THE MOST TRUSTED COPYCAT RECIPES
THE MOST TRUSTED COPYCAT RECIPES

Brand-Name Recipes

Re-create your favorite brand named foods with copycat recipes you won't find anywhere else from America's most trusted food hacker, Todd Wilbur. Search by brand name here. New recipes added every week.

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    Ferrara Butterfinger

    Break open a milk chocolate-coated Butterfinger candy bar and you’ll see flakey layers of candy inside, and it may not seem possible to duplicate that mysterious peanuty center at home without some sort of special equipment. But considering that candy bars as old as this usually start as a hand-made recipe, I figured there must be a way to craft a Butterfinger clone in your own kitchen from scratch.

    Ownership of Butterfinger has changed hands a few times since Otto Schnering invented it in 1923 for his Illinois candy company, Curtiss. Standard Brands bought Curtiss in 1964, and then Nabisco merged with Standard Brands in 1981. Nestle purchased Butterfinger from Nabisco in 1990, then later sold it to Italian candy company Ferrara in 2018. Ferrara claims to have “improved” the formula in 2019 by removing preservatives, adding more cocoa to the chocolate, using better peanuts, plus a few other tweaks. And this is where the controversy starts. Posts on Butterfinger’s social media pages complain that the new Ferrara formula is not as good as the Nestle version, that it leaves a bad aftertaste, and that they should immediately bring back the old recipe.

    The new label has fewer ingredients than the old label, but one omission that stood out was the removal of corn flakes. Corn flakes had been used in the Butterfinger recipe since the ‘50s, and that’s the Butterfinger most of us grew up on. Is a lack of corn flakes the reason why some Butterfinger fans don’t like the new recipe? I’m not sure if that’s all there is to it, but for this hack, I decided to go old-school and put the corn flakes back in the bar. The corn flakes need to be crushed before adding them to the candy, and you can easily do that by putting them in a small plastic bag and whacking on it with a rolling pin.

    For the flakiness of the candy, we’ll use a laminating technique that creates layers in the bar, similar to laminating dough. But unlike dough where you can take your time, you’ll have to work quickly here to make as many layers as possible before it cools, which will be just a couple of minutes. Peanut butter is first spread over the candy, then it’s folded with a silicone spatula, flattened, and folded again, and again. When the candy begins to harden, it’s trimmed into bars, cooled, and dipped into milk chocolate.

    Try my Butterfinger copycat recipe below, and find more of your favorite candy recipes here.

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    Lofthouse Frosted Cookies

    When Lofthouse frosted cookies were first produced from a handed-down family recipe in a makeshift bakery in the back of a Utah garage in 1994, it's likely the ingredients were different than they are in the mass-produced product found in markets across the country today. To maintain a long shelf-life, it's common for baked goods to be manufactured with nondairy substitutes, so butter is often replaced with hydrogenated oil and butter flavoring (otherwise known as margarine), and various vegetable gums and preservatives are added to improve the texture and stabilize the product. 

    Rather than using ingredients you find on the label of the store product, such as artificial flavoring, lecithin, cellulose gum, or carrageenan in my Lofthouse cookie recipe, we'll use real butter, fresh eggs, and vanilla extract in our clone—perhaps just as the family who created this recipe did back in the day. The big difference is that you have to be sure to eat the cookies within a few days to get that freshly baked taste and texture. Or you can freeze them so they last longer. 

    Cake flour is used here rather than all-purpose flour to duplicate the tender, cakey texture of the original, and sour cream is used to add in the dairy needed without over liquefying the dough (as milk would). An added benefit of sour cream is its high acidity, which activates the leavening power of the baking soda. The dough is still going to be much thinner and tackier than typical cookie dough, so chilling it for a couple of hours before portioning it out onto a baking sheet is a must to make it easier to work with. 

    Find more copycat recipes for your favorite famous cookies here.

