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Now customers won’t have to mix their own
McDonald's customers in Japan will no longer have to mix their apple pie and ice cream themselves.
Earlier this year some Internet geniuses petitioned McDonald’s to create a “fried ice cream pie” dessert that combines the chain’s apple pie and soft-serve ice cream. That idea might be impossible with current foodservice technology, but McDonald’s Japan has come up with the next best thing: Pie à la Mode.
According to Rocket News 24, McDonald’s Japan will be offering the Pie à la Mode as a limited-time offering next month. They first started combining their fried apple pies and soft-serve ice cream as a combined item last year, and it went over so well they decided to do it again in some different flavors. The first incarnations were available with an apple pie in vanilla ice cream, drizzled in either chocolate or strawberry syrup. This year the dessert will come with either chocolate or maple syrup on top.
McDonald’s Pie à la Mode will sell for 250 yen or about $2.08 starting January 6. Those diners not currently in Japan might have to take matters into their own hands by ordering a soft-serve ice cream and an apple pie and then combining them by hand. It might be a little more work, but would probably taste just as good.
Noah Cappe packs his breath mints and heads to the South Florida Garlic Festival in Lake Worth, Fla., where the stinking rose makes an appearance in fair foods like the Claw Cake Burger and Mojo Pork Pockets. But it's the Toasted Garlic Donuts that get Noah's taste buds tingling. Then he's off to enjoy America's favorite ballpark snack at the National Peanut Festival in Dothan, Ala., where he finds high school band boosters hard at work serving fair food classics with a peanutty twist.
Dates on a Plane
Noah Cappe arrives in the California desert for a date with deliciousness at the Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival. After some hot and spicy treats like the Fire Fingers Kartwheel and the Sonoran Fire Dog, Noah's earned a cool Palm Date Shake. From there, he heads to the Pensacola Interstate Fair for some Flori-Bama fun. Noah digs into some Crabby Tots and the Love Me Tender pizza before meeting up with the Queen of Funnel Cakes for the ultimate fairground sweet.
Mad Snacks: Berry Road
Noah Cappe travels back in time at the Texas Renaissance Festival, where the medieval-inspired meals range from the Sir Francis Fry Dog to The Crown Jewel. Then it's over to Plant City, Fla., where Noah chows down on some berry delicious carnival treats at the Florida Strawberry Festival. Strawberries even make a surprise appearance in some savory treats like the Sweet Brisket Taco and the Spicy Strawberry Stack.
Requiem for an Ice Cream
Noah Cappe rolls into Alabama for some country carnival cookin' at the Greater Gulf State Fair in Mobile. He digs into the Dirty Bird turkey leg and takes a ride on a crazy midway mashup, The Mothership. Then, Noah rings the alarm with a family of foodies at the Firefighters' Indian River County Fair in Vero Beach, Fla. This smokin' hot event starts off right with the Breakfast Buzz Burger and cools down with the Strawberry Lemonade Stick.
Noah Cappe gets the royal treatment with "ye olde eats" at the Hoggetown Medieval Faire in Gainesville, Fla. Meat is all over the menu, and Noah goes wild for the Smoked Bison Burger and the Wild Boar Leg. Then he heads to Rodeo Austin for some weird treats like Armadillo Eggs, Cookie Dough Dream and a road trip to deliciousness called the I-35 Chili Jar.
Planet of the Dates
Noah Cappe is ready for 1,001 nights of fun at the Arabian Nights-themed Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival in Indio, Calif. He makes a date with a dangerous burger and enjoys a sweet mashup with the Churro Dog. Then Noah heads to the Clay County Agricultural Fair, where a South Florida favorite is re-imagined as the Cubano Dog, and he gets caught up in the Hawaiian Typhoon.
There Will Be Bacon
Noah Cappe pigs out at the Bacon and Bourbon Fest in Wellington, Fla., where all-American classics make an appearance in the Stuffed Crust Bacon-Za, but it's the Peanut Butter Pork Donuts that hit the sweet and salty spot. Then Noah heads to the ThurtenE Carnival at Washington University in St. Louis, where he gets his fill of delicious school spirit. Even a rainy day can't dampen the fun as students serve up a deep-fried hot dog and an ingenious ice cream sandwich made with edible raw cookie dough.
Noah Cappe goes loco for Sunshine State snacks at the Manatee County Fair in Palmetto, Fla. There's lots of ooey-gooey goodness in the Pizza Supremo Burger and the Ulti-Melt Burger, but it's the Sandia Loca that has Noah flipping out. Then he's shaken and stirred by some Kentucky classics at Hillbilly Days in Pikeville, Ky., where old-fashioned favorites are served with a side of good humor and a shot of American whiskey in the form of Kentucky Mac and Cheese and Bourbon a la Mode funnel cake.
Beauty and the Beef
It's love at first bite as Noah Cappe munches on some Texas-sized treats at Rodeo Austin. With a tagline of "Where Western meets weird," the Rodeo is the place to find one-of-a-kind carnival eats like the Kobe beef Rodeo Austin burger and the massive Stuffed Chop. Then Noah's off to the Pima County Fair in Tucson, Ariz., for a shrimp stick featuring sweet Gulf shrimp and fruity cereal. He also digs into The Big Rib and finishes the day off with the brain-numbing Nitro Whip.
Fight Club Sandwich
Noah Cappe meets his match with some knock-out fruity feasts at the Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City. He starts the day with the Strawberry French Toast Burger and slurps the Way Better Strawberry Shake. Then he heads up the coast to Maryland's Towsontown Spring Festival, where he munches on a Poppin' Lobster Dog and goes local with the Baltimore Club and some Japanese street food.
Hot Dog Time Machine
Noah Cappe takes a trip to the Coastal Carolina Fair near Charleston, S.C., where he samples a local legend, Jack's Cosmic Dog. Trolling the fairgrounds, Noah catches the Catfish Sundae and takes a bite of fall flavors with the Pumpkin Cheesecake Pop. Then he heads west and feels the desert heat with some spicy fare at the Maricopa County Fair in Phoenix, Ariz. Noah's taste buds start tingling thanks to the Burnin' Up Burger and the Popper Dog, but a treat so special they call it the Unicorn Shake offers cool relief.
To eat or not to eat? For Noah Cappe, there is no question! Noah heads to San Diego and hams it up at the Balboa Park December Nights festival. The day starts off right with a breakfast Belgian waffle called the Ham I Am, and then it's a showdown between the East Coast Lobstah Taco and homegrown Cali Spicy Kaprao Burger. Then Noah heads north to Antioch, Calif., for the Contra Costa County Fair, where Mexican-American specialties take top prize.
A-Frying in Winter
Noah Cappe chills out with some cool Twin City treats at the Saint Paul Winter Carnival. Despite sub-zero temperatures, he gets into the spirit with local specialties like the Nordic Waffle Pizza and the super-indulgent Biergarten Cupcake. Then Noah heads to the San Bernardino County Fair in Victorville, Calif., for some rays and eats like Lil' Corn Cakes and an ooey-gooey S'Mores Chimney Stack.
Saimin | McDonalds Secret Menu
H awaii has more than just luscious beaches and tropical breezes. They've got secret menu items unique to Hawaii. One such secret menu hack is the Saimin from McDonalds. Saimin is a noodle soup that was developed by many different immigrant groups in Hawaii. Saimin is most similar to Japanese ramen and it was created during the early 20th century.
Saimin is a soup with egg noodles served up in a hot broth that has kamaboko (fish cake), char siu (barbecued pork), and nori (seaweed). In the late 1960s, this Hawaiian Saimin was added to the regular menu as the first local "ethnic" dish added to a McDonalds in its long history.
Later on, McDonald's added a few more local specialties to the Hawaiian menu. The first is a Portuguese sausage, eggs and steamed white rice breakfast platter. The second is breakfast platter consisting of Spam, eggs and white rice. While the third and final item is the deluxe breakfast platter which consists of Portuguese sausage, Spam, eggs, and two scoops of white rice. This, of course, leads to the addition of the Portuguese Sausage McMuffin w/ Egg as well as the Spam version to the McDonald's Secret Menu.
Chewy, warm, and melt-in-your-mouth, McDonald's Cinnamon Melts curb everyone's sweet tooth. Upgrade the typical Cinnamon Melt by ordering a soft serve vanilla ice cream cone with it. Then, strategically place the cone on top of your Cinnamon Melt for a creamy, gooey creation.
