THE ORIGINAL 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. Find all the best restaurant recipes from P..F.Chang's to Tony Roma's here. New recipes added every week.

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    This limited-time-only new product from the country’s biggest Mexican fast food chain is easy to make with bagged fries found in the freezer section, and you can make as many or as few as you want at one time since there is more than enough seasoning and cheese sauce for one 2-pound bag. Get Ore-Ida Golden Fries if you can find them, and if you want a good clone you really should fry them, although baking works too.

    The secret spicy ingredient in the nacho cheese sauce is brine from the bottled jalapeno nacho slices, plus a little cayenne for extra boom.

    And if you’re feeling creative, you can make a fry holder like the one Taco Bell serves the fries in by cutting the top off a paper cup. You can also cut the bottom off another paper cup and use it to hold the sauce.

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    The problem with adding sauce to fried food is that the wet sauce makes crunchy fried food not so crunchy. Panda Express manages to keep the crispy beef in Beijing Beef crispy even though it may be sitting for over 20 minutes in the sauce until it’s served to a hungry you. My early attempts at hacking my favorite dish at the massive Chinese food chain all resulted in gummy, soggy beef that was more like a flat dumpling than the delicious crunchy strips of joy they were meant to be.

    Then finally, on one batch, I decided to fry the coated beef for much longer than I intuitively felt it should be cooked, resulting in dark browning on the cornstarch, and an even darker piece of meat beneath it. I anticipated a beef jerky experience, but when I took a bite, I found it to be delicious! It wasn’t tough and chewy as I expected it to be. And when this seemingly overcooked beef was stirred into the sauce, it stayed crispy until served, just like the real thing.

    Now, with the mystery of the crispy beef solved, we’ve finally got a good hack for this famous sweet and spicy dish.

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    The PSL is doing A-OK at Starbucks. In 2018, Starbucks moved the release of its seasonal Pumpkin Spice Latte from September to August in anticipation of record sales for the 15-year-old product. According to Nation’s Restaurant News, consumers in 2017 “visited PSL establishments twice as many times as typical patrons,” most likely because they know the drinks are around for only a short time.

    The trick when hacking this Starbucks superstar is making a perfect clone of the syrup used in the drink. I found a friendly barista who was willing to squirt a little of the secret syrup into a cup for me to take back to headquarters for examination. Back in the kitchen I discovered the mysterious light orange-colored syrup had no spice particles in it whatsoever, meaning the flavors are added as extracts or oils. Most home cooks like you and me cannot get such ingredients, so I had to come up with a formula using easily accessible ground spices and pumpkin puree.   

    Pumpkin pie spice makes this recipe easy and much cheaper than buying all the spices separately. It’s a convenient blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, plus either allspice or clove, and it’s found in practically all food stores. For our hack, the blend is combined with a sugar solution and cooked until syrupy, then sweetened condensed milk is stirred in. Condensed milk is also used in the original syrup at Starbucks—according to the ingredients list—which is why the syrup is opaque and creamy. When the syrup is done, a couple tablespoons are added to your latte, then it’s topped off with whipped cream and a sprinkling of more spice.

    Lattes are made with espresso, and in this case you’ll need a double shot, which is about ¼ cup. If you can’t make espresso, then make some strong coffee and use ½ cup of it. If you don’t have a way to steam milk, you can heat it up in the microwave for 2 minutes or until hot, then make it foamy with a milk foamer, inversion blender, or whisk.

    Now, how about using that leftover syrup to make a Starbucks Pumpkin Cold Brew? Or try one of my recipes to recreate your favorite Starbucks pastries at home. 

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    Good things come in small packages. Just like these hit scones that have been a staple Starbucks favorite for years.

    Unlike many scones that end up too dry and tasteless, these miniature scones are moist and full of great vanilla flavor. They’re deliciously sweet and creamy, with real vanilla bean in both the dough and the glaze. Want to make some great scones? Make these.

    For more of my copycat Starbucks recipes, click here.

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    Panera’s top soup pick in the summer is a creamy vegetarian chowder that’s full of flavor and easy to copy at home once you know an important flavor secret. I started my hack using a vegetable broth since that’s what all the other “copycats” call for, but I found its strong vegetable flavor dominated the soup, so I quickly bailed on that plan.

    Starting over, I referred to the soup’s ingredients posted online by Panera Bread and noticed there is no broth in the soup, which means every copycat recipe online is wrong. I didn’t want to make the same mistake in my recipe, but without the broth my soup would be lacking some important flavor components, and that’s no good either.

    In many soup recipes, the broth or stock is important for the umami quality provided by the yeast extract added to the product. Yeast extracts are one of the many ways food manufacturers add an MSG flavor-enhancing effect without adding MSG. Panera does in fact list “yeast extract” as one of the ingredients in the soup, so I needed to find a readily available ingredient that provides the same savory quality.

    Enter nutritional yeast—or “nooch” as it’s often called—a flakey, nutrient-packed, vegan ingredient that’s growing quickly in popularity thanks to the savory, cheesy flavor it adds to a variety of foods (it’s great on popcorn). Nooch is also popular with the vegans and vegetarians since it’s fortified with vitamin B12, an essential nutrient that's mainly found in animal-sourced foods.

    Now, with nooch in there, along with yellow corn, red skin potatoes, poblano pepper, tomatoes, cilantro, and other tasty things, no broth is required. Just give it water and a little patience. 

