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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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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    Menu Description: "Mixed greens, carrots, zucchini, green onions, peanuts. Tossed in a sweet and spicy dressing."

    If you like the sweet, sour, and spicy flavor combinations of Thai food, you'll love this tasty twist on cole slaw. Just find yourself a medium-size head of napa cabbage and a few other special ingredients and you're on your way to a perfect side dish for grilled grub, sandwiches, or as a quick solo snack. The menu mentions cappellini but we'll substitute with soba noodles that can be found in the supermarket aisle with other Asian foods (the rice vinegar and chili paste will be over there too). If you can't find soba noodles, the thicker chow mien noodles will also work. The mixed baby greens can often be found in ready-to-serve-plastic bags in the produce section. But the real secret ingredient for great tasting slaw is patience. The flavors of cole slaw improve after several hours in the chill box, and letting it sit overnight is even better.

    Find more of my famous side-dish copycat recipes here

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 3

    Menu Description: "Thinly sliced turkey, crisp bacon, lettuce and tomato on toasted white bread."

    Get out your toothpicks, because you'll have a hard time keeping the slices of this triple-decker sandwich from falling apart when slicing the only way you slice a true club sandwich: from corner to corner. This trusty, old-fashioned club sandwich recipe seems like it's been around forever, and yet this sandwich is still one of the top choices from Denny's for lunch. One day you'll find yourself with some white bread, sliced turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayo, and you'll realize you're just a Top Secret Recipe away from the secret stacking that will give you the perfect club sandwich.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 3.67. Votes: 3

    According to legend, in 1683 a Jewish baker shaped dough into the form of a riding stirrup to honor King Sobieski of Poland, a skilled horseman who had saved the Austrian people from Turkish invaders. Three hundred years later, this Boulder, Colorado chain is the biggest seller of what has become Americas favorite bagel brand. Since the first Einstein Bros. Bagel store opened in 1995, the chain has quickly expanded into 38 states. Today there are around 450 Einstein Bros. Bagel stores serving 16 varieties of the chewy bread snack. The company also owns Noah's Bagels, giving them another 140 stores. Each company has its own style of bagel, but both brands often win awards in local bagel contests. The company strives to open a new Einstein Bros. or Noah's somewhere in the country each business day.

    Here are clone recipes for three of the chains most popular bagels plain, everything, and jalapeno. You'll notice the special ingredient that sets these bagels apart from others is molasses. That gives the bagels a sweet flavor as well as a slightly dark tint.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 bagel
    Total servings–4
    Calories per serving–Plain 337, Everything 356, Jalapeno 340
    Fat per serving–Plain 1g, Everything 2g, Jalapeno 1g

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur. 

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    Score: 3.67. Votes: 3

    Menu Description: "Our Original! Featuring Ciroc Snap Frost vodka, an all grape vodka, combined with red grape juice and accented with the sweet orange flavor of Cointreau and frozen red seedless grapes."

    While other vodkas are made from potatoes, wheat, molasses, corn, or rye, Ciroc is the first vodka to be distilled from late harvest French grapes. These super sweet grapes and the 5-step distilling process makes this vodka unique and extra smooth, with a subtle fruity flavor that goes great with grape juice and the orange flavor of Cointreau. Plan ahead for this drink by piercing three red seedless grapes on a toothpick and popping them into the freezer for at least an hour. Make a few of these garnishes the next time you get grapes and keep them in a small bag in the freezer so you're ready when friends stop by for happy hour.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 14

    Menu Description: "Drink in the passions of Spain! A delightful mix of Sutter Home Cabernet Sauvignon, Shakka Apple Liqueur, Dole pineapple juice, Ocean Spray cranberry juice, and grenadine. Garnished with maraschino cherry, orange, lime and fresh apple."

    The menu description for this quenching Applebee's red apple sangria specifies brand names that the restaurant uses to create this drink. For the best clone, I suggest you use the same brands. However, if you must substitute with other brands, I don't suspect anyone will care. I certainly won't, and I promise not to tell anyone your secret. If you can't find Shakka brand apple liqueur, use any sour apple flavored liqueur. If you don't have Sierra Mist lemon-lime soda, you can use Sprite or 7-Up. 