Warning: This sandwich is not for the faint-hearted. The Land, Sea, and Air burger on the McDonald's secret menu, is physically one of the largest creations. You'll need a monster appetite to demolish it. With three types of meat (fish, chicken and beef), you'll be getting more than enough protein.
Oder a Big Mac, a Filet-O-Fish and a McChicken. You'll have to assemble this monster creation yourself. Stuff he McChicken and Filet-O-Fish patties in the middle of the Big Mac. If you're feeling frisky, put some fries in there too.
My Own Little Playground
Apples are the craze during the fall season. You have the classic red, Granny Smith, Gala, Golden, Fuji, and more. From the red to the golden yellow, the sight of an apple shows us fall has arrived. Not only does this fall fruit taste great off the branch, but it serves as one of pie’s best fillers.
Apple pie has always been an age-old favorite, dating back to 1390. The first-ever recorded apple pie recipe was created by the Master Cooks of King Richard II. Back then, sugar was scarce and pie crusts were not intended for eating, but just for storage. In the last 600 years, apple pie has had a major makeover with sweet sugars, delightful spices, and flaky crusts. Since 1390, we’ve seen traditional apple pies, French apple pies, and apple pie “à la mode” (popularized in the 1890s by Charles Watson Townsend after a trip to New York). Apple pie may not have originated in America, but it will always be an American favorite.
Salty Caramel Apple Pie
Nothing says “Autumn” quite like a homemade apple pie! In this caramel apple recipe, the apple remains the star of the show but, in a wild-card move, I’ve added fleur-de-sel to bring out the robust, hidden flavor notes of the fruit’s natural sweetness. Enjoy!
Here’s a fantastic pie from Tate’s Bake Shop, located in Southampton. The balanced combination of tart filling and sweet crunchy topping in this apple crumb pie is excellent. If you like your pie less sweet, leave off the crumb topping and top the filling with pie pastry for traditional apple pie.
Apple Pie with Cream Cheese Pie Crust
Here it is, the pie I made earlier this week with cream cheese and apples picked at a friend’s wedding in Santa Cruz. I ended up taking this apple pie to my office after I photographed it, and there wasn’t anything left on the plate by the time I came back 15 minutes later.
Ah, McDonald’s apple pies – we liked you better when you were fried, but we also understand why that can’t be anymore. Ever since McDonald’s started transitioning their menu to target a nutritionally conscious crowd, we’ve had to settle for our dessert pies un-fried, which are technically turnovers, baked but still delicious. Introduced in the late 1960s, these small dessert treats were hits immediately. There’s nothing more American than hamburgers, fries, milkshakes, and pies – and you can find them all under the golden arches.
Bacon Weave Apple Pie
This recipe brings apple pie to the next level and gives the dessert a meaty upgrade. We took an American classic and added sweet flavored bacon inside the pie, added it to the crust, and made a deliciously beautiful bacon-weaved top.
Cheddar Cheeze-It Apple Pie Recipe
Adapted from one of chef David Burke’s creations, the original version of this recipe already had Cheddar cheese in it, but we gave it an extra dose with Cheez-It crackers.
Here Are The Menu Items At Fast Food Restaurants That Employees Say You Should Try
1) Starbucks &mdash We are starting with our FAVORITE place on earth, here at Totally The Bomb.
We have real baristas that help come up with the drinks we bring you, and every single one of their drinks are incredibly delicious.
Check out this recipe for a Starbucks Virgin Mai Tai that comes straight off the Starbucks secret menu.
2) Subway &mdash Now, I personally am not a fan of the Tuna Sandwich, but if you are into that kind of thing, this one&rsquos for you.
Ask for a normal tuna sub, but ask to add bacon. You won&rsquot be sorry!
3) Chipotle &mdash This is one of my favorite fast food stops!!
Did you know that you can order a Quesarito that isn&rsquot on the actual menu, but they will make it for you if you ask for it?
The Quesarito is just a normal burrito, but instead of ONE tortilla wrapping, they will give you TWO &mdash with melted cheese sandwiched in between!
4) Wendy&rsquos &mdash You can get a side of melted cheese to dip your fries in!!
I have never, ever come across a person outside of my family (who has been doing it for years) that knows you can order a cup of melted cheese at both Wendys and Arbys and dip your fries, nuggets, whatever in it.FFandMMfan on Reddit
I don&rsquot know how I have gone through life not knowing this trick.
Also at Wendy&rsquos, you can ask for any drink made into a float!!
Basically a root beer float, but you can make any combination of chocolate or vanilla ice cream and basically any soft drink. I recommend strawberry and chocolate ice cream. It&rsquos freaking deliciousu/Karnman
5) Taco Bell &mdash There are FOUR suggestions for you here.
First of all, did you know that you can order your bean burrito (or ANY burrito for that matter) with extra red sauce for a punch of flavor?
Did you also know that you can order a MexiMelt &mdash which is just a taco-sized tortilla with melted cheese, ground beef, and pico de gallo &mdash with steak instead of ground beef?
Then, there is the Cheesy Gordita Crunch, but substitute the crunchy taco for a Dorito taco shell.
Now, you need to try a Grilled Steak Taco, but ask for it &ldquofresco style&rdquo
They will leave off the cheese, but add pico.Taco Bell on Facebook
6) Cook Out &mdash Now, this is a regional restaurant, but if you&rsquore one of the LUCKY ones &mdash like me &mdash who has a Cook Out in town, pay close attention.
You know they have about eleventy billion fancy milkshakes, and you can mix and match to your heart&rsquos desire.
BUT, you HAVE to try the Snickers with Mint &mdash even if you only try it once, it has to be done!
7) McDonald&rsquos &mdash This is one hack that is going to come in very handy for my husband who LOVES the Big Mac.
If you want a Big Mac for a fraction of the cost, order a McDouble with no mustard or ketchup, and add shredded lettuce and mac sauce.u/DestroyTheSkyline
8) Five Guys &mdash OMG! Another one of my favorites!!
Every single item on the menu here is just a bit of perfection, but there is one AMAZING thing you can order that isn&rsquot on the menu.
Just order a Grilled Cheese, and then add all your favorite toppings!
Five Guys on Facebook
I used to work at Five Guys and you can get a grilled cheese with anything on it. When I worked there, I would get a grilled cheese with extra cheese, bacon, grilled tomato, and BBQ sauce on the side. It&rsquos awesome.u/RainbowZebraGum
9) Whataburger &mdash Okay, all you lucky southern people, try THIS next time you hit up your favorite Whataburger restaurant.
Ask for Creamy Pepper Sauce on your burger, and then close your eyes and revel in the sensation.
I&rsquom pretty sure it&rsquos not actually on the menu and 90% of the time when you ask them what kind of sauces they have, they don&rsquot say creamy pepper sauce
Another tasty thing you can try is the Apple Pie à la Mode.
Whataburger can prepare the apple pie. À la mode. That means they just put the apple pie in a small milkshake. The milkshake gets melted so it&rsquos easier to eat and the apple pie cools. It&rsquos glorious.u/jinklmun
10) White Castle &mdash I hate to admit this, but I don&rsquot think I have ever been to a White Castle, although I have heard amazing things!White Castle on Facebook
You can order a chicken-bacon-ranch sandwich, even though it isn&rsquot on the menu.
I work at White Castle and although we have the ingredients to make them, chicken-bacon-ranch sandwiches aren&rsquot technically on our menu. That&rsquos what I make myself when I have to eat at work.u/Treyu2112
The liquid that’s leftover after boiling kale, mustard, turnip, or collard greens is called “potlikker.” It’s as rich in vitamins, minerals, and flavor as it is wrought with historical significance.
The byproduct emerged as a centerpiece in the early days of American slavery, when enslaved Africans working in kitchens throughout the South made use of the leftover broth after cooking greens for white slaveowners. On its own, it was taken as a tonic or a soup. Otherwise, it was built into a stew with the addition of whatever alliums, greens, and pork was available. For the fortunate few, it could be enjoyed with cornbread.
