We all know that eating out all the time can be hard on the wallet. But it’s difficult to be rational when the craving for one of your favorite restaurant dishes sets in!
Fortunately, there are enterprising cooks out there who work hard to create copycat recipes based on beloved restaurant dishes. We’ve selected 10 fall occasions — and a perfect restaurant duplicate to match each one.
1. For Game Day
Football season has begun, which means game-day snacks are in order! Don’t sell yourself or your guests short with a bag of chips and a jar of salsa. Give them something they can sink their teeth into…like this recipe for T.G.I. Fridays-inspired Potato Skins.
Cheddar cheese, bacon, and sour cream make this simple recipe taste just like the original. If you bake the potatoes in advance, this snack comes together in less than 30 minutes!
2. For Your Sweet Tooth
It’s pumpkin season, so obviously we had to include a pumpkin dessert in our list of restaurant copycat recipes. But pumpkin pie just seemed too obvious.
Instead, how about Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake, like this seasonal recipe from Olive Garden? A filling made of cream cheese and spiced pumpkin puree sits on top of a ginger snap cookie crumb crust. The whole thing is topped with whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce. Yum!
3. For Thanksgiving
Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse may be famous for their prime ribeyes and bone-in New York strip, but they don’t slouch when it comes to the sides.
For Thanksgiving this year, why not try their upgraded sweet potato casserole? No marshmallows here. This recipe gives the filling extra creaminess with butter and half and half. Then it’s topped with sweet brown sugar and pecans for crunch.
4. For Oktoberfest
This German celebration pays tribute to sausage, oompa music, and good beer. For your own celebration, why not replicate Auntie Anne’s homemade pretzels?
The hardest part of making pretzels is getting the shape right. But fortunately, even if they don’t turn out looking like a pretzel, they’ll still taste delicious.
This version is served with a mustard sauce, but you could serve yours with beer cheese instead. Prost!
5. For Your Caffeine Fix
Pumpkin is a big fall flavor, but peppermint is hard on its heels. The Starbucks Peppermint Mocha has been a beloved holiday drink for years — even though it’s available year ‘round. You can make your own with just four ingredients — coffee, milk, bittersweet chocolate, and peppermint extract.
Not only will this homemade version cost a fraction of the price, but you can control the sweetness yourself.
6. For the First COLD Day
There’s nothing like a bowl of hot soup on a cold day. And Olive Garden makes some of the best. It’s not many restaurants that could become famous for something as simple as soup, salad, and breadsticks!
One of their most beloved soups is their Zuppa Toscana. Its chicken broth base is thickened up with heavy cream, and it gets a spicy kick from hot sausage. Kale and potatoes add bulk, making this soup both tasty and filling. Serve with homemade breadsticks!
7. For a Halloween Party
People go gaga for a good spinach and artichoke dip. Recreate Applebee’s version with this simple recipe. Parmesan, romano, and mozzarella mix with cream cheese and alfredo sauce for an ooey-gooey dip that your guests will love. Serve with white corn tortilla chips like Applebee’s, or with slices of toasted baguette.
And if you want your food to match your theme, add a few drops of food coloring to the mix before baking.
8. For Sunday Dinner
Big family meals require affordable sides that can be made in large quantities. Fortunately, russet potatoes are as economical as they are delicious. This recipe duplicates the potatoes from Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse.
These potatoes brown in the oven, topped with cheddar cheese, leeks, and jalapeno for a little kick. Prep time is only 10 minutes, so you can whip up the rest of the meal while they bake!
9. For a Comfort Food Fix
Panera Bread’s Broccoli Cheddar soup has developed a cult-like following. Smooth and salty, this tasty soup is the definition of comfort food. When you’re craving something warm and hearty, you can make this simple recipe to get your fix.
To make it just like the Panera version, this recipe is served in a bread bowl. Call up your grocery store or a local bakery to see if they make them — or you could always bake your own. But this soup will be just as tasty in a regular bowl, too.
10. For National Pasta Day
In case you need an excuse to eat pasta, October 17th is National Pasta Day! Make a big bowl of spaghetti and dig in!.
Or, try this Pasta da Vinci, based on a recipe from The Cheesecake Factory. A sauce of Marsala wine is thickened up with sour cream. Then it’s tossed with seared chicken, caramelized onions, and morel mushrooms over penne pasta.
Do you have a favorite restaurant copycat recipe or one that you’ve come up with yourself? We’d love to hear about it!