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    Rao's Homemade Bolognese Sauce

    The family recipes of Rao’s Italian restaurant have been enjoyed for over 125 years, but it’s only been since 1992 (starting with the marinara sauce) that the chain has been selling the ultra-popular bottled sauces under the Rao’s Homemade label, which is on track to become a billion-dollar company.

    One of the many popular sauces now available from Rao’s Homemade is the Bolognese sauce, a blend of tomatoes, veggies, crumbled meatballs, and pancetta. Like my Rao’s Marinara Sauce clone recipe, this hack starts with canned San Marzano tomatoes with the famous red, white, and green San Marzano label. Those are true San Marzano tomatoes grown in the San Marzano region of Italy, and they are superior to other San Marzano-style canned tomatoes in my local grocery stores, many of which aren’t from Italy.

    I would suspect that the meatballs crumbled into Rao’s Bolognese sauce are the famous Rao’s meatballs, which Rao’s sells in the restaurants and frozen food aisles, and which I hacked here. For my Rao’s Bolognese Sauce recipe, you’ll need ½ cup of crumbled meatballs using either this top secret recipe, or a bag of frozen Italian meatballs found in most stores. Obviously, my Rao’s meatball hack will give you the best ingredients for this recipe, but I found that the frozen meatballs still work great, as long as they’re good meatballs. This sauce will only be as good as the meatballs you choose.

    The slow simmer marries the flavors, and after about an hour you’ll have a great Bolognese to spoon over tagliatelle, tortellini, gnocchi, or whatever you want.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 2)
    Costco (Kirkland) Almond Poppy Muffins

    The real Costco muffins taste great, but they may not be as wholesome as you would like them to be. The dough has been conditioned with gums to thicken, ingredients to emulsify, and to preserve shelf-life the muffins contain no butter. Plus, the flavors you taste—including butter, almond, and vanilla—are all artificial.

    I attempted to stay true to the original formula in my first take on the famous muffins with this copycat recipe for Costco’s Blueberry Muffins. In that hack, I chose to avoid butter like the real muffins do, opting instead for margarine. And since the Costco muffins contain no buttermilk, I also stayed away from that ingredient, even though I love its magical properties for baking.

    This time, for my Costco Almond Poppy Muffins recipe, I’m taking a different approach to hacking the muffins with more whole egg, real butter, and, yes, buttermilk to bring great flavor and a better crumb to our finished product. Without all the dough conditioners found in the original, these home-cloned muffins are less rubbery and slightly crumblier than Costco’s, and the flavor is better, because it’s real.

    Find more favorite famous bread recipes here

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 3)
    Southern Comfort Traditional Egg Nog

    Online taste tests and reviews routinely mention Farmland Fresh, Darigold, and Southern Comfort as America's best egg nog brands. And of the three, Southern Comfort, a brand famously known for fruit-flavored whiskey, often takes the top spot with its delicious “traditional” egg nog. Which, ironically, contains no booze.

    But the first egg nog, invented in medieval Britain, was quite intoxicating. It was a warm drink made with milk and sherry, and thickened with plenty of egg yolks. That’s a much different beverage experience than today’s branded egg nog, often served cold. And the cartons of egg nog from your market are now made with non-traditional ingredients such as corn syrup, and much of the egg yolk has been replaced with cheaper and longer-lasting natural gums, like carrageenan and guar gum.

    But, for my Southern Comfort Traditional Egg Nog copycat recipe, we'll turn back the clock and make egg nog more traditionally, with plenty of real egg yolks to thicken the batch, and no gums or corn syrup. My easy recipe will give you around 36 ounces of fresh homemade egg nog. And it’s up to you to add any booze.

    Make more fun, famous drinks with my recipes here.

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    See's Candies Chocolate Walnut Fudge

    Fudge can be finicky. It's created by combining hot candy syrup with chocolate, which can result in a grainy mess if the chocolate seizes and gets clumpy. This undesirable situation can be avoided by closely monitoring the temperature, but even then your chocolate could still lock up, and your fudge will be ruined. I couldn't let that happen in my recipe re-creation of the famous fudge from the 100-year-old West Coast candy chain. 

