35 Secret Recipes from Beloved Restaurant Chains
While some of us are taking advantage of the fact that some of our favorite fast-food and fast-casual restaurant chains are still offering drive-thru, delivery, and takeout, many of us have taken this stay-at-home time to cook more and eat out less often. If you want to continue to flex your cooking and baking muscles while indulging in your beloved restaurant meals, there's now a way you can have the best of both worlds.
From McDonald's to The Cheesecake Factory, some of the most famous restaurant chains are unveiling at-home versions of their popular menu items—many for the first time ever.
What are you waiting for? Get in on the action and learn the secrets behind a selection of the most famous fast food dishes ever. Read through our list, put together a grocery list of the ingredients you need, read up on our 12 Best Tips for Safe Grocery Shopping Amid Coronavirus Concerns, and get to cooking.
Here are a few of the secret recipes restaurant chains are sharing with you right now:
McDonald's Sausage & Egg McMuffin
We're not kidding. In early April, McDonald's UK posted the exact instructions they follow to make one of the most iconic fast-food breakfast items of all time. The secret to the perfect eggs? McDonald's adds a bit of water to the bottom of the frying pan, brings it to a boil, and then cracks the eggs into ring mold. The method essentially poaches the eggs more than it does fry them, resulting in the perfectly cooked egg round. If you found a carton of eggs at the back of your fridge to use and don't remember when you bought them, use our trick for The Quickest Way to Tell If Eggs Are Still Good.
Get the recipe for McDonald's Sausage & Egg McMuffin.
Burger King Whopper
There are no instructions, but Burger King France tweeted an infographic listing all the ingredients you'd need to put together your very own Whopper at home.
Get the recipe for Burger King's Whopper.
We had to do a little digging for this one, but we remembered that Chipotle shared its guacamole recipe with the world back in 2015. Because the company took the recipe down, there's no way to say for sure that these are still the ratios the Mexican casual restaurant uses, but they were good at one point in time, so we have no problem following this recipe to whip up some of the avocado condiment at home. In case the recipe disappears again, check out the ingredients here:
- 2 ripe Hass avocados
- 1/4 cup red onion (finely chopped)
- 2 tsp lime juice
- 1/2 jalapeño, including seeds (finely chopped)
- 2 tbsp cilantro (chopped)
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
Get the recipe for Chipotle's Guacamole.
The Cheesecake Factory Chinese Chicken Salad
When we heard the news that The Cheesecake Factory was telling landlords that the restaurants wouldn't be able to pay April rent, we were deeply, deeply concerned. But after raising a cool $200 million, the cherished mega menu chain will still be around once social distancing guidelines ease. In the meantime, the Factory is tiding us over by sharing 19 home-style versions of their most popular dishes. No, there's no cheesecake (you'll have to settle for our Copycat Cheesecake Factory recipe for that), and yes, it's just a fraction of the 250 dishes the restaurant chain offers, but they're some of the best.
Get the recipe for The Cheesecake Factory's Chinese Chicken Salad.
Pret-a-Manger Choc Bar
Pret-a-Manger, a sandwich shop chain with locations all over the world, started sharing fan-favorite recipes on Twitter with the hashtag "#PretRecipeBook." The first one? Pret's iconic choc bar. The steps are a bit tricky, but we promise that the payoff is worth it. (No wonder it's so good in stores!)
Get the recipe for Pret's Choc Bar.
And for more on how things are changing because of the virus, Here's What Dining Out at Restaurants Post-Lockdown Will Look Like.
You may have had to cancel your trip to Disney due to the coronavirus, but you don't have to cancel indulging in the theme park eats, which are almost as big of a draw as the rides. These sugary bites are perfect to share with the fam. Although they look tricky to make, Disney even put together an extremely helpful recipe video to follow.
Get the recipe for Disney Parks Churro Bites.
Olive Garden Chicken Parmigiana
We're all seeking comfort foods in these stressful times, and besides Grandma's recipes, there are few foods as comforting as Italian food. Follow Olive Garden's instructions, and you can have their famous chicken parm for dinner tonight. The Garden also shared step-by-step recipes for its Shrimp Scampi and Alfredo Sauce.
