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Sandwiches

Nice work. 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 sandwiches here. New recipes added every week.

Products: 4972 of 116
Show: 24
  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 2)
    Burger King/McDonald's McWhopper

    To honor the International Day of Peace on September 21, 2015, Burger King published an open letter to McDonald's in The New York Times and Chicago Tribune proposing that the two burger giants call a cease fire on their "burger wars," and honor the day by joining forces to sell a one-day mash-up of their two famous hamburgers at a pop-up shop located in Atlanta—the halfway point between the two cities where the chains' headquarters are located (Chicago and Miami). The letter stated that the "McWhopper" would include "All the tastiest bits of your Big Mac and our Whopper, united in one delicious, peace-loving burger." Burger King spent some significant time and money on the campaign, building a beautiful website and super slick YouTube video, but unfortunately the proposal fell flat. McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook responded with his own open letter stating, "We love the intention, but think our brands could do something bigger to make a difference." In other words, "Thanks, but no thanks." He ends his letter with a biting p.s. that reads, "A simple phone call will do next time." Ouch. 

    It looks like there won't be a real McWhopper in our near fast food future, but that doesn't mean you can't still taste one for yourself. Or, at least a clone of one using this Top Secret Recipe which I assembled from information found on the McWhopper website and the hack recipes I created years ago for the Big Mac and Whopper. If you like both of those sandwiches I promise you that your efforts will be rewarded here. This is a really good burger. 

    Included in the recipe below is my new, improved hack of McDonald's secret sauce from the new book, Top Secret Recipes Step-by-Step, plus the full assembly instructions for the burger. The Whopper is built with a flame-broiled patty, so you'll need a grill for that, and the Big Mac patty can be cooked in a pan on your stovetop. The bun sizes are different for each of these burgers, so if you want it to be authentic, you'll need to buy a package of small sesame seed buns and a package of large ones. Slap together the six components from each of the two burgers and even though the two halves taste great on their own, when combined these ingredients make a delicious and unique hamburger that unlike any you've had before.

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  • Score: 4.78 (votes: 9)
    Gardenburger Original Veggie Patty

    In the early eighties, at his Gardenhouse restaurant, Chef Paul Wenner created a unique meatless patty to replace hamburgers. The patty, which contained mushrooms, brown rice, onions, oats, and low-fat cheeses was dubbed Gardenburger and quickly became a hit. Soon, Wenner closed his restaurant and began to concentrate on marketing his meatless, low-fat creation to a hungry, health-conscious America. Today Gardenburger patties can be found in more than 35,000 food service outlets around the world, and in more than 20,000 stores.

    Now you can make a surprisingly accurate clone of the real thing with the same type of ingredients Wenner uses. Most of the ingredients can be found at your local supermarket, although you may have to go to a health food store to get bulgar wheat. And if you jog over there you can burn off the few calories you ingest from this cool kitchen clone.

    Nutrition facts:
    Serving size–1 patty
    Total servings–6
    Calories per serving–135
    Fat per serving–3g

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 2)
    Olive Garden Chicken Caesar Sandwich Reduced-Fat

    New to the lunch menu in 1995, this sandwich would normally have around 20 grams of fat, mostly because of the Caesar dressing. But if we use some low-fat and fat-free ingredients, we can reduce those fat grams by better than half of the original. And then we'll have a flavor-packed reduced-fat clone of the delicious Olive Garden creation that's great for lunch or dinner. 

    Keep in mind that the chicken will need to marinate for several hours, so start this one early, or even better, the day before you plan to eat it. This will ensure that your chicken is well marinated and the flavors in the dressing will have time to develop.

    Nutritional Facts
    Serving Size–1 sandwich
    Total servings–4
    Calories per serving–450 (Original–543)
    Fat per serving–9g (Original–20.5g)

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Lite by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Not rated yet
    Chili's Nacho Burger

    Menu Description: "Nacho Ordinary Burger! Shredded lettuce, tortilla strips, chili queso and green onions. Served open faced w/sour cream, guacamole, jalapenos and pico de gallo."

    This hack includes recipes for popular garnishes and sides offered at Chili's: Chili's Chili Queso, Chili's Pico de Gallo, and Chili's Guacamole. Now, in this one recipe, you'll learn how to clone all three components from scratch. You then pile everything on a hamburger with some jalapenos, crunchy tortilla chips and chopped green onion, and serve it open-faced with extra guacamole and queso on the side. 

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Not rated yet
    American Coney Island Chili Dogs

    Over a century ago, Detroit, Michigan became the Coney Island chili dog capital of the world, even though Coney Island is nowhere near there. Greek immigrants who entered the U.S. through Ellis Island adapted a recipe for the hot dogs they ate while visiting Coney Island, New York, on their way to the Midwest. When they settled in southern Michigan, many opened restaurants to sell their clones of the food they ate when they first got to America, turning New York-style Coney Dogs into a Midwest phenomenon.