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 7

    Menu Description: "A masterwork of flavors. Grilled, marinated chicken breast crowns this fresh mix of delectable greens, crisp apples, rich crumbled bleu cheese and sweet candied walnuts. Tossed in our tangy balsamic vinaigrette."

    Sometimes I feel like a C.S.I. To re-create this salad I ordered several to-go and then sat down with a magnifying glass and carefully picked out each of the bits and pieces and separated them into smaller bowls. Sure this was tedious work, but it made it easy to measure out each ingredient for the most accurate clone recipe. Next, I cooked a ton of chicken, each with different versions of the marinade, until I found the one that worked. The smoky marinade for the chicken here is basically a brine that adds just the right amount of saltiness and flavor through osmosis, so be sure not to let the chicken soak longer than specified. Of course, the lead performer in any salad is the dressing, since it is responsible for much of what you taste. The tangy balsamic vinaigrette is delicious with honey, Dijon mustard, garlic, and tarragon in there. You can make an easy emulsion out of it with a hand mixer. The best part is that you'll end up with leftover vinaigrette that you can use to make a couple more meal-size salads, and then some. Case closed.

    Find more of my salad knock-off recipes here. 

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 5

    Menu Description: "Thick-cut and coconut breaded, with chili-horseradish and citrus-mustard dipping sauces."

    Track down a couple large, sweet onions, and some shredded coconut for this Island-style twist on golden onion rings. Make 1-inch slices in each onion so that when the slices are separated you end up with at least 16 wide rings. The breading here will be enough for that many rings, although you might be able to squeeze out a few more. I've also got clones here for the diptastic sauces (check out the secret ingredient that gives the citrus-mustard clone its strong orange flavor without thinning out the sauce). When you're done, you'll have an impressive tower of rings that makes a kickin' appetizer or party dish for at least a half dozen of your crazy friends and family folks.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.
     

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 2

    Menu Description: "Crispy pastry with savory beef filling served with seasoned sour cream and apple-mango salsa."

    This is a great finger food appetizer for your next small party since you'll end up with 14 to 16 empanada-like, beef-filled "patties" that will be enough for 6 or more people. My server called them "island-style Hot Pockets." What's cool is that you can make these days ahead of time and freeze them until the party's on. When the time comes, it takes just 5 minutes to fry the patties to a crispy golden brown. Serve them up alongside cool seasoned sour cream and this fantastic apple-mango salsa, and get on with the festivities.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.
     

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    Score: 4.82. Votes: 11

    Menu Description: "Sutter Home White Zinfandel with DeKuyper Luscious Peachtree schnapps, pineapple juice and lemon-lime soda. Served Mucho size over ice with fresh fruit." 

    No need to waste expensive wine duplicating this incredibly refreshing new cocktail from Applebee's. Sutter Home White Zinfandel, which runs around 5 bucks a bottle, is the brand of choice at the chain, but feel free to use any white zinfandel on the shelf, even if it's in a box. The wine will be diluted with peach schnapps and other ingredients, so no matter which wine you pick, you'll always get a delicious, thirst-quenching cocktail that's perfect for warm weather hang time.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.69. Votes: 13

    Menu Description: "Fresh spinach tossed with tomatoes, red peppers, onions, almonds and topped with grilled shrimp. Served with bacon vinaigrette."

    Here's another great vinaigrette from Applebee's—a perfectly sweet and sour concoction packed with bits of real bacon. Medium shrimp are sprinkled with a secret seasoning blend, then grilled and arranged on top of the two large dinner-size salads this recipe yields. You can also split these up to serve four smaller side salads. There will be extra vinaigrette, so by adding a bit more spinach, you can even stretch this recipe to serve six when that couple who never calls ahead shows up unexpectedly on your stoop at chow time.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.
     

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I'm Todd Wilbur,
Chronic Food Hacker

For 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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