McAlister's Secret Menu Items You Need To Try

Back in the 2012, McAlister's Deli released an official secret menu as a way of letting in-the-know customers continue ordering items that had been discontinued without actually adding them back to the main menu. A cool but fleeting idea, as the official secret McAlister's menu only stuck around for a little while. The corporate-approved secret menu is no more, but we can help you hack your way to recreating some of the discontinued items. 

Plus, we don't need an official secret menu anyway. Right? Coming up with your own secret menu hacks is just as much fun (maybe even more fun) as ordering official off-menu munchies. With a bit of creativity and a willingness to mix and match menu items and ingredients in fresh new ways, it's easy to come up with your own secret menu selections. We've got some fun options for you to try, and they just might inspire you to come up with even more super-delicious secret menu hacks. Who knows? McAlister's may one day decide to add your secret menu faves to its everyday menu. 

The Big Cheese

Love super-cheesy grilled cheese sandwiches? It's not difficult to hack your way to the equivalent of The Big Cheese from McAlister's original secret menu. The secret to succeeding with this hack lies in the kids' menu. That's right. You'll need to start with the kids' menu to hack your way to your very own The Big Cheese lookalike (and taste-alike) sandwich. Order yourself a Toastie (which is a basic grilled cheese sandwich), and ask for extra cheese. Specifically, request three slices of American and Swiss cheese and two slices of Provolone, grilled to melty deliciousness. 

Voila: You have your own The Big Cheese, even though the sammy was discontinued long ago. Like the concept but want different bread? Opt for the Four Cheese Melt instead of a simple toastie. Just leave off the tomato and you've got yourself the equivalent of The Big Cheese on a ciabatta roll instead of sliced bread. McAlister's may not be the first place you think of when you're hankering for the gooey goodness of a grilled cheese sandwich, but this hack — which dates back to before the restaurant's original official secret menu — just may change your mind.

Spicy grilled cheese

Extra cheese isn't the only way to dress up a Toastie from the McAlister's kids' menu. If you're craving a cheese sandwich, but you also want something with a bit of a kick, it's easy to hack your way to a spicy grilled cheese sandwich at this restaurant. Just order a Toastie and ask them to slather on a generous portion of horseradish sauce before grilling your sandwich. That's right — horseradish. It's the perfect way to add spice to a grilled cheese. Horseradish sauce usually comes on the Black Angus Club sandwich, so the restaurant should have it handy.  

You can stick with a basic cheese-only Toastie with this hack, or opt for a version that also includes meat. The kids' menu also has a Ham Toastie and a Turkey Toastie, so order whichever kind will help you satisfy your craving for a spicy grilled cheese sandwich. You may even want to ask for extra horseradish sauce on the side. Why? For dipping of course. What better way to make sure each bite of your sandwich is perfectly spiced?  

Veggie wrap on the cheap

Speaking of the kids' menu at McAlister's, it provides a great, low-cost way to hack your way to a roll-your-own veggie wrap. Just order a kids' garden salad along with a whole wheat tortilla (the kind McAlister's uses for the wrap sandwiches that are on the for-real menu). The kids' garden salad is a mini version of the full-size garden salad, so it's just the right amount to make a wrap. It includes salad greens, shredded cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes, and croutons. You may want to hold the croutons, as they might be a bit odd on a wrap. Or, you can keep them and enjoy them as a crunchy side to go along with your wrap. 

Culinarydeviant on TikTok shows you how to make easy work of putting together this secret menu selection. Basically, you'll just need to lay the wrap flat, spoon the salad fixings on the wrap, add your favorite salad dressing, and roll the sandwich to close it. Never mind about ordering from the kids' menu. This creative secret menu sandwich is a great way to enjoy a satisfying and delicious grown-up vegetarian meal on the cheap, and that's the best kind of hack. 

Peppers, Onions, and Beef sandwich

Got a hankering for a hot roast beef sandwich? You could just order a McAlister's French Dip, but where's the fun in ordering directly from the menu? You're more creative than that. Fortunately, you can easily hack your way to a secret menu item from the restaurant's long-ago once-official secret menu by making a few strategic additions to the French Dip. You can put together a no-longer-on-the-menu (the regular menu, that is) Peppers, Onions, and Beef sandwich. Just order a French Dip, sub out the Swiss for Provolone, and add roasted peppers and onions. To take your hack to the next level, add some cheese sauce. Yum!

