The #1 Copycat Recipes Website

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Welcome. You just found copycat recipes for all of your favorite famous foods! Bestselling author and TV host Todd Wilbur shows you how to easily duplicate the taste of iconic dishes and treats at home for less money than eating out. See if Todd hacked your favorites from A & W to Entenmann's here. New recipes posted each week.

Products: 124 of 34
Show: 24
  • Score: 3.50 (votes: 2)
    Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Yellow Cake Mix

    So, you need to make some buttery yellow cake, but you don't have any mix in the pantry. Or perhaps you love the moist and delicious cake made from a box, but aren't a big fan of all the polysyllabic preservatives and thickeners that come along for the ride. Here is the TSR way to make homemade yellow cake mix from scratch using basic baking ingredients. You can store the dry cloned Duncan Hines Deluxe yellow cake mix in a sealed container for several weeks in a cabinet until you need it. Then, when you're ready to make the cake, simply add water, oil, and eggs to the mix in the exact measurements required by the original, then pour the batter into a pan and pop it in the oven. Done. 

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 2)
    Aunt Jemima Maple Syrup

    The year 1989 marked the 100th anniversary of the Aunt Jemima trademark. The name was conceived in 1889 by Chris Rutt while he was attending a vaudeville show and watching a New Orleans-style dance number performed to a jazzy tune called "Aunt Jemima." Rutt liked the music so much he stuck the name on his products. The maple syrup came along much later, in 1964, and is now the country's largest-selling syrup.

    Today, some folks tell the story of how their friends or relatives once met Aunt Jemima many years ago and how she was a kind and cordial woman. Little do they realize these people were fooled by a promotional campaign for the products back in the forties and fifties that used actresses traveling from town to town dressed up and acting like the "famous women." There never really was an Aunt Jemima. 

    Your friends and family might also be fooled by my Aunt Jemima Maple Syrup recipe below. It's a dead-ringer for the original.

    Looking for a great pancake recipe? I've cloned dozens from Denny's to IHOP. Find your favorite here.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.83 (votes: 6)
    Borden Cracker Jack

    In 1871 a German immigrant named F. W. Rueckheim came to Chicago with $200 in his pocket. He used all of his money to open a small popcorn shop in the city and started selling a sweet caramel-and-molasses-coated popcorn confection. Rueckheim's big break came in 1893, when the treat was served at Chicago's first world's fair. From then on the popcorn's popularity grew enormously. In 1896 a salesman tasting the treat for the first time said, "That's a cracker jack," and the name stuck. Shortly after Cracker Jacks debut another customer commented, "The more you eat, the more you want," and that's still the slogan today.

    In 1912 the Cracker Jack Company started adding toy surprises, ranging from small books to miniature metal toy trains. To date they have given away more than 17 billion toy surprises. In 1964 Borden, Inc. bought the Cracker Jack Company, and today the Cracker Jack division is the largest user of popcorn in the world, popping more than twenty tons of corn a day.

    Use my Cracker Jack recipe to duplicate the original caramel corn. Toy not included.

    Check out my clones for Fiddle Faddle, Poppycock, Screaming Yellow Zonkers, and Crunch N' Munch.

    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.

    Reenact the legend with my Disaronno Amaretto recipe below. Give by someone a bottle of your own version of the famous liqueur, 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)
    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. It's the closest we'll ever get to a homemade version since Cliff says he's never sharing the recipe. He says when he dies he's taking the secret formula with him.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Crunch 'N Munch Buttery Toffee Popcorn with Peanuts

    Look at what F. W. Rueckheim started. He was the guy who, back in the late 1800s, made candy-coated popcorn a national treasure with the invention of Cracker Jack. Now we've got Fiddle-Faddle, Screaming Yellow Zonkers, Crunch 'n Munch so many other candy-coated popcorns. Sure, these other varieties don't have the traditional prize inside the box, but let's face it, those prizes are pretty weak compared to what used to be found at the bottom of a box of Cracker Jack when I was a kid. 