    Two of the most famous Coney Island restaurants in Detroit are Lafayette Coney Island and its next-door neighbor, American Coney Island. The two buildings were originally one building with a single restaurant inside, built by brothers Gus and Bill Keros in 1915. But somewhere along the way the brothers had a falling out and split the restaurant in half, right down the middle, and it stayed that way. Today, the two Coney Island restaurants are under different ownership, but they still remain next-door rivals.

    I decided the best Coney dog to hack is from American Coney Island, not only because of the restaurant’s deep history, but also because I was able to order the chili dogs shipped to my house in a kit. That’s always good news, since shipped foods must list ingredients, and I get to see exactly what’s in the chili. Built the traditional way, a typical Detroit Coney Island chili dog features a natural-casing hot dog in a soft white bun, smothered in chili sauce, drizzled with mustard, and topped with a pile of diced sweet onion. The kit came with everything I needed, including the tub of chili with clearly-labeled ingredients that I was counting on.

    With the help of that information, I was able to create a thick, flavorful chili sauce that you can use on your favorite hot dogs to make a delicious clone of American Coney Island Chili Dogs. Crushed soda crackers thicken the chili, and extra beef fat adds a smooth quality that mimics the famous 100-year-old American Coney Island chili recipe.

    The chili must simmer for four hours to properly tenderize the meat, so plan your Coney dog cloning adventure accordingly.

    Try making your other favorite condiments at home, like ketchup or mustard, with my copycat recipes here

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  • Not rated yet
    Applebee's Tijuana Philly Steak Sandwich

    Menu Description: "Lean shaved Philly steak folded into a grilled tortilla roll with Monterey Jack and Cheddar, sauteed mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, bacon and jalapenos."

    With the acquisition of 13 Rio Bravo cantinas in 1994, Applebee's made its move into the competitive "Mexican casual dining sector." Perhaps it's the company's interest in Mexican food that inspired this Philadelphia-Tijuana hybrid sandwich. The steak, cheese, mushrooms, and onions give the sandwich a Philly taste, while the tomatoes, bacon, jalapenos, and the tortilla take you across the border.

    I really like this newer addition to the menu, probably because I'm a big cheesesteak fan who also loves Mexican food. As you can see from this dish, Applebee's has a knack for breathing new life into old sandwich concepts. I hope you'll find this one worth a try.

    If you want to make a "lite" version, refer to the Tidbits at the bottom of the recipe.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Not rated yet
    Hardee's 1/4-Pound Hamburger

    In 1975 Hardee's opened its 1,000th restaurant. The 2,000th unit was opened in 1983, and shortly after that, in 1988, the 3,000th unit opened its doors. This pattern of expansion has continued: a new Hardee's restaurant now opens on the average of one each workday. With the acquisition of the Roy Rogers chain in 1990, Hardee's neared the 4,000-unit mark, ringing up system-wide sales of more than $3 billion. This is a chain that has come a long way since its first menu in 1961, which contained only eight items, including fifteen-cent hamburgers and ten-cent soft drinks.

    As part of its continuing effort to offer nutrition-conscious customers a range of menu choices, Hardee's was one of the first of the "Big Four" burger chains to switch to low-calorie mayonnaise for its sandwiches. 

    Source: Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 4)
    Burger King Big King

    The Burger Wars have become the biggest food fight since that cafeteria scene from the movie Animal House. The two burger giants, McDonald's and Burger King, have each been cloning the other's top product in the bloody battle for the big burger buck. Burger King stepped up first with the Big King—Burger King's version of McDonald's Big Mac. Yes, it had two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun; although everything was arranged a bit differently, and there's no middle bun in there. Then McDonald's rolled out the Big 'N Tasty, which bore a striking resemblance to Burger King's Whopper, with fresh lettuce, tomato, and onion on top of a huge beef patty. Who's winning this fight by leveraging the popularity of the other company's product? Nobody, really. McDonald's chose to alter its Big 'N Tasty recipe by making it smaller 'n cheaper; then changed the name to BigXtra!, while Burger King limited the sale of the Big King and then took it off the menu. But this food fight is far from over. More recently Burger King tweaked its French fry formula in an unsuccessful attempt to steal away fans of McDonald's winning fried spuds recipe. And McDonald's has added more breakfast sandwiches to compete with Burger King's wide wake up selection. So the war continues. And the battlefield is splattered with ketchup.

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Not rated yet
    Bennigan's Buffalo Chicken Sandwich

    Menu Description: "Our spicy sauce tops a tender, fried, marinated chicken breast. Served with a tangy blue cheese dressing."

    When the first Bennigan's opened in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1976, it resembled an Irish pub. The green decor with brass accents, the Irish-style memorabilia hanging on the walls, and the upbeat friendly atmosphere made the establishment extremely popular, especially during St. Patricks Day celebrations. Originally, the restaurant was best known for the bar, which served tasty appetizers and creative drinks, but that has since changed. As the restaurant chain expanded across the county, its menu grew to more than 50 items, making 220-outlet Bennigan's a popular casual dining stop.

