The Restaurant Copycat Recipes You've All Been Waiting For

We all have our favorite restaurants, and more particularly, our favorite meals at our favorite restaurants. The ones you just have to order to make the trip complete, no matter how many times you've had them before. These are the dishes that, seemingly, only this restaurant knows how to master.

But sometimes you'd just like to enjoy these dishes without having to leave the house, right? Lucky for you, we've rounded up all of our restaurant copycat recipes to give you a full menu of meals you can make right from home. Breakfast, appetizers, side dishes, entrees — we've got you covered. And believe it or not, most of these recipes are pretty easy to follow, giving hope to even the most amateur of chefs.

From Outback's signature bloomin' onion to IHOP's famous breakfast to a few treats from both Cracker Barrel and Olive Garden, here are the restaurant copycat recipes you've all been waiting for.

Outback's Bloomin' Onion

The Bloomin' Onion has long been Outback Steakhouse's signature menu item. In fact, you'll be hard-pressed to find a single dish more closely associated with a restaurant. Because the appetizer is so visually appealing, it may seem out of reach for an at-home chef. But making a copycat Outback Bloomin' Onion is certainly doable for an amateur. It may not look as pretty, but it should taste just as good, which ultimately is the most important.

You'll need to find yourself a large sweet onion, such as the Vidalia or Walla Walla variety, which don't have a strong oniony taste. The most difficult part will be cutting the onion. You may want to practice your knife skills in order to properly divide the vegetable into so many "petals." Once you get through that, it's just a matter of coating it in egg wash and a spice blend consisting of garlic powder, paprika, salt, cayenne pepper, dried thyme, and ground black pepper. A quick dip in oil later and you'll have yourself a Bloomin' Onion.

The final piece of the puzzle is the sauce. But don't worry — it's even easier to make. Just combine mayonnaise, ketchup, cream-style horseradish, paprika, salt, and black pepper, and you're ready for dipping.

Red Lobster's Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Red Lobster's forte is obviously seafood, but no trip to the restaurant is complete without an order of the chain's famous Cheddar Bay biscuits. These delectable treats are essentially bites of cheesy garlic bread. In fact, that's what Red Lobster's Cheddar Bay Biscuits were originally called.

Now, you can buy pre-made Red Lobster biscuit mix at the grocery store. But it makes you add the most important ingredient — the cheese. You're basically just buying plain old baking mix, so why not build the biscuit from scratch?

You don't need many ingredients, most of which you likely already have around the house: all-purpose flour, baking powder, garlic powder, salt, butter, milk, and cheddar cheese. The process is the same as making any other biscuit, with the additional step of adding cheddar cheese to the mix before scooping it onto a baking sheet. Once they've cooked for 10-12 minutes, top them with a coat of garlic butter and a pinch of dry parsley.

Texas Roadhouse's cinnamon butter and rolls

If you're more into sweet baked goods than savory ones, then the cinnamon butter and rolls from Texas Roadhouse are for you. These soft, buttery treats are made in-house each day. The good news is that we have the recipe for you to recreate them in your house any day you'd like.

There is no shortage of dinner roll recipes available, but finding one that replicates those of Texas Roadhouse was challenging. After some investigating (and plenty of taste testing) we settled on this group of ingredients: all-purpose flour, one egg, salt, sugar, active dry yeast, milk, water, and butter. These will give the rolls the perfect texture and flavor.

The cinnamon butter is easier to concoct. Just whip together butter, powdered sugar, honey, and cinnamon. Make sure to use room temperature butter. Melted butter won't whip and cold butter will be too difficult to whip. Once the rolls come out of the oven, lather on the sweet butter and see how long you can go before eating the whole batch!

Olive Garden's dressing

Let's be honest — for most of us, the right dressing can make or break a salad. Vegetables only have so much flavor, after all. So if you're an establishment that serves an unlimited amount of salad, you better make sure to get your dressing right. In this department, Olive Garden comes through.

The Italian restaurant chain's signature dressing is, as you'd expect, similar to Italian salad dressing, but with a twist. There are a few secrets you need to know in order to recreate it. First, you'll need to start by making a homemade mayonnaise. Pre-made mayo, like Hellmann's or Miracle Whip, doesn't have the same ingredients. Once, you've conquered that mountain, you need to add Romano cheese, not Parmesan cheese. These two are often considered synonymous but Romano has a stronger, saltier taste. To get the flavorful taste of Olive Garden's dressing, use the right cheese.

Next, add Xanthan gum. You might read that this step is unnecessary, but if you want the right consistency, you'll need to take it. Finally, you're going to use two different kinds of vinegar. Distilled white wine vinegar will add the tang, and tarragon vinegar will provide the subtle pickle flavor that puts the dressing over the top.