    For my See's Chocolate Walnut Fudge copycat recipe, I made over 56 pounds of fudge on my quest to develop a recipe that works every time, even if the chocolate seizes. And in most of my batches, it usually did. So I came up with a secret trick: reserve a little cream for later, then after the hot candy syrup is mixed with the chocolate and the chocolate begins to seize, send the cream to the rescue and the fudge will become smooth, as if by magic. 

    Stir in some walnuts, then pour the fudge into a wax paper-lined pan, and when it cools, you'll have over 3 1/2 pounds of thick fudge that tastes just like the real thing. That's more than $110 worth of fudge if you bought it at the candy store!

    Fans of the cinnamon lollipop will love my See's Cinnamon Lollypop recipe here.

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    Harry Potter Butterbeer

    The imaginary drink from J.K. Rowling's books became a reality when the first Wizarding World of Harry Potter appeared in 2010. Since then, many hacks for the beverage have emerged online. The only problem is, if Rowling's reported requirements for the drink are true, then almost all of those copycats recipes got something very wrong.

    Learn more and get my recipe for free on my Food Hacker Blog here.

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    Nestle Drumstick

    Not only is it possible to make a clone of Nestle's world-famous Drumstick in your home kitchen, it's also a heck of a lot of fun.

    Get this recipe for free on my Food Hacker Blog here.

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    Haribo-Gold Gummy Bears Candy

    The nearly 100-year-old candy recipe can be easily replicated with Jell-O and a few other ingredients. But it's a little bit of food science that makes this gummy candy hack different from any other.

    Learn more and get my recipe for free on my Food Hacker Blog here.

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    Smucker's Chocolate Fudge Magic Shell

    It comes out of the bottle as a liquid, but within seconds of landing on a scoop of ice cream, this magical sauce becomes a solid shell of chocolate.

    Learn more and get my recipe for free on my Food Hacker Blog here.

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    Nothing Bundt Cakes White Chocolate Raspberry Cake

    While sharing a Bundt cake one day in 1997, amateur bakers and close friends Dena Tripp and Debbie Shwetz realized they could do better. After much experimentation, the duo discovered a batter that produced a moist, delicious cake, which was a huge improvement over the dense, dry cake usually associated with Bundts. But they weren’t done yet.

    The next step was to decide how to best frost their new Bundt cake. Traditionally, Bundt cakes are glazed by drizzling warm icing over the top, which drips down the sides and dries there. But the pair didn’t want to use glaze. They had a cream cheese icing they thought tasted better than any glaze, but it took some time to figure out how to apply it. They eventually settled on frosting their Bundts with large piped vertical ropes, so the icing looks like it’s dripping down the outside of the cake.

    To make a Bundt cake that matches the moistness and crumb of the real Nothing Bundt Cake, it’s important to start with the right flour. The cake has more bite to it than one made with only cake flour, but it isn’t as tough as one made with all-purpose flour. That’s why I settled on pastry flour, like the one from Bob’s Red Mill. Pastry flour contains more protein than cake flour, but not as much as all-purpose flour, so it works perfectly here. If you can’t find pastry flour, no need to worry. I’ve got a way for you to hack it by combining cake flour with all-purpose flour in a 2-to-1 ratio.

    The raspberry puree is made from scratch using frozen raspberries and it’s swirled into the batter before the cake goes into the oven. While the cake cools you can make the cream cheese buttercream icing. Get a 1A tip, which is a wide, circular tip for a pastry bag or gun, to make ropes of icing over the top and down the sides of the cake all the way around, just like the original.