    The old-fashioned molasses formula used on Cracker Jack just doesn't have the appeal of some of the other tantalizing candy coatings on popcorn today. Butter toffee is a good example, so that's what I've reverse-engineered for you here. My Crunch 'N Munch buttery toffee popcorn recipe below is simple and makes a finished product so tasty, you'll have to beg someone to take it away from you before you finish the whole bowl by yourself. All you need is a candy thermometer, some microwave popcorn, and a few other basic ingredients to re-create a home version of popcorn heaven.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.38 (votes: 13)
    Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Chocolate Cake Mix

    Let's say you want to make some chocolate cake from one of the popular mixes that come in a box but you don't have much of a craving for propylene glycol, polyglycerol esters of fatty acids, or cellulose gum. Well, if you're making cake from a box mix, that's probably what you'll be eating. Many of those additives are what give the cake you make with Duncan Hines cake mix its deluxe moistness. The good news is we can come very close to duplicating the store-bought cake mix with very simple dry ingredients and a little shortening. By combining the dry stuff, then thoroughly mixing in the shortening, you will have a mix that is shelf-stable until you add the same wet ingredients in the same amounts required by the real thing. It's a great way to make good, old-fashioned chocolate cake without the hard-to-pronounce additives.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 3)
    Costco (Kirkland) Blueberry Muffins

    Three things make Costco Blueberry Muffins special: they’re huge, they’re moist, and berries are bursting out of the top of each one. Now your home muffins can be just as special using a similar recipe and freshly unlocked tricks from our favorite big-box store.

    Obviously, you get huge muffins by using a huge muffin pan, so you’ll need a jumbo or “Texas-size” muffin pan if you want your muffins the same size as the originals. You can certainly make standard muffins with this batter in a standard-size muffin pan, but in this case, bigger is definitely better.

    To get muffins that are moist like Kirkland's, you’ll need oil. I noticed many muffin recipes use butter, but I found it made the muffins taste more like butter cake or pound cake than true muffins. Looking at the ingredients listed on the package of Kirkland muffins, you won’t find any butter in there. Just oil. For this hack, some of that oil comes from margarine (for a mild butter flavor and thicker batter), and the rest is vegetable oil.

    As for the blueberries, if you add them straight into the batter the juice frozen on the outside of the berries will streak your batter blue, so be sure to rinse the berries before you add them. And to make your muffins look as irresistible as those at Costco, we’ll use another one of their tasty tricks: press 4 blueberries into the batter in each cup just before the pan goes into the oven so that every baked muffin is sure to have several tantalizing berries popping out of the top.

    Find more favorite famous bread recipes here

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  • Not rated yet
    Brach's Candy Corn

    It’s America’s #1 candy corn brand and the clear winner in taste tests, but just what is it that we’re tasting when we munch on this iconic Halloween candy? If you’re thinking about popcorn when you eat it, you’re on the right track. There is a dominating butter flavor and plenty of salt in there, but you’re also getting hit with notes of vanilla, honey, and the subtle nuttiness of sesame oil. Yes, sesame oil; like the stuff that's in Chinese food. Bet you didn’t see that coming.

    Fortunately, this flavor profile means we can use all real ingredients to flavor our candy hack. Real butter and butter extract, real vanilla extract, real honey, and real sesame oil will give us the perfect blend of flavors for our knockoff. I’m also adding the pleasant gumminess of gelatin to soften the final product. But flavor and texture are only part of the secret. Our fake candy corn should also look like real candy corn.

    I was probably tapping into my childhood days of forming and slicing Play-Doh when I shaped my tri-colored ribbons of candy into flat rings and sliced those rings into wedges with a sharp knife. This technique gave me perfect little triangles that looked legit, even when placed right next to the real thing. I kept going, playing with my candy dough, forming it and slicing it, until I had 135 beautiful home-grown corns of candy, along with some highly edible misshapen scraps that somehow ended up in my mouth.

    Now you can re-create your own Brach's Candy Corn with this exclusive recipe, plus I've included a bunch of handy step pics so your homemade candy corn comes out perfect.

    I've hacked a lot of famous candy over the years. See if I copied your favorites here.

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  • Score: 4.33 (votes: 9)
    Bisquick Original All-Purpose Baking Mix

    You've got a hankerin' for pancakes or biscuits, but the recipe calls for Bisquick, and you're plum out. Not to worry. Now you can make a clone of the popular baking mix at home with just four simple ingredients. Store-bought Bisquick includes shortening, salt, flour, and leavening, so that's exactly what we need to duplicate Bisquick perfectly at home. 

    My Bisquick recipe makes about 6 cups of the stuff, which, just like the real thing, you can keep sealed up in a container in your pantry until it's flapjack time. When that time comes, just add milk and eggs for pancakes or waffles, or only milk if it's biscuits you want. You'll find all those recipes below in the "Tidbits."

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.33 (votes: 3)
    Drake's Devil Dogs

    Here's a clone recipe for a favorite East Coast treat that could even fool Rosie O'Donnell. The snack food-loving talk show hostess professed her love for these tasty Drake's goodies on her daytime show. And who could blame her? It's hard not to relish the smooth, fluffy filling between two tender devil's food cake fingers. I'll take a Devil Dog over a Twinkie any day of the week. For this clone recipe, we'll make the cakes from scratch. This will create a cake similar to the original. You may also use a devil's food cake mix rather than the scratch recipe here. Just make the filling with the recipe below and assemble your cakes the same way.

