The #1 Copycat Recipes Website

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You lucky devil. 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. Get all the best restaurant recipes from Applebee's to El Pollo Loco here. New recipes added every week.

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Show: 24
  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 2)
    Benihana Hibachi Chicken and Steak

    When 20-year old Rocky Aoki came to New York City from Japan with his wrestling team in 1959 he was convinced it was the land of opportunity. Just five years later he used $10,000 he had saved plus another $20,000 that he borrowed to open a Benihana steakhouse on the West Side of Manhattan. His concept of bringing the chefs out from the back of the kitchen to prepare the food in front of customers on a specially designed hibachi grill was groundbreaking. The restaurant was such a smashing success that it paid for itself within 6 months. 

    The most popular items at the restaurant are the Hibachi Chicken and Hibachi Steak, which are prepared at your table on an open hibachi grill. But, since most home kitchens are not fitted with an hibachi grill, you'll have to improvise. You will likely have to use two pans for this Benihana hibachi chicken and steak recipe; one for the meat and mushrooms, and the other for the remaining vegetables. And since many of today's cooking surfaces are coated with scratchable, nonstick coatings, we won't be slicing the meat and vegetables while they are sizzling on the hot cooking surface as the Benihana chefs do.

    Grab my clone recipes for the Ginger and Mustard Dipping Sauces here

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Carl's Jr. The Six Dollar Burger

    In 2001 this West Coast chain came up with a great idea: clone the type of burger you'd get at a casual restaurant chain such as Chili's or T.G.I. Friday's for around six bucks, but sell it for just $3.95. It's 1/3 pound of ground beef stacked on top of plenty of fixings, including red onion and those sweet-tasting bread-and-butter pickle slices. And the cost of a Six Dollar Burger gets even lower when you make your own version at home. How does less than two bucks grab ya?

    Craving more famous sandwiches from Carl's Jr? Find your favorites here.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Not rated yet
    Applebee's Tijuana Philly Steak Sandwich

    Menu Description: "Lean shaved Philly steak folded into a grilled tortilla roll with Monterey Jack and Cheddar, sauteed mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, bacon and jalapenos."

    With the acquisition of 13 Rio Bravo cantinas in 1994, Applebee's made its move into the competitive "Mexican casual dining sector." Perhaps it's the company's interest in Mexican food that inspired this Philadelphia-Tijuana hybrid sandwich. The steak, cheese, mushrooms, and onions give the sandwich a Philly taste, while the tomatoes, bacon, jalapenos, and the tortilla take you across the border.

    I really like this newer addition to the menu, probably because I'm a big cheesesteak fan who also loves Mexican food. As you can see from this dish, Applebee's has a knack for breathing new life into old sandwich concepts. I hope you'll find this one worth a try.

    If you want to make a "lite" version, refer to the Tidbits at the bottom of the recipe.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Boston Market Cinnamon Apples Fat-Free

    By the end of 1997, there were 1,166 Boston Market outlets in 38 states. It took only ten years for the company to reach this number of units—pretty impressive growth. The cinnamon apple side dish has been on the menu since the company opened the doors to its first outlet. The dish from the chain is fairly low in fat—only 4.5 grams of fat per serving—but there is apparently some butter or oil in there. Using the right cooking techniques and some Butter Buds, we can easily take that fat all the way down to zippo, while still getting all of the same great flavors of the original Boston Market cinnamon apples.

    Want more Boston Market? Click here to see if I hacked your favorites.

    Nutritional Facts
    Serving size–1/2 cup
    Total servings–4
    Calories per serving–177 (Original–250)
    Fat per serving–0g (Original–4.5g)

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.43 (votes: 14)
    Burger King Whopper

    In 1954, in Miami, Florida, James McLamore and David Edgerton built the first Burger King Restaurant. By 1991 more than 6,400 Burger King outlets could be found in forty countries and all fifty states. That gives this burger giant more than $6 billion is sales each year, making it the country's second-largest fast food chain.

    For many, the favorite item on the menu is a flame-broiled hamburger conceived by the partners on a business trip from Orlando to Miami in 1957. Dubbed the "Whopper," this sandwich is overwhelmingly popular; figures show that Burger King sells more than 540 million annually, or nearly 2 million each day. And with more than 1,023 different combinations of the eight ingredients, including a vegetarian version, you really can "have it your way." 