As with many dishes born of enslavement, potlikker became an icon of Southern cooking, even making its way into the national spotlight with the great “Potlikker and Cornpone Debate of 1931.” The phenomenon pitted a traditionalist newspaper editor from Atlanta against a U.S. senator from Louisiana in a row over whether it was more appropriate to crumble cornbread into potlikker or to dunk it. In the midst of the Great Depression, the debate gripped the country for weeks. The dispute today remains unsettled.
If you’ve got some ham hock kicking around, this recipe serves nicely. For vegetarians, mushrooms stand in well for the umami of hearty cuts of ham in this alternative recipe. If cornbread is a possibility, crumble or dunk as you see fit.
A cheap, sweet, historic treat, regardless of your employment status. stephanie.lapierre.520/used with permission
KFC Russia Serving Teriyaki Chicken McDonalds Japan Serving Pie a la Mode
Americanꃺst foodhains have become a common sight throughout the world. You can get a Filet-O-Fish at McDonald’s India similarly, you can order “Le Whopper” at Burger King Paris.
But asꃺst food chains continue to pop up in cities all over the world, American chains are tailoring menu items to the taste preferences of local populations, and taking inspiration from other countries’ culinary traditions.
Just take KFC Russias newest menu items: Teriyaki Ricebox and Teriyaki Bites. Of course,oth Japanese-inspired teriyaki dishesome with chopsticks. In Russia.
And then there’s McDonald’s Japan latest dessert special: Pie a la Mode. Ok, so maybe pie a la mode got its origins in the USA (not in France), but it’s still funny to see French on the menu of an American chain restaurant in Japan.
The Pie a la Mode will be available at McDonald’s across Japan starting on January 6 of next year. The picture above shows the “Pie a la Mode Maple Flavor,” which isovered in maple-flavored syrup. To take this one step further, we𠆝 just like to point out that vanilla ice cream covered in maple syrup is a Canadian thing.
The BTS Meal, with sauces inspired by South Korean recipes, coming to McDonald’s in May
K-Pop superstars BTS have partnered with McDonald’s to offer the band’s favorite order starting May 26.
The BTS Meal, announced using french fries to emulate the group’s iconic logo, includes a 10-piece Chicken McNuggets, medium fries and medium Coke, complete with Sweet Chili and Cajun dipping sauces inspired by popular McDonald’s South Korea recipes, available in the United States for the first time ever.
The BTS Meal will hit the U.S. on May 26 at participating restaurants and will be available globally in nearly 50 countries. BTS was represented by Loeb & Loeb’s Debbie White in the deal.
“The band has great memories with McDonald’s,” BTS’ label Big Hit Music said in a statement. “We’re excited about this collaboration and can’t wait to share the BTS Meal with the world.”
The BTS collab is the latest installment of McDonald’s Famous Orders program, which featured partnerships with J Balvin and Travis Scott, whose order marked the first celebrity meal at the fast-food chain since Michael Jordan’s 1992 McJordan burger.
The Travis Scott Meal, which included a Quarter Pounder with cheese, bacon, lettuce, pickles, ketchup and mustard medium fries (with BBQ Sauce for dipping) and a Sprite, was accompanied by a popular merchandise line and led to a viral TikTok trend in which customers pulled up to the drive-thru blasting the artist’s hit song “Sicko Mode.” According to USA Today, the Travis Scott Meal contributed to a shortage in key ingredients at McDonald’s due to overwhelming demand.
Last year, the fast-food chain teased out other famous orders in a Super Bowl commercial that features real-life celebrity orders from Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Whoopi Goldberg, Magic Johnson, Keith Urban and more.
BTS is comprised of members J-Hope, Jimin, Jin, Jungkook, RM, V and SUGA.
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.
Includes eight (8) 79¢ recipes of your choice each month!
Save $12 vs. monthly
Includes eight (8) 79¢ recipes of your choice each month!
I never thought dinner rolls were something I could get excited about until I got my hand into the breadbasket at Texas Roadhouse. The rolls are fresh out of the oven and they hit the table when you do, so there’s no waiting to tear into a magnificently gooey sweet roll topped with soft cinnamon butter. The first bite you take will make you think of a fresh cinnamon roll, and then you can’t stop eating it. And when the first roll’s gone, you are powerless to resist grabbing for just one more. But it’s never just one more. It’s two or three more, plus a few extra to take home for tomorrow.
Discovering the secret to making rolls at home that taste as good as the real ones involved making numerous batches of dough, each one sweeter than the last (sweetened with sugar, not honey—I checked), until a very sticky batch, proofed for 2 hours, produced exactly what I was looking for. You can make the dough with a stand mixer or a handheld one, the only difference being that you must knead the dough by hand without a stand mixer. When working with the dough add a little bit of flour at a time to keep it from sticking, and just know that the dough will be less sticky and more workable after the first rise.
Roll the dough out and measure it as specified here, and after a final proofing and a quick bake—plus a generous brushing of butter on the tops—you will produce dinner rolls that look and taste just like the best rolls I’ve had at any famous American dinner chain.
To get their Extra Crispy Chicken so crispy KFC breads the chicken two times. This double breading gives the chicken its ultra craggy exterior and extra crunch, which is a different texture than the less crispy Original Recipe Chicken that’s breaded just once and pressure fried.
As with my KFC Original Recipe hack, we must first brine the chicken to give it flavor and moisture all the way through, like the real thing, then the chicken is double breaded and deep fried until golden brown. KFC uses small chickens which cook faster, but small chickens can be hard to find. If your chicken parts are on the large side, they may not cook all the way through in the 12 to 15 minutes of frying I’m specifying here. To be sure your chicken is cooked, start frying with the thickest pieces, like the breasts, then park them in a 300-degree oven while you finish with the smaller pieces. This will keep the chicken warm and crispy, and more importantly, ensure that they are cooked perfectly all the way through.
On my CMT show Top Secret Recipe I chatted with Winston Shelton, a long-time friend of KFC founder Harland Sanders. Winston saw the Colonel's handwritten secret recipe for the Original Recipe chicken, and he told me one of the secret ingredients is Tellicherry black pepper. It's a more expensive, better-tasting black pepper that comes from the Malabar coast in India, and you should use it here if you can find it. Winston pulled me aside and whispered this secret to me when he thought we were off-camera, but our microphones and very alert cameramen caught the whole thing, and we aired it.
I first published this hack in Even More Top Secret Recipes, but recently applied some newly acquired secrets and tips to make this much-improved version of one of the most familiar fried chicken recipes in the world.
This recipe was our #2 most popular in 2019. Check out the other four most unlocked recipes of the year: Texas Roadhouse Rolls (#1), Olive Garden Braised Beef Bolognese (#3), Pizzeria Uno Chicago Deep Dish Pizza (#4), Bush's Country Style Baked Beans (#5).
Getting a table at the 123-year-old original Rao’s restaurant in New York City is next to impossible. The tables are “owned” by regulars who schedule their meals months in advance, so every table is full every night, and that’s the way it’s been for the last 38 years. The only way an outsider would get to taste the restaurant’s fresh marinara sauce is to be invited by a regular.
If that isn’t in the stars for you, you could buy a bottle of the sauce at your local market (if they even have it). It won't be fresh, and it's likely to be the most expensive sauce in the store, but it still has that great Rao's taste. An even better solution is to copy the sauce for yourself using this new and very easy hack.
The current co-owner of Rao’s, Frank Pellegrino Jr., told Bon Appetit in 2015 that the famous marinara sauce was created by his grandmother many years ago, and the sauce you buy in stores is the same recipe served in his restaurants. The ingredients are common, but correctly choosing the main ingredient—tomatoes—is important. Try to find San Marzano-style whole canned tomatoes, preferably from Italy. They are a little more expensive than typical canned tomatoes, but they will give you some great sauce.
After 30 minutes of cooking, you’ll end up with about the same amount of sauce as in a large jar of the real thing. Your version will likely be just a little bit brighter and better than the bottled stuff, thanks to the fresh ingredients. But now you can eat it anytime you want, with no reservations, at a table you own.
You might also like my #1 recipe of 2019, Texas Roadhouse Rolls.
Crafting a clone of Olive Garden’s signature Lasagna Classico became the perfect opportunity to create a beautiful multi-layered lasagna hack recipe that uses up the whole box of lasagna noodles and fills the baking pan all the way to the top. This Top Secret Recipe makes a lasagna that tips the scale at nearly 10 pounds and will feed hungry mouths for days, with every delicious layer copied directly from the carefully dissected Olive Garden original.