    If you're a big buffalo wings fan, as I am, you'll really dig this Bennigan's Buffalo Chicken Sandwich recipe that puts the zest flavor of hot wings between two buns. This recent addition to the Bennigan's menu has become a popular pick for the lunch or dinner crowd that likes its food on the spicy side. Feel free to double the recipe, but fry the chicken breasts one at a time.

    What other famous sandwiches can you make at home? Find more recipes here

    Source: "Top Secret Restaurant Recipes" by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 3.00 (votes: 2)
    Bennigan's California Turkey Sandwich

    Menu Description: "Sliced turkey, avocado, tomato, sprouts, and lettuce with mayonnaise on wheat bread."

    The successful chain of Bennigan's restaurants is owned by Metromedia, one of the largest privately held partnerships in the country. Metromedia ranks second on the list of the country's largest casual dining restaurant companies, just behind Little Caesar's Pizza. Other restaurant chains controlled by Metromedia include Steak and Ale, Montana Steak Company, Ponderosa Steakhouse, and Bonanza Steakhouse chains. Altogether Metromedia owns more than 1500 restaurants that ring up nearly half a billion in revenue each year. 

    It's funny how any sandwich with avocado, sprouts, tomatoes, and lettuce in it winds up with "California" somewhere in the name. This recipe is not exactly a healthier alternative with all the mayonnaise and avocado in there, but if it's low-fat you're looking for, simply substitute a "light" mayonnaise for the regular stuff, ditch the avocado, and you're on your way to the beach.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Big Boy Club Sandwich

    Menu Description: "Slices of turkey breast with bacon, tomato, lettuce, mayonnaise, stacked on toasted bread. Served with coleslaw."

    When Bob Wian invented the first Big Boy double-decker hamburger in 1937, his restaurant business went through the roof. Soon a slew of imitators hit the market with their own giant-sized burgers: Bun Boy, Brawney Boy, Super Boy, Yumi Boy, Country Boy, Husky Boy, Hi-Boy, Beefy Boy, Lucky Boy, and many other "Boys" across the burger-crazed country. 

    By 1985 the Big Boy statues had become a common sight in front of hundreds of Bob's restaurants around the country. This was also the year the Marriott Corporation, which had purchased Bob's from retiring Bob Wian in 1967, created a national ballot to decide whether the Big Boy character would stay or go. Thousands of voters elected to keep the tubby little tike, but his days were numbered. In 1992, Marriott chose to sell all of the Bob's Big Boys to an investment group. Those mostly West Coast Big Boys were later converted to Coco's or Carrows restaurants, and there the Big Boy went bye-bye. The Elias Brothers, a Michigan-area franchiser for many years, purchased the Big Boy name from Marriott in 1987, and today is the sole Big Boy franchiser worldwide.

    The Club Sandwich is one of Big Boy's signature sandwiches, and remains one of the most popular items on the menu since it was introduced in the mid-70s.

    Check out my recipes for Big Boy double-decker hamburger and cream of broccoli soup here

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.08 (votes: 13)
    McDonald's Arch Deluxe

    In 1996, McDonald's set out to target more educated taste buds in a massive advertising campaign for its newest burger creation. We watched while Ronald McDonald golfed, danced, and leisurely hung out with real-life grown-up humans, instead of the puffy Mayor McCheese and that bunch of wacko puppets. Supposedly the Arch Deluxe, with the "Adult Taste" would appeal to those dancers and golfers and anyone else with a sophisticated palate. But let's face it, we're not talking Beef Wellington here. The Arch Deluxe was just a hamburger after all, with only a couple of elements that set it apart from the other menu items. The big difference was the creamy brown mustard spread on the sandwich right next to the ketchup. And you were able to order the burger with the optional thick-sliced peppered bacon. But the pitch didn't work out the way Micky D's had hoped. Sales of the Arch Deluxe were disappointing and the Arch Deluxe was soon a Dead Food. Good thing I cloned this burger when I did. 

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 3)
    Carl's Jr. Ranch Crispy Chicken Sandwich

    This fried chicken breast sandwich includes lettuce and tomato, and is slathered with a clone of Carl's tasty ranch dressing. We'll use elements of the Carl's Jr. Bacon Swiss Crispy Chicken Sandwich clone recipe to whip up this variation of the Carl's Jr. crispy chicken sandwiches. Use both of these sandwich hacks to serve up two different sandwich clones for different tastes, with little extra effort.

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.89 (votes: 9)
    McDonald's BigXtra!