Get the recipe for Olive Garden Chicken Parmigiana.
In true Ikea fashion, the Swedish furniture store also posted a recipe card with illustrated instructions for their famous frozen Swedish meatballs.
Get the recipe for Ikea's Meatballs with Cream Sauce.
Chick-fil-A Cole Slaw
Chick-fil-A discontinued its slaw back in 2016, but that doesn't mean you have to say goodbye forever. The chicken chain shared a recipe card on their Chicken Wire block a few years back. In the spirit of making fast-food classics at home, we figured it was worth unearthing.
Get the recipe for Chick-fil-A's Cole Slaw.
Disney Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Banana French Toast
If you had booked a stay at Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel, you would have been able to order this breakfast favorite at Disney's PCH Grill. Now, you'll have to settle for this near-perfect copycat from the restaurant itself. Gather up the family and enjoy a lazy Sunday (or any day in quarantine) with this meal.
Get the recipe for Disney's Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Banana French Toast.
Pret A Manger's Chocolate Chip Cookies
Pret was also "inundated with requests for the secret to [their] Chocolate Chunk Cookies." So of course, the company gave the people what they wanted: the recipe. For more of your favorite Pret recipes, search the hashtag #PretRecipeBook on Twitter. You'll find fan favorites like the Breakfast Omelette, Dark Chocolate Vegan Cookies, and Macaroni Cheese.
Get the recipe for Pret A Manger's Chocolate Chip Cookies.
The Cheesecake Factory Cinnamon Roll Pancakes
This is one of the most indulgent menu items on this list, but it's also one of the tastiest. You're going to want to reserve all of Sunday morning for these pancakes—they make take a while to put together. But, hey, now you'll have even more appreciation for The Cheesecake Factory when you order these in person soon.
Get the recipe for The Cheesecake Factory Cinnamon Roll Pancakes.
Panera Strawberry Poppyseed Chicken Salad
When you can't get to Panera in person, whip up one of the chain's salads at home (using the bottled Panera dressings from the supermarket, of course).
Get the recipe for Panera's Strawberry Poppyseed Chicken Salad.
Disney Cruise Lines Chocolate Soufflé
Thanks to the pandemic, people aren't going to be taking cruises anytime soon. But you can recreate this fun Disney Cruise Lines recipe at home, thanks to a video Disney shared about how to make the chocolate treat.
Get the recipe for the Disney Cruise Lines Chocolate Soufflé.
Pret-a-Manger Love Bar
Another tasty Pret treat is the Love Bar, made with rolled oats and topped with pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate chips, pistachios, and more. Yum!
Get the recipe for Pret's Love Bar.
McDonald's Hash Browns
Need a carb-y side to go with that at-home McMuffin? Fortunately, McDonald's UK shared its hash brown recipe on Twitter, too.
Get the recipe for McDonald's Hash Browns.
Shake Shack ShackBurger
If you love Shake Shack, you're in luck—the fast-food chain has a cookbook with all of its recipes. The chain hasn't shared its official recipe for ShackSauce, but don't worry—we have a copycat ShackSauce recipe for that.
Get the recipe for Shake Shack's ShackBurger.
Panera BBQ Chicken Ranch Mac & Cheese
If you're craving a bowl of Panera's loaded macaroni, try making your own at home! This recipe uses just six ingredients, one of which is a refrigerated tub of Panera mac and cheese from the grocery store.
Get the recipe for Panera's BBQ Chicken Ranch Mac & Cheese.
Disney PB&J Rolls
If you're not into elaborate recipes (or you just want something simple and fun for your kids to do at home), these PB&J rolls will do just the trick. They're way more fun than eating a plain ol' peanut butter and jelly sandwich!
Get the recipe for Disney PB&J Rolls.
P.F. Chang's Firecracker Shrimp
Love P.F. Chang's, but can't go there during the pandemic? Recreate this tasty appetizer at home with an official recipe from the chain.
Get the recipe for P.F. Chang's Firecracker Shrimp.
OK, so there's not an official recipe for at-home Frappuccinos, as Starbucks doesn't sell the base it uses for the blended drinks. But thanks to various posts on the Starbucks Reddit page, you can get some pretty good hints about what to use for an at-home Frap. Think flavored syrup, Starbucks VIA coffee, milk, and xanthan gum.