I found a few credible bits of intel in a video of an Olive Garden chef demonstrating what he claims is the real formula on a midday news show, but the recipe was abbreviated for TV and the chef left out some crucial information. One ingredient he conspicuously left out of the recipe is the secret layer of Cheddar cheese located near the middle of the stack. I wasn’t expecting to find Cheddar in lasagna, but when I carefully separated the layers from several servings of the original dish, there was the golden melted cheesy goodness in every slice.
This clone recipe will make enough for 8 big portions, but if you make slightly smaller slices this is easily enough food to fill twelve lasagna-loving bellies. If you like lasagna, you're going to love this version.
Browse my other Olive Garden clone recipes here.
“Don’t call them fries,” says KFC about its popular side made with sliced, skin-on russet potatoes. What sets these potatoes apart from all the others is the secret breading made with a similar seasoning blend to the one used for Colonel's Original Recipe Fried Chicken. To achieve the proper crispiness, the potatoes are par-fried, frozen, then fried again until golden brown.
One important ingredient that completes the flavor is MSG. Monosodium glutamate is a food additive derived from glutamic acid, which is an important amino acid found in abundance in nature, food, and in you right now. Over the last 60 years of study and use, MSG has not only been found harmless in normal amounts, but tests have shown glutamate to be a chemical messenger that benefits gut health, immunity, and brain functions such as memory and learning. In addition to all of that, it imparts a unique savoriness that enhances flavors in other ingredients and makes your food taste amazing. Using MSG in your food is, literally, smart cooking.
Another important ingredient is ground Tellicherry black pepper, a select black pepper from India. Winston Shelton, a friend of Harland Sanders who invented the first high-volume pressure fryers for KFC, confirmed this. Shelton recalled seeing the ingredient when Sanders showed him the secret formula for the fried chicken seasoning he had scribbled on a piece of paper.
While we were shooting the first episode of my TV Show, Top Secret Recipe, Winston pulled me aside and whispered to me that Tellicherry pepper is crucial to creating the unique KFC aftertaste. It was a great tip, and fortunately, we caught that moment on camera and you can see it in the show. Later, I conducted a side-by-side taste test with common black pepper and Tellicherry black pepper and discovered Winston was right. If you want the best taste for your clone you'll need Tellicherry pepper, which you can find online and in some food stores. Be sure to grind it fine before using it.
For this recipe, just two russet potatoes are all it takes to make the equivalent of a large serving of fried potato wedges, which will be enough for at least four people.
Get more of my KFC copycat recipes here.
Jerrico, Inc., the parent company for Long John Silver's Seafood Shoppes, got its start in 1929 as a six-stool hamburger stand called the White Tavern Shoppe. Jerrico was started by a man named Jerome Lederer, who watched Long John Silver's thirteen units dwindle in the shadow of World War II to just three units. Then, with determination, he began rebuilding. In 1946 Jerome launched a new restaurant called Jerry's and it was a booming success, with growth across the country. Then he took a chance on what would be his most successful venture in 1969, with the opening of the first Long John Silver's Fish 'n' Chips. The name was inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. In 1991 there were 1,450 Long John Silver Seafood Shoppes in thirty-seven states, Canada, and Singapore, with annual sales of more than $781 million. That means the company holds about 65 percent of the $1.2 billion quick-service seafood business.
KFC's Chicken Pot Pie is a classic. It's packed with lots of shredded white and dark meat chicken, potatoes, peas, and carrots all of it swimming in a delicious creamy gravy and topped with a tantalizing flakey crust. It seems more like homemade food than fast food. And now it can be made at home better than ever before with this improved hack of my original recipe. The crust now has a better flavor (more butter!), and the gravy tastes closer to the original with the addition of more spices.
You can make these in ramekins or small oven-safe baking dishes, or get some recyclable aluminum pot pie pans you can find in many supermarkets. Those pans are the perfect size for four single servings, and they make cleanup easy after the feast.
Find more of my KFC copycat recipes here.
Popeyes Famous Fried Chicken and Biscuits has become the third-largest quick-service chicken chain in the world in the twenty-two years since its first store opened in New Orleans in 1972. (KFC has the number-one slot, followed by Church's Chicken). Since then, the chain has grown to 813 units, with many of them overseas in Germany, Japan, Jamaica, Honduras, Guam, and Korea.
Cayenne pepper and white pepper bring the heat to this crispy fried chicken hack.
Did you like this recipe? Get your hands on my secret recipe for Popeyes Chicken Sandwich and other Popeyes dishes here.
Menu Description: "Made from scratch in our kitchens using fresh Grade A Fancy Russet potatoes, fresh chopped onion, natural Colby cheese and spices. Baked fresh all day long."
In the late sixties Dan Evins was a Shell Oil "jobber" looking for a new way to market gasoline. He wanted to create a special place that would arouse curiosity, and would pull travelers off the highways. In 1969 he opened the first Cracker Barrel just off Interstate 40 in Lebanon, Tennessee, offering gas, country-style food, and a selection of antiques for sale. Today there are over 529 stores in 41 states, with each restaurant still designed as a country rest stop and gift store. In fact, those stores which carry an average of 4,500 different items apiece have made Cracker Barrel the largest retailer of American-made finished crafts in the United States.
Those who know Cracker Barrel love the restaurant for its delicious home-style breakfasts. This casserole, made with hash brown-sliced potatoes, Colby cheese, milk, beef broth, and spices is served with many of the classic breakfast dishes at the restaurant. The recipe here is designed for a skillet that is also safe to put in the oven (so no plastic handles). If you don't have one of those, you can easily transfer the casserole to a baking dish after it is done cooking on the stove.
Love Cracker Barrel? Check out my other clone recipes here.
A popular staple of any Chinese chain is the fried rice so it better be good, and the version served at Panda Express most certainly is. Here's an easy hack when you need a stress-free, low-cost side for your entrées. But I do suggest that you cook the white rice several hours or even a day or two before you plan to make the finished dish. I found that the cooked rice called for in this recipe works best when it's cold.
As for a shortcut, bagged frozen peas and carrots will save you from the hassle of petite-dicing carrots since the carrots in those bags are the perfect size to produce an identical clone. And they're already cooked.
Now, how about some Honey Walnut Shrimp, or Beijing Beef to go with that rice? Find all my Panda Express copycat recipes here.
In the early 90's Boston Chicken was rockin' it. The home meal replacement chain's stock was soaring and the lines were filled with hungry customers waiting to sink their teeth into a serving of the chain's delicious rotisserie chicken. So successful was the chain with chicken, that the company quickly decided it was time to introduce other entree selections, the first of which was a delicious barbecue sauce-covered ground sirloin meatloaf. But offering the other entrees presented the company with a dilemma: what to do about the name. The bigwigs decided it was time to change the name to Boston Market, to reflect a wider menu. That meant replacing signs on hundreds of units and retooling the marketing campaigns. That name change, plus rapid expansion of the chain and growth of other similar home-style meal concepts sent the company into a tailspin. By 1988, Boston Market's goose was cooked, and the company filed for bankruptcy. Soon McDonald's stepped in to purchase the company, with the idea of closing many of the stores for good, and slapping Golden Arches on the rest. But that plan was scrapped when, after selling many of the under-performing Boston Markets, the chain began to fly once again. Within a year of the acquisition Boston Market was profitable, and those meals with the home-cooked taste are still being served at over 700 Boston Market restaurants across the country.
How about some of those famous Boston Market side-dishes to go with your copycat meatloaf recipe? I've cloned all the best ones here.
In the Bush’s Beans commercials, Duke, the family golden retriever, wants to sell the secret family recipe, but the Bush family always stops him. The dog is based on the Bush family’s real-life golden retriever, and the campaign, which began in 1995, made Bush’s the big dog of the canned baked beans market practically overnight. Their confidential baked beans formula is considered one of the top 10 biggest recipe secrets in the U.S.
Bush Brothers & Company had been canning a variety of fruits and vegetables for over 60 years when, in 1969, the company created canned baked beans using a cherished recipe from a family matriarch. Sales jumped from 10 thousand cases in the first year to over 100 thousand cases in 1970. And just one year later sales hit a million cases. Today Bush’s makes over 80 percent of the canned baked beans sold in the U.S., and the secret family recipe remains a top food secret, despite Duke’s attempts. A replica of the original recipe book—without the original recipe in it (drat!)—is on display at the company's visitor center in Chestnut Hill, Tennessee.