    McDonald's huge roll-out of the BigXtra! was another bomb dropped on the battlefield of the burger wars. Burger King took the first shot by introducing the Big King—a pretty good clone of McDonald's signature Big Mac, with a bit more meat. Then Mickey D's fired back with a clone of Burger King's popular Whopper hamburger, with, you guessed it, a bigger beef patty. 20 percent bigger to be exact. That's just under 5 ounces of ground beef, sprinkled with seasoned salt and stacked on a huge sesame seed bun, with the same ingredients as you find piled on the Whopper: lettuce, onion, tomato, ketchup, mayo and pickles. It's very tasty. Especially if you like Whoppers.

    Find more of your favorites recipes from McDonald's here.

    Source: Even More Top Secret Secret Recipes 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 fajita recipe, 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. The Mexi-ranch dipping sauce is the perfect creamy compliment for this recipe and you can use what's left over for a dressing on your next salad. The sauce is actually just a kicked-up ranch dressing recipe 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 it's best to use ground chipotle pepper (dried smoked red jalapeno) 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.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.67 (votes: 3)
    Denny's BBQ Chicken Sandwich

    Menu Description: "A seasoned, grilled chicken breast topped with Cheddar cheese and a stack of thin crisp onion rings on a sesame seed bun with lettuce, tomato and a sweet hickory spread. Served with a side of BBQ sauce."

    With 1527 restaurants across the country, Denny's is on top as America's largest full-service family restaurant chain. Sure, the chain's famous for its Grand Slam Breakfasts, but Denny's menu is filled with tasty choices for grub way past breakfast time. One such item is this chicken sandwich built with grilled chicken breast, lettuce, tomato, Cheddar cheese, crispy onion rings, and a secret sweet hickory spread. That hickory spread is one of the ingredients that makes this sandwich special so the clone is here, and it requires an ingredient called hickory salt. You can find this blend of salt and hickory flavoring in the spice section from Spice Islands under the name "Old Hickory Smoked Salt." If you can't find that stuff, just substitute with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon hickory liquid smoke flavoring. For even more flavor, Denny's serves the sandwich with a small dish of barbecue sauce that tastes remarkably similar to Bull's-Eye Original, so that's what well use. While homemade crunchy onion rings are the way to go for a true clone, you can certainly shortcut this step by using the canned French's French Fried Onions found in practically every supermarket.

    I've cloned a ton of items from Denny's, see if I hacked your favorites here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Not rated yet
    Rainforest Cafe The Plant Sandwich

    Inside each Rainforest Cafe, customers are immersed in a thunder and lightning storm every twenty minutes. But don't worry, you don't have to bring your umbrella, since the rain only falls over specially designed troughs that recycle the water and ready it for the next down pour.

    This sandwich was introduced in 1998 and uses Rainforest Cafe's delicious balsamic vinaigrette to marinate the mushrooms, making it one of the most delicious portobellos you've ever munched on. For this clone, prepare the vinaigrette and marinate the mushrooms a couple hours before you plan to assemble the sandwich.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving Size–1 Sandwich
    Total Servings–4
    Calories per serving–335
    Fat per serving–11g

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

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  • Not rated yet
    Rainforest Cafe Rumble In The Jungle Turkey Pita

    No two Rainforest Cafés are the same. While they all include plant-covered walls and ceilings, waterfalls, starry skies, and live birds, you will find many unique features in each of the restaurants. The Las Vegas store includes an aquarium archway under which you must walk to enter the restaurant, and the original store in the Mall of America features a talking banyan tree spouting ecological messages twice a minute.

    The turkey pita sandwich has been on the menu since the first restaurant opened in 1994, and our clone is a great way to use up your leftover Thanksgiving turkey and cranberry sauce. You can use full-fat Caesar dressing for this hack, just like the restaurant uses, and still keep the fat reasonably low. But if you use a tasty lower-fat substitute, you can knock those fat grams down even further.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 sandwich
    Total Servings–4
    Calories per serving–350
    Fat per serving–13g

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

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 6)
    Denny's Moons Over My Hammy

    With its goofy-yet-memorable name, Moons Over My Hammy is a delicious scrambled egg sandwich that can be eaten for breakfast with hash browns on the side, or for lunch with a side of French fries. When you get the sourdough bread for this recipe, try to find a good-quality loaf with large slices.

    Click here for more amazing copycat sandwich recipes. 


    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 3)
    Denny's Club Sandwich

    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: 5.00 (votes: 2)
    McDonald's Mac Snack Wrap

    If you like Big Macs you'll love this snack wrap that tastes exactly like the world's most famous hamburger. The same basic ingredients found in a Big Mac are wrapped into a medium flour tortilla for a surprisingly tasty quick eat that's easy to copy at home. Inside each of these wraps is half of the hamburger patty that's used on the chain's Quarter Pounder, so by cooking up a quarter-pound of ground beef that's been formed into a patty you'll be able to whip up two cloned McDonald's Mac Snack Wraps in a snap. Say that three times fast.

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  • Score: 3.00 (votes: 1)
    Hard Rock Cafe Grilled Vegetable Sandwich

    Menu Description: "Grilled eggplant, zucchini, summer squash, and roasted red peppers. Served on a sourdough French roll with your choice of fries or watermelon."