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 2)
    Dole Dole Whip

    The real Dole Whip is a non-dairy dessert that includes artificial flavoring, a small amount of real pineapple juice, and more gums than a candy store. Everything in this Hawaiian ice cream is combined in a powdered form including the pineapple juice in 4.4-pound bags that are sold to soft-serve machine operators at fairs, sporting events, and amusement parks. On the back of the Dole Whip mix are instructions to dissolve the powder in 2 gallons of cold tap water, then immediately pour the syrup into a soft serve machine and hit the switch.  

    Up until now, almost all recipes that claim to reproduce Dole Whip—including one shared by Disneyland during the coronavirus outbreak—include ice cream, to make what is supposed to be a "non-dairy" dessert one that is quite full of dairy. The results you get from these recipes may be tasty, but they are nothing like Dole Whip because Dole Whip is sorbet and sorbet isn't made with ice cream.

    One thing that makes Dole Whip special is its creamy consistency, which may lead some people to believe it has dairy in it. Dole Whip creates this thickness with the assistance of six different natural gums and gels: cellulose gum, xanthan gum, locust bean gum, guar gum, karaya gum, and pectin. In addition, there is a small amount of coconut fat solids in the mix to help simulate the fat found in dairy.

    For my Dole Whip recipe, I limited the gels to two that are easy to find: unflavored gelatin and pectin. When these two ingredients are heated, then cooled, they form a gel similar to what’s in the real Dole Whip, and the result is a thick-and-creamy consistency. Another trick often used to help thicken sorbets is the use of viscous corn syrup to replace much of the sugar. Corn syrup will give the sorbet body and it helps tone down the acidic pineapple juice.

    But the best part of this recipe, unlike the real thing, is that it contains all-natural ingredients and it's mostly made of real Dole pineapple juice, plus a little tangerine juice to round out the flavor and enrich the color. This homemade Dole Whip is ridiculously easy to make (you'll need an ice cream maker) and fans of the real thing will love it. Plus, now you can have this DIY Dole Whip whenever you want—no amusement park required.

    Click here for more of my hacks of delicious desserts and sweet treats. 

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  • Not rated yet
    Dolly Madison Zingers Devil's Food

    Former U.S. President James Madison's wife did not create this baking company, despite the fact that her name is on every carrot cake, crumb cake, and Zinger that comes off the production line. It was instead company founder Roy Nafziger's brainstorm to use the former first lady's name since she was notorious for throwing huge shindigs featuring a fine selection of desserts and baked goods. Nafziger said his company would create cakes "fine enough to serve at the White House." While I don't expect anyone is served Zingers during their stay in the Lincoln Bedroom, I will agree that these little snack cakes are a tasty way to appease a sweet tooth.

    The cake batter is easy since you just use any instant devil's food cake mix. I like Duncan Hines. As for the frosting, it may not come out as dark brown as the original since the recipe here doesn't include brown food coloring (caramel coloring). But the taste will be right on.

    The fun doesn't stop here! Learn how to make more of your favorite snacks like Hostess Twinkie, Drakes Devil Dogs, and Hostess Mint Chocolate Cupcakes.

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.80 (votes: 10)
    Cadbury Creme Egg

    Each spring Cadbury candy machines whip out 66,000 of these cool candies every hour. And now, because of the success of these chocolates with the orange, yolk-colored center, other candy companies have come out with their own milk chocolate eggs. Some are filled with Snickers or Milky Way centers, while others contain peanut butter, coconut, caramel, or the same type of fondant center as the original—right down to the colors. 

    Still, nothing compares to these original eggs that are sold only once a year, for the Easter holiday. And now you can enjoy your own version at home anytime you like. With my Cadbury crème egg recipe below, the final shape of your candy will be more like half eggs, but the flavor will be full-on Cadbury. 

    Want to copy more of your favorite candy at home? See if I hacked your favorites here

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur. 

    Update 4/11/17: I recently discovered that freezing the very sticky fondant center—rather than refrigerating it—makes it easier to work with. I made the adjustments in the recipe below. 

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 3)
    Chex Mix Bold Party Blend

    Little checkerboard squares of rice, corn, and wheat are worth big bucks! In 1996 General Mills paid $570 million to Ralston Purina for the entire brand of Chex cereals and snack mixes. As it turns out, developing these cereals into a convenient snack mix brand was a smart move. 