See the baristas' at-home suggestions for a Starbucks Frappuccino.
KFC's 11 Herbs & Spices
The seasonings that go into KFC's fried chicken are legendary, but the Chicago Tribune appears to have cracked the code in 2016. Reporter Jay Jones saw a family scrapbook that contained a handwritten recipe for the spices, as well as exactly how much of each seasoning to use.
Get the recipe for KFC's 11 Herbs & Spices.
Pret-a-Manger Coconut Bites
This vegan treat is perfect for coconut lovers with a sweet tooth. No trip to Pret is required for this tasty treat!
Get the recipe for Pret's Coconut Bites.
P.F. Chang's Chicken Teriyaki Skewers
Another classic appetizer, these teriyaki skewers are super easy to make at home. All you need are chicken thighs, teriyaki sauce, scallions, and sesame seeds.
Get the recipe for P.F. Chang's Chicken Teriyaki Skewers.
Panera Classic Cobb Salad
A Cobb salad is always reliable, and it's easier to make one at home than you might think.
Get the recipe for Panera's Classic Cobb Salad.
Disney Kitchen Sink Sundae
Sharing a giant bowl of ice cream isn't exactly conducive to social distancing. But when you're at home with only your family members, this giant, shareable recipe is allowed.
Get the recipe for Disney's Kitchen Sink Sundae.
Panda Express Kung Pao Chicken
If you can get your hands on a bottle of Panda Express Kung Pao sauce, it's pretty easy to whip up the chain's Kung Pao chicken at home.
Get the recipe for Panda Express' Kung Pao Chicken.
Pret-a-Manger Wake Up Granola
Once you've tried homemade granola, you'll never go back to the store-bought stuff again. This Pret recipe, which counts brewed coffee as an ingredient, is a great place to start.
Get the recipe for Pret-a-Manger Wake Up Granola.
Portillo's Italian Beef
When you're in the mood for a hearty sandwich, this recipe is just what you need.
Get the recipe for Portillo's Italian Beef.
The Cheesecake Factory Chicken & Broccoli Pasta
The Cheesecake Factory's pasta dishes are known for being served in huge portions. But if you make them at home, you can eat a more reasonable serving size and save the rest for later.
Get the recipe for The Cheesecake Factory's Chicken & Broccoli Pasta.
Disney World's Mac and Cheese
Believe it or not, the Taste of Epcot International Wine & Food Festival is still happening this year. But if you're not in Florida or don't feel safe heading to a theme park during the pandemic, don't worry—Disney shared its Epcot mac and cheese recipe so you can recreate the magic at home.
If you've made homemade mac and cheese before, the ingredients will feel familiar; expect to see classics like butter, flour, and shredded cheese on the ingredient list. But Disney adds Boursin cheese for an extra dose of flavor.
Get the recipe for Disney World's Mac and Cheese.
Disney World's Grilled Cheese
This isn't your average grilled cheese sandwich! The grilled cheese at Toy Story Land features cheddar cheese and provolone, as well as minced garlic to really kick things up. It's worth the extra steps for this melty meal.
Get the recipe for Disney World's Grilled Cheese.
Disney World's Dole Whip
Dole Whip is one of the most iconic foods at Disney World and Disneyland. The frozen pineapple treat is the perfect refresher after a day of walking around the park. But you don't need to buy a ticket to get this frozen treat. All you need is pineapple juice, a banana, confectioners' sugar, and coconut milk. Yep, this treat is vegan, too!
Get the recipe for Disney World's Dole Whip.
Disney Parks' Mickey Mouse Beignets
The only thing better than fresh beignets is Mickey-shaped fresh beignets. You can recreate the magic of these pillowy treats at home with Disney's official recipe.
Get the recipe for Disney Parks' Mickey Mouse Beignets.
The Cheesecake Factory's Guacamole Salad
If you've been looking for a way to make a restaurant-quality salad at home, The Cheesecake Factory has you covered. The recipe is pretty involved—there are more than 15 ingredients—but there are a lot of fresh foods for a satisfying and nutritious crunch!
Get the recipe for The Cheesecake Factory's Guacamole Salad.
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