    If you don't eat meat—or even if you do—you'll find this grilled vegetable sandwich makes a great meal in itself for lunch or dinner. I'm not usually one to go for vegetarian sandwiches, but when I tried this one I was surprised at how good it was. Now I veg out with this sandwich regularly. Maybe you will too.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 4.00 (votes: 3)
    McDonald's McLobster Sandwich

    On a trip through Maine I saw an sign advertising a lobster sandwich at the world's most famous hamburger chain. Lobster at McDonalds? I just had to get a closer look. When I got inside a woman behind the counter told me that the sandwich is served only at select McDonald's locations, mostly in Maine, for a limited-time only during the summer months. So I ordered one and sat down in the dining room to examine it. When I opened up the wrapper I found chilled fresh lobster chunks tossed in mayonnaise and piled on a hoagie roll with a leaf of lettuce—it's McDonald's version of a lobster roll. I took a bite and it tasted pretty darn good. I ate the whole thing, ordered another one, and got back on the road. Driving off I thought about how strange it was to eat lobster at McDonald's.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unlocked by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 3.60 (votes: 5)
    Burger King Breakfast Sandwiches

    Get vertical with these two top secret breakfasts-in-sandwich from the world's number-two fast food chain. A great way to make the eggs for these breakfast sandwiches is to pour the beaten egg into a well-greased mold made from an empty pineapple can. Just cut both ends off an 8-ounce pineapple can—you know, the short cans that have the crushed or sliced pineapple inside. Then, before you know it, you'll be making perfectly round eggs like the fast food pros.  

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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Products: 4972 of 116
Show: 24

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 2)
    Chick-fil-A Spicy Deluxe Chicken Sandwich

    This chain’s not-spicy original chicken sandwich which debuted in 1964 was the first chicken sandwich introduced to America by a fast food chain, and it put Chick-fil-A on the map. By diversifying the menu with new products such as this kicked-up version of the famous sandwich, the chain grew over the years to become the #1 chicken restaurant in the nation, and this sandwich is now one of the most popular picks on the menu board.

    The secrets for a good clone of the Chick-Fil-A Spicy Deluxe Chicken Sandwich lie in the brine and the breading. I recently obtained some insider intel confirming the long-standing rumor that pickle juice is the brine. I hadn’t called for it in my prior Chick-fil-A clones because the listed ingredients for the sandwich didn’t include it. I’m not sure why that is, but my latest test versions with the pickle juice were noticeably better, so now it’s in there. You should also know that MSG is an important ingredient in both the brine and breading, so don’t leave that out if you want the best clone.

    Use this special trick to get three perfect sandwich-size cutlets out of each chicken breast, and then give the chicken a nice 4-hour brine. Your patience will be rewarded with one of the best chicken sandwich hacks to come out of a home kitchen. 

    Now, check out my version of Chick-fil-A Mac and Cheese!

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  • Not rated yet
    Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s Hand-Breaded Chicken & Waffle Sandwich

    In the midst of the chicken sandwich wars of 2019-2021, Carl’s Jr. (Hardee’s) debuted a simple chicken and waffle sandwich that is surprisingly good. Crispy chicken breast is doused with maple butter sauce and sandwiched between two Belgian waffle buns for a sweet-and-savory handful of fab.     

    To clone the sandwich at home, the chicken gets brined for great flavor and juiciness like the real thing, then it’s cooked until perfectly golden brown and crispy. The maple butter sauce is easy to hack with just three ingredients and a mixer.

    The biggest secret I reveal is how to make Belgian waffles with one flat side just like the real sandwich using a standard waffle iron and a piece of folded aluminum foil. Those exclusive tricks are here plus plenty of helpful step photos so your homemade Carl's Jr. chicken & waffle sandwich will come out perfect.

    Find more of my copycat Carl's Jr. recipes here

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  • Not rated yet
    Red Robin Burnin' Love Burger

    Menu Description: “Fried jalapeno coins, house-made-salsa, pepper-Jack, lettuce, tomatoes, and chipotle aioli.”              

    This 570-unit full-service chain has a sizeable menu, but it’s the thick 1/3-pound gourmet hamburgers, like this boomin’ bestseller, that bring in the crowds. And if you’re a burger lover who enjoys burgers that bite back, this recipe for Red Robin Burnin' Love hamburger is for you. 

    To assemble your own version of this big beauty, I’ll first show you (with photos) how to make perfect crispy jalapeno coins and a simple chipotle aioli. The seasoning formula for the beef patty that I’m including here is an updated and improved version of the secret sprinkle I hacked years ago, but this time we’ll use easier-to-find ingredients.  

    Once you’ve prepped these components, it’s time to kick up the flames and grill some burgers. Top your burgers with pepper-Jack cheese, and assemble everything on sesame seed buns along with salsa, lettuce, and tomato. Then open wide. 

