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Applebee's Quesadillas copycat recipe by Todd Wilbur

Applebee's Quesadillas

Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
Reviews: 1
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Menu Description: "Two cheeses, bacon, tomatoes, onion, jalapenos grilled between tortillas with guacamole, sour cream and salsa."

When Bill and T.J. Palmer opened their first restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1980, they realized their dream of building a full-service, reasonably-priced restaurant in a neighborhood setting. They called their first place T.J. Applebee's Edibles and Elixirs, and soon began franchising the concept. In 1988 some franchisees bought the rights to the name and changed it to Applebee's Neighborhood Grill and Bar. By that time, there were over 650 outlets, making Applebee's one of the fastest-growing restaurant chains in the world.

According to waiters at the restaurant, the easy-to-make and slightly spicy quesadillas are one of the most popular appetizers on the Applebee's menu. My Applebee's quesadillas recipe calls for 10-inch or "burrito-size" flour tortillas, which can be found in most supermarkets, but any size can be used in a pinch. Look for the jalapeño "nacho slices" in the ethnic or Mexican food section of the supermarket. You'll find these in jars or cans. 

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

Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

Get This

_main
  • 2 10-inch ("burrito size") flour tortillas
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/3 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 medium tomato, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons diced onion
  • 1 teaspoon diced canned jalapeno ("nacho slices")
  • 1 slice bacon
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • Pinch salt
On the side
  • Sour cream
  • Guacamole
  • Salsa
Do This

1. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat.

2. Spread half of the butter on one side of each tortilla. Put one tortilla, butter side down, in the hot pan.

3. Spread the cheeses evenly onto the center of the tortilla in the pan. You don't have to spread the cheese all the way to the edge. Leave a margin of an inch or so all the way around.

4. Sprinkle the tomato, onion, and jalapeño over the cheese.

5. Crumble the slice of cooked bacon and sprinkle it over the other ingredients.

6. Sprinkle the cilantro and a dash of salt over the other ingredients.

7. Top off the quesadilla with the remaining tortilla, being sure that the buttered side is facing up.

8. When the bottom tortilla has browned, after 45 to 90 seconds, flip the quesadilla over and grill the other side for the same length of time.

9. Remove the quesadilla from the pan, and, using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the quesadilla three times through the middle like a pizza, creating 6 equal slices. Serve hot with sour cream, guacamole, and salsa on the side.

Serves 2 as an appetizer.

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Reviews
Georgia75
Dec 14, 2017, 10:07
This is the first time that I tried a Todd Wilbur recipe although I have printed off and saved many of them to try in the future.

I made this recipe last night and it was absolutely wonderful! Light golden brown and crisp as a quesadilla should be.

I normally never make a change to a recipe the first time I try it but I did with this one only because I do not eat jalapenos anymore but I substituted chopped chilies from a can.

I followed the recipe to a T especially the cooking time and it came out perfect. I used to make quesadilla all the time and thought mine were the best but this is absolutely the best I have ever had and a fantastic recipe!

Thank you, Todd, for sharing your wonderful version of this recipe!

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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: 5.00 (votes: 3)
    Chili's Fajitas For Two

    Menu Description: "A pound of steak, chicken or combination on a sizzling skillet. Peppers available w/Fajitas upon request." 

    Chili's is perhaps the restaurant most responsible for introducing the famous finger food known as fajitas to the mass market. Company CEO Norman Brinker discovered the dish at a small restaurant on a visit to San Antonio, Texas. When Chili's put the item on its menu in the early eighties, sales immediately jumped a whopping 25 percent. One company spokesperson told Spirit magazine, "I remember walking into one of the restaurants after we added them to the menu and all I could see were whisps of steam coming up from the tables. That revolutionized Chili's."

    Today Chili's serves more than 2 million pounds of fajitas a year. If all of the flour tortillas served with those fajitas were laid end-to-end, they'd stretch from New York to New Zealand.