Don't see roasted peppers on the menu? Trust us, McAlister's has them — they're included on the Veggie Spud that's a standard menu staple. What you come up with will be super close to the original sandwich, with one minor change. The original sandwich had steamed onions, but you'll probably have to settle for either caramelized onions or raw onions because steamed onions no longer come with any of the items on McAlister's regular menu. Who are we kidding? That's not settling. Onions are delicious any way you slice (or cook) them. 

Open-faced roast beef

For another cool hack involving McAlister's tasty French Dip sandwich, you can make an unbelievably simple adjustment to end up with an uber-tasty open-faced roast beef sandwich. This is as simple as ordering a French Dip without the top bun. Pair your open-faced roast beef sammy with a side of potato salad for a comfort food deli meal that's as hearty as it is delicious.

This fun hack leads to a meal that'll make you feel more like you're eating in a cafeteria (or grandma's kitchen) than a deli. The staff will probably be thrilled that you're just asking to leave something off rather than requesting a unique combination of ingredients. Or, instead of leaving off the top bun, you might want to ask for it on the side. That way, you can give it to a dining companion who just may be able to use it to hack a creative concoction of their own.

The Patriot

You can get very close to recreating The Patriot, a beloved McAlister's turkey sandwich from decades past, by making a few strategic tweaks to the deli's Garden Fresh Turkey sandwich. Of course, this sandwich tastes great ordered just as it's shown on the menu, but you don't have to stick with the current version. Sometimes you've just got to dip into the secret menu vault to recreate a favorite blast from the past.

It's really easy to hack this sandwich into a version of The Patriot. Just order a Garden Fresh Turkey Sandwich and hold the avocado (or have it served on the side) and swap out the spinach for lettuce. Leave off the balsamic vinaigrette, add lite mayo, and — if they have it — replace the dressing with orange cranberry sauce. If the cranberry sauce isn't available, substitute a slather of the barbecue sauce that usually comes on the Sweet and Smoky Chicken sandwich for a similar effect.

Sweetberry Chicken on wheat bread

If you're craving a different McAlister's secret menu throwback hack, you're sure to be thrilled to discover that you can come very close to recreating the once-popular Sweetberry Chicken sandwich. Even though McAlister's no longer has an official secret menu, you can get really close to this tasty sandwich by making a few tweaks to the Grilled Chicken sandwich on the restaurant's current menu.  

The first big change you'll need to make is the bread, if you want to end up with a legit Sweetberry Chicken sandwich. The Grilled Chicken sandwich comes on a croissant, so you'll need to swap that out for wheat bread to stay true to the original. Of course, croissants are buttery and delicious, so you may want to keep the bread as-is. To complete the hack, you'll need to hold the honey mustard and replace it with a bit of mayo and (if available) a slather of orange cranberry sauce. If your location doesn't have orange cranberry sauce, substitute something else sweet. For example, you could ask the employees to add a few fresh blueberries or dried cranberries, or even opt to keep the honey mustard. 

Chili cheese baked potato

Craving a big baked potato but want something different from the Giant Spuds listed on McAlister's menu? It's not hard to hack your way to a creative baked potato that'll take care of your cravings, especially if you're in the mood for Tex-Mex. It's as easy as ordering a Justaspud and a cup of chili. McAlister's has chili with beef and veggie chili, so this hack works equally well for carnivores and vegetarians alike. 

For the perfect finishing touch, ask for a portion of shredded cheese or a batch of the same cheese dip that's included with the Nacho Basket at McAlister's. For even more spice, ask for a few jalapeño slices as well. When your order arrives, just spoon the chili over your potato and add the cheese, as well as the jalapeños if you ordered them. Nothing could be easier. 

Frugal tip: There's really enough chili in a cup to top two spuds, so if you're dining with a companion who wants the same thing, you'll just need two spuds and one cup of chili to create two hearty secret menu portions. 

Broccoli cheese baked potato

Adding veggie chili to a Justaspud isn't the only option for enjoying a flavor-packed meatless baked potato at McAlister's. There are a few different ways to hack a tasty broccoli and cheese baked potato at this restaurant. Start by ordering a Justaspud and a side of steamed broccoli. From there, there are several ways to add dairy deliciousness to your tater. To add rich, thick cheesy goodness to your potato, order a side of cheese dip (from the Nacho Basket) to pour over the top. For a thinner sauce and even more broccoli, order a cup of Broccoli and Cheddar Soup to add cheesy goodness.  

