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What is the spicy sauce at Wendy’s called?

Wendy’s is an American fast food restaurant chain that is known for its square hamburgers and variety of sauces and condiments that customers can add to their meals. One of the signature sauces offered at Wendy’s is a spicy, southwestern-inspired sauce that packs a flavorful punch.

The History of Wendy’s Spicy Sauce

Wendy’s was founded in 1969 in Columbus, Ohio by Dave Thomas. The restaurant started out as a single location but quickly expanded in the 1970s. By the end of that decade, Wendy’s had over 1,000 restaurant locations across the United States.

In 1983, Wendy’s introduced its spicy chicken sandwich to the menu. The sandwich came with a distinctive southwestern-style sauce that set it apart from other fast food offerings. This sauce would eventually become known as Wendy’s Spicy Chili Sauce or Spicy S’Awesome Sauce.

The sauce was an immediate hit with customers looking to add more excitement to their burgers and sandwiches. Its popularity continued to grow over the years as Wendy’s expanded its menu items that could be customized with the zesty condiment.

The Name and Ingredients of Wendy’s Spicy Sauce

Wendy’s Spicy Chili Sauce goes by a few different names at various restaurant locations. Some of the common names include:

  • Spicy Chili Sauce
  • Spicy S’Awesome Sauce
  • Southwest Spicy Sauce
  • Spicy Southwest Sauce

Regardless of the name, the sauce has the same signature spice blend and flavor. The ingredients in Wendy’s Spicy Chili Sauce are:

Tomato paste
Chili pepper
Dehydrated onions
Soybean oil
Distilled vinegar
Garlic powder
Natural flavors

The combination of spices, chili pepper, garlic, and vinegar gives the sauce its distinctly hot and tangy flavor. The tomato paste and soybean oil provide thickness and richness to balance out the heat.

Using Wendy’s Spicy Sauce

Wendy’s Spicy Chili Sauce comes in small plastic packets that customers can grab at the condiment station. The sauce pairs well with a variety of menu items beyond just the spicy chicken sandwich that made it famous, including:

  • Burgers – add sauce for extra zing
  • Fries – dip for a touch of spice
  • Nuggets – dip to turn up the heat
  • Homestyle sandwiches – complements the chicken flavors

The sauce can also be used at home to liven up homemade burgers, fries, sandwiches, and more. Some fans even enjoy it as a dipping sauce for items like cheese sticks, eggs rolls, or fried pickles.

A little of the Spicy Chili Sauce goes a long way thanks to its concentrated flavor. Start with just a dab or drizzle and add more to taste if you want an extra kick.

Copycat Wendy’s Spicy Chili Sauce Recipe

Making a flavorful copycat version of Wendy’s sauce at home is easy with just a few pantry ingredients:

Copycat Wendy’s Spicy Chili Sauce Amount
Ketchup 1/2 cup
Water 3 tablespoons
Apple cider vinegar 1 tablespoon
Brown sugar 1 tablespoon
Chili powder 2 teaspoons
Garlic powder 1/2 teaspoon
Onion powder 1/2 teaspoon
Ground cumin 1/4 teaspoon
Cayenne pepper Dash

In a small saucepan, combine the ketchup, water, vinegar, brown sugar, and spices. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool before serving. Store leftover homemade sauce in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Where to Buy Wendy’s Spicy Sauce

While the best place to enjoy Wendy’s signature Spicy Chili Sauce is fresh at the restaurant, some grocery stores do carry bottled versions for at-home enjoyment. Check the condiment aisle at stores like Walmart, Kroger, and Meijer to find 12 oz bottles.

The sauce is sometimes available directly from Wendy’s website or app for delivery if you want to stock up. Wendy’s also occasionally offers the Spicy Chili Sauce in limited batch releases, like a set of 3 bottles packaged as a gift.

Another option is to purchase Wendy’s sauce online from retailers like Amazon,, or Saucey. Price and availability may vary.

Nutrition Information

Like most condiments, Wendy’s Spicy Chili Sauce is low in calories but high in sodium. The nutrition facts for a typical 1 oz packet are:

Wendy’s Spicy Chili Sauce (1 oz) Amount
Calories 15
Total Fat 0g
Sodium 250mg (11% DV)
Total Carbs 4g (1% DV)
Protein 0g

The sodium content is 11% of the recommended daily value per packet. So you may want to limit your sauce usage if you are monitoring sodium intake.

Spice Level

On a scale of 1 to 10, Wendy’s Spicy Chili Sauce ranks around a 4 or 5 in terms of spice and heat level. It provides a solid kick thanks to the blend of chili peppers and spices, but is milder than some extra fiery hot sauces.

The sauce has a slow, creeping heat. You get an initial taste of smoky, tangy flavors when it first hits the tongue. Then the warming tingle steadily builds. The level of heat is strong enough to be noticed, but not so overpowering as to scare off spice-sensitive palates.

Of course, individual perceptions of spiciness can vary quite a bit. If you have a lower tolerance, a dab of Wendy’s sauce could feel closer to a 6 or 7 on the heat scale. Best to start small if you are unsure, especially with the concentrated flavors of the packet version.

Alternative Spicy Fast Food Sauces

While Wendy’s has staked a claim on zesty, Southwestern-style sauces, they aren’t the only fast food joint with spicy condiment options. Here are a few other popular picks:

Restaurant Spicy Sauce
Chick-fil-A Zesty Buffalo Sauce
McDonald’s Hot Mustard Sauce
Burger King Fiery Sauce
Taco Bell Fire Sauce
Popeyes Bayou Buffalo Sauce

These sauces all offer their own unique take on spicy flavors. But Wendy’s signature Southwestern-inspired chili sauce still stands out from the fast food crowd.


Wendy’s Spicy Chili Sauce, also known as Spicy S’Awesome Sauce, provides a signature blend of heat, tanginess, and zip. The sauce features a mix of chili peppers, garlic, vinegar, and Mexican-style spices. A few packets can spice up any Wendy’s meal from burgers to nuggets.

While the sauce packs a pleasant 4-5 punch on the heat scale, the flavors build slowly instead of overwhelming right away. Fans can purchase ready-to-use packets at the restaurant, bottled from some grocery stores, or even whip up easy homemade copycat recipes. When you crave a spicy kick, Wendy’s sauce satisfies.