I chose to hack the “Country Style” version of Bush’s Beans because I don’t think the Original flavor has enough, uh, flavor. Country Style is similar to Original, but richer, with more brown sugar. The recipe starts by soaking dry small white beans in a brine overnight. The salt in the water helps to soften the skins, but don’t soak them for more than 14 hours or the skins may begin to fall off.
My first versions tasted great but lacked the deep brown color of the real Bush’s beans, which include caramel coloring—an ingredient that can be hard to find on its own. I eventually discovered that the “browning” sauce, Kitchen Bouquet, will add the dark caramel color needed to our home version of the beans so that they’ll look just like the real thing.
This recipe was our #5 most popular in 2019. Check out the other four most unlocked recipes of the year: Texas Roadhouse Rolls (#1) KFC Extra Crispy Fried Chicken (#2), Olive Garden Braised Beef Bolognese (#3), Pizzeria Uno Chicago Deep Dish Pizza (#4).
Menu Description: “Two lightly fried parmesan-breaded chicken breasts are smothered with Olive Garden’s homemade marinara sauce and melted Italian cheeses. We serve our Chicken Parmigiana with a side of spaghetti for dinner.”
Chicken parmigiana is a forever favorite, and it’s not a difficult dish to whip up at home. But for it to taste like the Olive Garden signature entree, we’ll need to take some very specific steps.
Olive Garden’s chicken is salty and moist all the way through, so we must first start by brining the chicken. Give yourself an extra hour for this important marinating step. The marinara sauce used on the chicken is an Olive Garden specialty and no bottled sauce compares, so we’ll make our own from scratch using canned crushed tomatoes and the formula below.
While the sauce cooks, filling your house with its intoxicating aroma, the chicken is breaded and browned. When the marinara is done, top the chicken with the sauce and mozzarella and stick it under your hot broiler until bubbling.
Hopefully, everyone at your house is hungry, because the Olive Garden dinner portion is two chicken fillets, and this recipe will yield a total of four 2-piece servings. Add a small serving of spaghetti on the side, topped with more of the delicious sauce, and you'll have a perfect match to the restaurant plate.
Can't get enough Olive Garden? Click here for more of my copycat recipes.
The Southern-themed chain famous for its gift shops filled with made-in-America products and delicious homestyle food is also known to have a particularly good meatloaf. This dish ranks high in popularity, right up there with the Chicken ‘n Dumplins and the Hash Brown Casserole, so a good hack is long overdue.
Making meatloaf is easy. What’s hard is making it taste like the meatloaf at Cracker Barrel which is tender and juicy, and flavored with onion, green pepper, and tomato. I sought to turn out a moist and tender loaf of meat, and one that’s not dry and tough, but my first attempts were much too dense. I wasn’t happy about that, but my dog was thrilled.
After playing around with the eggs-to-breadcrumbs-to-milk ratios and being careful to use gentle hands when combining everything and pressing it into the loaf pan, the final batch was a winner and I get to pass it along to you.
It's best to use a meatloaf pan here which has an insert that lets the fat drip to the bottom, away from the meat. A regular loaf pan will still work, but you’ll want to pour off the fat in the pan before slicing.
Satisfy your Cracker Barrel cravings with more of my copycat recipes here.
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.
The talented chefs at Benihana cook food on hibachi grills with flair and charisma, treating the preparation like a tiny stage show. They juggle salt and pepper shakers, trim food with lightning speed, and flip the shrimp and mushrooms perfectly onto serving plates or into their tall chef's hat.
One of the side dishes that everyone seems to love is the fried rice. At Benihana this dish is prepared by chefs with precooked rice on open hibachi grills, and is ordered a la cart to complement any Benihana entree, including Hibachi Steak and Chicken. I like when the rice is thrown onto the hot hibachi grill and seems to come alive as it sizzles and dances around like a bunch of little jumping beans. Okay, so I'm easily amused.
This Benihana Japanese fried rice recipe will go well with just about any Japanese entree and can be partially prepared ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator until the rest of the meal is close to done.
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. Crushed soda crackers thicken the chili, and extra beef fat adds a smooth quality that mimics the famous 100-year-old recipe.
The chili must simmer for four hours to properly tenderize the meat, so plan your Coney dog cloning adventure accordingly.
And now if you're craving French fries, try my Mcdonald's Fries copycat recipe here.
Braised and shredded pork shoulder is a staple of Mexican cuisine that Chipotle prepares with a simple blend of flavors, and a surprising ingredient you may not have expected: juniper berries. Once you track those down (they’re easy to find online), the berries are combined with thyme and bay leaves in a braising liquid that will transform your own pork roast into an easily shreddable thing of beauty in under 3 hours. Then you can use your freshly cloned carnitas on tacos, in burritos, or in a bowl over rice and beans just like they do in the restaurant.
When picking your pork roast, try to find one without too much fat. If your roast has a thick cap of fat on it, trim off the excess. You want some fat in your braising liquid, but if the cap of fat is too thick, it may not fully render down and you’ll get chunks of fat in the shred.
It’s often assumed that the pork butt is from the rear end of the pig, even though cuts from the back region already have a name: ham. The pork butt, also known as a Boston butt, is cut from the other end, the upper shoulder of the pig. It’s called a “butt” because in pre-Revolutionary War New England the roasts were stored and transported in barrels called “butts”, and the confusing name stuck.
This 220-unit downscaled version of P.F. Chang’s China Bistro targets the lunch crowd with a smaller menu that features bento boxes, bowls, and small plates. The bestseller on the menu is this orange chicken, which I have to say is pretty damn good orange chicken. Obviously, a clone is needed for this one, stat.
The name “Wei Better Orange Chicken” is a competitive callout to Panda Express's signature orange chicken, which is made with pre-breaded and frozen chicken. Pei Wei claims its orange chicken is prepared each day from scratch with chicken that is never frozen, so we’ll craft our clone the same way. But rather than assemble the dish in a wok over a high-flame fast stove like they do at the restaurant, we’ll prepare the sauce and chicken separately, then toss them with fresh orange wedges just before serving.
By the way, this dish goes very well with white or brown rice, so don’t forget to make some.
A recipe for Portuguese sweet bread inspired the soft rolls that became a big hit at Robert Tiara's Bakery & Restaurant in Honolulu, Hawaii in the 1950s. It wasn’t long before Robert changed the name of his thriving business to King’s Hawaiian, and in 1977 the company opened its first bakery on the mainland, in Torrance, California, to make the now-famous island sweet rolls sold in stores across the U.S.
King’s Hawaiian Rolls are similar to Texas Roadhouse Rolls in that they are both pillowy, sweet white rolls, so it made sense to dig out my Texas Roadhouse Rolls clone recipe and use it as a starting point. These new rolls had to be slightly softer and sweeter, so I made some adjustments and added a little egg for color. And by baking the dough in a high-rimmed baking pan with 24 dough balls placed snugly together, I ended up with beautiful rolls that rose nicely to the occasion, forming a tear-apart loaf just like the original, but with clean ingredients, and without the dough conditioners found in the packaged rolls.
Use these fluffy sweet rolls for sandwiches, sliders, or simply warmed up and slathered with soft European butter.
This recipe was our #3 most popular in 2020. Check out the other four most unlocked recipes for the year: Rao's Homemade Marinara Sauce (#1), Olive Garden Lasagna Classico (#2), Pei Wei Better Orange Chicken (#4), Chipotle Mexican Grill Carnitas (#5).
Before he became America's sausage king, Jimmy Dean was known for crooning the country hit "Big Bad John." That song came out in 1962 and sold more than 8 million copies. His singing success launched a television career on ABC with The Jimmy Dean Show, where Roy Clark, Patsy Cline, and Roger Miller got their big breaks. The TV exposure led to acting roles for Jimmy, as a regular on Daniel Boone, and in feature films, including his debut in the James Bond flick Diamonds are Forever. Realizing that steady income from an acting and singing career can be undependable, Jimmy invested his show-biz money in a hog farm. In 1968 the Jimmy Dean Meat Company developed the special recipe for sausage that has now become a household name. Today the company is part of the Sara Lee Corporation, and Jimmy retired as company spokesman in 2004.