    Today just about every American knows what fajitas are—the Southwestern-style grilled chicken, beef, or seafood, served sizzling on a cast iron skillet. And everyone has their own method of arranging the meat and onions and peppers in a soft tortilla with gobs of pico de gallo, cheese, guacamole, lettuce, sour cream, and salsa. The tough part is trying to roll the thing up and take a bite ever so gracefully without squeezing half of the filling out the backside of the tortilla. This Chili's Fajitas recipe is guaranteed to be as delicious and messy as the original.

    Try more awesome Chili's copycat recipes here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 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: 5.00 (votes: 2)
    Top Secret Recipes

    Exclusive signed copy. The book that started the copycat food craze! This irresistible collection of cloned recipes is the product of years of obsessive research by self-confessed convenience-food addict Todd Wilbur.

    Big food manufacturers guard their recipes like the gold in Fort Knox, but Wilbur's dogged pursuit of taste-alike versions of his—and our—all-time favorites has paid off in this unique cookbook of scrumptious treats.

    Whether you're a kid or just a kid at heart, you'll have a great time making the incredible clones of a McDonald's Big Mac, a Burger King Whopper, a Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpet, Yoo-Hoo Chocolate Drink, Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, Hostess Twinkie, Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chip Cookie, and many other famous American foods. Helpful illustrations let you recreate them to perfection. And both taste and guilty pleasures are just like the real thing.

    Other books you may like: More Top Secret Recipes; Even More Top Secret Recipes.

    Contents
    Aunt Jemima Maple Syrup
    Ben & Jerry's Heath Bar Crunch Ice Cream
    Borden Cracker Jack
    Brown & Haley Almond Roca
    Burger King Whopper
    Carl's Jr. Famous Star
    Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich
    Dairy Queen Blizzard
    Hardee's French Fries
    Hardee's 1/4-pound Hamburger
    Hostess Twinkie
    IHOP Pancakes
    In-N-Out Double Double
    Jack in the Box Jumbo Jack
    Jack in the Box Taco
    Kahlua Coffee Liqueur
    Keebler Soft Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies
    KFC Buttermilk Biscuits
    KFC Cole Slaw
    KFC Original Recipe Fried Chicken
    Long John Silver's Batter-Dipped Fish
    M&M/Mars Caramel Twix Bars
    M&M/Mars Snickers Bar
    McDonald's Big Mac
    McDonald's Egg McMuffin
    McDonald's McD.L.T.
    Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chip Cookies
    Mrs. Fields Peanut Butter Dream Bars
    Orange Julius
    Peter Paul Mounds and Almond Joy
    Pogen's Gingersnaps
    Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
    Sara Lee Original Cream Cheesecake
    See's Butterscotch Lollipop
    Taco Bell Enchirito
    TastyKake Butterscotch Krimpets
    TastyKake Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes
    Twin Dragon Almond Cookies
    Wendy's Chili
    Wendy's Frosty
    Yoo-Hoo Chocolate Drink

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    Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Reduced-Fat

    It's the white, creamy broth in the original version of this delicious soup that adds unnecessary fat grams. By replacing the fat-filled dairy ingredients from the original with fat-free milk and chicken broth, and by using lean Italian turkey sausage, we can whack around fifteen grams of fat off the original version.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 1/2 cups
    Total servings–3
    Calories per serving–196 (Original–275)
    Fat per serving–4.5g (Original–19g)

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

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Chipotle Mexican Grill Chipotle-Honey Vinaigrette

    Steve Ellis used his Culinary Institute of America training to develop a simple menu for the first Chipotle Mexican Grill he opened in 1993 near the University of Denver. Today Chipotle has grown to more than 700 units, and the chain continues to serve a relatively limited selection (compared to other Mexican chains) of burritos, tacos, and salads that are made-to-order, with unprocessed and hormone-free ingredients. 