    When I was a kid the only way to get Chex Mix was to make it myself from a recipe on the box of Chex Cereal. Today Chex Mix comes in nearly a dozen different flavors, including chocolate, cheddar, honey nut, and hot & spicy. But a home version using the recipe on the cereal box never tastes the same as the stuff in the bags. That's because the recipe leaves out a very important secret ingredient: MSG, or monosodium glutamate. This amino acid salt enhances the other flavors in the bag and gives the snack mix its addictive savory taste. You can find MSG in grocery stores near the salt (Accent Flavor Enhancer is one popular brand name). Add a little of that to your creative mix of Chex Cereal, pretzels, crackers, and breadsticks, along with some white cheddar popcorn seasoning, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and a few other common ingredients, and you'll have amazing homemade Chex Mix Bold Party Blend.

    Find recipes for more famous snacks here.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Not rated yet
    Entenmann's Light Fat-Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

    These chewy little fat-free cookies have become popular in recent years. And they taste pretty good considering there’s a zero the fat column. The sweetened condensed milk, molasses, and raisin puree helps give the cookies a delicious flavor along with the perfect chewy texture. Sweetened condensed milk can be found in a fat-free variety that Is made with skim milk, and raisin puree is easy to make in a blender.

    Nutrition facts:
    Serving size–2 cookies
    Total servings–12
    Calories per serving–120
    Fat per serving–0g

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Not rated yet
    Entenmann's Light Fat-Free Golden Loaf

    How would you like this job? Three times a day, each day, the chief bakers at Entenmann's gather in "scoring sessions," where they taste and rate products that come off the factory line. If a product they taste doesn't earn at least an 8 out of 10 rating, it never makes it onto a delivery truck. 

    In the last ten years, Entenmann's has become known as a company that makes delicious baked fat-free products that do not taste fat-free. Today the company boasts around 50 products that carry the low-fat and fat-free labels. One of those products is the delicious pound cake, called Golden Loaf, cloned with this recipe. It makes an excellent dessert or snack when sliced with strawberries and low-fat whipped topping, or beneath a big scoop of light ice cream. I've also included this recipe to use with one of my favorites: the reduced-fat tiramisu.

    However you decide to serve this versatile dessert, you will amaze your guests when you tell them it's fat-free fare. And, yes, I realize that the reduced-fat yellow cake mix contains fat, but we have stretched out the product with cake flour so that each slice of these cakes (the recipe makes two) contains less than 1/2 gram. 

    Nutrition Facts:
    Serving size–1.7 oz slice
    Total servings–26
    Calories per serving–106
    Fat per serving–0g

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 3)
    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. 

    Click here for more of my copycat recipes of famous candy.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.75 (votes: 4)
    A & W Root Beer

    In 1919, when Roy Allen and Frank Wright started selling their new root beer beverage to a thirsty America, national Prohibition was taking its grip on the country. Their timing couldn't have been better. No longer able to legally drink real beer, thirsty patriots had to settle for this sweet, foamy concoction derived from roots, herbs, and berries. Roy and Frank had thirteen years of Prohibition to make their mark and their fortune from this refreshing drink. By 1933, when Prohibition came to a screeching halt, Roy and Frank had 171 stands in various shapes and sizes, each with the familiar A&W logo on them, all across the country. These drive-up stands with their tray boys and tray girls bringing cold drinks out to the cars were an inspiration for many other roadside stands and diners, and the prelude to the popular fast food drive-thrus of today. You can still get a foamy mug of A&W root beer at outlets across the country, or just enjoy some from a 12-ounce can.

    But if it's some home cloning you'd like to get into, check out my improved A&W root beer recipe that was first printed in More Top Secret Recipes. The beauty is you won't have to worry about collecting roots, herbs, and berries like the pros do when making A&W root beer. Instead ,you just need to get some root beer extract, manufactured by McCormick, that you'll find near the vanilla in your local supermarket. Make up some root beer syrup, let it cool off in the fridge, and you can whip up 10 servings of A & W root beer by combining the syrup with soda water whenever you're ready to drink it.

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

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  • Not rated yet
    A & W Cream Soda

    Sure, Roy Allen and Frank Wright are better known for the exquisite root beer concoction sold first from California drive-up stands under the A & amp;W brand name. But these days the company makes a darn good vanilla cream soda as well. And the formula is one we can easily clone at home by combining a few simple ingredients. Most of the flavor comes from vanilla, but you'll also need a little lemonade flavor Kool-Aid unsweetened drink mix powder. This mix comes in .23-ounce packets and provides the essential citric acid that gives my A&W cream soda recipe the slight sour flavor of the real thing. Once you make the syrup, let it cool down in the fridge, then combine the syrup with cold soda water in a 1-to-4 ration, add a little ice, and get sipping.