    Look here for more of your favorite dishes from Red Robin, Yummm.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Burger King French Toast Sandwich

    The sweet-and-savory breakfast sandwich made with two slices of French toast first appeared on the Burger King menu in 2019, but it was just for a limited time. In 2021, BK brought the breakfast sandwich back, and this time it came with a new ingredient: buttery maple spread. The first version of the Burger King French Toast sandwich was good, but the sequel with the new maple spread is great, so that's what I've copied here.

    The hack here for the buttery maple spread is just three ingredients, and it will chill out in your fridge while you make the easy French toast. Find small, thin slices of white bread for that. Sara Lee makes a loaf of bread called Delightful that works great.

    The real French toast sandwiches come with either sausage, bacon, or ham, so pick your favorite and insert it between the egg and cheese. If your ingredients cool down as you are prepping, just pop each assembled sandwich into your microwave for about 15 seconds prior to serving for perfectly warmed French toast and gooey melted cheese.

    Check out more of my Burger King copycat recipes here.

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  • Not rated yet
    McDonald's Bacon, Egg & Cheese McGriddles

    It was the creator of Pizza Hut’s Stuffed Crust Pizza who came up with the idea to cook bits of maple syrup into small pancakes for a new sweet-and-savory breakfast sandwich offering from the world’s #1 fast food chain. Tom Ryan’s idea became a reality in 2003 when the McGriddles—with maple-flavored griddle cake buns—debuted on McDonald’s breakfast menu, and the sandwich is still selling like hotcakes today.

    To make four homemade McGriddles, you’ll first need to produce eight perfectly round griddle cakes that are infused with sweet maple bits. Recipes that instruct you to make hard candy from maple syrup for this hack will fail to tell you that the shattered shards of hard candy don't completely melt when the griddle cakes are cooked resulting in a distinct crunch not found in the real McDonald’s product. Also, breaking the hard maple candy into small uniform chunks is both difficult and messy. My solution was to make a flavorful maple gummy puck that could be neatly petite diced and sprinkled into the batter as it cooks.  

    Just be sure to use maple flavoring rather than maple extract for the maple gummy. Maple flavoring has a more intense flavor than the extract, and the dark brown caramel coloring will make your maple bits look like pancake syrup. You’ll also need one or two 3½-inch rings to make griddle cakes that are the perfect size for your clones.

    This recipe duplicates the bacon version of the sandwich, but you can replace the bacon with a patty made from breakfast sausage for the sausage version, or just go with egg and cheese.

    Get more of my McDonald's copycat recipes here.

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    Wendy's Breakfast Baconator

    In March 2020, Wendy’s entered the fast food breakfast wars with 18 new items, and the star that emerged from the bunch is a bacon-lover’s dream. The Breakfast Baconator help lead Wendy’s to morning meal sales success in the midst of a pandemic, as other fast feeders, like McDonald’s, struggled in the a.m.

    Wendy's substantial sunrise sandwich is made with a square (of course) sausage patty, a fried egg, 2 slices of American cheese, and 6 halved bacon slices. That's good right there, but when you slather Wendy's delicious top secret Swiss cheese sauce onto a brioche bun, you've got something really special. And filling. All the building instructions are here in my Wendy's Breakfast Baconator recipe, including an easy hack for the Swiss cheese sauce using just 4 ingredients!

    One of the ingredients—Swiss cheese Singles—is what allows us to make a smooth, non-gritty sauce. If you can’t find Singles, use any other brand of Swiss cheese “product” that contains sodium citrate. That’s the secret ingredient that helps make the sauce so creamy.

    Find more of my Wendy's copycat recipes here.

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  • Score: 4.80 (votes: 15)
    Popeyes Chicken Sandwich

    When Popeyes debuted its new crispy chicken sandwich on August 12, 2019, the company was not prepared for the eruption of social media video posts comparing the new sandwich to Chick-fil-A’s classic chicken sandwich. As a result of the apparently unplanned instant viral campaign in which Popeyes almost always emerges as the winner, customers swarmed the stores and waited in long lines to try the now-famous sandwich. The buzz continued to build day by day, and just two weeks after its debut, the sandwich had sold out—a full month ahead of schedule.

    But sold out or not, you don’t need Popeyes to get the great taste combo of the crispy buttermilk breaded chicken breast, soft buttered brioche bun, mayo, and pickles. Fortunately, I was able to get my hands on several of the sandwiches before they were gone and cranked out a Popeyes Chicken Sandwich copycat recipe, so you can now learn to make the Popeyes fried chicken sandwich any time you want. With these new tricks you’ll be able to make crispy chicken at home that’s flavorful, juicy, and tender, just like Popeyes, coated in a thick golden breading with the same light crunch.