    Use my Burger King Whopper recipe below to assemble your own flame-broiled burger creation. Have it your way, or follow the stacking order listed below to duplicate the original.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 4)
    Dairy Queen Blizzard

    When the United States was emerging from the Great Depression in 1938, J.F. McCullough was experimenting with the idea of creating a new frozen dairy product. McCullough felt ice cream tasted better when it was soft and dispensed fresh from the freezder, not frozen solid. To test his theory with the public, McCulllough held and "All-the-Ice-Cream-You-Can-Eat-for-Only-10-Cents" sale at a friend's ice cream store. More than 1,600 people were served the soft ice cream in the course of two hours. Convinced that the new product was a big hit, McCullough had to find a machine that could dispense the product at the right consistency. It wasn't long before he found Harry Oltz, the inventory of a freezer that could do the job. In 1940 McCullough opened the first Dairy Queen in Joliet, Illinois.

    As of 1991 the company claimed to have more than 5,300 retail stores in the United States and twelve other countries. Since its creation in 1985, the Blizzard has shot to the top as the most popular Dairy Queen product, with more than 200 million of the treats sold each year. This is my version of the ice cream Blizzard with Heath candy bar bits in it.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 4)
    Burger King Big King

    The Burger Wars have become the biggest food fight since that cafeteria scene from the movie Animal House. The two burger giants, McDonald's and Burger King, have each been cloning the other's top product in the bloody battle for the big burger buck. Burger King stepped up first with the Big King—Burger King's version of McDonald's Big Mac. Yes, it had two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun; although everything was arranged a bit differently, and there's no middle bun in there. Then McDonald's rolled out the Big 'N Tasty, which bore a striking resemblance to Burger King's Whopper, with fresh lettuce, tomato, and onion on top of a huge beef patty. Who's winning this fight by leveraging the popularity of the other company's product? Nobody, really. McDonald's chose to alter its Big 'N Tasty recipe by making it smaller 'n cheaper; then changed the name to BigXtra!, while Burger King limited the sale of the Big King and then took it off the menu. But this food fight is far from over. More recently Burger King tweaked its French fry formula in an unsuccessful attempt to steal away fans of McDonald's winning fried spuds recipe. And McDonald's has added more breakfast sandwiches to compete with Burger King's wide wake up selection. So the war continues. And the battlefield is splattered with ketchup.

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 3.60 (votes: 5)
    Burger King Breakfast Sandwiches

    Get vertical with these two top secret breakfasts-in-sandwich from the world's number-two fast food chain. A great way to make the eggs for these breakfast sandwiches is to pour the beaten egg into a well-greased mold made from an empty pineapple can. Just cut both ends off an 8-ounce pineapple can—you know, the short cans that have the crushed or sliced pineapple inside. Then, before you know it, you'll be making perfectly round eggs like the fast food pros.  

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Carl's Jr. Chicken Club

    The first days receipts at Carl Karcher's just-purchased hot-dog cart in 1941 totaled $14.75. Peanuts, right? But Karcher was determined to make it big. So during the next two years he purchased several more stands throughout the Los Angeles area, later expanding into restaurants and diversifying the menu. In 1993, what had once been a business of one tiny hot-dog cart had become a multi-million-dollar company with 642 outlets. From $14.75 on the first day to today's $1.6 million in daily receipts, old Carl was on the right track.

    Now you can use my Carl's Jr. Chicken Club recipe to duplicate the delicious teriyaki marinated chicken breast, bacon, and Swiss cheese sandwich at home. 

    Find more of your favorite Carl's Jr. burgers and sides here

    Source: More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.33 (votes: 15)
    Dunkin' Donuts Donuts

    As he worked long, hard days at a shipyard in Hingham, Massachusetts, during World War II, William Rosenberg was struck with an idea for a new kind of food service. As soon as the war ended, Rosenberg started Industrial Luncheon Services, a company that delivered fresh meals and snacks to factory workers. When Rosenberg realized that most of his business was in coffee and donuts, he quit offering his original service. He found an old awning store and converted it into a coffee-and-donut shop called The Open Kettle. This name was soon changed to the more familiar Dunkin' Donuts, and between 1950 and 1955 five more shops opened and thrived. The company later spread beyond the Boston area and has become the largest coffee-and-donut chain in the world.

    Today, Dunkin' Donuts offers fifty-two varieties of donuts in each shop, but the most popular have always been the plain glazed and chocolate-glazed yeast donuts.

    Source: More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Not rated yet
    Bennigan's Buffalo Chicken Sandwich

    Menu Description: "Our spicy sauce tops a tender, fried, marinated chicken breast. Served with a tangy blue cheese dressing."

    When the first Bennigan's opened in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1976, it resembled an Irish pub. The green decor with brass accents, the Irish-style memorabilia hanging on the walls, and the upbeat friendly atmosphere made the establishment extremely popular, especially during St. Patricks Day celebrations. Originally, the restaurant was best known for the bar, which served tasty appetizers and creative drinks, but that has since changed. As the restaurant chain expanded across the county, its menu grew to more than 50 items, making 220-outlet Bennigan's a popular casual dining stop.