    You might also want to try my A & W root beer recipe here.

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

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  • Score: 4.77 (votes: 22)
    AriZona Green Tea with Ginseng and Honey

    Hard to believe it takes only one regular-size green tea bag to make this entire 2-quart clone of the popular Arizona Green Tea with Ginseng and Honey in the foam green bottles. Find the liquid ginseng for this recipe in your local health food store. Be sure to get American ginseng if you can, since the Chinese stuff can taste pretty rank. 

    Find more famous drink recipes here.

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

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 2)
    AriZona Iced Tea with Ginseng Extract

    When John Ferolito and Don Vultaggio were thinking of names for their new line of iced teas back in 1992, they scanned a map for inspiration. The idea was to find a location with hot weather. Santa Fe was the first name that smacked 'em in the face, but the two later settled on the sweltering state of Arizona, with the funky addition of a capital "Z" in the middle. Now AriZona Beverage Company makes over 30 varieties of iced teas, coffees, elixirs, juices and other hip drinks. 

    My AriZona Iced Tea with Ginseng recipe below copies their popular black tea with ginseng. You can make it with just one regular size tea bag and liquid ginseng that you can find in any decent health food store worth a grain of organic salt.

    Try my AriZona Iced Tea with honey recipe here

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

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Bull's-Eye Original BBQ Sauce

    Some say it's the best off-the-shelf barbecue sauce in the business. That secret combination of molasses, liquid smoke, and spices makes this stuff irresistible on chicken, ribs, or a juicy hamburger. Keep it fresh for your next cookout by whipping up your own Bull's-Eye BBQ sauce at home, from scratch with my recipe below.

    Try more famous sauce recipes here.

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.75 (votes: 8)
    Chef Paul Prudhomme's Poultry Magic

    Louisiana chef Paul Prudhomme, America's number one Dom DeLuise look-a-like, hit it big in supermarkets with his magical brand of Cajun spice blends. Chef Paul developed his seasonings after years of making little batches and passing them out to customers in the restaurants where he worked. Now his Magic Seasoning Blends come in several varieties and are produced in a whopping 30,000-square-foot plant by 38 employees. 

    Fortunately, it'll take only one of you in a small kitchen to make my copycat Chef Paul Prudhomme's Poultry Magic recipe: one of the most popular versions of the blend. Use it when you barbecue, roast, grill, or sauté your favorite chicken, turkey, duck, or Cornish game hens.

    Click here for more famous seasoning and spice blend clone recipes. 

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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Products: 124 of 34
Show: 24

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  • Not rated yet
    Brach's Candy Corn

    It’s America’s #1 candy corn brand and the clear winner in taste tests, but just what is it that we’re tasting when we munch on this iconic Halloween candy? If you’re thinking about popcorn when you eat it, you’re on the right track. There is a dominating butter flavor and plenty of salt in there, but you’re also getting hit with notes of vanilla, honey, and the subtle nuttiness of sesame oil. Yes, sesame oil; like the stuff that's in Chinese food. Bet you didn’t see that coming.

    Fortunately, this flavor profile means we can use all real ingredients to flavor our candy hack. Real butter and butter extract, real vanilla extract, real honey, and real sesame oil will give us the perfect blend of flavors for our knockoff. I’m also adding the pleasant gumminess of gelatin to soften the final product. But flavor and texture are only part of the secret. Our fake candy corn should also look like real candy corn.

    I was probably tapping into my childhood days of forming and slicing Play-Doh when I shaped my tri-colored ribbons of candy into flat rings and sliced those rings into wedges with a sharp knife. This technique gave me perfect little triangles that looked legit, even when placed right next to the real thing. I kept going, playing with my candy dough, forming it and slicing it, until I had 135 beautiful home-grown corns of candy, along with some highly edible misshapen scraps that somehow ended up in my mouth.

    Now you can re-create your own Brach's Candy Corn with this exclusive recipe, plus I've included a bunch of handy step pics so your homemade candy corn comes out perfect.

    I've hacked a lot of famous candy over the years. See if I copied your favorites here.

    Read more
  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 2)
    Dole Dole Whip

    The real Dole Whip is a non-dairy dessert that includes artificial flavoring, a small amount of real pineapple juice, and more gums than a candy store. Everything in this Hawaiian ice cream is combined in a powdered form including the pineapple juice in 4.4-pound bags that are sold to soft-serve machine operators at fairs, sporting events, and amusement parks. On the back of the Dole Whip mix are instructions to dissolve the powder in 2 gallons of cold tap water, then immediately pour the syrup into a soft serve machine and hit the switch.  