    Get this recipe in my book "Top Secret Recipes Unleashed" only on Amazon here.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 8)
    Sara Lee Original Cream Cheesecake

    In 1949 a bakery owner named Charles Lubin pioneered the frozen-foods business when he invented a top-quality cream-cheese cake for sale in supermarkets and restaurants. He named the cheesecake after his daughter, Sara Lee. Though skeptics believed that a frozen baked item could not be sold in large grocery stores, Lubin's cheesecake was such a success that only two years later, in 1951, he opened the Kitchens of Sara Lee and began to add other items to his line. In the early 1950s Lubin introduced the aluminum foil pan, which allowed his products to be baked, quickly frozen, and sold in the same container. Today, the Kitchens of Sara Lee produce more than 200 varieties of baked goods. And few people know that this diverse company has also been successful in manufacturing and marketing coffee, meats, and even pantyhose under the Hanes and Liz Claiborne labels.

    Use my Sara Lee Cheesecake copycat recipe below to duplicate this famous cheesecake at home, and try more of my famous and fun dessert recipes here

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.92 (votes: 12)
    Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chip Cookies (TV)

    I jumped at the chance to get another crack at hacking one of America's most famous chocolate chip cookies when I was faced with the challenge for my show, Top Secret Recipe. After all, this was the very first recipe I copied over twenty-five years ago, and I've learned many new tricks for replicating the famous foodstuffs since then. Getting the chance to improve on my old secret recipes with new information was a golden opportunity to craft the best Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe ever revealed. So I hopped on a plane and headed to Salt Lake City to meet with Tim Casey, president and CEO of Mrs. Fields Cookies.

    Tim showed me around the flavoring labs and test kitchens of Mrs. Fields HQ. I watched cookie dough being mixed, noting the oven temperature and length of time the cookies were baked. I was also able to discover one important trick I missed in my first recipe: after the dough was portioned out onto baking sheets, it was frozen. This way, when the cookies were baked, they came out crispy on the edges and soft and gooey in the middle. It made a huge difference!

    The company was understandably vague on the specifics of the proprietary vanilla and chocolate chips they use in the cookies, but I discovered through taste tests that Madagascar vanilla extract and high-quality chocolate chips such as those made by Guittard (or even Ghirardelli) are the way to go.

    Mission accomplished! What follows is my much-improved re-hack of the classic recipe that started it all, and perhaps one of the best chocolate chip cookies to ever come out of your oven. 

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Step-by-Step by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 4)
    Brown and Haley Almond Roca

    Founded in 1914 by Harry Brown and J.C. Haley in Tacoma, Washington, the Brown and Haley Candy Company is one of the oldest confectioners in the country. In 1923 the company hit the jackpot when Harry Brown and the former cook from what would eventually become the Mars candy company, created a chocolate-coated butter toffee candy, sprinkled with California almonds. They took the sweet to Tacoma's head librarian, and she named it Almond Roca—roca means "rock" in Spanish. In 1927 the two men decided to wrap the little candies in imported gold foil and pack them into the now-familiar pink cans to extend their shelf life threefold. In fact, because of the way the candy was packaged, it was carried by troops in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Gulf War.

    The Brown and Haley candy company is still housed in the former shoe factory that it has occupied since 1919. Almond Roca is so popular today that it can be found in sixty-four countries and is a market leader in Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Japan. The company sells more than 5 million pounds of Almond Roca each year and is the United States leading exporter of packaged confections. 

    Try my Almond Roca recipe below to enjoy this special treat at home. Click here for more of my copycat recipes of famous candy.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Kahlua Coffee Liqueur (Improved)

    The redesigned Kahlua Coffee Liqueur labels now says "Rum and Coffee Liqueur," which is a helpful description when creating a clone version of the famous cordial. This text was not on the bottle 30 years ago when I made my first version of this liqueur using vodka—not rum. So, back into the lab went I, to create an improved version of the drink with rum, just like the label says.

