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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: 3.50. Votes: 2

    Here's a hack for a dish served with your chicken from El Pollo Loco. We cut the fat in this version, but still get Spanish rice that still has all of the flavor of the original side. Be sure to use converted rice, and not the instant stuff. 

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–3/4 cup
    Total servings–4
    Calories per serving–187 (Original–155)
    Fat per serving–0g (Original–4g)

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

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    I originally created this recipe for an appearance on The Dr. Oz Show in a segment about healthier clone versions of popular restaurant appetizers (watch it here). But with two other recipes to demo the segment was too fat and this one got cut. So, I've parked the recipe here on the site for you to use. This formula duplicates the taste of Applebee’s Mozzarella Sticks but the fat and calories are cut significantly by baking the sticks rather than using the traditional frying method. Prepare these ahead of time since the sticks have to sit for at least 2 hours in your freezer before you bake them.

    Try more of my Applebee's copycat recipes here.

    Todd’s Dr. Oz Clone
    Calories (per serving)–83 
    Fat (per serving)–3.5g 

    Original
    Calories (per serving)–116 
    Fat (per serving)–6g

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    This one gets its name from the look of the Chambord that's added to the glass after the drink is mixed. Drizzled on top of the drink, the tasty raspberry liqueur serpentines in slow-mo to the bottom of the glass. Since the drink is served layered, instruct your designated drinker to stir before sipping, or get a mouthful of lava.

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

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    This big salad of mixed greens, fajita steak, pico de gallo, black beans, bell peppers, corn and guacamole comes slathered with two types of salad dressings plus fried tortilla chips, making the restaurant version a fat-filled fiesta.

    The two dressings here are made fat-free, knocking the fat grams down to around a third of what you'd down in the original. There are several components here in this conversion, but this recipe makes four of the huge entree-size salads, and the results are worth the effort. This recipe clones the steak version of the salad, but you can also replace the beef with chicken.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 salad
    Total servings–4
    Calories per serving–591 (Original–784)
    Fat per serving–15g (Original–45g)

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

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    This is Applebee’s variation on the popular potato skins appetizer made famous by T.G.I. Friday’s. Many seem to prefer these to regular potato skins because of their south-of-the-border flair. The only problem is a serving has around 12 grams of fat (even more if you plop on some sour cream). And that’s for only three pieces. If you usually don’t stop there, you might be interested in this TSR version of the delicious dish, which cuts the fat by 66 percent. Now you can eat three times as much of these Mexican-style potato skin wedges for the same amount of fat as the real deal, thanks to reduced-fat cheese and fat-free sour cream.

    Nutrition facts 
    Serving size–3 pieces 
    Total servings–4 
    Calories per serving–246 (Original–390) 
    Fat per serving–4g (Original–12g)

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

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    Here's an awesome kitchen clone for a selection off of Arby's 3-item "Light Menu." As other fast food chains were zigging by creating giant gooey burgers with fat grams in the 40-plus range, this 3,100-outlet roast beef sandwich chain opted to zag, offering a selection of scrumptious sandwiches with only 6 to 10 grams of fat each.

    The secret to recreating the special Arby's taste in the Roast Chicken Deluxe is the marinade. Let your chicken soak in it for several hours, or even overnight. It also helps if you have a meat slicer to get that paper-thin, deli-style cut to the chicken. If you don't have a slicer, do what I do. Use the "poor man's meat slicer," otherwise known as a very sharp knife and a steady hand. 

    Nutrition facts
    Serving size–1 sandwich 
    Total servings–4
    Calories per serving–201
    Fat per serving–6.5g

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

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    This is one of the most requested conversion recipes. Here now is our reduced-fat version of the tastiest appetizer on Chili's menu. Unlike the real thing that's fried, this amazing clone is baked. Inside is a delicious mixture of corn, green onions, black beans, spinach, jalapeno peppers, reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese, and spices. Once these babies come out of the oven hot and crispy, just slice 'em in half and serve 'em surrounding a killer low-fat version of the tasty avocado ranch dressing. 

    Nutrition Facts 
    Serving size–3 halves
    Total servings–3.3
    Calories per serving–480 (Original–725)
    Fat per serving–12g (Original–42g)

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

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    A plateful of rice and black beans are topped with a corn tortilla, garlic aioli, lettuce, pico de gallo and a fresh tuna steak smothered with chipotle ranch dressing.

    There are many opportunities to obliterate fat in this one, most easily in the garlic aioli and chipotle ranch dressing. The tuna you purchase may come in thick eight-ounce steaks. If so, slice the tuna through the center, making two thinner four-ounce pieces. With the rice, black beans, and toppings, this dish is an entire meal on its own. And it looks good on the plate.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 entree
    Total servings–4
    Calories per serving–691 (Original–899)
    Fat per serving–16g (Original–38g)

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

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    This conversion for Chili's new appetizer give us the spicy flavor of traditional Buffalo chicken wings without the bones or fatty skin, and a way to bake the chicken, rather than fry it, so that we eliminate even more of those pesky fat grams. These "wings" are actually nuggets sliced from chicken breast fillets that have been breaded and fried and smothered with the same type of spicy wing sauce used on typical wings, but without the butter. If you like Buffalo wings, you'll love this reduced-fat clone, which can be served up with some celery sticks and fat-free bleu cheese dressing on the side for dipping.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–3 pieces
    Total servings–4
    Calories per serving–200 (Original–280)
    Fat per serving–5.5g (Original–15g)

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

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    In the restaurant, these are made with red chili tortillas. Since those can be hard to find, especially in fat-free versions, well use plain flour fat-free tortillas. Except for the color, you can hardly tell the difference. You'll want to prepare several elements of this recipe ahead of time. The relish and slaw is best when made the day before, and the chicken will have to marinate for an hour or so before you grill it.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 wrap
    Total servings–4
    Calories per serving–515 (Original–644)
    Fat per serving–5g (Original–15g)

    Source: Low-fat Top Secret Recipes 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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