    Up until now, almost all recipes that claim to reproduce Dole Whip—including one shared by Disneyland during the coronavirus outbreak—include ice cream, to make what is supposed to be a "non-dairy" dessert one that is quite full of dairy. The results you get from these recipes may be tasty, but they are nothing like Dole Whip because Dole Whip is sorbet and sorbet isn't made with ice cream.

    One thing that makes Dole Whip special is its creamy consistency, which may lead some people to believe it has dairy in it. Dole Whip creates this thickness with the assistance of six different natural gums and gels: cellulose gum, xanthan gum, locust bean gum, guar gum, karaya gum, and pectin. In addition, there is a small amount of coconut fat solids in the mix to help simulate the fat found in dairy.

    For my Dole Whip recipe, I limited the gels to two that are easy to find: unflavored gelatin and pectin. When these two ingredients are heated, then cooled, they form a gel similar to what’s in the real Dole Whip, and the result is a thick-and-creamy consistency. Another trick often used to help thicken sorbets is the use of viscous corn syrup to replace much of the sugar. Corn syrup will give the sorbet body and it helps tone down the acidic pineapple juice.

    But the best part of this recipe, unlike the real thing, is that it contains all-natural ingredients and it's mostly made of real Dole pineapple juice, plus a little tangerine juice to round out the flavor and enrich the color. This homemade Dole Whip is ridiculously easy to make (you'll need an ice cream maker) and fans of the real thing will love it. Plus, now you can have this DIY Dole Whip whenever you want—no amusement park required.

    Click here for more of my hacks of delicious desserts and sweet treats. 

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 3)
    Costco (Kirkland) Blueberry Muffins

    Three things make Costco Blueberry Muffins special: they’re huge, they’re moist, and berries are bursting out of the top of each one. Now your home muffins can be just as special using a similar recipe and freshly unlocked tricks from our favorite big-box store.

    Obviously, you get huge muffins by using a huge muffin pan, so you’ll need a jumbo or “Texas-size” muffin pan if you want your muffins the same size as the originals. You can certainly make standard muffins with this batter in a standard-size muffin pan, but in this case, bigger is definitely better.

    To get muffins that are moist like Kirkland's, you’ll need oil. I noticed many muffin recipes use butter, but I found it made the muffins taste more like butter cake or pound cake than true muffins. Looking at the ingredients listed on the package of Kirkland muffins, you won’t find any butter in there. Just oil. For this hack, some of that oil comes from margarine (for a mild butter flavor and thicker batter), and the rest is vegetable oil.

    As for the blueberries, if you add them straight into the batter the juice frozen on the outside of the berries will streak your batter blue, so be sure to rinse the berries before you add them. And to make your muffins look as irresistible as those at Costco, we’ll use another one of their tasty tricks: press 4 blueberries into the batter in each cup just before the pan goes into the oven so that every baked muffin is sure to have several tantalizing berries popping out of the top.

    Find more favorite famous bread recipes here

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Bush's Country Style Baked Beans

    In the Bush’s Beans commercials, Duke, the family golden retriever, wants to sell the secret family recipe, but the Bush family always stops him. The dog is based on the Bush family’s real-life golden retriever, and the campaign, which began in 1995, made Bush’s the big dog of the canned baked beans market practically overnight. Their confidential baked beans formula is considered one of the top 10 biggest recipe secrets in the U.S.

    Bush Brothers & Company had been canning a variety of fruits and vegetables for over 60 years when, in 1969, the company created canned baked beans using a cherished recipe from a family matriarch. Sales jumped from 10 thousand cases in the first year to over 100 thousand cases in 1970. And just one year later sales hit a million cases. Today Bush’s makes over 80 percent of the canned baked beans sold in the U.S., and the secret family recipe remains a top food secret, despite Duke’s attempts. A replica of the original recipe book—without the original recipe in it (drat!)—is on display at the company's visitor center in Chestnut Hill, Tennessee.

    I chose to hack the “Country Style” version of Bush’s Beans because I don’t think the Original flavor has enough, uh, flavor. Country Style is similar to Original, but richer, with more brown sugar. My recipe for Bush's Country Style baked beans starts by soaking dry small white beans in a brine overnight. The salt in the water helps to soften the skins, but don’t soak them for more than 14 hours or the skins may begin to fall off. You can skip this step if you've got a fancy Instant Pot using my directions below. 