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    A requirement of any visit to Chicago is eating at least one slice of deep dish pizza in the city that perfected it. Deep dish pizza quickly became a Chicago staple after Ike Sewell and Ric Riccardo opened the first Pizzeria Uno in 1943 and served a hearty new style of pizza constructed in a high-rimmed cake pan. The yeast crust was tender and flakey, like a pastry, and the cheese was layered under the sauce so that it wouldn’t burn in a hot oven for the long cooking time.

    While researching a home hack of this now iconic recipe I discovered an unexpected technique that I hadn’t seen in any other deep dish recipes. Employees told me the pizza crusts are partially cooked each morning to cut down on the wait time for customers. Before the restaurant opens each day, cooks press the dough into a pan and then sprinkle it with a little shredded cheese. The shells are then partially baked and set aside. Later, when an order comes in, the pizza is built into one of the par-baked crusts and finished off. This way customers get their food faster, and the tables turn over quicker.

    Copying that delicious, flakey crust was the task that took me the longest. After two weeks of baking, I finally settled on a formula that mashed-up yeast dough and pie crust, making a perfectly tender deep dish crust with great flavor that exactly mimicked the original. If you like Uno, you will love this.

    Regarding the cheese: be sure your cheese is at room temperature, and not cold, or it may not melt all the way through. Also, it’s best if you buy cheese by the block and shred it yourself. Pre-shredded cheese is dusted with cornstarch (so that the shreds don’t stick together in the bag), and it won’t melt as smoothly as cheese you shred by hand.

    This recipe will make enough sauce for two pizzas. I just thought you should know that in case you get the urge to make another deep dish after this one disappears.

    This recipe was our #4 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), Bush's Country Style Baked Beans (#5).

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    Three components must be mastered to hack this top menu pick at the country’s largest fast Chinese chain: candied nuts, honey sauce, and perfectly battered shrimp. For the candied walnuts, I came up with a technique using the oven, which means there’s no candy thermometer required and it’s a no-brainer.

    The shrimp at Panda Express is not tightly curled up, and you can do the same thing at home when you fry yours. Pinch the tail of each shrimp after it has been floured and dip it into the batter until well-coated. The weight of the batter will help unfurl the shrimp a bit, and if you lower each one slowly into the batter it will mostly stay that way.

    When all of the shrimp has fried, you bake them in the oven so that they are crispy and warm, then toss the shrimp and the nuts in the delicious honey sauce and serve.

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    Swiss Chalet is one of the biggest Canada-based restaurant chains with over 200 stores, and it’s the place our northern neighbors go when they want delicious rotisserie chicken and ribs. At one time there were a few Swiss Chalet restaurants in the U.S., but the last of those closed in 2010. So, if you to want to taste the food from Swiss Chalet and you live in the States, you’re out of luck. Unless you do a little food hacking.

    Fortunately, the Canadian chain makes a few of its products available to purchase outside of the restaurant, including the most sought-after recipe from the chain: the dipping sauce. The famous dipping sauce is used on the chain’s popular chicken, fries and rolls, and the instant version of the sauce comes in 36g envelopes, but even those are tough to find in the States. Luckily, I found some on eBay and got to work.

    An instant mix like this sauce powder is often tough to copy since many ingredients in the packet are hard to find in supermarkets. For this hack, though, I found Knorr tomato bouillon cubes to be incredibly useful. These cuboids of concentrated flavor contain many of the ingredients we need for a great clone, including tomato powder and chicken fat, both of which can be found in the original.

    After you pulverize the bouillon cube into powder, combine it with the other ingredients in a small bowl, and you’ve got an instant dry blend that can be converted into a flavorful sauce in minutes, just like the real thing.

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    Several puzzles had to be solved to make this burger a satisfying hack of the signature sandwich from the rapidly expanding New York chain. First, our burger must include a spot-on facsimile of the secret ShackSauce. I got a sample of the sauce from one of our Vegas Shake Shacks and determined the seven common ingredients, including pickle juice, to combine for a great clone.

    Second, the burger must be made with a special ground mix of four different cuts of beef and the patties need to be cooked the right way. I tested many combinations of meat until I landed on a flavorful blend of chuck, brisket, skirt steak, and short ribs. If you don't have a meat grinder at home, you can have your butcher grind these for you. At the restaurant, the ground beef blend is formed into 1/4-pound pucks that are smashed onto the grill with a metal press. Grab a strong spatula and heat up a heavy skillet.

    And third, you'll need some soft buttered-and-toasted potato buns to hold it all together. Shake Shack uses Martin's rolls which are not cut all the way through, allowing the buns to be hinged open for loading. If you can’t find Martin’s, any soft potato rolls will do.

    Use these secrets and follow the easy steps below and soon you’ll be biting into a perfect re-creation of the famous cheeseburger that helped this chain grow from a single food cart in New York City to over 162 stores.

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    Other hacks that claim to duplicate the fabulous flavor of this popular soup do not make good clones, yet the long grain and wild rice mix that many of these recipes call for is a great way to get just the right amount of rice in a perfect blend. Just be sure not to use the flavor packet that comes with those rice kits, or you won’t get a good clone. Toss out that blend (or use it elsewhere, see Tidbits) and follow the recipe described below for the best solution to a spot-on soup hack.

    Thanks to Panera Bread's policy of completely transparent ingredients, I discovered a surprising ingredient or two (wow, cabbage!), and was able to craft the best clone you’ll find for this top secret signature soup.

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