    If you're a big buffalo wings fan, as I am, you'll really dig this Bennigan's Buffalo Chicken Sandwich recipe that puts the zest flavor of hot wings between two buns. This recent addition to the Bennigan's menu has become a popular pick for the lunch or dinner crowd that likes its food on the spicy side. Feel free to double the recipe, but fry the chicken breasts one at a time.

    What other famous sandwiches can you make at home? Find more recipes here

    Source: "Top Secret Restaurant Recipes" by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 3.00 (votes: 2)
    Bennigan's California Turkey Sandwich

    Menu Description: "Sliced turkey, avocado, tomato, sprouts, and lettuce with mayonnaise on wheat bread."

    The successful chain of Bennigan's restaurants is owned by Metromedia, one of the largest privately held partnerships in the country. Metromedia ranks second on the list of the country's largest casual dining restaurant companies, just behind Little Caesar's Pizza. Other restaurant chains controlled by Metromedia include Steak and Ale, Montana Steak Company, Ponderosa Steakhouse, and Bonanza Steakhouse chains. Altogether Metromedia owns more than 1500 restaurants that ring up nearly half a billion in revenue each year. 

    It's funny how any sandwich with avocado, sprouts, tomatoes, and lettuce in it winds up with "California" somewhere in the name. This recipe is not exactly a healthier alternative with all the mayonnaise and avocado in there, but if it's low-fat you're looking for, simply substitute a "light" mayonnaise for the regular stuff, ditch the avocado, and you're on your way to the beach.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Bennigan's Cookie Mountain Sundae

    Menu Description: "Four scoops of vanilla ice cream between two giant chocolate chip cookies. Drizzled with hot fudge and sprinkled with powdered sugar."

    Bennigan's puts a twist on the traditional sundae with this sweet treat. Although this dessert was created for the Bennigan's menu, the original sundae has been with us since the turn of the century. Here's some cool history for you: this was a time when alternatives to alcohol were in high demand, so soda fountain proprietors began inventing new drinks. Ice cream sodas—scoops of ice cream combined with soda water and a squirt of flavored syrup—became so popular that Americans were enjoying them to the point of gluttony, especially on the Sabbath day. The treat was soon referred to as the "Sunday Soda Menace," and after Evanston, Illinois, became the first city to enact laws against selling ice cream sodas (shame!), the new prohibition was spreading nationwide. First alcohol, then sodas....you can bet a substitution was in order.

    One day soda fountain clerk, prohibited from selling sodas, served up a bowl of ice cream to a customer who requested a dribbling of chocolate syrup on the top. The fountain clerk, upon tasting the dish himself, found that he had discovered a new taste sensation, and soon the dessert was offered to everyone on Sundays only. Eventually that day of the week would be adopted as the name of the delicious ice-cream dish, with a bit of a spelling change to satisfy the scrutinizing clergy. The "soda-less soda" that we now call a sundae was born.

    This recipe makes enough giant chocolate chip cookies for six or seven sundaes, but you don't have to serve them all at once. Store the cookies in an airtight container and assemble the sundaes as you need them...on any day of the week.

    Try my recipe for Bennigan's Monte Cristo and more here

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Big Boy Club Sandwich

    Menu Description: "Slices of turkey breast with bacon, tomato, lettuce, mayonnaise, stacked on toasted bread. Served with coleslaw."

    When Bob Wian invented the first Big Boy double-decker hamburger in 1937, his restaurant business went through the roof. Soon a slew of imitators hit the market with their own giant-sized burgers: Bun Boy, Brawney Boy, Super Boy, Yumi Boy, Country Boy, Husky Boy, Hi-Boy, Beefy Boy, Lucky Boy, and many other "Boys" across the burger-crazed country. 

    By 1985 the Big Boy statues had become a common sight in front of hundreds of Bob's restaurants around the country. This was also the year the Marriott Corporation, which had purchased Bob's from retiring Bob Wian in 1967, created a national ballot to decide whether the Big Boy character would stay or go. Thousands of voters elected to keep the tubby little tike, but his days were numbered. In 1992, Marriott chose to sell all of the Bob's Big Boys to an investment group. Those mostly West Coast Big Boys were later converted to Coco's or Carrows restaurants, and there the Big Boy went bye-bye. The Elias Brothers, a Michigan-area franchiser for many years, purchased the Big Boy name from Marriott in 1987, and today is the sole Big Boy franchiser worldwide.

    The Club Sandwich is one of Big Boy's signature sandwiches, and remains one of the most popular items on the menu since it was introduced in the mid-70s.