    My first versions tasted great but lacked the deep brown color of the real Bush’s beans, which include caramel coloring—an ingredient that can be hard to find on its own. I eventually discovered that the “browning” sauce, Kitchen Bouquet, will add the dark caramel color needed to our home version of the beans so that they’ll look just like the real thing.

    This recipe was our #5 most popular in 2019. Check out the other four most unlocked recipes of the year: Texas Roadhouse Rolls (#1) KFC Extra Crispy Fried Chicken (#2), Olive Garden Braised Beef Bolognese (#3), Pizzeria Uno Chicago Deep Dish Pizza (#4).

     

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  • Score: 4.24 (votes: 25)
    Budweiser Chelada

    If you've never had a Chelada, the idea of mixing beer with Clamato juice may make your stomach turn. This odd combination of beverages has origins in Mexico that date back to the 1940s, when beer was mixed with lime, salt, and hot sauce or salsa. 

    In early 2008, Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser) and Cadbury-Schweppes (Clamato) teamed up to produce the first canned Chelada beverage, which they dubbed "The Red One," and after a successful launch in select western states, the product is now exploding across the country. Many swear by the drink as a remarkable hangover cure, and after some extensive personal experimentation, I must concur. Try my easy Budweiser Chelada recipe below and see for yourself.

    Click here for more famous drink recipes. 

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.80 (votes: 10)
    Cadbury Creme Egg

    Each spring Cadbury candy machines whip out 66,000 of these cool candies every hour. And now, because of the success of these chocolates with the orange, yolk-colored center, other candy companies have come out with their own milk chocolate eggs. Some are filled with Snickers or Milky Way centers, while others contain peanut butter, coconut, caramel, or the same type of fondant center as the original—right down to the colors. 

    Still, nothing compares to these original eggs that are sold only once a year, for the Easter holiday. And now you can enjoy your own version at home anytime you like. With my Cadbury crème egg recipe below, the final shape of your candy will be more like half eggs, but the flavor will be full-on Cadbury. 

    Want to copy more of your favorite candy at home? See if I hacked your favorites here

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur. 

    Update 4/11/17: I recently discovered that freezing the very sticky fondant center—rather than refrigerating it—makes it easier to work with. I made the adjustments in the recipe below. 

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 2)
    AriZona Iced Tea with Ginseng Extract

    When John Ferolito and Don Vultaggio were thinking of names for their new line of iced teas back in 1992, they scanned a map for inspiration. The idea was to find a location with hot weather. Santa Fe was the first name that smacked 'em in the face, but the two later settled on the sweltering state of Arizona, with the funky addition of a capital "Z" in the middle. Now AriZona Beverage Company makes over 30 varieties of iced teas, coffees, elixirs, juices and other hip drinks. 

    My AriZona Iced Tea with Ginseng recipe below copies their popular black tea with ginseng. You can make it with just one regular size tea bag and liquid ginseng that you can find in any decent health food store worth a grain of organic salt.

    Try my AriZona Iced Tea with honey recipe here

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

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  • Score: 4.77 (votes: 22)
    AriZona Green Tea with Ginseng and Honey

    Hard to believe it takes only one regular-size green tea bag to make this entire 2-quart clone of the popular Arizona Green Tea with Ginseng and Honey in the foam green bottles. Find the liquid ginseng for this recipe in your local health food store. Be sure to get American ginseng if you can, since the Chinese stuff can taste pretty rank. 

    Find more famous drink recipes here.

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

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Ben & Jerry's Heath Bar Crunch Ice Cream

    When Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield first met in their seventh-grade gym class, they quickly became good friends. After college the two decided they wanted to try their hand at selling ice cream. With $12,000 to invest, they moved from New York to Burlington, Vermont, where they purchased an abandoned gas station as the first location for their ice cream store.

    After passing a five-dollar correspondence course on ice cream making from Pennsylvania State University and spending their life savings on renovating the gas station, the two were officially in the ice cream business. Ben and Jerry opened the doors to their first ice cream parlor in 1978. The pair's ice cream was such a big hit that they soon moved to a much larger facility. Today, just fifteen years after opening day, they produce more that 500,000 gallons of ice cream each month.

    Heath Bar Crunch was one of the earliest flavors on the menu and is still the most popular of the thirty original chunky ice cream creations that made them famous. Try making this Ben and Jerry's favorite yourself with our Heath Bar ice cream recipe below!

