty low for a meal that’s filling and satisfying and not very “diet-like.”

But what about fast-food chili? I have to admit, I’ve always been a fan of Wendy’s chili (and their taco salad, til they changed it!) and I’ve never cared much for Tim Horton’s chili. Turns out that’s a GOOD thing! Here’s the run-down on Wendy’s vs Tim Horton’s chili when it comes to the nutritional numbers:

Wendy’s Chili (Large, 12 oz): 330 calories, 9 g fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 0.5 g trans fats, 8 g fibre (good!), 1170 mg sodium (yikes!)

Tim Horton’s Chili (one size, 10 oz): 300 calories, 19 g fat (zoinks!), 7 g saturated fat (double Wendy’s!), 1 g trans fats, 4 g fibre (should be higher), and 1320 mg sodium (zowie!)

Judging by the nutritional numbers, I’d guess that Wendy’s chili contains more beans and less meat that Tim Horton’s chili, and you can bet the meat they’re using over at Tim Horton’s isn’t lean ground beef. That’s the only explanation I can come up with for the unbelievable 19 g of fat per bowl. My homemade chili with extra-lean ground beef and Italian sausage only has 9 g fat per 12 oz serving. And that’s using sausage! Go figure!

Obviously, the sodium levels in both chilis are through the roof, so if fast-food chili’s on your lunch menu, just make sure the rest of your meals that day are low-sodium choices. Better yet, make a big batch of homemade chili on the weekend (Have you tried The Ladle in Red from our ES&BM cookbook?) and freeze it in individual containers to take to work.

Have a great long weekend and we’ll see you next Tuesday!

Comments (18)

  1. Roxanne | August 8, 2006 at 4:47 pm

    Thanks for the heads up, I was sure that TH Chili was only 9 grams of fat, but I just double checked and you’re right, it’s 19 stinking grams! Good thing that The Ladle in Red is a family favorite (or Red Ladle Chili, as it ends up being called in my house). I always make a double batch, and have started to hide a few of my single servings deep in the freezer so that my teenager doesn’t steel them all for his lunches! But tonight it’s a double batch of The Big Chili from Crazy Plates, bubbling as I type, we haven’t had that one for quite a while.

  2. Margo | August 10, 2006 at 12:49 pm

    Wow, thank you Greta for that eye-opening expose on the chili’s!! I’ve found it hard to actually eat lunch at Tim Horton’s because I don’t like most of their soups, they’re so thick and gluey. So, I opted for chili, because like you, chili is one of my all-time faves. Knowing what I now know about it, though, I’ll be trying Wendy’s instead. Good thing in our town Wendy’s and TH’s is attatched. And definitely, homemade chili is THE best, but let’s face it, sometimes you just gotta grab a bite to eat while out-and-about!

  3. Margo | August 14, 2006 at 5:11 pm

    I have to add: I tried the Wendy’s chili for the first time today, and I like it better than Tim Horton’s. You can tell by the taste that it is healthier too, so thanks again for pointing me in that direction!

  4. Jennifer | December 10, 2006 at 11:10 pm

    Please give us an alternative drink to hot smoothies, and ice capps. The one’s the big Tim makes have dryed palm oil in there mixtures while the ice caps are basicly corn syrup, strong coffee, and preservatives.

    I see many parents feeding this junk to their kids … if they only knew how unhealthy this powdered drink is for the kids.

  5. Dina Calhoun | November 12, 2008 at 10:56 pm


  6. Jennifer | January 13, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    For your ‘Full of Beans Chili’, what is an alternative for italian sausage? I can eat meat but I haven’t seen any muslims making italian sauges with halal meat :)
    Don’t know how to make beef broth… and they don’t sell it either in halal stores. Can I use beef bouillons?

  7. Jocelyn | March 20, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Jennifer, I have totally stopped using beef broth in my recipes because the ingredient lists include a lot of freaky unpronounceables. I always just use water in place of broth (even in this recipe) and then just flavour with salt. Chili powder has salt in it too though, as do canned salsa and tomatoes (sometimes), so just go by taste. The chili is just as delicious as ever without it. Sorry I can’t help with the halal!

  8. Marco | May 12, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    I would also like to add that TH chilli is too overpriced… about 3.99 for a small while wendys is less than 2 bucks big difference in price and fat!! lol

  9. Karen | July 11, 2009 at 11:41 am

    At least TH Chili feels like you’re getting a meal though. Wendy’s has always seemed watered down and liquidy while TH’s is thick and hearty. Maybe that’s why Wendy’s is better for you considering water has zero fat..

  10. waleed | September 28, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    I work at wendy’s, chili tastes pretty good, but we use old patties for the meat instead of fresh ground beef.
    like, after a patty has gone to old for consumption in a burger, we store it for chili.

  11. Adam Giard | November 15, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    I was, of course, not surprised at how much healthier Wendy’s chili was. I went to Tim Horton’s. Their chili was good, but not a scrumptious as Wendy’s was

  12. eww | February 22, 2010 at 11:47 am

    waleed just said they use old patties for their meat that is gross!! eww im not eating the wendys chilli than LOOL!!

  13. Mary | June 19, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    While I respect and understand pointing out fat grams, I ended up very fat by paying attention to fat grams. Paying attention to calories had me lose over 100 pounds. I will stick to Tim Hortons because they are 30 calories less. :-)

    • Aaron | February 19, 2013 at 5:13 pm

      Calories are less when comparing to a smalller serving (10oz vs 12oz). When comparing actual calories per ounce Wendy’s actually has less…

  14. Dorenda | July 20, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    I knew Timmies Chilli was loaded with salt?? But not aware Wendy’s was up there too!! I admit I do like Wendy’s; but homemade is always better.

  15. Yes | July 21, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    Wendy’s uses old leftover beef patties for their chili. They simply crush them up, freeze them, and dump them in the slow cooker a few days later.

  16. om wu | December 20, 2013 at 2:24 am

    Dave thomas and tim horton use too swap chili recipes back in the daywhen i went to high school with them….actually the wendys chili is tims old recipe and daves is hortons. They never knew i watched them that day in gym glass swapping recipes. Dave was a good rope climber him and tim use to race each other up and down the ropes every friday. Goodtimes

  17. Bryan | June 5, 2014 at 6:44 am

    A number of years ago Tim Horton’s Chili was fabulous. It was slowly simmered in and served from a ceramic crock pot. Ingredients were fresh and very tasty. Then, when they were bought out by the USA based Wendy’s corporation, things changed radically. No longer slow simmered in authentic crock pots, but now simply frozen tasteless packages shipped to restaurants in frozen shipments. Tim Horton’s chili tastes like a bland tasteless thawed out tomato paste. I used to have their chili several times a week, but haven’t ordered it since 1995 (close to 20 years!) What a shame!

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