    Just as when ordering a burrito or taco, you get to choose the meat, beans, salsa, and cheese that will top your romaine lettuce salad. The finishing touch is an amazing house dressing that's made fresh every day. It's sweet, it's tangy, it's smoky, and it's packing some heat. It's also a quick recipe to duplicate with just a blender and a dozen common ingredients, including ground chipotle chile, which you can usually find near the ground cayenne. After you whip up my Chipotle Mexican Grill Chipotle-Honey Vinaigrette recipe below, let it chill out in the fridge for an hour or two. If you do, you'll have a perfect flavor match and enough dressing for at least 10 salads.

    Now, how about making Chipotle's famous barbacoa, carnitas, carne asada or pollo asado? Find all of those recipes and more here.

    Now, how about making Chipotle's famous barbacoa, carnitas, carne asada or pollo asado? Find all of those recipes and more here

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.75 (votes: 8)
    McDonald's Cinnamon Melts

    Everyone knows the center of a cinnamon roll is the best part. With that in mind, McDonald's designed a cinnamon pastry where every bite is coated with the same deliciously gooey cinnamon and brown sugar filling that you discover only after working your way through the dry, doughy part of traditional cinnamon rolls. It's sort of like monkey bread, whereby chunks of dough are tossed in cinnamon sugar and then baked in a deep cake pan. 

    The difference with this clone of the McDonald's version is that the filling is mixed with margarine and spooned onto the dough chunks in layers. And you bake this in small, single-serving portions. As it turns out, a Texas-size muffin tin, which has cups that are about twice the size of a standard muffin tin, is the perfect pan for this. You can also use disposable aluminum pot pie pans that many markets carry. Since my McDonald's Cinnamon Melts recipe makes a dozen servings, dig this: After the cinnamon melts have cooled, cover and freeze them. When you need a quick breakfast pastry or late-night snack, simply remove a melt from the pan, microwave for 35 seconds, or until hot (this is how McDonald's heats it, too), and you're instantly teleported to cinnamon roll paradise.

    You might also like my recipe for Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls here.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.50 (votes: 34)
    Kozy Shack Rice Pudding

    It was in the 1960s that deliveryman Vinnie Gruppuso got hooked on the pudding being made at one of the delis in Brooklyn where he delivered bread. Vinnie struck up a deal with that deli—called Cozy Shack—to sell the pudding to other customers on his route, and the product soon outsold his other delivery items. Eventually Vinnie scrapped up enough money to purchase the deli's pudding operation, he changed the "C" in the name to a "K," and today Kozy Shack is the number one manufacturer of rice pudding in North America. 

    As with the original secret formula, six basic ingredients are all that go into my Kozy Shack Rice Pudding recipe. But you'll also need a cooking thermometer and a large pot with at least a 10-inch diameter. A pot this wide helps the mixture to reduce faster. Keep your eye on the temperature and be sure to stir the pudding often. When the mixture begins to thicken, pop the pudding into your fridge for several hours where it will continue to thicken to the creamy consistency of the real thing as it cools.

    Try more of my famous snack recipes here.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.27 (votes: 22)
    Panera Bread Broccoli Cheddar Soup

    The easy-melting, individually-wrapped Kraft Cheddar Singles are a perfect secret ingredient to copy this cheesy broccoli cheddar soup served at this top soup stop. In my Panera Bread Broccoli Cheddar Soup recipe, fresh broccoli is first steamed, then diced into little bits before you combine it with chicken broth, half-and-half, shredded carrot, and onion. Now you're just 30 minutes away from soup spoon go-time.

