Copy That! Secret Restaurant Recipes

Inspired by Outback Steakhouse: Almost-Famous Bloomin’ Onion

You know it, you love it: Outback Steakhouse’s Bloomin’ Onion. The restaurant chain wouldn’t share the recipe for its famous appetizer, so Food Network Kitchen fired up a perfect imitation.

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Almost-Famous Bloomin’ Onion

Inspired by LongHorn Steakhouse: Almost-Famous Chocolate Mousse Cake

LongHorn Steakhouse is known for its cowboy-size portions, but fans of the chain somehow manage to save room for the Chocolate Stampede: a dark cocoa cake covered with two kinds of chocolate mousse, dark chocolate ganache, whipped cream, ice cream and fudge sauce. LongHorn created the dish 10 years ago to remedy a lack of chocolate on the menu, and now the place sells more than a million a year.

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Almost-Famous Chocolate Mousse Cake

Inspired by California Pizza Kitchen: Almost-Famous Barbecue Chicken Pizza

When California Pizza Kitchen’s cofounders created their first menu back in 1985, they had a theory: Anything that makes a great sandwich will make an even better pizza. Not all the chain’s sandwich-inspired pies have been a success (egg-salad pizza was a flop in the late ’80s), but the combo of barbecue sauce and chicken on a crust turned out to be a winning formula.

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Almost-Famous Barbecue Chicken Pizza

Inspired by IHOP: Almost-Famous Cheesecake Pancakes

In 2007, IHOP recipe developers did the unimaginable: They cut up a whole cheesecake, added chunks of it to pancake batter and topped the finished stack of flapjacks like a big dessert, with sweet strawberry sauce. The recipe is a big secret at IHOP headquarters, so Food Network Kitchen created this knockoff.

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Almost-Famous Cheesecake Pancakes

Inspired by Olive Garden: Almost-Famous Breadsticks

Olive Garden’s breadstick recipe is a closely guarded corporate secret, but that didn’t stop Food Network Kitchen from designing a perfect imitation. Now you can serve bottomless salad and breadsticks at your place!

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Almost-Famous Breadsticks

Inspired by Orange Julius: Almost-Famous Orange Milkshake

Ah, the oft-requested, ever-elusive Orange Julius. The infamous chain wouldn’t give up the secret recipe for its signature drink, so Food Network Kitchen created this sweet replica.

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Almost-Famous Orange Milkshake

Inspired by Red Lobster: Almost-Famous Cheddar Biscuits

Red Lobster keeps a tight lid on its Cheddar Bay Biscuit recipe, but that didn’t stop Food Network Kitchen from creating a perfect replica.

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Almost-Famous Cheddar Biscuits

Inspired by Ikea: Almost-Famous Swedish Meatballs

Some people drive for hours to get to an Ikea store, and we know they aren’t making the trek just for the $9.99 chairs. They’re going for the Swedish meatballs. Ikea is keeping the recipe a secret, so chefs in Food Network Kitchen hit a nearby store for a tasting, then created this spot-on copy.

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Almost-Famous Swedish Meatballs

Inspired by Panera Bread: Almost-Famous Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

The broccoli-cheddar soup at Panera Bread practically has a cult following; the bakery-cafe chain ladles out more than 50 million cups of it every year, blowing through five million heads of broccoli in the process. You’ll need just one head of broccoli for this perfect imitation — bread bowls are optional, but very highly recommended.

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Almost-Famous Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

Inspired by Applebee’s: Almost-Famous Maple-Butter Blondies

Applebee’s wouldn’t hand over the recipe for Maple-Butter Blondies so Food Network Kitchen whipped up a perfect match. Applebee’s serves theirs in a sizzling skillet; we don’t recommend you go to those extremes, but don’t even think about serving the blondies without ice cream!

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Almost-Famous Maple-Butter Blondies

Inspired by P.F. Chang’s: Almost-Famous Chicken Lettuce Wraps

P.F. Chang’s wouldn’t spill the secret recipe for its most popular dish, Chicken Lettuce Wraps, so the chefs at Food Network Kitchen created this spot-on knockoff. Serve the rice noodles separate from the lettuce leaves and for guests to wrap themselves — just like at the restaurant.

