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Welcome. You just found copycat recipes for all of your favorite famous foods! Bestselling author and TV host Todd Wilbur shows you how to duplicate the taste of iconic dishes and treats at home. Todd's recipes are easy to follow and fun to make. Search for recipes by category here. New recipes added every week.

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    Score: 4.67. Votes: 3

    For years Taco Bell customers had only the "mild" and "hot" varieties of free taco sauce blister packs to choose from to kick up their fistful of tacos. That is, until a recent addition to the hot sauce selection bumped the heat-o-meter up a few notches. True chili heads might find this sauce mild when compared with the glut of extreme pepper sauces on the market today, but it's definitely a recipe that improves on the Mexican fast-food chain's original hot sauce formula. 

    Make those famous Taco Bell tacos, Chalupas, and more here

    Source: Even More Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Menu Description: "Refried beans, cheddar cheese, guacamole, black olives, seasoned sour cream, green onions, tomatoes and cilantro. Served with tortilla chips and fresh salsa."

    When the first T.G.I. Friday's opened in New York City in 1965 as a meeting place for single adults, Newsweek and The Saturday Evening Post reported that it was the beginning of the "singles age." Today the restaurant's customers have matured, many are married, and they bring their children with them to the more than 300 Friday's across the country and around the world.

    The Nine-Layer Dip is an often requested appetizer on the T.G.I. Friday's menu. This dish will serve half a dozen people easily, so it's perfect for a small gathering. Don't worry if there's only a couple of you—leftovers can be refrigerated for a day or two. 

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.67. Votes: 6

    Menu Description: "Loaded with cheddar cheese and bacon. Served with sour cream and chives."

    Perfume salesman Alan Stillman was a single guy in New York City in 1965, looking for a way to meet women who lived in his neighborhood. He figured out a way to get their attention: buy a broken-down beer joint in the area, jazz it up, and call it "The T.G.I.F." to attract the career crowd. Within a week, police had barricaded the area to control crowds flocking to Alan's new restaurant. The restaurant made $1 million in its first year—a lot of dough back then. Soon restaurateurs across the country were imitating the concept.

    In 1974 T.G.I. Friday's invented an appetizer that would also be copied by many in the following years. Potato skins are still the most popular item on the T.G.I. Friday's menu, with nearly 4 million orders served every year. The recipe has the added benefit of providing you with leftover baked potato ready for mashing.

    T.G.I Friday's has several popular dishes. See if I cloned your favorites here.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 3

    Before there was Lone Star, Outback, or Ruth's Chris, a real rancher named Stuart Anderson was serving up huge cuts of delicious prime beef in his Seattle-based restaurant chain. The first Black Angus restaurant opened on April Fool's Day in 1964 and quickly became known for its huge, juicy cuts of prime rib.

    Early on, Stuart Anderson's Black Angus served a signature bread dubbed "Ranch Bread" free with each meal. Around five years ago that evolved into Cheesy Garlic Bread, which is no longer free, but it is still a delicious and often requested side for any meal. Try to find a large loaf of French or Italian bread for this recipe. The recipe works with just about any type of bread loaf, but to make it more like the original, bigger is better.

    Now, for your entree..how about a big 'ole juicy Whiskey Pepper Steak?

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 1

    Tony Roma had already been in the restaurant business for many years when he opened Tony Roma's Place in North Miami, Florida in 1972. This casual diner featured food at reasonable prices, nightly live entertainment and the house specialty: baby back ribs. Soon, customers were traveling from miles away to get a taste of the succulent, mouth-watering ribs. One rib-lover came from Texas in 1976: Clint Murchison, Jr., a Texas financier and owner of the Dallas Cowboys. After sampling the baby backs, and claiming they were the best he'd ever tasted, he struck up a deal with Tony to purchase the majority of the U.S. rights to the company and planned for a major expansion. 

    The famous barbecue ribs served at the restaurant have been judged the "Best in America" at a national rib cook-off and have won more than 30 awards at other state and local competitions. The secret to the tender, melt-in-your-mouth quality of the ribs at Tony Roma's is the long, slow-cooking process. Here is the Top Secret Recipes version of the cooking technique. 