    The secret to moist, tasty chicken is to brine it for several hours in a spicy mixture of buttermilk, pepper sauce, salt, and MSG. The buttermilk is slightly acidic, so it will help tenderize the chicken without making it too tough like harsher acids, while the salt enhances the flavor (as does the MSG) and keeps the chicken juicy. The MSG (monosodium glutamate) is an amino acid with a salt-like flavor that at one time was thought to be unhealthy, but is now considered an important culinary additive. Popeyes uses it in their chicken because it provides an essential savory flavor called “umami,” and you cannot make an accurate clone without it.

    To imitate the light, crispy breading of Popeyes Chicken Sandwich, we’ll use baking powder in the flour. The baking powder forms bubbles in the flour when the chicken cooks so that the breading is tender and crispy, rather than crusty and dense. I found that self-rising flour works great since it conveniently has just the right amount of baking powder and salt already added. But don't use a low-protein self-rising flour like White Lily. That brand is awesome for biscuits, but its low gluten content makes it not stick well on chicken breasts. I used Gold Medal self-rising flour, and it worked great. If all-purpose flour is all you’ve got, that can work as well. I’ve put measurements for using all-purpose flour, plus baking powder and salt, in the Tidbits below. 

    If you'd like to kick up your Popeyes Chicken Sandwich copycat recipe, clone the spicier version by replacing the plain mayo with my easy hack for Popeyes Spicy Mayonnaise

    Click here for more of my copycat recipes for Popeye's famous dishes.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Burger King BK Stacker King

    With a simple stack of meat, bacon, cheese, and secret sauce, the original BK Stacker was introduced in 2006 as a product targeted to men. Hungry men. The Stacker came with one, two, three, or four 2-ounce beef patties, and several slices of bacon on top, along with a slathering of the top secret Stacker sauce. Even though the sandwich had developed something of a cult following over the years, it was dropped from the menu in 2012.

    Today, the BK Stacker has been revived, but this time as a bigger, badder version with a new name, and beefier beef patties that weigh in at a whopping quarter-pound each. And just like the original, you can stack the patties, but this time up to a max of three because the patties are so darn big. Good luck getting your mouth around a triple with nearly a pound of meat between the buns.

    As with the original Stacker, this sandwich’s big secret is the Stacker sauce. Its base is a typical burger spread combo of mayo/ketchup/sweet pickle relish, but this one has a hint of celery flavor and rosemary not found in other burger sauces. To get the celery juice you can grate a stalk of celery on a grater or Microplane then press the pulp through a wire mesh strainer. You’ll get plenty of juice, but you just need a little bit to make your hacked sauce a perfect taste-alike. Just so you know, all other Stacker Sauce hacks I researched leave out the celery juice and rosemary.

    My Burger King BK Stacker King recipe here makes four single hamburgers, but feel free to stack up as many patties as you can handle.

    Check out my clones for the Whopper, Big King, Onion Rings, the Stuffed Steakhouse Burger, and more from Burger King.  

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  • Not rated yet
    Wendy's Maple Bacon Chicken Sandwich

    Wendy’s claims it took three years to develop this hit chicken sandwich that’s built on a croissant roll and slathered with the chain’s secret maple glaze. Now you can re-create Wendy's Maple Bacon Chicken Sandwich at home (four of them, actually), with copycat ingredients, and I’ve got some shortcuts here to help make all of it quick and easy.

    For the chicken, find frozen chicken breasts or large tenderloins with a homestyle breading. Tyson’s Southern Style Breast Tenderloins work great if you pick out the biggest pieces from the bag. The breading on this chicken is similar to what you get at Wendy’s.

    Rather than making croissants from scratch, which is a time-consuming task, we’ll use Pillsbury dough from a tube. Pillsbury’s “Crescents” are not true croissants, even though they look and taste similar to croissants. Real croissant dough rises with yeast and would blow out a Pillsbury paper tube in a day or two, even if chilled. For that reason, Pillsbury uses baking powder in breads that usually call for yeast, such as cinnamon rolls and croissants. Unlike yeast, baking powder is a chemical leavening agent activated by heat, so the dough will remain stable in the refrigerated section of your supermarket, safely inside the paper tubes until you’re ready to bake it.

    Instead of cooking the rolls as directed on the package, we'll roll the dough using the technique below, form it in a 3½-inch ring mold, and then bake it. This will make perfect croissant buns that we can slice and toast for our sandwich. If you don’t have a 3½-inch ring mold you can use a ring from a canning jar or a biscuit cutter. If the diameter of your ring is less than 3½ inches, just form the dough using the smaller ring, then remove it and press down on the dough to spread it out until it is 3½ inches across. 

    Follow the steps I've laid out below for the best homemade Wendy's Maple Bacon Chicken sandwich.

    I've cloned a lot of items from Wendy's. See if I hacked your favorites here

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  • Not rated yet
    Shake Shack ShackBurger

    Several puzzles had to be solved to make 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 Las Vegas Shake Shacks and determined the seven common ingredients, including pickle juice, to combine for a great shack sauce recipe.

    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 ¼-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 Shake Shack Shackbuger. The famous cheeseburger that helped this chain grow from a single food cart in New York City to over 162 stores.