This clone recipe re-creates three varieties of the famous roll sausage that you form into patties and cook in a skillet. Use ground pork found at the supermarket—make it lean pork if you like—or grind some up yourself if you have a meat grinder.
Check out more of my famous breakfast food clone recipes here.
The easy-melting, individually-wrapped Kraft Cheddar Singles are a perfect secret ingredient for this Panera Bread broccoli cheddar soup recipe that's served at this top soup stop. In this clone, 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.
Menu Description: "Quickly-cooked steak with scallions and garlic."
Beef lovers go crazy over this one at the restaurant. Flank steak is cut into bite-sized chunks against the grain, then it's lightly dusted with potato starch (in our case we'll use cornstarch), 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 this recipe to use a wok, but if you don't have one a saute 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 a lot of the best dishes from P.F. Chang's. Click here to see if I coped your favorite.
Anyone who loves Olive Garden is probably also a big fan of the bottomless basket of warm, garlicky breadsticks served before each meal at the huge Italian casual chain. My guess is that the breadsticks are proofed, and then sent to each restaurant where they are baked until golden brown, brushed with butter and sprinkled with garlic salt. Getting the bread just right for a good Olive Garden breadstick recipe was tricky—I tried several different amounts of yeast in all-purpose flour, but then settled on bread flour to give these breadsticks the same chewy bite as the originals. The two-stage rising process is also a crucial step in this much requested homemade Olive Garden breadstick recipe. Also check out our Olive Garden Italian salad dressing recipe.
What is it about Stouffer's Macaroni & Cheese that makes it the number one choice for true mac & cheese maniacs? It's probably the simple recipe that includes wholesome ingredients like skim milk and real Cheddar cheese, without any preservatives or unpronounceable chemicals. The basic Stouffer's Mac and Cheese ingredients are great for kitchen cloners who want an easy fix that doesn't require much shopping. I found the recipe to work best as an exact duplicate of the actual product: a frozen dish that you heat up later in the oven. This way you'll get slightly browned macaroni & cheese that looks like it posed for the nicely lit photo on the Stouffer's box. Since you'll only need about 3/4 cup of uncooked elbow macaroni for each recipe, you can make several 4-person servings with just one 16-ounce box of macaroni, and then keep them all in the freezer until the days when your troops have their mac & cheese attacks. Be sure to use freshly shredded Cheddar cheese here, since it melts much better than pre-shredded cheese (and it's cheaper). Use a whisk to stir the sauce often as it thickens, so that you get a smooth—not lumpy or grainy—finished product.
If you're still hungry, check out my copycat recipes for famous entrées here.
Once a regular menu item, these sweet, saucy wings are now added to the KFC menu on a "limited-time-only" basis in many markets. So how are we to get that sticky sauce all over our faces and hands during those many months when we are cruelly denied our Honey BBQ Wings? Now it's as easy as whipping up this KFC honey BBQ wings recipe that re-creates the crispy breading on the chicken wings, and the sweet-and-smoky honey BBQ sauce. "Limited-time-only" signs—we laugh at you.
How about some famous coleslaw or wedge potatoes? Check out my collection of KFC clone recipes here.
One of the most protected, discussed, and sought-after secret recipes in the food world is KFC's Original Recipe Fried Chicken. Long ago I published my first hack of the famous formula, but the recipe, which was based on research from "Big Secrets" author William Poundstone, includes only salt, pepper, MSG, and flour in the breading, and not the blend of eleven herbs and spices we have all heard about. The fried chicken made with my first recipe is good in a pinch, but it really needs several more ingredients to be a true clone. That is why, over twenty years later, I was happy to get another crack at the secret when we shot the pilot episode for my CMT TV series Top Secret Recipe. In the show, I visited KFC headquarters, talked to friends of Harlan Sanders who had seen the actual recipe, and even checked out the Corbin, Kentucky, kitchen where Harland Sanders first developed his chicken recipe. During that four-day shoot I was able to gather enough clues about the secret eleven herbs and spices to craft this new recipe—one that I believe is the closest match to the Colonel's secret fried chicken that anyone has ever revealed.
In 1991 Kentucky Fried Chicken bigwigs decided to improve the image of America's third-largest fast-food chain. As a more health-conscious society began to affect sales of fried chicken, the company changed its name to KFC and introduced a lighter fare of skinless chicken.
In the last forty years KFC has experienced extraordinary growth. Five years after first franchising the business, Colonel Harland Sanders had 400 outlets in the United States and Canada. Four years later there were more than 600 franchises, including one in England, the first overseas outlet. In 1964 John Y. Brown, Jr., a young Louisville lawyer, and Jack Massey, a Nashville financier, bought the Colonel's business for $2 million. Only seven years later, in 1971 Heublein, Inc., bought the KFC Corporation for $275 million. Then in 1986, for a whopping $840 million, PepsiCo added KFC to its conglomerate, which now includes Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. That means PepsiCo owns more fast food outlets than any other company including McDonald's.
At each KFC restaurant, workers blend real buttermilk with a dry blend to create the well-known KFC buttermilk biscuits recipe that have made a popular menu item since their introduction in 1982. Pair these buttermilk biscuits with KFC's mac and cheese recipe and the famous KFC Original Recipe Chicken, and skip the drive-thru tonight!
Like at Wendy’s, where unsold and broken burger patties provide the beef for their famous chili, Chick-fil-A gets the chicken for this delicious noodle soup by chopping up the leftover chicken used on their grilled chicken sandwiches. But grilling isn’t the first step to take when whipping up a home hack of this famous soup. First, you must brine the chicken to fill it with flavor and keep it juicy like the real thing. A couple of hours later, when the brining is done, it’s grilling go-time.
The pasta shape Chick-fil-A uses in their soup is an uncommon one, and you might have a hard time finding it at your local market. It’s called mafalda corta (upper right in the photo), which is a miniature version of the ruffled-edge malfadine pasta used in my hack for Olive Garden Beef Bolognese. It also goes by the name “mini lasagna.” If you can’t find mafalda corta (I found it online), you can instead use your favorite small fancy pasta here, such as farfalle, rotini, fusilli, or whatever looks good at the store.
Looking to make the popular Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich or their Mac & Cheese? Click here for more of my Chick-fil-A clone recipes.
The first Auntie Anne's pretzel store opened in 1988 in the heart of pretzel country—a Pennsylvanian Amish farmers' market. Over 500 stores later, Auntie Anne's is one of the most requested secret clone recipes around, especially on the internet. Many of the copycat Auntie Anne's soft pretzel recipes passed around the Web require bread flour, and some use honey as a sweetener. But by studying the Auntie Anne's home pretzel-making kit in the secret underground laboratory, I've discovered a better solution for re-creating the delicious mall treats than any clone recipe out there. For the best quality dough, you just need all-purpose flour. And powdered sugar works great to perfectly sweeten the dough. Now you just have to decide if you want to make the more traditional salted pretzels, or the sweet cinnamon sugar-coated kind. Decisions, decisions.
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.
Menu Description: “Creamy marsala wine sauce with mushrooms over grilled chicken breasts, stuffed with Italian cheeses and sundried tomatoes. Served with garlic mashed potatoes.”
This recipe includes a marsala sauce that even marsala sauce haters will like. My wife is one of those haters, but when she tried this sauce, her eyes lit up and she begged for more. That’s great, now I won’t have to eat alone.
Not only is Olive Garden's delicious marsala sauce hacked here (and it’s easy to make), you’ll also get the copycat hack for the chain's awesome Italian cheese stuffing that goes between the two pan-cooked chicken fillets. Build it, sauce it, serve it. The presentation is awesome, and the flavor will soothe your soul.
Try this dish paired with my recent clone of Olive Garden’s Garlic Mashed Potatoes for the complete O.G. Stuffed Chicken Marsala experience.
For many years this entree has been a top menu choice at Maggiano's, the 54-unit Italian chain from Brinker, the same company that operates Chili’s Grill & Bar. The $30 restaurant dish consists of three 2½-ounce tenderloin steaks, swimming in a fantastic balsamic cream sauce with sliced portobello mushrooms—but a home version of the signature dish is only seven easy steps away, and it won't hit you in the wallet as hard as the pricey original.
