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Dips

Nice work agent. 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. See if Todd has hacked your favorite dips here. New recipes added every week.

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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 want to taste the food from Swiss Chalet and you live in the States, you’re out of luck—unless you do some food hacking.

    Fortunately, the Canadian chain makes a few of its products available to purchase outside of the restaurant, including its most sought-after recipe: 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 36-gram 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 sauce packet.

    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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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    I’ve yet to taste a better habanero salsa at a quick-service Mexican chain than the one made daily at Qdoba Mexican Eats. Yes, it is very spicy, but the simple combo of fire-roasted habanero, tomatillo, and garlic is not as fiery as you might expect from a salsa that includes so much habanero in it.

    And that’s exactly what makes this salsa so good. Because the habanero peppers are roasted, and the seeds are removed, you can enjoy the complex flavor of the habanero without your taste buds being numbed by the heat. A good salsa should enhance your food, not upstage it.

    You can roast the peppers in your oven or by holding them over the high flame of a gas stove with a skewer until the skins have charred to black. Resting the blackened peppers in a covered container for a few minutes will help to steam the skins, and they will wash off easily under cold water. 

    How about using this salsa to spice up some Qdoba Grilled Chicken Adobo? Ger my recipe here

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    For years, I’ve been hearing about a delicious seafood dipping sauce at Japanese steakhouses called "shrimp sauce" or "yum yum sauce." Research revealed many independent Japanese steakhouses with "the best sauce," but it was the name of an 11-unit chain called Kobe Ichiban in Central Florida that came up most often.

    When I next found myself in Orlando, Florida presenting some cooking demos at a home show, I dropped in on Kobe Ichiban for dinner and there it was: the light orange creamy dipping sauce that everyone was raving about. It was sweet and sour and salty and creamy, and it tasted amazing on the shrimp—as well as on everything else.

    I poured some into some small plastic storage bags I had with me (always come prepared!), then popped them into a cooler for the long trip back to Las Vegas, where, in the underground lab, a clone for this much-requested delicious dipping sauce was finally completed.

    Find more of my copycat recipes for famous sauces here.  

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 3

    Menu Description: "Smooth and spicy cheese dip. Served with unlimited crisp tortilla chips."

    Many who have tried the original say it's the best queso dip they've ever had, so I had to get on the case. Talking to a store manager I found out that the dip is made with American cheese and a little Parmesan, but the rest of the ingredients were going to have to be determined in the underground lab. When I got down there—using the elevator hidden in a fake outhouse in the corner of a vacant lot—I immediately rinsed the dip in a strainer and discovered bits of spinach, onion and two kinds of peppers. The red pepper, which is responsible for the kick, appeared to be rehydrated dry peppers. It looks like they're red jalapenos, but since the red ones can be hard to find I chopped up some red Fresno peppers and the dip tasted great—full of flavor with a nice spicy kick. Just be sure to remove the inner membranes and seeds from the peppers before you mince them up, or your cool dip may end up packing a lot of heat.

    For those who like chili in your cheese dip, check out my copycat Chili's Chili Queso recipe here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.71. Votes: 14

    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: 4.00. Votes: 11

    These days just about every casual dining chain has its version of this appetizer: spinach and artichoke hearts mixed with cheese and spices, served up hot with chips or crackers for dipping. Making the rounds over the years, I've tried many of them, and most formulas are nearly identical. That is, except for this one. Houston's makes their spinach dip special by using a blend of sour cream, Monterey Jack cheese and Parmegiano Reggiano; the ultimate Parmesan cheese. Parmegiano Reggiano is born in Italy and is usually aged nearly twice as long as other, more common Parmesan cheeses. That ingredient makes the big difference in this dip. So hunt down some of this special Parm at your well-stocked market or gourmet store, and you'll find out why Houston's spinach dip has been one of the most requested recipe clones here at TSR.

    If you're hungry for more great copycat recipes from Houston's, click here

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.17. Votes: 6

    The number one appetizer on Joe's menu is called Blue Crab Dip but you don't need blue crab to clone it. You don't even need to use fresh crab. I used some delicious lump crabmeat from Phillip's Seafood that comes in 16-ounce cans (you may find it at Costco, Sam's Club, Walmart, and Vons) and the dip turned out great. You could also use the crabmeat that comes in 6-ounce cans found at practically every supermarket—you'll need two of them. Just be sure to get the kind that includes leg meat, and don't forget to drain off the liquid before you toss it in.

    Try more of my Joe's Crab Shack copycat recipes here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Menu Description: "Parmesan and Romano cheeses blended with spinach, artichokes and sauteed onions & peppers. Served with Friday's red & white tortilla chips." 

    Many casual chains have their own version of spinach artichoke dip somewhere on the appetizer menu, but one of the most popular versions is found at this huge national chain. For our clone well use marinated artichoke hearts to contribute the slightly acidic flavor found in the original. The recipe here is a stovetop method, but you can also prepare a version of this dip entirely in your microwave using the technique at the bottom in Tidbits. 

    You'll find a ton of recipes for T.G.I. Friday's best dishes here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.19. Votes: 21

    Re-create the popular bean dip at home in minutes with a food processor: just pour in all the ingredients and fire it up. It's nice that we can duplicate the taste of the popular dip without any added fat. If you check out the label of the real thing, you'll see that there's hydrogenated oil in there. We avoid this trans fat without sacrificing flavor in this home clone that's a healthier choice for dipping. Bring on the chips!

    Try more amazing copycat recipes for famous dips here.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.75. Votes: 4

    The real thing found in the deli section of your market is used on crackers, as a dip for raw vegetables, or even as a spread on sandwiches, burgers, and wraps. Now I've come up with an easy way to duplicate Rondele using a 12-ounce tub of whipped cream cheese—so you'll happily get three times the amount of the 4-ounce original! Just be sure when mixing your version that you don't over mix, or you will destroy the fluffiness of the whipped cheese. The Italian seasoning included here is a dried herb blend (usually marjoram, thyme, rosemary, savory, sage, oregano, and basil) found near the other bottled herbs and spices in your market. I used McCormick brand for this Rondele garlic & herbs cheese spread clone recipe, but any brand should work fine. Since the herbs are dried, the flavor is more subtle than it would be with fresh herbs, even after the dried bits soak up moisture from the cheese. And that's just want we want for a good clone.

    Find more of your favorite famous dip recipes here

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked 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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