Genius White Castle hacks you wish you'd known sooner

White Castle was around a long, long time before Harold and Kumar got the crave. In fact, the beloved burger joint predates McDonald's, Burger King, and pretty much all other such chains, having been founded in 1921. During its century of existence, White Castle, which was founded in Wichita, Kansas (but in fact no longer has locations in that state), has created a diehard fan base who live for their sliders, the little steamed burgers that are the cornerstone of the business. To the dismay of many, it has always remained a relatively small business when compared to its competitors, with fewer than 400 locations nationwide.

Fortunately for fast food cravers in regions without a White Castle, they have offered their sliders for sale as a frozen item found in grocery stores across America for many years now, so you can still get a taste of the good stuff even without that unmistakable restaurant nearby. If you are lucky enough to live in one of dozen or so states with a White Castle and you want to make your dining experience all the more epic, then there are a few great White Castle hacks to consider. Because while the White Castle menu may appear on the simpler side (this is also by design, of course), you can customize it in various ways with secret menu options and additions.

Create a 'Surf and Turf slider' at White Castle

Take a look at that White Castle slider menu, and what do you see? Lots of sliders with beef, lots with chicken, a couple of vegetarian slider options, and a Fish Slider. Some of the sliders have extras like bacon or cheese (or bacon and cheese) and such, but what you don't see are any options with varied patties. Ah, but where there's a Fish Slider and a slider with beef, there can be a Surf and Turf Slider — all you have to do is ask.

The White Castle Surf and Turf Slider is such a beloved secret menu item that it's hardly a secret: The company itself has touted the multi-layer burger on their social media platforms in the past. But you have to know to ask, and now you do. The ideal way to make a Surf and Turf Slider from a White Castle is to ask them to add a fish fillet to a Cheese Slider. Your call on the pickles or jalapeños.

Put your frozen White Castle sliders in the oven for an authentic taste

White Castle's frozen sliders, which can be found in many grocery store freezer aisles and come in original, cheese, jalapeño cheese, and chicken breast varieties, cook up impressively well, creating a decent verisimilitude of the sliders cooked up fresh at the restaurant. But if you check the slider box or the White Castle website under the "Grocery" tab, you'll only see two ways to cook the sliders listed. The first method is a pretty simple microwave prep. The second is a rather laborious process using a pan, a steamer insert, foil, and a spatula and heating them on the stove top.

But what about the oven? Can you make White Castle sliders in the oven? By all means! And many cravers even think cooking sliders in the oven is the best way to do it. All you need is a broiling pan with slots so you can pour in a bit of water and rest the burgers above (not sitting in the water).

Preheat your oven and the pan with a thin layer of water in it to 350º, then cook the sliders for 20 minutes if your burgers are frozen or about 12 minutes if you already thawed them. Then enjoy. (Just be careful getting that pan out of the oven, given that super hot water!)

You can make 'sloppy sliders' at home with White Castle's help

Sloppy joes, that American classic, consist of ground beef, chopped onions, tomato sauce or ketchup, and then usually a blend of Worcestershire sauce or other seasonings, served on a bun with lots of napkins on hand. Hey, you probably have ketchup, Worcestershire, onions, and a bunch of other good stuff in your kitchen already. Got a White Castle nearby? Or a grocery store that sells White Castle Sliders frozen? 

Then let's do this thing, the delightful Sloppy Slider, an easy take on a classic piece of American comfort food. White Castle itself offers up a great recipe with ten of their beloved sliders as the centerpiece of the Sloppy Slider. The prep work is pretty easy, and the result will be a crowd pleaser (or family pleaser) that makes dinner more special. It will even get picky eaters to the table.

You can create copycat White Castle sliders that taste just like the real thing

Got the crave for White Castle sliders but there's no White Castle nearby? No grocery store that sells frozen sliders near, either? Tough luck, right? Wrong. When the going to get sliders gets tough, the tough get to work making homemade White Castle copycat sliders. We spotted a great a recipe from the food blog Favorite Family Recipes that was quite approachable (also, their Instagram made us hungry). We found another from Allrecipes.com that uses just seven ingredients (and has amazing reviews). And don't forget this DIY White Castle video tutorial from Tastemade that has step-by-step instructions (and a shout out to Harold & Kumar).

What all of the do-it-yourself White Castle slider recipes have in common is the encouragement that you can make great sliders yourself at home, so don't hesitate to try, whether you're simply curious or you've got the crave but shouldn't be driving right now.

Most White Castle combos are not actually deals — create the exact meal you want with one-off sliders, sides, and drinks

What's better than a slider from White Castle? Why, multiple sliders, of course. Want to make things even tastier? Then add fries. Or chicken rings. And make sure to get a drink to wash everything down. Hey, looks like what you really need is a combo meal from White Castle's menu then. And you'll not only get plenty of great eats, but you'll also save money. Won't you?