    Check out my recipes for Big Boy double-decker hamburger and cream of broccoli soup here

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Not rated yet
    California Pizza Kitchen Thai Chicken Pizza

    Menu Description: "With pieces of chicken marinated in a spicy peanut-ginger and sesame sauce, green onions, bean sprouts, julienne carrots, cilantro and roasted peanuts."

    After the first California Pizza Kitchen opened in Beverly Hills in 1985 success came quickly: there are currently 78 restaurants in 18 states. In 1992, huge food conglomerate PepsiCo paid over $70 million for a 70 percent share of the company-just eight years after Larry and Rick started the company. As for those two, well, they pocketed $18 million apiece, or around 70 times their initial investment in 1985. 

    Thai Chicken Pizza is one of the oldest varieties of pizza still on the menu, and remains a favorite. If you prefer, you can make this California Pizza Kitchen Thai Chicken Pizza recipe with a store-bought package dough or dough mix, but I recommend making the crust yourself. If you decide to do that, make it one day ahead of time so that it can rise slowly in the refrigerator. If you liked this, be sure to check out our CPK BBQ chicken pizza recipe.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    California Pizza Kitchen Southwestern Burrito Pizza

    Menu Description: "With grilled chicken breast marinated in lime and herbs, Southwestern black beans, fire-roasted mild chilis, sweet white onions and Cheddar cheese. Served with green tomatillo salsa and sour cream."

    Menu Description: "With grilled chicken breast marinated in lime and herbs, Southwestern black beans, fire-roasted mild chilis, sweet white onions and Cheddar cheese. Served with green tomatillo salsa and sour cream."

    California Pizza Kitchen uses imported Italian wood-fired ovens to bake the specialty pizzas. These ovens reach temperatures over 800 degrees F, allowing the pizzas to cook in just three minutes. This technique keeps ingredients from drying out so that the pizzas don't require as much cheese as in traditional recipes. 

    Unfortunately, most of us don't have wood-burning pizza ovens in our kitchens so I have designed these recipes to work in a conventional oven with a minimum of cheese. If you have a pizza stone, use it. If you have a hard time finding tomatillos (they look like small green tomatoes with a thin papery skin and are found in the produce section) you can use canned green salsa. 

    You have the option of using a store-bought crust or instant pizza dough, but I can't say enough about making the dough yourself from the recipe here. You just have to plan ahead, making the dough one day before you plan to bake the pizza. This way the dough will get to rest and will rise slowly in the refrigerator—a great technique the pros use.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.10 (votes: 40)
    Arby's Sauce

    The beef sandwiches from Arby's would be very hard to duplicate since they are made from specially processed hunks of beef that are then thinly sliced with a deli-style meat slicer. However, the sweet-and-tangy Arby's BBQ sauce can be cloned easily. With just a few basic ingredients you can make this copycat Arby's sauce recipe to add generously to a variety of homemade sandwich creations, even barbecued ribs or chicken. If you love Arby's Horsey sauceBronco Berry Sauce or the Jamoca Shake, you can get those recipes here

    Source: More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Carl's Jr. Bacon Swiss Crispy Chicken Sandwich

    If you love crispy chicken sandwiches—and especially if you don't live in the West where this chain is located—you'll want to try out this clone of the tasty Carl's Jr. creation. The recipe makes four of the addicting chicken sandwiches from the California-based fast-food chain, but will also come in handy for making a delicious homemade ranch dressing. Try using some lean turkey bacon, fat-free Swiss cheese, and fat-free mayonnaise if you feel like cutting back on the fat. 

    Find more of my copycat Carl's Jr. recipes here.

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 2)
    Chevys Mesquite-Grilled BBQ Chicken Quesadilla Reduced-Fat

    With this secret recipe from Low-Fat Top Secret Recipes, it isn't necessary to cook the chicken over a mesquite grill as they do in the restaurant chain. Sure, you could get some mesquite wood chips and throw 'em on your barbecue or you can use that charcoal that has mesquite in it. But an easier way to get the flavor of mesquite—especially if all you've got is a gas grill—is to soak the chicken in a marinade made with mesquite-flavored liquid smoke. In the restaurant these puppies are made with red chili tortillas. Since these type of tortillas can be tough to find, especially in fat-free versions, we'll use plain fat-free tortillas for our tasty reduced-fat clone.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–2 pieces
    Total servings–4
    Calories per serving–278 (Original–400)
    Fat per serving–10g (Original–20g)

    Source: Low-Fat Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.93 (votes: 14)
    Arby's Bronco Berry Sauce

    This sweet and spicy jelly sauce comes on the side, in little 1.5-ounce containers, with Arby's battered jalapeno and cheese Side Kickers. But, you know, you just never get enough of the good stuff in those little one-serving dipping packs to use later with your own home-cooked delicacies. And isn't it odd that the sauce is called Bronco Berry when there's not a berry to be found in there? Sure, the sauce is bright red and sugary, but you won't find a speck of fruit on the ingredients list. Nevertheless, the sweet and spicy flavors in this Arby's Bronco Berry sauce recipe make this a great jelly sauce that has many uses beyond dipping quick-service finger foods such as jalapeno popperschicken fingers, and eggrolls. Use it as a delicious substitute for mint jelly with your next batch of lamb chops.