Cracking this dish required a perfect hack of the sauce, and that came quickly after obtaining some very reliable information from my incredibly helpful server/informant at a Las Vegas Maggiano’s. Let’s call him Skippy.
According to Skippy, the balsamic cream sauce is as simple as mixing a sweet balsamic glaze with the chain’s creamy alfredo sauce. So, I first got a sample of Maggiano’s alfredo sauce and figured out how to replicate it. Once that was done, I measured increments of balsamic glaze into the alfredo sauce until the color and flavor matched the original. The rest of the recipe was easy.
This recipe will make two servings of the dish and includes preparation for the tenderloins and sauce. If you’d like to complete the dish the way it’s served at the restaurant (as in the photo), add some garlic mashed potatoes on the side, using my hack for Olive Garden Garlic Mashed Potatoes.
It took chefs several years to develop what would eventually become KFC's most clucked about new product launch in the chain's 57-year history. With between 70 to 180 calories and four to nine grams of fat, depending on the piece, the new un-fried chicken is being called "KFC's second secret recipe," and "a defining moment in our brand's storied history" in a company press release. The secret recipe for the new grilled chicken is now stored on an encrypted computer flash drive next to the Colonel's handwritten original fried chicken recipe in an electronic safe at KFC company headquarters. Oprah Winfrey featured the chicken on her talk show and gave away so many coupons for free grilled chicken meals that some customers waited in lines for over an hour and half, and several stores ran out and had to offer rain checks. Company spokesperson Laurie Schalow told the Associated Press that KFC has never seen such a huge response to any promotion. "It's unprecedented in our more than 50 years," she said. "It beats anything we've ever done."
When I heard about all the commotion over this new secret recipe I immediately locked myself up in the underground lab with a 12-piece bucket of the new grilled chicken, plus a sample I obtained of the proprietary seasoning blend, and got right to work. After days of nibbling through what amounts to a small flock of hens, I'm happy to bring you this amazing cloned version of this fast food phenomenon so that you can now reproduce it in your own kitchen. Find the smallest chicken you can for this KFC grilled chicken copycat recipe, since KFC uses young hens. Or better yet save some dough by finding a small whole chicken and cut it up yourself. The secret preparation process requires that you marinate (brine) your chicken for a couple hours in a salt and MSG solution. This will make the chicken moist all of the way through and give it great flavor. After the chicken has brined, it's brushed with liquid smoke-flavored oil that will not only make the seasoning stick to the chicken, but will also ensure that the chicken doesn't stick to the pan. The liquid smoke in the oil gives the chicken a smoky flavor as if it had been cooked on an open flame barbecue grill.
The grilled chicken at KFC is probably cooked on ribbed metal plates in specially designed convection ovens to get those grill marks. I duplicated that process using an oven-safe grill pan, searing the chicken first on the stovetop to add the grill marks, then cooking the chicken through in the oven. If you don't have a grill pan or a grill plate, you can just sear the chicken in any large oven safe saute pan. If you have a convection function on your oven you should definitely use it, but the recipe will still work in a standard oven with the temperature set just a little bit higher. After baking the chicken for 20 minutes on each side, you're ready to dive into your own 8-piece bucket of delicious indoor grilled chicken that's as tasty as the fried stuff, but without all the fat.
Samuel Bath Thomas immigrated from England to New York City and opened his first bakery there in 1880. That is where Thomas created skillet bread that would one day become the famous muffins known for their craggy texture when split in half. This hack for Thomas’ English Muffins uses a special kneading process to give the muffins the "nooks and crannies" they are famous for, making craters in the finished bread to better hold on to melted butter and jam.
I have seen several recipes that claim to re-create these muffins, but none produce the large air pockets that a proper clone requires, in addition to great flavor and a perfectly cooked interior. To ensure proper nooks and crannies and muffins that are cooked all the way through, I've included some important steps.
The dough you'll make here is like a ciabatta dough in that it is very wet. So rather than kneading the dough, you stretch and fold it over several times on a well-oiled surface. Then, when the portioned-out dough has proofed on baking sheets for another 1½ to 2 hours, you par-bake the muffins.
After baking, the muffins are cooked on a griddle or in a pan until dark brown on both sides, then they must cool. This is the hardest part. The muffins will be too soft to open for at least four hours, and now you have to fight off the temptation to eat one. It’s hard, I know. The muffins smell great and you’ve waited all this time, but resist for now and your patience will be rewarded.
When the muffins have had their rest, split them with a fork and toast them as you would any English muffin.
Check out all my top secret recipes for famous bread here.
Here’s a hack that might help when you feel like doing something special with those steaks in the fridge. Or maybe you have salmon fillets in there? Doesn’t matter, this recipe works great on both. And it also makes a great pasta sauce.
The secret Toowoomba sauce is a variation on alfredo sauce that Outback served over pasta at one time. These days the sauce is only used to top steak and salmon at the restaurant, but you can also use it on just about any type of pasta.
In my early batches of the sauce, I noticed that if the shrimp are added at the beginning they get too tough. To solve that problem, I sautéed the seasoned shrimp separately, then added them closer to the end, and they came out perfect.
Spoon this clone of the Toowoomba sauce over grilled tenderloin filets (or salmon filets) for an easy way to elevate your entrée. This recipe will make enough for four servings.
If you love Outback Steakhouse, check out my other clone recipes here.
There are many acceptable ways to formulate good queso, but to make this specific queso the ingredients must be correct, and most copycat recipes seem to get it wrong. A few recipes get one of the peppers and two of the cheeses right, but pretty much every recipe out there is a bit of a mess that I will now save you from.
Quesos can be made with a variety of cheeses that include queso fresco, asadero, and Muenster, but this particular queso includes a cheese you probably didn’t expect: Swiss. That cheese is slow to melt, so we’ll shred it first, along with the Jack. And you won't need to gum up the queso with flour or cornstarch by making a roux because the white American cheese in the mix contains sodium citrate or sodium phosphate—additives that help the cheese melt smoothly and stay that way.
Authors of recipes that call for tomatoes in this dish haven’t looked closely. Those are red bell peppers and they are roasted, peeled, and seeded along with the poblano and jalapenos before they are diced and added to the cheese sauce. The sauce cooks on low heat, never bubbling, so that it stays smooth and creamy.
When done, the queso might seem thin in the pan, but it will thicken as it cools to a perfect consistency for dipping tortilla chips, or as a topping for tacos and burrito bowls.
One of two pasta dishes currently on the pizza giant’s menu, the Meaty Marinara Pasta was first introduced in a 2008 April Fool’s publicity stunt when Pizza Hut claimed it was changing its name to “Pasta Hut.” No one fell for the prank but they did fall for the pasta, and that's why the Tuscani Creamy Chicken Alfredo Pasta and Meaty Marinara Pasta have been on the menu ever since. The sauce is the big secret here it's simple and classic, but customized to produce a marinara with that distinct Pizza Hut taste. And the recipe will make more than enough pasta to go around.
The hack is an easy one. After browning the seasoned beef you add it to the sauce, simmer the sauce until thick, then spread it over one pound of rotini pasta in a baking dish in two layers so that every bite is filled with flavor. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella over the top and melt it until golden brown under your broiler. Boom! No one can resist. You rule.
This simple and inexpensive meal will feed eight, and leftovers keep well in the fridge for a couple of days.
Also check out my clone recipe for Pizza Hut Tuscani Creamy Chicken Alfredo Pasta.
As you can probably guess, KFC's Extra Crispy Tenders are chicken tenderloins coated with the same delicious breading as KFC’s Extra Crispy Chicken. These tenders come in servings of two, three, six, or twelve, with your choice of dipping sauces on the side including buffalo, barbecue, and the new Finger Lickin' Good Sauce.
To duplicate these chicken fingers at home we’ll resort to a similar prep technique to the one used for the Extra Crispy Chicken: the chicken is brined for 2 hours to give it more flavor and juiciness, then the tenders are double-breaded for an extra-crunchy coating.
An important secret revealed in this breading recipe is the use of a specific type of ground black pepper. For the best clone you want to use Tellicherry black pepper, which is premium black pepper ground from mature peppercorns that have had time to develop more flavor. The unique aftertaste of KFC chicken is attributed to this special spice, so it’s worth the time to track it down.
