25 Fast-Food Copycat Recipes
Skip the drive-through. You can re-create your favorite fast foods at home (and save yourself some grease). Think burgers, fries, cheese sticks, and more.
Inspired by: KFC Original Recipe Fried Chicken
“If you’ve wanted to learn how to make crispy fried chicken, this is the recipe for you. Always a picnic favorite, this deep fried chicken recipe is delicious either hot or cold. Kids call it my Kentucky Fried Chicken!” —Jeanne Schnitzler, Lima, Montana. Irresistible fried chicken isn’t that hard to make with this trick!
Inspired by: Portillo’s Chocolate Cake
“Years ago, I drove 4-1/2 hours to a cake contest, holding my entry on my lap the whole way. But it paid off. One bite and you’ll see why this velvety beauty was named the best chocolate cake recipe won first prize.” —Sandra Johnson, Tioga, Pennsylvania
Inspired by: Wendy’s Chili
“This hearty chili can cook for up to ten hours on low in the slow cooker. It’s so good to come home to its wonderful aroma after a long day away.” —Sue Call, Beech Grove, Indiana Another good thing about chili is that you can even eat it for Superbowl.
Inspired by: SONIC Corn Dog
“One of the best parts of the many fairs and festivals in Indiana is the corn dogs! My family loves corn dogs, so I fix them fairly often at home.” —Sally Denney, Warsaw, Indiana
Inspired by: Chick-Fil-A Chick-n-Strips
“I recently made this recipe of Mom’s for my in-laws and they told me it was the ‘best fried chicken ever.’ Slicing the chicken breasts into strips cuts down on cooking time and ensures every piece is crunchy and evenly coated. Serve the homemade chicken tenders with your favorite dipping sauce.” —Genny Monchamp, Redding, California. Here’s what’s in Chick-fil-A’s secret sauce if you need even more inspiration for your chicken strips.
Inspired by: Popeyes Biscuits
“The recipe for these four-ingredient biscuits has been handed down for many generations.” —Fran Thompson, Tarboro, North Carolina. They taste remarkably similar to the Popeyes Chicken version.
Inspired by: Culver’s Butterburger
“It’s no secret Wisconsinites love their dairy—in fact, they love it so much they top their burgers with a generous pat of butter. My recipe is a lot like the butter burgers you’ll find in popular restaurants all over the state.” —Becky Carver, North Royalton, Ohio
Inspired by: McDonald’s Shamrock Shake
“Save a sleeve of Girl Scout cookies for this creamy milkshake that’s fun for kids and adults, too.” —Shauna Sever, San Francisco, California. Know these kitchen shortcuts before you make this milkshake.
Inspired by: Burger King French Fries
“These fries are always popular with my meat-and-potatoes bunch. The cheesy seasoning can easily double as a flavorful baked potato topper, too.”—Maribeth Edwards, Follansbee, West Virginia
Inspired by: Chipotle Barbacoa
“My husband adores this beef roast simmered in lime juice, chipotle, and cumin. He would eat it one a week if I would make it that often! We have it over rice with cilantro and a spritz of lime.” —Aundrea McCormick, Denver, Colorado
Inspired by: Arby’s Roast Beef Sandwich
“Mushrooms add a different touch to these comforting roast beef sandwiches. I like to pile the shredded beef high on Kaiser rolls.”—Scott Powell, Phillipsburg, New Jersey Here are the best sandwiches from every state.
Inspired by: Chick-Fil-A Waffle Potato Fries
“Make any dinner fun with my Loaded Waffle Fries, topped with a savory blend of cheese, scallions, and bacon. I copied this family-favorite recipe from a local restaurant, and it’s great with hot dogs, burgers or by itself.” —Jeffrey Viccone, Decatur, Illinois
Inspired by: Wendy’s Southwest Avocado Chicken Sandwich
“I threw these ingredients together on a whim and the sandwich turned out so well, I surprised myself! If you’re in a rush, microwave the bacon. Just cover it with a paper towel to keep it from splattering too much.” —Dana York, Kennewick, Washington
Inspired by: Burger King Rodeo King
“Every family has a burger of choice, and this is ours. It’s stacked tall with bacon and crunchy onion rings.” —Paula Homer, Nampa, Idaho. Read up on some fast facts about Burger King’s signature burger, the Whopper.
Inspired by: McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets
“My three-year-old is going through a stage where he’ll eat only chicken nuggets and French fries. I like to make these golden nuggets for him so I know what he’s eating. They’re so good, we like them, too!” —Amanda Livesay, Mobile, Alabama
Inspired by: Pizza Hut Cheese Sticks
“We love the breadsticks at our local pizza joint. Now I can get that same gooey-from-the-oven treat, but I never have to leave the house.” —Heather Bates, Athens, Maine. Find out more cooking shortcuts you can get away with.
Inspired by: Burger King Chicken Fries
“Kid-friendly and quick, these crunchy oven-baked chicken fries are coated with a mixture of crushed potato chips, panko bread crumbs, and Parmesan cheese. Dip them in ranch dressing, barbecue sauce or honey-mustard.”—Nick Iverson, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Inspired by: Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll
“Distinctive coffee flavor accents the filling of these ooey, gooey rolls. The glaze goes on while they are still warm—they won’t last long!” —Sherri Cox, Lucasville, Ohio. Here’s the secret ingredient that makes Cinnabon’s rolls so delicious—add it to your recipe!
Inspired by: McDonald’s Egg McMuffin
“I turned classic breakfast sandwiches into something heartier you could have for dinner, too. We pile toppings like salsa, avocado—even mayo and ketchup—onto my homemade biscuits.” —Fay Moreland, Wichita Falls, Texas
Inspired by: Shake Shack Cheese Fries
“I came up with this recipe after my daughter had cheese fries at a restaurant and couldn’t stop talking about them. She loves that I can fix them so quickly at home. Plus, the frozen fry packets can be refrigerated and reheated.” —Melissa Tatum, Greensboro, North Carolina Make sure you also check out this sweet potato fries recipe.
Inspired by: Culver’s Vanilla Custard
“I think my most memorable summertime dessert for get-togethers has always been homemade ice cream. This recipe is so rich and creamy and the perfect indulgence on a hot summer afternoon.” —Martha Self, Montgomery, Texas
Inspired by: Dunkin’ Glazed Donut
“The light coffee flavor in these tasty sugar-glazed doughnuts makes them a perfect start to the morning…on Christmas Day or any day. You’ll find that the recipe is a delectable way to use up leftover potatoes.” —Pat Siebenaler, Random Lake, Wisconsin
Inspired by: Panda Express Chow Mein
“Our daughter welcomed me home from a hospital stay some years ago with this Asian dish and a copy of the recipe. Now, I freeze leftovers for fast future meals.” —Kay Bade, Mitchell, South Dakota
Inspired by: SONIC Hand Made Onion Rings
“These onion rings cook to a crisp, golden brown. This is one of those foods you never tire of and a great side dish to so many meals.” —Betsy King, Duluth, Minnesota
While you’re whipping up these dishes, try out some of our 24 favorite appetizer copycat recipes from our famous restaurants.