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 3)
    Carl's Jr. Ranch Crispy Chicken Sandwich

    This fried chicken breast sandwich includes lettuce and tomato, and is slathered with a clone of Carl's tasty ranch dressing. We'll use elements of the Carl's Jr. Bacon Swiss Crispy Chicken Sandwich clone recipe to whip up this variation of the Carl's Jr. crispy chicken sandwiches. Use both of these sandwich hacks to serve up two different sandwich clones for different tastes, with little extra effort.

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 7)
    Applebee's Honey Grilled Salmon

    Menu Description: "Flame-grilled Atlantic Salmon with Applebee's Honey Pepper Sauce served with a side of almond rice pilaf, seasoned vegetables and toasted garlic bread."

    It's all about the sauce. This sweet, tangy and slightly spicy sauce goes perfectly with salmon, but can also be used on chicken or ribs. Just be sure to watch the sauce closely as it cooks in case it starts to bubble over. If it sounds like I'm speaking from experience, you're right—oh, what a beautiful mess I made on one attempt. So, cook the sauce slowly, and watch it closely as it thickens. If it gets too thick, you can always add a bit of water to thin it out. I suggest serving this salmon with almond rice pilaf as they do in the restaurant. You can find a good clone recipe here on the site.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 4)
    Applebee's Perfect Apple Margarita

    Here's a great twist on the traditional margarita. Sour apple schnapps and apple juice join forces with tequila and sweet-and-sour mix in a martini glass that's rimmed with cinnamon sugar. Hey, it's like drinking apple pie! This recipe makes one drink, but it's easy to double up. That's a good thing, since it seems like one is never enough.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.25 (votes: 4)
    Applebee's Club House Grill

    Menu Description: "Applebee's signature hot club sandwich with warm sliced ham and turkey, cheddar, tomatoes, mayonnaise and Bar-B-Que sauce on thick-sliced grilled French bread. Served with a side of coleslaw."

    Here's a sandwich that Applebee's claims is a signature item for the chain. It's a cross between a club sandwich and a grilled cheese. So, if you like both of those, you'll love this.

    For the sliced turkey and ham, go to your deli service counter in the supermarket and get the stuff they machine-slice real thin for sandwiches. This usually tastes the best. If you don't have a service counter, thin-sliced prepackaged meats will also work great.

    Find more of your favorite Applebee's copycat recipes here

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur. 

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Show: 24

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  • Not rated yet
    Cheesecake Factory Thai Coconut-Lime Chicken

    Menu Description: “Tender pieces of chicken. Snow peas, shiitake mushrooms, onions, and garlic in a Thai coconut-curry sauce with cashews and pineapple. Served with white rice.”

    Sautéed white meat chicken comes swimming in the chain’s magical coconut-lime curry sauce, served alongside a bed of rice, with stir-fried vegetables, and topped with pineapple relish, cashews, and toasted coconut. The Cheesecake Factory captures great Thai flavors in this striking entrée from the restaurant chain’s specialty menu selections, and you can re-create the Cheesecake Factory Thai-Coconut Lime Chicken dish at home, with this exclusive recipe that I’ve sleuthed out down to every delicious detail.

    The star of the show is the mouthwatering coconut-lime curry sauce that brings together the traditional Thai combination of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy flavors. The sauce brings in sour from lime and tamarind, sweet from honey, salt from fish sauce, and spicy heat from red pepper flakes. And if the sauce is cooked minimally after the parsley is added, the leafy herb will stay bright green for a beautiful and tasty dish that perfectly mirrors the original Cheesecake Factory Thai Coconut-Lime Chicken.

    Check out more of my copycat Cheesecake Factory recipes here.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Domino's Spicy Jalapeno-Pineapple Specialty Chicken

    My Domino’s new spicy specialty chicken recipe gives you a new way to turn frozen breaded chicken from any supermarket into an impressive appetizer. And this Top Secret Recipe comes with my complete formula for duplicating the chain’s famous sweet mango habanero dipping sauce to give your dish its fiery personality.

    Top your chicken with a blend of Cheddar and mozzarella cheese, jalapeño slices, and pineapple, and bake it on a strip of parchment paper until the cheese is bubbly and browned around the edges.