    Click here for more of my copycat Panera Bread recipes.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 8)
    Dairy Queen MooLatte

    Here's what happens behind the counter when you order a Cappuccino MooLatte frozen coffee drink at Dairy Queen: a plastic cup is filled almost halfway with the frozen simple syrup mix that comes out of the machine used for slush drinks. Next, your server hops over to the frozen soft serve machine and fills the cup the rest of the way with ice cream. After a couple squirts of concentrated coffee syrup, the drink is blended on a milkshake machine and is then passed off to you in exchange for a few greenbacks. Since we don't have the same efficient commercial equipment they use at Dairy Queen we must make our clone in a household blender. First things first, we need to start with very strong coffee. Make some espresso, or pick some up at your nearest coffee house. After dissolving sugar in the coffee, chill it, and then add it to ice cream, ice, and milk in a blender, and get it going. When the blender does its work, you'll have two 16-ounce clones of the DQ frozen coffee drink fave ready for whipped cream. If you prefer the mocha or caramel variety of the MooLatte, scroll to the bottom where the Tidbits will throw those variations your way.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.90 (votes: 39)
    Olive Garden Lemon Cream Cake

    Menu Description: "Delicate white cake and lemon cream filling with a vanilla crumb topping."

    To make this clone easy, I've designed the recipe with white cake mix. I picked Betty Crocker brand, but any white cake mix you find will do. Just know that each brand (Duncan Hines, Pillsbury, etc.) requires slightly different measurements of additional ingredients (oil, eggs). Follow the directions on the box for mixing the batter, then pour it into 2 greased 9-inch cake pans and bake until done. The filling recipe is a no-brainer and the crumb topping is quick. When your Olive Garden lemon cream cake recipe is assembled, stick it in the fridge for a few hours, and soon you'll be ready to serve 12 slices of the hacked signature dessert.

    Now, what's for dinner?

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.14 (votes: 14)
    Applebee's Bourbon Street Steak

    Menu Description: "This succulent 10 oz. steak is jazzed up with Cajun spices and served with sauteed onions, mushrooms, garlic mashed potatoes and garlic toast."

    This Cajun-style dish is named after the famous street in the French Quarter in New Orleans, so you won't need any booze for this recipe unless it's for you to drink while you're making it. Plan to make this dish 12 to 24 hours in advance, so the steaks have time to soak up the goodness. This marinating time will also give the meat tenderizer a chance to do its thing, but don't go longer than 24 hours or the protein fibers may become so tender that they turn mushy. I used McCormick brand tenderizer, which uses bromelian, a pineapple extract, to tenderize the meat. Lawry's (Adolph's) meat tenderizer, uses papain from papayas, to tenderize the proteins, but this brand also brings other spices into the mix and will alter the flavor of your finished product. Both of these tenderizers contain a lot of salt so we won't need to include salt in the marinade formula. 

    Try my copycat recipe for Applebee's almond rice pilaf as great side-dish.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

     

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  • Score: 4.80 (votes: 5)
    California Pizza Kitchen Jamaican Jerk Chicken Pizza

    This CPK creation is a top pick at the 209-unit chain, most likely because chefs slather on a delicious sweet-and-spicy Caribbean sauce where tomato sauce usually sits on traditional Italian-style pies. Making the sauce from scratch is the way to go for true clone rangers, but if you'd like a shortcut, find Tiger Sauce in your local market where the bottled hot sauces are sold, and use that. If you want another shortcut, rather than mixing your own jerk seasoning from scratch, use any jerk blend or seasoning. I do recommend making the pizza dough from scratch, rather than buying prepared dough, however. You'll need to plan ahead on this part of the recipe so that the dough has a chance to slowly rise in your fridge overnight. This is the technique the pros use to recreate professional-style, chewy pizza dough. To bake the pizzas—this recipes makes two—I suggest cooking them on a preheated pizza stone in your oven. This is the best way to reproduce the taste and texture of the great pizzas at CPK.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.42 (votes: 12)
    P.F. Chang's Dan Dan Noodles

    Menu Description: "Scallions, garlic and chili peppers stir-fried with ground chicken nesting on hot egg noodles. Garnished with shredded cucumber and bean sprouts."