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Almost-Famous Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Inspired by Cinnabon: Almost-Famous Cinnamon Buns

Sweet dough filled with gooey, buttery cinnamon and topped with sweet glaze this breakfast (or anytime) treat isn’t just for the mall anymore.

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Almost-Famous Cinnamon Buns

Inspired by Bonefish Grill: Almost-Famous Spicy Fried Shrimp

When Bonefish Grill wouldn’t give up the recipe for its addictive Bang Bang Shrimp, referred to by regulars as “Bang,” Food Network Kitchen developed this spot-on copy.

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Almost-Famous Spicy Fried Shrimp

Inspired by Auntie Anne’s: Almost-Famous Soft Pretzels With Mustard Sauce

Now you can re-create at home the intoxicating pretzel scent that wafts through shopping malls everywhere, tempting you into the food court for a sweet-salty treat.

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Almost-Famous Soft Pretzels

Inspired by Chick-fil-A: Almost-Famous Chicken Sandwiches

Chick-fil-A claims, “We Didn’t Invent the Chicken, Just the Chicken Sandwich.” Food Network Kitchen can’t make claims that grand, but they did crack the secret — apparently it’s the seasoning that makes this sandwich so addictive.

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Almost-Famous Chicken Sandwiches

Inspired by Chipotle: Almost-Famous Corn Salsa

Fans of Chipotle restaurants will wait in notoriously long lines for the chain’s made-to-order burritos. Founder Steve Ells, a former San Francisco chef, hit on a magic formula with his concept for a mix-and-match taqueria: Ells came up with all the recipes himself, including this popular corn salsa. If you get lucky at the restaurant, your burrito maker will pile on a little extra.

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Almost-Famous Corn Salsa

Inspired by Macaroni Grill: Almost-Famous Rosemary Bread

You can’t get much for free these days, but diners have been eating insane amounts of free rosemary bread at Macaroni Grill since the first one opened in Leon Springs, TX, in 1988. You can eat all the rosemary bread you want, but you’ll never get the recipe. So Food Network Magazine created a perfect imitation.

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Almost-Famous Rosemary Bread

Inspired by Starbucks: Almost-Famous Mocha Frappes

Believe it or not, Starbucks has only been blending their frozen Frappuccinos since 1995. Now the chain has more than 40 flavors of the blended beverage on its menu. Readers have been begging for the mocha recipe, and when Starbucks reps wouldn’t hand it over, Food Network Magazine created this perfect copy.

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Almost-Famous Mocha Frappes

Inspired by Chi-Chi’s: Almost-Famous Chimichangas

It has happened to all of us: A restaurant closes and just like that, a favorite dish is gone forever. For thousands of fans of the Tex-Mex chain Chi-Chi’s that dish was the chimichanga: a big tortilla stuffed with beef, seafood or chicken, lettuce, jack cheese and salsa, and topped with a secret “zesty Mexi-sauce.” Food Network Kitchen brings back this beloved dish from the restaurant graveyard.

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Almost-Famous Chimichangas

Inspired by Texas Roadhouse: Almost-Famous Fried Pickles

Texas Roadhouse may specialize in hand-cut steaks and fall-off-the-bone-ribs, but the crispy fried pickles have their own cult following — and we can easily see why. But thanks to this easy recipe, you can get your hands on the golden-brown rounds without ever having to wait for a table.

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Almost-Famous Fried Pickles

Inspired by In-N-Out: Almost-Famous Animal-Style Burgers

No one knows how In-N-Out’s Animal Style burger got its name, but customers have been ordering it since the ’60s, even though it has never actually appeared on the menu. “Animal Style” is code for a patty grilled in mustard and served with lettuce, tomato, pickles, grilled onions and an extra helping of the chain’s signature sauce. Try them at home with Food Network Magazine’s replica recipe.

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Almost-Famous Animal-Style Burgers

Inspired by Cosi: Almost-Famous Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Flatbread Sandwiches

The T.B.M. (short for tomato, basil and mozzarella) has been on Cosi’s menu since the chain originally opened in 1996. It’s still the top-selling sandwich at the restaurant’s 137 stores. Chefs in Food Network Kitchen ate more than a few of them so they could re-create this recipe.