    Find more of your favorites from Domino's here

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    Carrabba's Traditional Cannoli

    Menu Description: “Two crisp pastry shells stuffed with sweet ricotta and chocolate chip filling, topped with pistachios and powdered sugar.”           

    For great traditional cannoli, one need not look any further than a nearby Carrabba’s Italian Grill. The cannoli there are exactly what you want cannoli to be: a crunchy shell that isn’t soggy or too thick, packed with sweetened ricotta cheese filling that’s smooth and not grainy. And with that classic crunchy/creamy combination comes a hint of cinnamon lingering in the background to complete the traditional taste of a legit cannoli.

    To make Carrabba's cannoli at home, you’ll need 8 cannoli tubes to form the shells. After wrapping circles of dough around these 5-inch long metal tubes, they get deep-fried for a few minutes resulting in shells that are perfectly golden brown.

    As for the filling, it needs to be smooth if you want a good clone, so try to find ricotta cheese that isn’t too grainy. We’ll first strain the cheese overnight so that most of the liquid runs off for a thicker filling, but if your cheese is still grainy run the filling through a food processor until the cheese is smooth before folding in the whipped cream. Now that’s good cannoli.

    Click here for more of your favorite dishes from Carrabba's.

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  • Not rated yet
    Applebee's Spinach & Artichoke Dip

    When I saw a recent Mashed.com poll where most people picked the spinach & artichoke dip as their favorite appetizer on the Applebee’s menu, I realized I haven’t yet cracked the recipe, and immediately got to work.

    I've hacked many spinach & artichoke dips over the years, but this one is different with a blend of Italian cheese in the mix. Thankfully, grocery stores usually have bags of pre-blended shredded Italian cheese, to make things easy. With that cheese blend, plus some additional Asiago and Parmesan, we've got a spot-on match to Applebee's Spinach & Artichoke Dip.

    No need to defrost the frozen spinach ahead of time—that will be taken care of when it steams in your microwave. Add the steamed spinach to the cheese and other ingredients in a saucepan with the trimmed artichoke hearts, and when it’s hot, sprinkle on some more Parm, brown it under your broiler, and bust out the chips.

    Check out my recipe for Applebee's Chicken Wonton Tacos and more here

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  • Not rated yet
    Del Taco Tamales

    This 600-unit Mexican fast food chain celebrates the holidays each year with delicious little $2 corn husk-wrapped pork tamales made from a traditional recipe for authentic south-of-the-border taste. The only problem is when the holidays go away, so do these tasty tamales. And that's why we bust out this Top Secret Recipe.

    Making authentic tamales is not difficult, but it does take time. The pork requires a braise for several hours to get it fork-tender, and the wrapped tamales will take around 2 hours to steam until they're done.

    My Del Taco tamale recipe is inspired by traditional tamale recipes that include a braising sauce for the pork made from rehydrated guajillo peppers. To coax out more flavor, I chose to first toast the peppers before adding them to the liquid. And rather than using lard in the masa dough, I found a combination of vegetable shortening and butter to be a more flavorful alternative.

    Steam all 24 of tamales until they are fully cooked, and store those you can’t eat in your freezer for several weeks. Steam the frozen tamales for 20 to 30 minutes, and they’ll taste as good as fresh.

    How about a cold margarita to wash down those tamales? Find your favorite famous drink recipes here.

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  • Not rated yet
    Chick-fil-A Peppermint Chip Milkshake

    The chicken chain’s seasonal milkshake made with chips of peppermint and chocolate is only available November through January each year, but what if you’re craving one in March? Or what if it’s Sunday and you can’t get your favorite shake because that’s when every Chick-fil-A is closed?

    Now you can make Chick-Fil-A Peppermint Chip Milkshake at home in the few minutes it takes to smash some candy canes and turn on a blender. Use a small storage bag and a kitchen mallet or handle of a butter knife to smash the peppermint candy into small crumbs, then combine those with dark chocolate bits, ice cream, milk, flavoring, and color, and you’ll be sipping on a perfect copy of the famous shake in under 5 minutes.

    Oh, don’t forget the whipped cream and a cherry.

    Try more of my Chick-Fil-A copycat recipes like their famous chicken sandwich here

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  • Not rated yet
    Domino's Sweet Mango Habanero Sauce

    This is the hottest of Domino’s dipping sauce offerings, and many would say it’s the best. The big sweet-and-sour flavors hit you first right out of the gate, then the habanero creeps in to remind your mouth which ingredient is the boss.   