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.83 (votes: 6)
    Borden Cracker Jack

    In 1871 a German immigrant named F. W. Rueckheim came to Chicago with $200 in his pocket. He used all of his money to open a small popcorn shop in the city and started selling a sweet caramel-and-molasses-coated popcorn confection. Rueckheim's big break came in 1893, when the treat was served at Chicago's first world's fair. From then on the popcorn's popularity grew enormously. In 1896 a salesman tasting the treat for the first time said, "That's a cracker jack," and the name stuck. Shortly after Cracker Jacks debut another customer commented, "The more you eat, the more you want," and that's still the slogan today.

    In 1912 the Cracker Jack Company started adding toy surprises, ranging from small books to miniature metal toy trains. To date they have given away more than 17 billion toy surprises. In 1964 Borden, Inc. bought the Cracker Jack Company, and today the Cracker Jack division is the largest user of popcorn in the world, popping more than twenty tons of corn a day.

    Use my Cracker Jack recipe to duplicate the original caramel corn. Toy not included.

    Check out my clones for Fiddle Faddle, Poppycock, Screaming Yellow Zonkers, and Crunch N' Munch.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 2)
    Aunt Jemima Maple Syrup

    The year 1989 marked the 100th anniversary of the Aunt Jemima trademark. The name was conceived in 1889 by Chris Rutt while he was attending a vaudeville show and watching a New Orleans-style dance number performed to a jazzy tune called "Aunt Jemima." Rutt liked the music so much he stuck the name on his products. The maple syrup came along much later, in 1964, and is now the country's largest-selling syrup.

    Today, some folks tell the story of how their friends or relatives once met Aunt Jemima many years ago and how she was a kind and cordial woman. Little do they realize these people were fooled by a promotional campaign for the products back in the forties and fifties that used actresses traveling from town to town dressed up and acting like the "famous women." There never really was an Aunt Jemima. 

    Your friends and family might also be fooled by my Aunt Jemima Maple Syrup recipe below. It's a dead-ringer for the original.

    Looking for a great pancake recipe? I've cloned dozens from Denny's to IHOP. Find your favorite here.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 3)
    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. 

    Click here for more of my copycat recipes of famous candy.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.65 (votes: 20)
    Coca-Cola Blak

    Two years is all it took for Coca-Cola to banish this new hybrid of cola and black coffee to the land of the Dead Foods—in 2008. It may have been the steep price that scared customers away, since they were getting a very small 8-ounce Coca-Cola beverage for $1.79. Others claim it was the unusual flavor, although I actually thought it tasted pretty good—like a combination of Coca-Cola, cream soda, and coffee. Hey, that sounds like great combo for our hack. Dissolve some NutraSweet (that's what Coca-Cola uses) in cold espresso, add it to the sodas, and you'll get 24 ounces (3 servings) of a remarkable clone at a total cost of just 90 cents. That's more like it. Another Dead Food resurrected.

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

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  • Score: 4.38 (votes: 13)
    Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Chocolate Cake Mix

    Let's say you want to make some chocolate cake from one of the popular mixes that come in a box but you don't have much of a craving for propylene glycol, polyglycerol esters of fatty acids, or cellulose gum. Well, if you're making cake from a box mix, that's probably what you'll be eating. Many of those additives are what give the cake you make with Duncan Hines cake mix its deluxe moistness. The good news is we can come very close to duplicating the store-bought cake mix with very simple dry ingredients and a little shortening. By combining the dry stuff, then thoroughly mixing in the shortening, you will have a mix that is shelf-stable until you add the same wet ingredients in the same amounts required by the real thing. It's a great way to make good, old-fashioned chocolate cake without the hard-to-pronounce additives.

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  • Not rated yet
    Dolly Madison Cinnamon Buttercrumb Cakes Low-Fat

    When Interstate Brands started the Dolly Madison line of baked goods that has today become the convenience store leader, it was known as Interstate Bakeries. Roy Nafziger started the bakery in 1927, and he could only have dreamed that one day his company would ring up more than one billion dollars in sales. One item that contributes to those impressive sales figures are these little brown sugar/cinnamon-topped cakes, which have become a popular addition to the Dolly Madison line of baked goods since the late eighties.

    We can easily create a low-fat home clone of the real thing with only seven ingredients, thanks to white cake mix that can be found in practically all stores. Notice that the cake mix is not a reduced-fat variety. That's not necessary for the recipe to produce little cakes that taste just like the real thing, but still have less than one-third the fat. And even though the original is sort of square-shaped, we'll use a couple of 12-cup muffin pans to simplify the process. The shape will be different, but the flavor will be right on.

    Check out my recipe for Dolly Madison Zingers here

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 cake
    Total servings–24
    Calories per serving–111 (Original–170)
    Fat per serving–1.7g (Original–6g)

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite 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 clone recipes for you to use at home. Welcome to my lab.

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