    To clone P.F. Chang's take on this traditional Chinese noodle dish you should use a wok, but I found that a large saucepan works well too. Saute a couple of chicken breasts ahead of time and give them a chance to cool so you can finely mince them up. Get out the cleaver, if you've got one, and chop away. Or just use a big chef's knife. You can prepare the chicken ahead of time and keep it covered in the fridge until you're ready to make the dish. Once you've got the chicken hacked up, you'll have tasty noodles on the table in less than ten minutes.

    Find more of my P.F. Chang's copycat recipes here

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 3.44 (votes: 9)
    Coca-Cola Classic Coke

    Although the drink is 99 percent sugar water, that other 1 percent is the key to the drink's unique taste. The tangy citrus flavors, from lime juice, citrus oils, and citric acid (today the citric acid has been replaced with phosphoric acid), was used by pharmacist John Pemberton to overcome the inherent unpleasant bitterness of cocaine and caffeine. Even after removing the cocaine from the drink, it was still necessary to conceal the ghastly flavor of kola nut and coca leaf extract from the taste buds with the sweet, tangy syrup.

    To make an accurate clone of Coca-Cola at home, I started with the medicinal ingredient, probably just as John did. But rather than harvesting kola nuts, we have the luxury of access to caffeine pills found in any grocery store or pharmacy. One such brand is Vivarin, but it is yellow in color with a thick coating and it tastes much too bitter. NoDoz, however, is white and less bitter, with a thinner coating. Each NoDoz tablet contains 200 milligrams of caffeine, and a 12-ounce serving Coke has 46 milligrams in it. So, if we use 8 NoDoz tablets that have been crushed into powder with a mortar and pestle (or in a bowl using the back of a spoon) we get 44 milligrams of caffeine in a 12-ounce serving, or 36 milligrams in each of the 10-ounce servings we make with this recipe. 

    Finding and adding the caffeine is the easy part. You'll probably have more trouble obtaining Coke's crucial flavoring ingredient: cassia oil. I was hoping to leave such a hard-to-get ingredient out of this recipe, but I found it impossible. The unique flavor of the Coke absolutely requires the inclusion of this Vietnamese cinnamon oil (usually sold for aromatherapy), but only a very small amount. You'll find the cassia oil in a health food store (I used the brand Oshadhi), along with the lemon oil and orange oil. The yield of this recipe had to be cranked up to 44 10-ounce servings since these oils are so strong—just one drop is all you'll need. Find them in bottles that allow you to measure exactly one drop if you can. If the oils don't come in such a bottle, buy eyedroppers at a drug store. Before you leave the health food store, don't forget the citric acid.

    This recipe, because of the old-fashioned technique of adding the syrup to soda water, creates a clone of Coke as it would taste coming out of a fountain machine. That Coke is usually not as fizzy as the bottled stuff. But if you add some ice to a glass of bottled Coke, and them some of this cloned version, the bubbles will settle down and you'll discover how close the two are. You can keep the syrup in a sealed container in the fridge until you are ready to mix each drink with soda water. 

    Because subtle differences in flavor can affect the finished product, be sure to measure your ingredients very carefully. Use the flat top edge of a butter knife to scrape away the excess sugar and citric acid from the top of the measuring cup and teaspoon, and don't estimate on any of the liquid ingredients.

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

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 8)
    Red Lobster Parrot Bay Coconut Shrimp

    Menu Description: "Jumbo butterflied shrimp hand-dipped in batter flavored with Captain Morgan Parrot Bay Rum & coconut flakes. Served with pina colada dipping sauce."

    Fans of this dish say the best part is the pina colada dipping sauce. And it's true. That sauce is so good you could eat it with a spoon. But the coconut shrimp is pretty awesome too, just on its own. Red Lobster's secret formula includes Captain Morgan's Parrot Bay rum, which sweetens the batter and adds a great coconut flavor (plus you can whip up a nice cocktail with it while you're cooking). Panko breadcrumbs—which give a nice crunch to the shrimp—can be found in the aisle of your market where all the Asian foods are parked. This secret recipe makes two times the size of a serving you get at the Lobster, so there should be enough for everyone. The real thing comes with salsa on the side in addition to the pina colada sauce, but you may not even want to include it.