Actually, no, as it happens, not in most cases. White Castle combos definitely make it convenient to order a great meal — like The Original Slider Combo, which consists of four Original Sliders, a small French fries, and a small soda — but ordering a meal does not save you money most of the time. We did the math using a Cheese Slider Meal, for the record, to check this all out. At the location we used, a Brunswick, New Jersey, area White Castle, the combo is priced at $7.94. Yet when we created an à la carte meal consisting of four individual cheese sliders, one small fry order, and one small soda, sure enough the price came out to ... $7.94.

So go ahead and order exactly what you want, be it one of every kind of slider and no fries or seven Veggie Sliders with two Chicken Ring Sides, or what have you!

You can make turkey stuffing using White Castle sliders as the primary ingredient (hold the pickles)

What Thanksgiving Dinner spread would be complete without the turkey, potatoes, green beans (that probably no one likes but we always serve for some reason anyway), pies, rolls, and of course, the stuffing? Far too often, stuffing is a staple dish that (yes, like the beans) is always served but seldom loved. Now, when you make your Thanksgiving stuffing using White Castle sliders as the base, things are going to change. In fact, your amped-up side dish might end up outshining that prized piece of poultry.

Yes, that's a thing. White Castle Turkey Stuffing uses chopped-up sliders, beef and all (but hold the pickles) as the main ingredient. It's only crazy if it doesn't work, and according to many reviews and ratings we checked out, including a write-up by recognized grill master Meathead Goldwyn, man behind AmazingRibs.com, it's actually wildly good. Quoth Goldwyn of White Castle Turkey Stuffing: "This flavorful stuffing is not only great for stepping up your Thanksgiving feast, it is the perfect side dish any time of the year."

White Castle will add bacon bits to all kinds of dishes

Aside from being horrible for you health-wise, bacon is a sublime foodstuff that makes just about anything better. You can wrap it around chicken or beef. You can sprinkle it over mashed or baked potatoes. You can eat it with your plate of eggs and toast. You can even add bacon to your Bloody Mary. And if you're at a White Castle, you can add it to anything on the menu. All you have to do is ask.

All White Castle locations keep a plethora of bacon on hand what with menu staple items like the Bacon Cheese Slider and the Belgian Waffle Slider. But it's Loaded Fries from the sides menu that will help you bacon up anything (and everything) from White Castle. The "thick-cut bacon crumbles" kept on hand to prepare an order of Loaded Fries can be added to any side, slider, or sandwich you choose. Just ask your friendly White Castle server to toss some bacon on there, and enjoy your now even more savory, salty, and sublime eats from White Castle.

You can make White Castle pâté in a blender

Wait, what is pâté, anyway, and how do you even say it? Easy part first: it's pronounced PAT-TAY. Now what is the stuff that's set out at fancy parties for spreading on fancy crackers? According to USA Today's 10Best: "Traditionally made with liver, and mixed with wine and spices until it's cooked down into a spreadable texture, pâté can ... be created with liver or other parts of pork, venison, chicken, foie gras, fish, duck, other game, and even created with veggies on occasion."

Fresh out of pork, duck, or chicken liver but got some common sauces on hand along with some White Castle sliders and a blender? Then you're good to go. Because yes, you can make a ball of pâté that will taste good enough to please even your snobbiest wine-swirling guests and have them asking from which French province you imported the treat. (Okay, maybe not, but it's still impressive considering it's ground-up burgers and everyday sauces you likely have already.)

The recipe for White Castle Pâté is fantastically easy. It's basically ... blending. So, why not give it a try? And maybe don't tell the guests what they're dipping those fancy crackers into.

You can order a grilled cheese sandwich at White Castle

Feel like a snack that's rich in that soft, doughy bread and tangy cheese but don't want the meat? White Castle has you covered with both their Veggie Slider burger option and the Impossible Slider with Smoked Cheddar Cheese. Oh wait, you didn't even want imitation meat, you just want a grilled cheese sandwich? No problem! While there may be no Grilled Cheese Slider on the White Castle menu, you can get one via the secret menu by asking for a substitution. Or, rather, by asking for an item to be removed: the meat.

If you want a grilled cheese sandwich — er, slider — from White Castle, just ask for a Cheese Slider without the meat. You'll still have to pay full freight as if you were getting that inimitable square patty with the holes poked in it, but that's probably manageable, given how affordable the food from White Castle is anyway.

Take your Hanukkah holiday dinners up a notch with White Castle Slider latkes

The latke potato pancake is, according to Your Story Our Story, "meant to symbolize the miracle of Hanukkah, when the oil of the menorah in the ransacked Second Temple of Jerusalem was able to stay aflame for eight days even though there was only enough oil for one day." Now, to be clear, White Castle and thousands of years of Jewish tradition don't technically have much of anything to do with one another. But when you can use White Castle Sliders to make amazing latkes, you might as well take your winter holiday celebration feasts up a notch.

White Castle's site offers a recipe for how to make "The Latkes You Crave" and, as so often happens with their recipes, it all starts with ten siders. This time, you'll also need a lot of potatoes and some eggs and other ingredients, but you'll probably have most of them on hand already. Just plan ahead, as latkes are best served as hot and fresh as possible, so time your brisket slow-cooking accordingly.