12 Copycat Fast Food Recipes That'll Keep Your Kids Happy At Home
Tired of seeing friends post their perfect sourdough breads on Instagram? Dealing with a household of picky eaters not hot for your tenth interpretation of chickpeas? Don't drive yourself crazy trying to go all Bon Appetit on your fam when all they really want is a McDonald’s burger or some Krispy Kreme donuts. Thanks to these 12 copycat fast food recipes, you don’t have to visit a fast food restaurant in person to feed your picky kids... or satisfy your own cravings. (Imagine being able to eat all your salty, sugary obsessions without having to shout your order out the car window. That's nothing short of life-changing.)
But remember: Under promise, over deliver. While all of these recipes emulate all kinds of fast food faves, let’s be fair; they’re not going to taste exactly like they came through the drive-through window no matter how hard you try. So, make sure you manage your kid’s expectations. The best way to do this is to get them cooking with you. Do you have a little one who just loves IHOP pancakes? Tell them you’re making your own DIY version, and if they want some, they have to help mix the batter. If kids are invested in a recipe, there’s a much greater likelihood that they’ll at least try it. Plus, with these fast food classics, they’re guaranteed to at least be curious about what’s happening in the kitchen tonight.
1. Copycat Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich
For years Chick-fil-A was a Southern secret. But as the chain has expanded across the nation, its legion of fans has grown and with it children who beg for the waffle fries and its signature chicken sandwich. And now you can make the chain's signature sandwich at home, thanks to this recipe from Delish. One ingredient you definitely won't be expecting: A tablespoon (yep, tablespoon) of powdered sugar added to the flour coating. (Sugar really does make just about everything better, after all.)
2. Chipotle Copycat Lime Rice Recipe
If your Chipotle cravings are getting the better of you, then you'll definitely need to know how to make their trademark rice (what would your burrito be without it?). This Chipotle Copycat Lime Rice Recipe from Food.com will hit the spot, and you'll only need five ingredients.
3. Big Mac Sliders
You know what goes in a Big Mac: "two-all-beef-patties-special-sauce-lettuce-cheese-pickles-onions-on-a-sesame-seed-bun." But there's a little more to recreating that unmistakable taste, and Corey of Family Fresh Meals has figured it out. Her Big Mac Sliders are just like the real thing, only smaller, so they're perfect for your little BK fan.
4. IHOP Pancake Recipe
Kids dying for a short stack the way IHOP serves them? Then head on over to Insanely Good Recipes. The key to these oh so sweet pancakes is a combination of buttermilk, vanilla extract, and a dash of lemon. (Bet you never guessed that!) Be sure to build in a little extra time before inviting your ravenous brood to the table. These are made best when the batter is left to chill for 30 minutes in the fridge.
5. Wendy's Frosty at Home
One of the purest joys in the world is taking a hot fry and dipping it into a Wendy's Frosty. (Trust me on this one.) But even if you can't seem to nail those those perfectly crisp frites at home, you can at least sip on your own DIY thanks to this Wendy's Frosty at Home recipe on MSN Lifestyle, you can sip on your own DIY Frosty. The secret sauce in this bad boy? Condensed milk and Cool Whip might be involved. If that doesn't get your kiddo racing to the kitchen, we don't know what will.
6. Copycat Pizza Hut Personal Pan Pizza
As a good friend of mine used to say, the only hut she'd ever want to live in is Pizza Hut and, frankly, I agree. Consider the personal pan pizza. A key part of childhood, this small, one serving 'za saved many a family dinner by helping parents avoid heated topping fights amongst siblings. Stephanie, the blogger behind the Cozy Kitchen, gets that, as her Copycat Pizza Hut Personal Pan Pizza proves. Note: The success of this recipe hinges on acquiring six-inch pans. (Naturally, she's included a link to the perfect pans in her recipe.)
7. How to Make BoJangles Biscuits
For many families, Saturday morning is "Bo Time" (a.k.a. time to pick up BoJangles biscuits). But if the drive-thru isn't in the cards for you right now, check out Tanya Harris of My Forking Life's cheat sheet. Harris got to go to the BoJangles test kitchen, and even though she wasn't given the secret recipe, she did glean some intel that will help you devise a pretty close copycat take on these delicious biscuits.
8. McDonald's French Fries
Probably the Holy Grail of copycat fast food recipes, McDonald's French Fries are notoriously unique. With help from MythBusters' Grant Imahara, PopSugar cracked the code (or came pretty close) to making the famous fries. (Spoiler alert: Don't forget to pick up some beef lard.)
9. Two Ingredient Copycat Dairy Queen Oreo Blizzard
Blizzards. Just say the word and visions of childhood bike rides to the local Dairy Queen appear. If your kids love Blizzards as much as I once did, then behold the Two Ingredient Copycat DQ Oreo Blizzard from CopyKat Recipes. The best part of this hack? All you need is Oreos and vanilla ice cream. Done and done.
10. Arby’s Curly Fries (Copycat)
There are fans of McDonald's fries, and then there are fans of Arby's fries. I'm no physicist, but I believe something in the physical structure of curly fries makes them the best fry shape in the universe. Go ahead and quote me. Allyson of Domestic Superhero must agree because she did her own research and development to uncover the truth behind Arby's super fry. Step one is procuring a spiralizer. Step two, make sure you have paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne to get that signature zing.
11. The Best White Castle Sliders Copycat Recipe
White Castle sliders are ideal for kids. Small, simple, and so good. Good thing you can make them at home: Favorite Family Recipes has done their best to recreate White Castle's baby burgers using Sara Lee dinner rolls for buns, Kraft cheese singles, and (get this) a blend of onion soup mix and peanut butter in the ground meat to create that classic umami flavor.
12. Crisp Bean Burritos (Taco Time Copycat Recipe)
Y'all, can we talk about Taco Time's Crisp Meat Burritos? Nothing is more synonymous with my childhood summers than this tube of deep-fried deliciousness. I clearly recall leaving swim lessons and my mom pulling into the drive-thru to sate my post-swim hunger with one of those crunchy delights. If your kid also lives on Taco Time, try this take from Danielle of Let's Dish Here, she focuses on the bean interpretation, but you surely could swap that out for whatever protein your kid prefers. I myself was a beef girl. (File that under sentences I never thought I'd write.)