P.F. Chang's lettuce wraps

For a seemingly simple dish, a lot goes into P.F. Chang's lettuce wraps – literally. The recipe calls for a number of ingredients. After all, there are three separate components: the chicken filling, the cooking sauce, and the dipping sauce. In total, you'll need dried shiitake mushrooms, chicken thighs, butter lettuce, water chestnuts, canola oil, white pepper, garlic, soy sauce, sugar, hoisin, oyster sauce, rice cooking wine, cornstarch, sesame oil, rice vinegar, green onion, Chinese hot mustard, chili garlic sauce, and water.

Most notable on this list are the chicken thighs and butter lettuce. Many copycat recipes call for ground chicken, but we didn't think that would provide the right texture. Additionally, while the restaurant chain uses 100 percent white meat, it also adds fat and gristle from chicken trimmings. The extra fat in chicken thighs, as opposed to chicken breasts, will better recreate this flavor.

When it comes to the lettuce of choice, we admittedly veered away from the original recipe. P.F. Chang's uses iceberg lettuce for its wraps. But this type of lettuce is very difficult to remove intact. That's why we suggest opting for butter lettuce, which is much softer. Either choice is sure to leave you with a delicious meal.

Buffalo Wild Wings' chicken wings

Needless to say, Buffalo Wild Wings takes its namesake menu item very seriously. So who better to turn to when looking for the best wings recipe?

When it comes to recreating the restaurant's traditional medium sauce, you could just buy it at the grocery store. But making it from scratch allows you to adjust the spice level to your preference. The base of the sauce includes vinegar, red cayenne peppers, oil, xanthan gum, spices, garlic. Add these up and you essentially get Frank's Red Hot sauce. To make things easier, use Frank's as a starter and adds extra garlic powder, granulated sugar, and cayenne. The secret ingredient to Buffalo Wild Wings sauce is an egg because it thickens the sauce and adds a rich flavor. 

One of the most important questions when it comes to making chicken wings is, "to bread or not to bread?" According to former employees, Buffalo Wild Wings doesn't use batter on their bone-in wings. This is good news since we've found that breading chicken is usually a mistake. The final question is whether to bake or fry the wings. There are arguments to be made in favor of each method, but after some research, we found out that the restaurant deep fries their wings, so that's how we cooked them.

Once the wings are done, toss them in sauce, and sit down on your couch enjoy not having to go to a crowded restaurant to enjoy this game day treat.

TGI Friday's stuffed potato skins

Recreating some of your favorite restaurant dishes might sound intimidating. But what if we told you it could be done with just five ingredients? That's precisely what our TGI Friday's stuffed potato skins copycat recipe calls for.

Truth be told, you can find these tasty appetizers in the frozen food aisle, but these never taste as good. Instead, gather up your five ingredients — russet potatoes, bacon, shredded cheddar cheese, green onion, and sour cream –- and head to the kitchen.

To make things even easier, some of the steps to make the perfect stuffed potato skin can be done ahead of time. You can bake the potato and create the dipping sauce several days before. Once that's out of the way, it's time to assemble. Use a spoon to scoop out most of the potato filling, leaving a quarter-inch of potato. Fill each skin with shredded cheddar cheese and cooked bacon. Then, place them under the broiler until the cheese is melted — about two minutes. Top with some green onions and you're ready to dig in.

IHOP's buttermilk pancakes

We all know how to make pancakes, but the end result is no sure thing — too small, too big, burnt, too chewy, etc. Although seemingly simple to make, it's best to go to the experts for this, and no one knows pancakes better than the International House of Pancakes. Our copycat recipe comes pretty close to what you'd get at the famous chain restaurant.

The beauty of making these delectable breakfast treats is that you only need ingredients that you likely already have at home: all-purpose flour, one egg, buttermilk, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, vegetable oil, nonstick spray, and salt. Combining the ingredients should not be a problem. The big question is how much batter to pour in the pan for each pancake. While you might be tempted to use a ladle, we recommend reaching for a measuring cup. To get a nice, medium-sized pancake, scoop the batter up in a ⅓ measuring cup.

Cook each side between two and three minutes. Stack those pancakes up high, cover them in butter and maple syrup, and enjoy.

Cracker Barrel's meatloaf

There's something irresistibly comforting about meatloaf. One bite immediately takes you right back to fond memories of enjoying mom's cooking as a kid. And while we would never say anything bad about any of mom's recipes, Cracker Barrel knows a few tricks of the trade that push its meatloaf to another level.