    Find more of your favorite Red Lobster copycat recipes here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 5)
    Outback Steakhouse Tangy Tomato Dressing

    Try my copycat Outback Steakhouse Tangy Tomato Dressing recipe below. You just mix it together, heat it up, cool it down, and store it in the fridge until salad time.

    Now, how about a Toowooma Steak, or Alice Springs Chicken for the main course? Check out more of my Outback Steakhouse copycat recipes here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 3)
    Olive Garden Toasted Ravioli

    No one is sure exactly which restaurant invented toasted ravioli, but we do know the dish originated in St. Louis sometime in the 40s. Olive Garden's delicious take on the appetizer can be cloned with ease using one of several varieties of pre-made raviolis carried in just about any supermarket. It's best to use the fresher raviolis found in the refrigerated section, but you can also use frozen ones in this copycat toasted ravioli recipe; you just have to let them thaw first before breading them. The original Olive Garden toasted ravioli recipe has a beefy inside, but you can use any ravioli that tickles your fancy including chicken, sausage, vegetarian, or cheese. As for the breading, find Progresso brand Italian style breadcrumbs. Contadina is another popular brand, but their version is much too salty for a good clone.

    Now you've got that appetizer going, what's for dinner? Try more of my Olive Garden copycat recipes here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.81 (votes: 47)
    Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls

    In early 1985, restaurateur Rich Komen felt there was a specialty niche in convenience-food service just waiting to be filled. His idea was to create an efficient outlet that could serve freshly made cinnamon rolls in shopping malls throughout the country. It took nine months for Komen and his staff to develop a cinnamon roll recipe he knew customers would consider the "freshest, gooiest, and most mouthwatering cinnamon roll ever tasted." The concept was tested for the first time in Seattle's Sea-Tac mall later that year, with workers mixing, proofing, rolling, and baking the rolls in full view of customers. Now, more than 626 outlets later, Cinnabon has become the fastest-growing cinnamon roll bakery in the world.

    Source: More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.88 (votes: 17)
    Chili's Salsa

    This super simple Chili's salsa recipe can be made in a pinch with a can of diced tomatoes, some canned jalapeños, fresh lime juice, onion, spices, and a food processor or blender.  Plus you can easily double the recipe by sending in a larger 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes, and simply doubling up on all the other ingredients. Use this versatile salsa as a dip for tortilla chips or plop it down onto any dish that needs flavor assistance—from eggs to taco salads to wraps to fish. You can adjust the Chili's salsa recipe heat level to suit your taste by tweaking the amount of canned jalapeños in the mix. 

    Now, what's for dinner? Check out some copycat entrees from your favorite restaurants here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 7)
    Red Robin Teriyaki Chicken Burger

    Menu Description: "A premium charbroiled chicken breast with sweet teriyaki sauce, grilled pineapple, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and mayo. Why did the chicken cross the Pacific? Now you know."

    You're out there on the front line hanging over the grill. The smoke's in your eyes, the hair on your forearm is singed, and your sunburn is heading toward 2nd degree. But you don't care, because it's Saturday and you still get all of Sunday to heal. So whip out some chicken and grab the mallet or tenderizer to pound the chicken to a uniform thickness. That works best when building these chicken sandwiches. The sweet and salty flavors of the custom secret teriyaki marinade go perfectly with the grilled pineapple and Swiss cheese. 

    My Red Robin Teriyaki Chicken Burger recipe is for one sandwich, but you'll have enough teriyaki marinade to make several sandwiches. Just be sure to watch the pineapple and chicken carefully while over the flames, since the teriyaki marinade has sugar in it and could cause nasty flare-ups and charring.

    Find more of your favorite Red Robin burger recipe here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.97 (votes: 33)
    P.F. Chang's Mongolian Beef

    Menu Description: "Quickly-cooked steak with scallions and garlic."