    Sure, habanero is in the name, but there are actually several peppers at work here including jalapeno and red bell, and three juices: mango, orange, and lime. For your clone, everything gets pureed in the blender until smooth. When your Domino's Sweet Mango Habanero sauce has cooled, use it as a dip or baste for chicken fingers, nuggets, wings, coconut shrimp, salmon, and pizza (yes, pizza!). Give it a try with my Domino's pizza copycat recipes here

    Come for the great flavor, but stay for the heavenly heat of my simple and delicious original recipe for Domino's Sweet Mango Habanero sauce. Includes handy step photos. 

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Cracker Barrel Buttermilk Biscuits

    A great buttermilk biscuit isn’t hard to make. This is good news if you're serving hundreds each day as they do at this popular Southern kitchen chain. But a simple recipe such as this one is also a blessing when you need to whip up a modest batch at home for your hungry gang of biscuit fanatics, and it's an added bonus if they taste as good as the famous biscuits from Cracker Barrel. 

    The secret to tender, flakey biscuits like you get at the restaurant chain is using a lower-gluten self-rising flour such as White Lily; a staple for Southern biscuit recipes. A bit of shortening in the mix will help tenderize the finished product, as will a light mixing hand. Overmixing the dough may toughen your biscuits, so mix the dough gently and only as much as you have to.

    If you don’t use White Lily flour and go with a heavier self-rising flour such as Gold Medal, take note that you may have to add a couple of tablespoons more buttermilk to the dough to loosen it up. Good biscuit dough should be soft, but not sticky.

    After making these Cracker Barrel biscuits from scratch, try home versions of Cracker Barrel hash brown casserolebuttermilk piemeatloaf, and more.

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    Cracker Barrel Biscuit Beignets

    The delicious beignets Cracker Barrel creates with the chain's famous buttermilk biscuit formula are unlike traditional beignets in that they start with such a tangy dough. But once you add all the sweet stuff—cinnamon-sugar, powdered sugar, and butter-nut sauce—the saltiness is offset, resulting in a perfect harmony of great flavor.

    The dough here is a tweaked version of my hack for Cracker Barrel's Buttermilk Biscuits, but unlike that dough where we strive for flakiness in the finished product, this dough won't call for a light stirring hand. Instead, you should give this dough a decent beating in the mixing bowl to tighten it up so that it resists oil absorption when deep-fried.

    Along with all the steps and step photos for a great copycat of Cracker Barrel biscuit beignets, I’m also including my new hack for a delicious butter-nut dipping sauce that tastes just like what the chain serves, except this one is made with real butter. 

    Find more of your favorite Cracker Barrel dishes here

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    Applebee's Riblets

    Ever wonder where Riblets come from?

    "Riblets" is Applebee’s trademarked name for button ribs or rib tips (as they are called at Walmart), which is a short cut trimmed from the back end of pork spareribs, packed with lots of connective tissue. And that's a good thing because, after 3 to 4 hours of braising, that connective tissue will break down, producing fork-tender meat that slips off the bone. Of the cooking methods I tried for my version of Applebee's Riblets recipe, which included steaming, slow-roasting, and smoking; braising made the most tender, flavorful ribs—even before the sauce went on. 

    For the braising formula, I found that chicken broth infused with liquid smoke creates tender ribs that taste as if they came out of a smoker. Finish off the braised ribs on your grill and baste them with the original TSR hack below that clones Applebee’s honey barbecue sauce, or use your favorite bottled sauce. 

    And if you'd like to serve these riblets with almond rice pilaf as they do in the restaurant, you can find my clone recipe here on the site.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Domino's Chocolate Lava Crunch Cakes

    A traditional “molten” cake or “lava” cake is baked at a high temperature for a short time so that the outside of the cake is fully cooked, but the batter at the center stays unset and gooey. Domino’s lava cakes are different with pure fudge topping hidden in the middle rather than cake batter. The little dessert is delicious, with a crunchy exterior and two forms of chocolate in one bite, but it presents some challenges, such as how to fully enclose soft fudge in the center of a small cake without holes, and how to keep the fudge from disappearing into the cake batter as it bakes.

    Since there are no holes or seams detected on the cakes, the filling needs to be loaded into the cakes before baking. I thought about freezing the fudge in disk shapes and then concealing those into the middle of a muffin cup of cake batter, but the fudge doesn’t freeze solid in a home freezer. It just gets really cold and really sticky, and it's much too messy to work with.

    Going back to the drawing board, I found the clue I needed on Domino's website. The list of ingredients for the lava cakes includes “cake crumbs” and “cookie crumbs” along with butter, eggs, sugar, flour, vanilla, and cocoa. This suggests that crumbs of pre-baked cake and cookies could be combined with the other ingredients to make firmer cake “dough” rather than runny cake batter. The soft fudge could then be spooned onto the bottom of the uncooked mini cakes, topped with more dough, and baked.