To copy Cracker Barrel's meatloaf, you'll first want to make sure your ground beef has enough fat. Look for beef that has at least 20 percent fat content. This ensures your meatloaf will be juicy and tasty, not dry or bland. Maybe the biggest deviation from traditional meatloaf recipes is the choice of breadcrumbs. While you could use traditional breadcrumbs, croutons, or biscuits, we found that the best option was Ritz crackers. Not only will they do the job of holding the loaf together, but they also add a rich buttery flavor that other options can't match.

Another trick is eschewing a loaf pan in favor of a baking sheet. This helps the meatloaf get crispy edges on all sides, one of the trademarks of Cracker Barrel's version. Once it's all set, bake for 30 minutes, apply a ketchup glaze (no need to fancy it up with other ingredients), cook for an additional half-hour, and serve.

Cracker Barrel's hashbrown casserole

We all know that breakfast food is the best food and should be eaten for all meals of the day. Clearly, Cracker Barrel got the memo. Enter the irresistible hashbrown casserole — one of Cracker Barrel's best dishes. And now, you don't even need to go to the restaurant to enjoy it. Our Cracker Barrel copycat recipe tastes just like the real thing.

It might seem like a complicated dish to put together, but it's remarkably straightforward. You simply need to combine all the ingredients and put them in the oven. In fact, it was so easy (or maybe tasted so good) that we couldn't stop there. Instead, we turned it into the Cracker Barrel loaded hashbrown casserole

What separates the loaded hashbrown casserole from the traditional version is a topping of Colby cheese and bacon pieces, before it's finished on the grill. But you can easily recreate this without stepping outside. Simply throw the cheese and cooked bacon onto the uncut casserole and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Olive Garden's Alfredo sauce

What we know as Alfredo sauce is a quintessentially American creation. The traditional version was "Americanized" essentially by adding more fat (read: heavy cream). So it makes perfect sense that it's one of the most popular menu items of the very American Italian restaurant Olive Garden.

The chain took this domesticated version and ran with it, adding (more) butter, garlic, and plenty of cheese. So how do we recreate Olive Garden's alfredo sauce? It's pretty easy, actually, and any amateur should be able to put it together in no time without even breaking a sweat. Simply combine butter, garlic, flour, whole milk, and Parmesan and Romano cheese to a sauté pan. Give the mixture a few whisks until the cheese begins to break down.

Then you need to bring it to a boil. Once you see some bubbles, remove it from the heat. Giving it a stir or two should create the perfectly thick cream sauce we're looking for. Once you're there, throw in some parsley, then coat every last inch of your favorite pasta with this rich, buttery, cheesy Alfredo sauce.

Olive Garden's Zuppa Toscana

Like much of the Olive Garden menu, Zuppa Toscana is not an authentic Italian dish. But once you take your first bite (or slurp) you'll forget all about that. For the unfamiliar, Zuppa Toscana is a creamy soup filled with spicy Italian sausage, fresh kale, and russet potatoes, with a bold, garlic-infused flavor.

The secret ingredient in our copycat Zuppa Toscana recipe is apple cider vinegar. Although filled with many delicious ingredients, the soup's contents can lose a little bit of flavor as they simmer. Just a dash of apple cider vinegar, however, reinvigorates these tastes.

The other trick is patience. Like all good things, the best Zuppa Toscana comes to those who wait. While the soup will taste good right after it's made, we recommend holding off and letting it spend a night in the fridge. This extra time allows all the flavors to fully infuse the cream and make this soup utterly delicious down to the last bite (or slurp)!

Olive Garden's breadsticks

Ask a person what they think when they hear "Olive Garden" and invariably they'll answer "unlimited breadsticks." The breadsticks' reputation precedes itself.

So how could something so simple be so good? What is the magic recipe that puts Olive Garden's breadsticks head and shoulders above the competition? We believe we've discovered it.

Creating these copycat Olive Garden breadsticks is similar to baking other bread products, but there are a few key steps in the process that can make or break the quality of the final product. The first comes right at the beginning: activating the yeast. Active dry yeast works best for this recipe and it needs to come in contact with liquid in order to dissolve and reactivate. Putting the yeast in liquid can tell you the yeast is alive, which you can tell if it starts to foam.

Olive Garden's breadsticks are known for their soft texture. In order to recreate that, you'll want to brush some cold water on each breadstick right before they go in the oven. But be careful — too much water will make the breadsticks soggy.

The final important step deals with the delectable garlic butter topping. The key here is to use both garlic powder and garlic salt. The combination adds a salty flavor to the taste. Once done, lather it on the breadsticks and go to town.