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Almost-Famous Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Flatbread Sandwiches

Inspired by Moe’s: Almost-Famous Steak Taco Salad

At the popular chain Moe’s, the taco bowl alone has 390 calories and 26 grams of fat. But if you’re addicted to Moe’s Close Talker salad, don’t despair: Chefs in Food Network Kitchen created this copycat with a slimmed-down shell that’s baked instead of fried.

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Almost-Famous Steak Taco Salad

Inspired by Domino’s: Almost-Famous Stuffed Cheesy Bread

For years, Domino’s customers made one consistent request: more cheese on the cheesy breadsticks. But Domino’s execs were stumped. How could they add cheese to a dish that was already covered from corner to corner with mozzarella and cheddar? In 2011, they solved the problem by putting cheese inside the breadsticks. Try this perfect copy from Food Network Kitchen.

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Almost-Famous Stuffed Cheesy Bread

Inspired by Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.: Almost-Famous Popcorn Shrimp

It’s risky to call a dish the “Best Ever,” especially one as common as popcorn shrimp. But after testing more than 25 batters and untold numbers of deep-fried mix-ins (sweet potato, asparagus, even oranges), Bubba Gump execs think their version is worthy of the title. Try this remarkable copy.

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Almost-Famous Popcorn Shrimp

Inspired by Friendly’s: Almost-Famous Milkshakes

In 1965, Friendly’s lost the right to use the name of its super-thick shake, the Awful-Awful (so named because a customer called it “awful big and awful good”). Execs held a company contest to rename it, and three employees won $100 each with “Fribble,” meaning frivolous. Chefs in Food Network Kitchen whipped up this great imitation.

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Almost-Famous Milkshakes

Inspired by Famous Dave’s: Almost-Famous Barbecue Spareribs

Dave Anderson became “Famous” by accident. In 1994, after spending years fine-tuning his ribs recipe in a homemade garbage-can smoker, Dave was about to open his first restaurant, Dave’s Famous BBQ. But the sign arrived with the first two words swapped. Dave decided to keep the sign and has tried to live up to his name ever since. The rub recipe is a corporate secret — only Dave and two senior execs know it — but Food Network Kitchen put together this close match.

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Almost-Famous Barbecue Spareribs

Inspired by White Castle: White Castle-Style Sliders

White Castle was America’s first fast food hamburger chain, and it’s often credited with launching the country’s burger obsession, with its small square steam-grilled sliders. They’re sold in packs of four, sacks of 10 and even cases of 30. The company calls its fans “cravers” (Harold and Kumar of the 2004 cult movie weren’t the only ones!), and every year new devotees are inducted into the Cravers Hall of Fame.

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White Castle-Style Sliders

Inspired by Shake Shack: Shake Shack-Style Burgers

Shake Shack started in 2001 as a lunchtime hot dog cart run by the kitchen of Michelin-starred restaurant Eleven Madison Park. The cart was supposed to be temporary, but demand was so huge that in 2004 owner Danny Meyer opened a kiosk in Madison Square Park and expanded the menu to include burgers and shakes. There are now 133 other locations — as far away as Tokyo and Dubai — along with a new cookbook, Shake Shack: Recipes & Stories.

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Shake Shack-Style Burgers

Inspired by Smashburger: Smashburger-Style Burgers

Smashburger was founded a decade ago with the idea that Americans were in search of a different kind of burger. The company’s answer was a flat crisp patty made by putting a mound of meat on a buttered griddle and smashing it down with a heavy metal press. Fans love the irregularly shaped burgers — and the huge menu of buns, cheeses and toppings.


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Smashburger-Style Burgers

Inspired by Waffle House: Almost-Famous Pecan Waffles

If you’ve lived in the South or driven through it, you’ve likely been to a Waffle House, one of those bright yellow joints off the highway that dishes out breakfast 24/7. Regulars know that for the namesake dish, pecans are the way to go; although you can watch the waffles being made behind the counter, you’ll never get the recipe. Chefs in Food Network Kitchen had to figure it out on their own.

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Almost-Famous Pecan Waffles