    After baking the little cakes with this new technique there is no detectable seam, and the fudge inside gets warm and gooey and oozes out when you eat it, just like the real thing. Serve these up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side and watch the fun when everyone takes a bite.

    My Domino's chocolate lava crunch cake recipe makes 12 cakes, and I'm adding a bunch of step photos so yours will come out perfect. You can chill any leftovers for serving later with the reheating instructions I'm including at the end.

    Find more of your favorite Domino's copycat recipes here.

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    Applebee's Oreo Cookie Milkshake

    This delicious made-to-order oreo cookie milkshake was one of several items cut from the menu in 2020 when the pandemic brought the dine-in restaurant business to a crawl. But in June 2021 when the song “Fancy Like” from country singer Walker Hayes, which mentions the milkshake by name, went viral on TikTok, Applebee’s brought back the shake to satisfy the increased demand.

    Now you can make your own Applebee's Oreo Cookie Milkshake without leaving home with this simple hack that requires just a few ingredients and a blender. Start by getting the ice cream smooth in the blender with the milk before adding in the Oreo pieces so that you don’t make the Oreo cookie crumbs too small. You want a few little bits in there for crunch, but they shouldn’t be big enough to clog the straw. Add some whipped cream on top with some Oreo crumbs and you’ve just made enough for two 12-ounce shakes.

    As the song goes, “We fancy like Applebee’s on a date night, got that Bourbon Street steak with the Oreo shake.” Now that you’ve got your Oreo shake, how about a Bourbon Street steak

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 2)
    Chick-fil-A Spicy Deluxe Chicken Sandwich

    This chain’s not-spicy original chicken sandwich which debuted in 1964 was the first chicken sandwich introduced to America by a fast food chain, and it put Chick-fil-A on the map. By diversifying the menu with new products such as this kicked-up version of the famous sandwich, the chain grew over the years to become the #1 chicken restaurant in the nation, and this sandwich is now one of the most popular picks on the menu board.

    The secrets for a good clone of the Chick-Fil-A Spicy Deluxe Chicken Sandwich lie in the brine and the breading. I recently obtained some insider intel confirming the long-standing rumor that pickle juice is the brine. I hadn’t called for it in my prior Chick-fil-A clones because the listed ingredients for the sandwich didn’t include it. I’m not sure why that is, but my latest test versions with the pickle juice were noticeably better, so now it’s in there. You should also know that MSG is an important ingredient in both the brine and breading, so don’t leave that out if you want the best clone.

    Use this special trick to get three perfect sandwich-size cutlets out of each chicken breast, and then give the chicken a nice 4-hour brine. Your patience will be rewarded with one of the best chicken sandwich hacks to come out of a home kitchen. 

    Now, check out my version of Chick-fil-A Mac and Cheese!

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    Cheesecake Factory Spicy Cashew Chicken

    This popular chain wrangles a wide variety of dishes and cooking styles day after day with consistently high quality. From pasta to burgers to tacos, from salads to pancakes to beautiful cheesecakes for dessert, there is something for everyone at the Cheesecake Factory.

    The thorough menu's Asia-inspired plates include Thai, Korean, and Chinese dishes, but one that consistently stands out is this excellent Mandarin-style spicy chicken entrée, served over your choice of white or brown rice.

    The secret of the great flavor is in the sauce, which has now been hacked for you in this recipe. Plus, I’ll walk you through the process of creating perfect crispy chicken from scratch using juicy chicken tenderloins.

    If you’d like to save time, you can bake up some pre-cooked breaded chicken tenders and focus all your efforts on the amazing sauce. Tips on that shortcut can be found below in the Tidbits.    

    If you like this recipe for Cheesecake Factory Spicy Cashew chicken, you'll want to check out more of my copycat Cheesecake Factory recipes here.

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    Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s Hand-Breaded Chicken & Waffle Sandwich

    In the midst of the chicken sandwich wars of 2019-2021, Carl’s Jr. (Hardee’s) debuted a simple chicken and waffle sandwich that is surprisingly good. Crispy chicken breast is doused with maple butter sauce and sandwiched between two Belgian waffle buns for a sweet-and-savory handful of fab.     

    To clone the sandwich at home, the chicken gets brined for great flavor and juiciness like the real thing, then it’s cooked until perfectly golden brown and crispy. The maple butter sauce is easy to hack with just three ingredients and a mixer.

    The biggest secret I reveal is how to make Belgian waffles with one flat side just like the real sandwich using a standard waffle iron and a piece of folded aluminum foil. Those exclusive tricks are here plus plenty of helpful step photos so your homemade Carl's Jr. chicken & waffle sandwich will come out perfect.

    Find more of my copycat Carl's Jr. recipes here

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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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