Our Favorite Copycat Fast Food Recipes That’re Better Than The Real Thing

Yliana Roland

The other day my family and I were driving around Sugarland and passed one of the few In-N-Out restaurants in the city— and in Texas. The line was wrapped around the building, twice, the patrons eating their enormous burgers in the dining area outside seeming to mock the hungry customers in the drive-thru. Needless to say, we quickly drove away, but I got to thinking: would these people wait in a never ending line if they knew how to make the burger themselves? Is there a way to make fast food even faster? What about cheaper? In the hopes of answering these questions, here’s TexasTasty’s top fast food copycat recipes that are just as good, if not better, than the real thing!

Starbucks — White Chocolate Mocha

This sweet, smooth, chocolatey drink is one of Starbucks’ most popular orders, and it’s easy to see why. Heated, it’s a warm comfort that’ll keep you alert through any rainy study session, or sluggish day at the office. Cold, you’ve got the perfectly refreshing pick-me-up for a poolside lounge session. Here’s how to make this delectable treat to fit any season!

What you’ll need:

  • Mug/ Coffee-safe cup
  • A jam jar with lid (microwavable)
  • 8oz of 2% milk
  • 2 shots of espresso (you can add more, but we recommend 2)
  • White chocolate syrup
  • Whipped cream
  • Whisk
  • Ice (optional)

Steps:

  1. Brew espresso
  2. Mix together milk and white chocolate sauce and pour into a microwave safe jar. Close the lid, and shake the jar for about a minute, or until the milk mixture is frothy. Microwave for 30 seconds, take off the lid, and then microwave for 30 mores seconds. Now you have your coffee foam! (If you have an espresso machine, you can use the steam wand instead)
  3. Pour milk mixture into glass and pour the espresso over it. If you’d prefer this drink iced, add it now to put a chilly spin on this decadent drink.
  4. Add a little whipped cream and drizzle with more white chocolate. Voila! Done like a true barista!

In-N-Out —  Double-Double Animal Style

Double the beef, none of the trouble. This burger, both tall and the reason why I’ve never seen In-N-Out empty, is the sure fire hunger buster for a summer full of fun.

What you’ll need:

Burger

  • ¼ pound ground beef (80/20)
  • 1 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion
  • Salt
  • Hamburger buns
  • Black pepper
  • Pickles slices
  • tomato slice
  • 2 leaves fresh iceberg lettuce
  • yellow mustard
  • 2 slices American Cheese

Sauce

  • 2 ½ tablespoons of mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon distilled white vinegar

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Form meat into two thin 2 ounce patties. They should be 1/4 inch thick, slightly bigger than the bun.
  3. Melt a tablespoon of butter over until sizzling, adding onions and 1/2 teaspoon salt for caramelized onions. Reduce heat, stirring occasionally until onions are browned. Add 1 tablespoon of water to the skillet and stir. Continue cooking until water is gone. Repeat watering process once more.
  4. Add mayonnaise, ketchup, relish, sugar, and vinegar to a small bowl and stir until evenly mixed.
  5. Place buns in the now heated oven for 2 minutes until slightly crispy. Using a small tab of butter, press the buns into the pan and toast for a few seconds until crispy.
  6. Season the patties with salt and pepper and cook on high until well browned and crusty on one side. While they are cooking, spread about a tablespoon of mustard to the uncooked side. Flip and cook.
  7. Add the sauce to each half of the bun, then the lettuce, tomato, and pickle trimmings to taste. Top meat patties with a slice of cheese and half the caramelized onions. Stack two patties together and add on top of the lettuce, adding the final bun last.
  8. Enjoy!

Chick-fil-A —Nuggets with Chick-fil-A Sauce

They didn’t invent the chicken, or the chicken nugget, but despite some questionable corporate decisions and statements, this crispy, shockingly sweet nugget recipe keeps people coming back (not on Sundays, of course.) Here’s our copycat.

Tools:

  • Oven-proof skillet

What you’ll need:

Nuggets

  • 2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts or tenderloins (1lb)
  • breadcrumbs (either purchased very fine or processed very fine)
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • peanut oil is best or canola oil (about 1 cup)

Sauce

  • Honey mustard
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Ranch dressing

Steps:

  1. Cut chicken breasts into 1-inch chunks.
  2. Combine eggs and milk and pour into ziplock bag. Put chicken chunks in the bag, shake, and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  3. Add peanut oil to skillet an preheat to 375 degrees.
  4. Combine breadcrumbs, flour, powdered sugar, salt, pepper, and chili powder in a bowl. Drench the soaked chicken in the dry batter and let it dry for about 5 minutes, allowing the ingredients to take.
  5. Fry in batches, allowing the nuggets to cook evenly without crowding, until the morsels are that classic, golden-brown nugget color.
  6. Combine honey mustard, barbecue sauce, and ranch dressing for copycat Chick-Fil-A sauce.
  7. Transfer to cookie sheet, let cool, and enjoy!

Chipotle— Chicken Burrito Bowl with Homemade Chili-Corn Salsa and Guacamole.

All the goodness of a burrito but 10x healthier, this tangy bowl of South American inspired goodness will leave your stomach full and taste buds sated.

What you’ll need:

Base of Bowl

  • 1 cup white or brown rice
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • Sunflower oil 
  • Guacamole (lime juice, 2 mashed avocados, pinch of cayenne pepper, ½ cup diced onions, 3 tablespoons of fresh cilantro, 1 squeezed lime— all combined.)
  • Chili-Corn salsa (1 can of strained sweet corn, 1 diced poblano pepper, half a small red onion, fresh cilantro to taste, juice of 1 lime and 1 lemon, and salt to taste— heat over stovetop for 5 mins.)
  • Black beans

Chicken Marinade

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 cup distilled vinegar
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons rice bran oil
  • Trimmings: cheese, lettuce, sour cream, etc. (optional)

Steps:

  1. Pound chicken breasts into thin, ½ inch thickness, cut into cubes, then marinate by adding all marinade ingredients into a sealable plastic bag, combining with chicken, and refrigerating.  We recommend you let the chicken sit 4-6 hours for optimal flavor, but if you’re in a pinch, an 30 mins to an hour will suffice.
  2. While a medium-high grill will give the chicken that classic, grilled look and flavor, spraying a skillet with sunflower oil and cooking the chicken on medium-high heat will do the trick. (keep a close eye.)
  3. Boil rice according to bag/box instructions and season with a 2 teaspoons of lime juice and a pinch of salt.
  4. Boil black beans until soft, strain.
  5. Using a portion sized bowl, use cooked rice to line bowl, adding chicken, guacamole, chili-corn salsa, black beans, and any optional trimmings listed above. Mix until ingredients are evenly dispersed. Enjoy!