    Beef lovers go crazy over this one at P.F. Chang's. Flank steak is cut into bite-sized chunks against the grain, then it's lightly dusted with potato starch, flash-fried in oil, and doused with an amazing sweet soy garlic sauce. The beef comes out tender as can be, and the simple sauce sings to your taste buds. 

    I designed my P.F. Chang's Mongolian Beef recipe using a wok, but if you don't have one, a sauté pan will suffice. You may need to add more oil to the pan to cover the beef in the flash-frying step. 

    P. F. Chang's secret sauce is what makes this dish so good, and it's versatile. If you don't dig beef, you can substitute with chicken. Or you can brush it on grilled salmon.

    I've cloned some of the best dishes from P.F. Chang's. Click here to see if I coped your favorite.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.75 (votes: 4)
    Islands Island French Fries

    Menu Description: "Our famous fries are fresh cut daily from whole potatoes with the skins left on."

    Not only can I show you the best way to make french fries at home in my copycat recipe for Island's top-selling version, but I'm also supplying you with a super simple way to make the same type of salt blend that Islands uses to make those fries so dang addicting. 

    As with any good french fry recipe, you'll need to slice your potatoes into strips that are all equal thickness. For my Islands French Fries recipe below, you'll need a mandoline, or similar slicing device, that makes 1/4-inch slices. Once you've got your potatoes cut, you must rinse and soak them in water to expel the excess starch. The frying comes in two stages: A quick blanching stage, and the final frying to put a crispy coating on the suckers. Islands uses a combination of peanut and vegetable oils in their fryers, so you simply combine the two in your home fryer. The whole process is not that tough once you get going, and certainly worth the effort if hungry mouths are waiting for the perfect homemade french fries. However, if you want to simplify the process because your hungry mouths aren't of the patient sort, you could certainly buy frozen french fries, cook 'em up following the instructions on the bag, and then sprinkle on this garlic/onion salt blend for a quick-and-easy kitchen clone.

    Click here to see if I hacked more of your favorite items from Islands.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.87 (votes: 15)
    Applebee's Chicken Fajita Roll-up

    Menu Description: "A large flour tortilla topped with melted Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses, grilled chipotle chicken, shredded lettuce and pico de gallo. Rolled, sliced and served with a Mexi-ranch dipping sauce."

    Take Applebee's delicious chicken chipotle chicken, roll it up in a large flour tortilla with lettuce, cheeses and fresh pico de gallo, and you've got a meal to wrap your hands around. Use my Applebee's Chicken Fajita Roll-up recipe below to make it at home. 

    The Mexi-ranch dipping sauce is the perfect creamy compliment for this wrap, and you can use what's left over for a dressing on your next salad. The sauce recipe is actually just a kicked-up ranch dressing that includes a small amount of buttermilk in the ingredients list. But if you don't want to buy a whole carton of buttermilk to use just a tablespoon for this recipe, that's okay. Substitute the regular moo juice you've got sitting in the fridge. 

    For the spicy marinade recipe, it's best to use ground chipotle pepper (dried smoked red jalapeño) made by McCormick. If you can't find that stuff, cut the amount in half and use cayenne pepper. For the cheeses, many major brands make a cheddar/Jack blend that will work great here if you'd rather not buy the cheeses separately. That's helpful if you're about to tip the limit for the express lane checkout line.

    Find more recipes for your favorite Applebee's dishes here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.28 (votes: 18)
    Taco Bell Burrito Supreme

    To copy the Taco Bell Burrito Supreme at home, you first must assemble the meaty foundation of many of the chain's top-selling products: the spiced ground beef. Toss it and seven other tasty ingredients into a large flour tortilla and fold using the same technique as taught to new recruits to the chain. Add your favorite hot sauce for a bit of heat, or clone Taco Bell Mild, Hot, Fire Border, Diablo, Baja, or Lava sauce with my recipes here.

    You might also want to try my improved Taco Bell beef recipe here.

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes 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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