The Results Are In: Yummly’s 13 Most-Searched Copycat Restaurant Recipes of Summer
We've identified the most-loved, most-searched copycat recipes of the past few months. Did your favorite menu items make the list? Try these winning restaurant recipes at home.
I never really got over the demise of the shopping mall. As a child of the '90s who lived in a suburb adjacent to two of them, I spent much of my adolescence strolling their aisles, eyeing jewelry at Claire’s, and eating plenty of lunches in their food courts.
I remember the soft, sweet pretzels at Auntie Anne’s, the smell of Mrs. Fields cookies wafting through the air, and, if I wanted a proper meal, the choice between a classic McDonald’s burger, a Panda Express broccoli beef, or a Taco Bell chalupa. Even though these options are readily available in airports, train stations, and wherever food courts exist these days, this food still makes me nostalgic for my youth.
As a city dweller who hasn’t owned a car in over a decade, I haven’t been to an actual mall — or what’s left of them — in a long, long time. And I’ve also missed the beloved chain restaurants like Cracker Barrel, Olive Garden and P.F. Chang’s that dot the highways near those malls. The memories of these restaurants’ fried chicken, breadsticks, and Mongolian beef are so comfortable and familiar to me.
I suspect you may feel similarly, as evidenced by the fact that Yummly users routinely search Yummly for copycats of famous chain restaurant recipes. In fact, we've got the data right in front of us, and there's no debating this fact: Many of our most-visited recipes this summer are copycat recipes from the likes of Olive Garden, Starbucks, Krispy Kreme, and Chipotle. If you’d like to revisit that nostalgic food-court feeling — or just want to know how to make your very own Krispy Kreme donuts (because, c’mon) — read on.
What is a copycat recipe?
Copycat recipes are an attempt to recreate famous dishes from restaurants and brands. They might not have all the same ingredients as the original recipes, but they aim to taste and look the same.
Some of the more sought after copycat dishes throughout this past year on Yummly include orange chicken, creamy artichoke dip, beef chili, tangy coleslaw, broccoli cheddar soup, zuppa toscana, chicken lettuce wraps, chicken nuggets (plus their famous BBQ dipping sauce!), chicken and waffles, and meatball subs. Perhaps you recognize the restaurants and brands these beloved dishes come from.
But the question of the day is, what did our data find to be our most-searched-for copycat recipes of this past summer? And did your favorite restaurant dish make the list?
Most of the recipes below are based on dishes that have truly stood the test of time — from Olive Garden soup to the Starbucks Frappuccino to the decades-old Mrs. Field’s chocolate chip cookie. User reviews also confirm that these recipes taste legit!
So without further ado...
The List: Yummly's Top 13 Most-Searched Copycat Recipes of Summer
From famous chocolate chip cookies to Crunchwrap Supremes, these 13 recipes are sure to satisfy your restaurant cravings.
According to the author of this high-rated Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino copycat recipe, this drink is the coffee empire's third most popular Frappuccino flavor. With Frappuccinos comprising 20 percent of the company's total coffee sales, this means that it’s a pretty sought-after recipe! Recreate this popular drink at home and feel free to customize the amount of sugar, flavoring, and type of milk to your liking! For more Starbucks recipes, check out The Yummly Guide to the Starbucks Secret Menu.
There’s a reason Mrs. Field’s has been selling her cookies for more than 40 years: They are delicious. These signature treats are known for being enormous, gooey, and heavy on the chocolate, which in my opinion, makes for the tastiest kind of cookie. You can replicate an authentic Mrs. Field’s cookie with this super simple recipe, and enjoy the recognizable, warm dessert in your own home. It really does taste like the real thing.
You’re tired, you’ve been traveling all day, and you just want to get to your hotel room. After you check in, a clerk hands you a warm cookie. It is exactly what you need. Now, you can make your very own homemade version of the Doubletree cookies, have as many as you want, and skip the exhausting travel part.
Growing up, Krispy Kreme donuts were the stuff of legend. I remember making special trips to their stores, where they would give us free, hot donuts as we waited in line — airy treats that sold themselves. To this day, their original glazed recipe rivals some of the fanciest, priciest donuts I’ve ever had. Now you can recreate them in your own kitchen with this copycat recipe that takes just 90 minutes — which is actually less time than I used to spend driving out to buy them!