Tellicherry black pepper costs a little more than the younger, more common black pepper, but if you want a good clone of the famous crispy fried chicken, it’s an essential ingredient. Be sure to grind the pepper fine before adding it.
A requirement of any visit to Chicago is eating at least one slice of deep dish pizza in the city that perfected it. Deep dish pizza quickly became a Chicago staple after Ike Sewell and Ric Riccardo opened the first Pizzeria Uno in 1943 and served a hearty new style of pizza constructed in a high-rimmed cake pan. The yeast crust was tender and flakey, like a pastry, and the cheese was layered under the sauce so that it wouldn’t burn in a hot oven for the long cooking time.
While researching a home hack of this now-iconic recipe, I discovered an unexpected technique that I hadn’t seen in other deep dish recipes. Employees told me the pizza crusts are partially cooked each morning to cut down on the wait time for customers. Before the restaurant opens each day, cooks press the dough into a pan and then sprinkle it with a little shredded cheese. The shells are then partially baked and set aside. Later, when an order comes in, the pizza is built into one of the par-baked crusts and finished off. This way customers get their food faster, and the tables turn over quicker.
Copying that delicious, flakey crust was the task that took me the longest. After two weeks of baking, I finally settled on a formula that was a mash-up of yeast dough and pie crust and made a perfectly tender deep dish crust, with great flavor that exactly mimicked the original. If you like Uno, you will love this.
Regarding the cheese: be sure your cheese is at room temperature, not cold, or it may not melt all the way through. Also, it’s best if you buy cheese by the block and shred it yourself. Pre-shredded cheese is dusted with cornstarch so that the shreds don’t stick together in the bag, and it won’t melt as smoothly as cheese you shred by hand.
This recipe will make enough sauce for two pizzas. I just thought you should know that in case you get the urge to make another deep dish after this one disappears.
This recipe was our #4 most popular in 2019. Check out the other four most unlocked recipes of the year: Texas Roadhouse Rolls (#1) KFC Extra Crispy Fried Chicken (#2), Olive Garden Braised Beef Bolognese (#3), Bush's Country Style Baked Beans (#5).
Braised Beef Pasta Menu Description: “Slow-simmered meat sauce with tender braised beef and Italian sausage, tossed with ruffled pappardelle pasta and a touch of alfredo sauce—just like Nonna’s recipe.”
It’s a mistake to assume that a recipe posted to a restaurant chain’s website is the real recipe for the food served there. I’ve found this to be the case with many Olive Garden recipes, and this one is no exception. A widely circulated recipe that claims to duplicate the chain’s classic Bolognese actually originated on Olive Garden’s own website, and if you make that recipe you’ll be disappointed when the final product doesn’t even come close to the real deal. I won’t get into all the specifics of the things wrong with that recipe (too much wine, save some of that for drinking!), but at first glance it’s easy to see that a few important ingredients found in traditional Bolognese sauces are conspicuously missing, including milk, basil, lemon, and nutmeg.
I incorporated all those missing ingredients into this new hack recipe, tweaked a few other things, and then tested several methods of braising the beef so that it comes out perfectly tender: covered, uncovered, and a combo. The technique I settled on was cooking the sauce covered for 2 hours, then uncovered for 1 additional hour so that the sauce reduces and the beef transforms into a fork-flakeable flavor bomb. Yes, it comes from Olive Garden, but this Bolognese is better than any I’ve had at restaurants that charge twice as much, like Rao’s where the meat is ground, not braised, and they hit you up for $30.
As a side note, Olive Garden’s menu says the dish comes with ruffled pappardelle pasta, but it’s actually mafaldine, a narrower noodle with curly edges (shown in the top right corner of the photo). Pappardelle, which is the traditional pasta to serve with Bolognese, is a very wide noodle with straight edges, and it’s more familiar than mafaldine, so perhaps that’s why the menu fudges this fact. In the end, it doesn’t really matter which pasta you choose. Just know that a wide noodle works best. Even fettuccine is good here.
For the little bit of alfredo sauce spooned into the middle of the dish I went with a premade bottled sauce to save time. You can also make this from scratch if you like (I’ve got a great hack for Olive Garden’s Alfredo Sauce), but it’s such a small amount that premade sauce in either a chilled tub from the deli section or in a bottle off the shelf works great here.
This recipe was our #3 most popular in 2019. Check out the other four most unlocked recipes of the year: Texas Roadhouse Rolls (#1) KFC Extra Crispy Fried Chicken (#2), Pizzeria Uno Chicago Deep Dish Pizza (#4), Bush's Country Style Baked Beans (#5).
10 McDonald's ordering hacks only the savviest people know
We don’t care what anybody says, McDonald’s will always be the ultimate guilty pleasure even if you’re ordering a vegan option . To ensure that you make the most of all your visits to the Golden Arches, we’ve compiled 10 ordering hacks you need to know. Their all-day breakfast might be long gone, but there are still plenty of tricks that will seriously upgrade your fast food experience. Keep reading for savvy tips that’ll have you singing badabababaa .
Brunch half hour
If you arrive at McDonald’s between 10:30am and 11am, AKA the sweet spot when breakfast is about to end and lunch is about to begin, you’ll get the best of both worlds. You can order a stack of fluffy pancakes and an original cheeseburger or any other lunch option your heart desires. (via POPSUGAR)
McCrepe with berries
What do you get when you combine an order of fluffy pancakes with a fruit and yogurt parfait? Your very own fast food version of French cuisine with this DIY McCrepe. Creamy yogurt and sweetened berries make it extra delicious. Ooh la la. (via Cosmopolitan)
Some people go years before tasting the wonder that is the Filet-O-Fish. We think this is pure injustice for more reasons than one. First, it’s always — and we mean always — made to order. Second, it’s made with a soft, pillow-like steamed bun much different than those used for the typical burger. And much, much better. Here’s a secret: You can order it for any sandwich. We repeat, any sandwich. So whether you’re a fan of the Big Mac, Quarter Pounder, or even the original burgers in Happy Meals, this bun switch will change your life (and meal). (via LA Weekly)
Real eggs = Round eggs
If you want a freshly griddled egg on your breakfast sandwich, one that looks like you cooked it yourself, order a “round egg.” That’s right, the round egg is actually a freshly cracked egg, cooked in a round mold on the flat top and served to you fresh. (via Serious Eats)
Fresh fries, please
There’s nothing better than piping hot fries with just the right amount of salt sprinkled on them. While you can order no salt to ensure you get fresh fries every time, we suggest just asking for fresh fries. Here’s why: When you order no salt, the person working at the fry station has to clean everything down. Can you feel the eye roll? We can. Unless you have to order fries with no salt for health reasons, don’t do it — simply ask for fresh. (via New York Post)
Get those onions out of here
There are some people who love onions on everything. Then there are those who can take them or leave them. If you’re the latter, we recommend you leave them. That’s the best way to ensure that your burger is freshly made and assembled. As simple as it is, that small change will force the sandwich makers to prepare you a new burger. You’re welcome. (via POPSUGAR)
Quick — what’s the best ingredient of a Big Mac? We highly doubt it’s just the two burgers or the three bun pieces. We bet it’s the Mac Sauce because it’s *always* the sauce. So, if you’re looking to save a little dough, order a McDouble without the traditional fixings like ketchup and mustard. Instead, order it with the Mac Sauce for a budget-friendly Big Mac. Voilà. (via Business Insider)
Every once in a while, you’re in the mood for something… lighter. If that’s the case, order a McChicken sandwich with extra lettuce and hold the bun. Then order a side salad with your dressing of choice. Once you’re sitting, chop your way to a simple (Mc) chicken salad that’s as good for your pocket as it is for your belly. (via BuzzFeed)
Caramel apple pie sundae
It’s not on their dessert menu, but miniature pies in those convenient cardboard boxes can easily get an à la mode upgrade. All you have to do is order an apple pie (or two) and a caramel sundae. When you order, ask for an extra cup so when you chop up the apple pie, you can get the ice cream to apple pie ratio just right. (via New York Post)
Chocolate chip ice cream sandwich
There’s no need to wait until summer to indulge in a refreshing ice cream sandwich. Head to your favorite Mickey D’s and order two chocolate chip cookies and your favorite McFlurry. Sandwich the ice cream between both of the cookies and chow down. (via Today)
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