    The sauce cloned here is the sauce the made the chain famous—Tony Roma's serves it on their Original Baby Back Ribs. This version of the sauce uses a ketchup base, vinegar, dark corn syrup and a bit of Tabasco. The chain uses their sauce on baby back ribs and has started selling it by the bottle in each restaurant. Now you can make a version of your own that is less costly than the bottled brand, and can be used on any cut of ribs, or even chicken.

    Check out my clone recipes for these other 3 sauces: Caroline Honey SauceBlue Ridge Smokies Sauce, and Red Hots Sauce.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Menu Description: "Grilled Bread Topped with Fresh Chopped Tomato, Red Onion, Garlic, Basil and Olive Oil."

    In 1972, Oscar and Evelyn Overton moved from Detroit to Los Angeles to build a wholesale bakery that would sell cheesecakes and other high-quality desserts to local restaurants. Business was a booming success, but some restaurants balked at the high prices the bakery was charging for its desserts. So, in 1978, the couple's son David decided to open a restaurant of his own—the first Cheesecake Factory restaurant—in posh Beverly Hills. The restaurant was an immediate success and soon David started an expansion of the concept. Sure, the current total of 20 restaurants doesn't seem like a lot, but his handful of stores earns the chain more than $100 million in business each year. That's more than some chains with four times the number of outlets rake in. 

    Bruschetta is one of the top-selling appetizers at the restaurant chain. Bruschetta is toasted bread flavored with garlic and olive oil, broiled until crispy, and then arranged around a pile of tomato-basil salad in vinaigrette. This salad is scooped onto the bruschetta, and then you open wide. This version makes five slices just like the dish served at the restaurant, but the recipe can be easily doubled. 

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.89. Votes: 44

    For two years after the first Olive Garden restaurant opened in 1982, operators were still tweaking the restaurant's physical appearance and the food that was served. Even the tomato sauce was changed as many as 25 times. It's that sort of dedication that creates fabulous dishes like this popular soup. It blends the flavors of potatoes, kale, and Italian sausage in a slightly spicy chicken and cream broth. 

    You've got the soup recipe, how about creating your own bottomless Olive Garden House Salad and Breadsticks? Find more of my Olive Garden clone recipes here!

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 5.00. Votes: 4

    Menu Description: "A grilled tilapia fillet brushed with a sweet and spicy glaze and garnished with red chili tapenade, cilantro and sesame seeds." 

    Here's a great way to prepare that next batch of fresh fish fillets when you're contemplating a new taste. If you and your diners love spicy food this is the perfect clone, since the top secret glaze and tapenade recipes I've included here both come packing heat. You can make the sauces several hours—or even days—ahead of time, and then when you're ready to eat, the fish will cook up in less than 10 minutes. Chili's calls this "grilled" tilapia on the menu, but don't expect to find grill marks on the fish. It appears the restaurant uses a flat griddle or saute pan to cook the fish, since the tender tilapia would fall through the grate on a barbecue grill. Don't limit this recipe to tilapia. The intense glaze and tapenade will perk up a variety of fish fillets, from sea bass to salmon.

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 3 by Todd Wilbur.

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    Score: 4.00. Votes: 3

    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: 5.00. Votes: 1

    Menu Description: "Fresh ripe bananas in our rich vanilla cream, topped with fresh whipped cream or fluffy meringue." 

    Bakers get to work by 5 a.m. at Marie Callender's to begin baking over 30 varieties of pies. Huge pies. Pies that weigh nearly three pounds apiece. The fresh, creamy, flaky delicious pies that have made Marie Callender's famous in the food biz. On those mornings about 250 pies will be made at each of the 147 restaurants. Modest, I suppose, when compared with Thanksgiving Day when the stores can make up to 3,500 pies each.

    For now though, we'll start with just one—banana cream pie with flaky crust, whipped cream, and slivered almonds on top. This recipe requires that you bake the crust unfilled, so you will have to use a pie weight or other oven-safe object to keep the crust from puffing up. Large pie weights are sold in many stores, or you can use small metal or ceramic weights (sold in packages). Or place dried beans on the crust which has first been lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper.

    Try more of my Marie Callender's copycat recipes here

    Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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I'm Todd Wilbur,
Chronic Food Hacker

For 30 years I've been deconstructing America's most iconic brand-name foods to make the best original clone recipes for you to use at home. Welcome to my lab.

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