I never understood what the big deal was over Auntie Anne's Pretzels until I had one, and then the lines of customers made sense. It was warm, soft, and chewy, and I dunked it into a creamy mustard sauce before taking a bite, and then another, and another. These pretzels were so good (although I always ran out of sauce right away)! This brilliant copycat recipe makes crystal clear work of duplicating these light, golden brown signature pretzels at home. And whether you choose to dunk them in cheese sauce, marinara, caramel, or honey mustard, you can serve yourself as much sauce as you like.
If you've ever been to Benihana, it's likely you've tried their fried rice, or seen it being made. It was hard to look away from the chefs swiftly chopping and searing chicken and veggies and then combining it with rice, all on a sizzling hot teppanyaki table. I just loved the garlicky, flavorful dish, even if I was worried someone would lose a finger making it. Recreate the excitement at home with this copycat recipe of that very dish!
Yummly readers love this soup; check out its high rating! And it’s easy to see why: This Italian-style soup is laden with filling ground beef, fresh vegetables, soft beans, tender pasta, and fragrant herbs — all in a rich and savory broth. It makes a great appetizer, but is also substantial enough to be the main course. I don’t know about you, but if I told my friends that I was making this famous Olive Garden soup, I bet I’d have several of them on my doorstep in a heartbeat.
In less than an hour, you can replicate Olive Garden's most popular pasta dish to a T at home. That's right — this is the restaurant's exact recipe, courtesy of Olive Garden itself. The classic combination of cream, cheese, butter, Parmesan, and garlic loaded with juicy chicken and tender pasta is a classic for a reason, and I love that I don't have to drive all the way out to one of their locations to have my fettuccine alfredo.
Cracker Barrel makes some of the most comforting food on the planet, and their breakfast menu is no exception. Now you can bring that contentment to your own home with this super decadent hash brown casserole. All you need are shredded potatoes, cream of chicken soup, sour cream, butter, cheese, onion, salt, and pepper. Just throw this in the oven for about 50 minutes and boom! You’ve got a delicious casserole that families all over the country love. Plus, this makes enough food to feed a crowd, or yourself, for several days.
If I have to choose between McDonald's, Burger King, or Taco Bell, it's Taco Bell all the way. I have and always will love their crunchy tacos, chalupas, burritos, and Crunchwraps. While this copycat Crunchwrap Supreme’s taco seasoning and nacho cheese sauce vary ever so slightly from Taco Bell's, the dish is still pretty much the same: filling beef, warm cheese sauce, bright tomatoes, rich sour cream, and that crispy, crunchy shell. Plus, since you're making this fan favorite at home, you can eat it on an actual dinner plate!
PF Chang's makes consistently satisfying Chinese food, and I just love their Mongolian Beef. The tender steak, salty sweet sauce, and bright scallions on soft rice are just incredibly good together, and I've ordered it time and time again for that reason. This copycat recipe looks super easy to whip up, with just 30 minutes of cooking time. And, as the author points out, I can adjust the taste and healthiness to my liking by choosing how much salt and sugar I want to put in.
Panera does carbs very well. I love their breakfast pastries and sandwiches, which always feature surprisingly killer bread. Therefore, it makes sense that they’d offer a pretty freaking good macaroni and cheese. This copycat recipe features heavy cream, white cheddar, and just a touch of mustard — a pretty dazzling combination. Coming together in less than 25 minutes, reviewers say this is a very simple recipe to replicate.
Grilled peppers and onions are part of what makes Chipotle food taste so distinctive. The smoky grilled vegetables regularly top the restaurant's salads, burritos, and other dishes, lending juicy, caramelized flavor while still being super healthy. I also love this copycat recipe because it's a simple side dish that elevates so many other dishes I can make at home. Just combine red onion, green bell pepper, oil (preferably one with a high smoke point), fresh oregano, and salt, and you can have it grilled and ready in 15 minutes. Don't have a grill? You can still use an uncovered cast-iron skillet on high heat to get that beautiful char. These would be great with grilled meat, over rice, or on tacos — and, of course, fajitas with a side of warm tortillas.
Looking for even more copycat recipes from your favorite restaurants and brands?
Check out these related Yummly articles for more copycat recipes:
Fun fact: You can live out even more of your copycat dreams by checking out the Potash Twins’ DIY Takeout collection of Yummly Pro recipes. They’ve got a dynamite copycat recipe of Chipotle’s chicken salad bowls.