    I used light rum for my Kahlua recipe because it is more of a neutral taste like the vodka called for in my first version, but since it doesn't include the caramel color added to Kahlua, your drink will come out a lighter shade of brown than the real stuff. However, you can also use dark rum in this recipe, which will add other flavor notes to your finished product, plus caramel color to deepen the shade of your liqueur.  

    There are many other famous drinks you can make at home! See if I cloned your favorites here

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 2)
    Mars Munch Bar

    At one point Mars, Inc. chose to capitalize on the company's best-selling candy bar, and called this one Snickers Munch Bar. I think that may have been confusing to consumers who expected to open the wrapper and find something inside resembling a Snickers bar. Other than the abundance of peanuts in this butter toffee brittle, this candy bar is nothing like Snickers. It is, however, an awesome peanut brittle that's super-easy to clone. The original is made with only six ingredients: peanuts, sugar, butter, corn syrup, salt, and soy lecithin. The soy lecithin is an emulsifier used here for texture, but this ingredient is hard to find, and we really don't need it for a good clone. Use a candy thermometer to bring the mixture of sugar, butter, and corn syrup up to 300 degrees F, then stir in warmed, salted peanuts. When the candy has cooled, break it into chunks and you will have created the equivalent of 12 bars of the addicting original. 

    Satisfy your candy craving with more of my copycat candy recipes here

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 2)
    Peter Paul Mounds and Almond Joy

    At the train station in Naugatuck, Connecticut, candy and ice-cream shop owner Peter Paul Halajian used to meet the commuter trains carrying baskets full of fresh hand-made chocolates. The most popular of his candies was a blend of coconut, fruits, nuts, and chocolate that he called Konabar.

    In 1919, when demand for his confections grew, Halajian and five associates, all of Armenian heritage, opened a business in New Haven to produce and sell his chocolates on a larger scale. Because there were no refrigerators, they made the chocolate by hand at night, when the air was the coolest, and sold the candy during the day. In 1920 the first Mounds bar was introduced.

    Peter Paul merged with Cadbury U.S.A. in 1978, and in 1986 Cadbury U.S.A. merged with the Hershey Foods Corporation, now the world's largest candy conglomerate.

    Try my Almond Joy and Mounds copycat recipes below to enjoy those familiar candy bars at home anytime, and find more of your favorite candy clone recipes here

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 2)
    Pogen's Gingersnaps

    Back in the 1870s, in the coastal city of Malmo, Sweden, a man named Anders Pahlsson baked the first of his soon-to-be famous gingersnaps in a bakery he named Pogen's. In 1970 Pogen's, Inc., opened in the United States, expanding the line of baked goods that Pahlsson developed in the nineteenth century.

    A legend that dates back many years says that if you place a gingersnap in the palm of your hand, press down in the middle, and it breaks into three pieces, good luck will follow. Today, more than 100 years later, good luck and hard work have made Pogen's the third-largest supplier of cookies to the growing vending business. 

    Use my Pogen's gingersnap recipe below to enjoy these famous crunchy cookies at home, and find more iconic cookie recipes here

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    See's Candies Butterscotch Lollypop

    The first See's Candy shop was opened in Los Angeles in 1921 by Charles A. See. He used his mother's candy recipes, and a picture of her at the age of seventy-one embellished every black-and-white box of chocolates. Mary See died in 1939 at the age of eighty-five, but her picture went on to become a symbol of quality and continuity. See's manufacturing plants are still located in California, but because the company will ship anywhere in the United States, See's has become a known and respected old-fashioned-style chocolatier all across the country.

    In an age of automation, many companies that manufacture chocolate have resorted to automated enrobing machines to coat their chocolates. But See's workers still hand-dip much of their candy.

    One of the company's most popular sweets isn't dipped at all. It's a hard, rectangular lollipop that comes in chocolate, peanut butter and butterscotch flavors. The latter, which tastes like caramel, is the most popular flavor of the three, and my See's Candies butterscotch lollipop recipe will enable you to clone the original, invented more than fifty years ago. You will need twelve shot glasses, espresso cups, or sake cups for molds, twelve lollipop sticks or popsicle sticks.