    Try my Shake Shack vanilla custard and vanilla milkshake recipes here.

    Source: Top Secret Recipes Unleashed by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 1)
    Cheddar's Monte Cristo

    Menu Description: "Smoked ham, smoked turkey, two cheeses, battered and fried until golden with raspberry preserves and dusted with powdered sugar."

    When pondering casual chains with the best Monte Cristo sandwiches, two come to mind: Bennigan's and Cheddar's recipes. At each chain the sandwich is built with turkey, ham, and cheese, then it’s battered and fried, dusted with powdered sugar, and served with raspberry preserves for dipping. It probably sounds strange if you've never had one, but Monte Cristo alums know it all tastes pretty darn great together. I hacked Bennigans' version years ago for my cookbook Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2, and recently, on a trip to Charlotte, North Carolina, I was able to get my hands on Cheddars' signature version of this famous sandwich.

    I planned for the mission by bringing along a cooler of ice so that I could get a fresh sample safely back home. Once I was back in the lab in Vegas, I subjected the sandwich to a series of tasty tests, burned through several versions of batter, and eventually assembled this new Cheddar's Monte Cristo copycat recipe that I think is even better than my previous Bennigan's hack. The better batter is the big secret here—it's light and crispy and perfectly golden brown, and the sandwich features two kinds of cheese, both white and yellow American. Will this be the best Monte Cristo you've ever had? You’re about to find out.

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    Wendy's Classic Greek Fresh Stuffed Pita Low-Fat

    In 1997, Wendy's announced its IPO—also known as the Initial Pita Offering—on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Wendy's CEO Gordon Teter rang the bell to open the day of trading while Wendy's stock traders on the floor munched out on four varieties of the pita sandwiches, including this one, the Classic Greek Fresh Stuffed Pita.

    For our low-fat clone, well cut a gaggle of grams by making the dressing fat-free, and then well use low-fat feta cheese. Following this secret formula below, you can turn what is normally a 20-fat-gram sandwich into one that weighs in with only 2.5 grams.

    Nutrition Facts
    Serving size–1 sandwich
    Total servings–4
    Calories per serving–240 (Original–440)
    Fat per serving–2.5g (Original–20g)

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

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 4)
    Wendy's Chicken Caesar Fresh Stuffed Pita

    Early in 1997 Wendy's introduced its selection of cold "Fresh Stuffed" pita sandwiches—a nice change of pace from the typical fast food fare. Basically what you're getting is a small salad wrapped in a warm pita bread. You might be saying to yourself "That doesn't sound like much for 3 bucks!" Then I would say, "Perhaps, but what if you could make a clone yourself for a mere fraction of that?" You would say, "Cool, man! Lay it on me." And then I would say, "Here you go." 

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Score: 5.00 (votes: 4)
    T.G.I. Friday's Tuscan Portobello Melt

    Menu Description: "Sliced Portobello mushrooms between layers of Provolone & Monterey Jack cheeses, roasted onions and tomatoes on grilled, buttery bread."

    Contestants on the November 1, 2006 episode of Top Chef on Bravo were challenged to take a childhood favorite dish and update it with a twist. Friday's Senior Executive Chef Stephen Bulgarelli sat at the judges table and endured a bizarre wonderland mushroom plate, a sloppy cheese steak sandwich, and an over-salted surf and turf tragedy. Finally, it was the delicious variation on a grilled cheese sandwich created by Betty Fraser that took the top spot. As a reward, Betty's sandwich was added to over 500 Friday's menus across the country, and now we have a Top Secret clone to easily recreate the tasty winner at home. Friday's modified Betty's recipe to make it easier to prepare in the quick-service environment of the restaurant, and that's the version I've cloned for you in this recipe.

    Click here to see if I hacked more of your favorites from T.G.I. Friday's.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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  • Not rated yet
    T.G.I. Friday's California Chargrilled Turkey Sandwich

    Menu Description: "Chargrilled all-white meat turkey burger, served on a toasted whole wheat bun with lettuce, tomatoes, alfalfa sprouts, onions and avocado."

    Noting the success of the first T.G.I. Friday's in New York City, a group of fun-loving Dallas businessmen opened the first franchise store. The investors decorated their Dallas T.G.I. Friday's with antiques and collectibles gathered from around the countryside—now all of the Friday's are decorated that way. Six months after the opening of the Dallas location, waiters and waitresses began doing skits and riding bicycles and roller skates around the restaurant. That's also when the now defunct tradition of ringing in every Friday evolved. Thursday night at midnight was like a New Year's Eve party at T.G.I. Friday's, with champagne, confetti, noisemakers, and a guy jumping around in a gorilla suit.

    Here's a favorite of burger lovers who don't care where the beef is. It's an alternative to America's most popular food with turkey instead of beef, plus some alfalfa sprouts and avocado to give it a "California" twist.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant 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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