No matter which option to choose for the cheese, your DIY broccoli cheese spud will be super-easy to assemble. Just use a fork to place the steamed broccoli on top of the potato, then spoon your chosen cheesy topping over the top. Chances are that you'll have enough cheese dip or Broccoli and Cheddar Soup to top two spuds, so you can easily split these add-ons with a dining companion. Hint: If you want even more cheese on your tater, ask for some shredded cheese to add a finishing flourish to the very top. 

Savory mac & cheese with broccoli

Like the idea of combining broccoli with cheese, but not in the mood for a baked potato? Never fear — there's another great secret menu hack you can use to create the ultimate comfort food side or meat-free meal at McAlister's. Intrigued? This tasty dish starts with two of McAlister's standard sides: steamed broccoli and mac & cheese. Just order a portion of each to mix together. This just may be the easiest hack ever.

When you get your order, use a fork to move the broccoli florets into the mac & cheese, then stir to combine. Don't just dump in the broccoli, though, as there may be some water in the container. You don't want to dilute the thick and creamy cheese sauce. 

Of course, when you opt for this secret menu selection, you'll end up with the equivalent of two side dishes. That means that this secret menu item is the right size to enjoy as a meal or to split with a friend as a shareable side. It'll also reheat well, so you could keep it all to yourself and save any extra (if there is any) for later.

Chicken salad and fruit plate

Craving chicken salad and fruit? The official McAlister's menu doesn't include chicken salad on its own, but the restaurant's regular offerings do include the Harvest Chicken Salad — which is a scoop of chicken salad on top of a garden salad. Since the side choices at McAlister's include both a garden salad and fresh fruit, it should be easy enough to hack your way to a chicken salad and fruit plate by making a slight tweak to the Harvest Chicken Salad. That menu selection is ripe (pun intended; after all, we are talking about fruit here) for a secret menu hack. 

What should you request? Just order yourself a Harvest Chicken Salad, but ask to substitute the garden salad portion of the dish with the fresh fruit from the side menu. This should be an even swap. Specify that you'd like the chicken salad and fruit in separate containers, rather than combined together in a single dish. Or if you're really hungry and also want some lettuce, order a Harvest Chicken Salad with the chicken salad on the side and add a side of fresh fruit. Either way, you'll be able to enjoy a refreshing chicken salad plate at McAlister's. 

Tex-Mex sampler

If you're craving Tex-Mex, but everyone else in your group has a hankering for deli sandwiches, McAlister's is a great option. Your friends can get the sandwiches they want, but you won't have to settle for the same. Instead, at McAlister's, you can easily hack your way to a do-it-yourself sampler platter that's sure to satisfy your Tex-Mex craving. It's super simple — just order a bowl or cup of Chicken Tortilla Soup and a Nacho Basket. That seems uber-simple, and it is. 

The Nacho Basket at McAlister's provides a lot more than just nacho chips. It also includes cheese dip and jalapenos. It pairs perfectly with a serving of tortilla soup. Your only challenge might be keeping your friends away from your meal. The Nacho Basket is on the Shareables section of the McAlister's menu, so you may have to put your sandwich-craving dining buddies on notice that you're ordering this item as the main part of your meal, not as an appetizer to share. With any luck, they'll get the hint that they should keep their hands off your chips and fixings. If not, you'll need to remind them.  

DIY Arnold Palmer

McAlister's has both iced tea and lemonade on its beverage menu, so you can easily enjoy an Arnold Palmer — which is half iced tea and half lemonade — with your lunch or dinner. Even though McAlister's doesn't actually list an Arnold Palmer on its regular menu, this is a secret menu item that you might be able to order by name rather than explaining your request in detail. After all, the campus dining team at Appalachian State University has tweeted at least one shout-out naming the Arnold Palmer at the on-Campus McAlister's as "staff pick of the week." 

Whether the team at your local McAlister's recognizes what you're asking for when you request an Arnold Palmer or not, you can still easily hack your way to this refreshing secret menu drink. Simply ask for a drink that's half lemonade and half iced tea. For an ultra-sweet drink, mix sweet tea with lemonade. For less of a sugary rush, you can mix together unsweetened iced tea with lemonade. It'll still be sweet this way, but the tartness of the lemonade will shine through more.