    Fans of the cinnamon lollipop will love my See's Cinnamon Lollypop recipe here.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.88 (votes: 25)
    Disaronno Amaretto

    For several months, artist Bernardino Luini worked closely with a model to help him paint a fresco of the Madonna in Saronno, Italy. As the months passed, the girl, whose name has since been forgotten, fell in love with Bernardino. To show her feelings for him, the girl gave Bernardino a gift of sweet almond-flavored liqueur she made from the trees growing in her garden. The year was 1525, and that bottle is said to have been the first Disaronno Amaretto. The recipe was passed down through the ages, until late in the eighteenth century, when the liqueur went into commercial production.

    Use my Disaronno Amaretto recipe below and give someone a bottle, whether they paint you on a wall or not.

    You can make other liqueurs at home using my copycat drink recipes, including Bailey's, Kahlua, and Grand Marnier.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes: Sodas, Smoothies, Spirits & Shakes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 2)
    Jacquin's Peppermint Schnapps Liqueur

    Use my Jacquin's peppermint schnapps liqueur recipe below to re-create the delicious minty schnapps at home. All you need is four ingredients, including inexpensive vodka, and an empty bottle to store it in.

    Isn't making booze at home fun? Check out my recipes for Grand Marnier, Amaretto and Bailey's Irish Cream

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.86 (votes: 7)
    Mr and Mrs T Rich and Spicy Bloody Mary Mix

    Copy the famous and very popular Bloody Mary Mix from that couple with only a letter as a last name. It's a simple-to-make blend of tomato juice and spices with some prepared horseradish and canned jalapeño juice thrown in for a "spicier, zestier" drink. 

    Make my Mr and Mrs T Rich and Spicy Bloody Mary Mix copycat recipe and serve with vodka over ice, for a delicious cocktail, or sip it straight.

    Click here to see if I copied more of your favorite drinks.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes: Sodas, Smoothies, Spirits & Shakes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.64 (votes: 159)
    Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chip Cookies 1993

    Here's the first Mrs. Fields chocolate chip cookie copycat recipe I created for the first Top Secret Recipes book back in 1987. Inspired by a bogus chain-letter cookie recipe, this is my version of the delicious Mrs. Fields cookies that are crispy around the edge and chewy in the middle. Be careful not to cook these too long. I know it becomes tempting to keep cooking these—they don't seem to be done after 10 minutes—but they will continue to cook for awhile after you take them out of the oven, and when cool, will be chewy in the middle.

    You might also want to try my improved Mrs. Fields cookie recipe that I created with the secrets I learned at Mrs. Fields HQ.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 2)
    Cliff and Buster Coconut Macaroons

    While passing these out to each giddy audience member on her 2003 "Favorite Things" show, Oprah gushed, "Isn't that the best macaroon you've ever had?" The recipe for these delicious yet easy-to-clone coconut macaroons was passed down to Cliff Barsevich years ago from his grandmother, and they were served at the events serviced by Cliff and partner Ron Strles' catering business. When customers continued to rave about the cookies, the duo began selling the macaroons by the box in high-end stores such as Neiman Marcus. With a lot of help from The Oprah Winfrey Show, the cookies have become a huge success. 

    Still, at 15 bucks a dozen, it's nice to have a clone that will satisfy your macaroon munchies at a fraction of the cost. My Cliff and Buster Coconut Macaroon copycat recipe is the closest we'll ever get to a homemade version, since Cliff says he's never sharing the recipe. He says he's taking the secret formula with him when he dies.

    Try more of my copycat recipes for your favorite famous cookies and brownies here.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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I'm Todd Wilbur, Chronic Food Hacker

For over 30 years I've been deconstructing America's most iconic brand-name foods to make the best original copycat recipes for you to use at home. Welcome to my lab.

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