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We Tried To Make Copycat Recipes Of Popular Chain Restaurant Foods And They Were Pretty Legit

From In-N-Out to Shake Shack!

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Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed

Hey y'all! We're Farrah and Chris, and WE LOVE EATING. Unfortunately, there are some pretty popular places we enjoy that aren't available in all regions of the United States. So we decided to try re-creating these dishes ourselves to see if they taste exactly like the real thing!

Chris Hudspeth / BuzzFeed

For this little experiment, we chose items from In-N-Out, Whataburger, Shake Shack, Culver's, and Texas Roadhouse. While all five are insanely delicious, you sometimes have to travel REALLY, REALLY far to satisfy that craving in person. Here's how re-creating these recipes went!

Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed
@bitesandboba via Instagram / Farrah Penn / Via instagram.com

To make this, we tried out Dinner, then Dessert's Copycat Animal Style recipe, and we were SUPER impressed.

Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed

First, we cut the potatoes into french-fry shapes and panfried them in oil.

Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed
Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed

While the fries were a-fryin', we caramelized the onions using a LOT of butter.

Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed
Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed

At this point we were pretty impressed, because the texture of the fries looked a lot like In-N-Out's. We then mixed together the ingredients for the Animal Style sauce, covered the fries in American cheese and onions, and then slathered the mix on top.

Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed
Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed

The final result was very delicious.

Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed

Chris's thoughts: I was pleasantly surprised by the look and, more importantly, the taste of these fries — they’re super close to the real thing! Also, when I’ve ordered Animal Style fries to go in the past, sometimes they'd get excessively soggy on the drive home, so it was satisfying to have a replica of them in their freshest form!

Farrah's thoughts: I INHALED my plate after we finished making it because, in my opinion, this tasted almost exactly like the real thing. AND we didn't have to wait in a massive line to get it!

Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed

For this recipe, we used Cupcake Diaries Copycat Cinnabutter recipe and it tasted pretty close!

Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed

We got the rolls going first, since they were going to take a bit to bake. This is simply roll dough we purchased at the supermarket, and halfway through baking, we brushed the tops with butter.

Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed
We got the rolls going first since they were going to take a bit to bake. This is simply roll dough we purchased at the supermarket and halfway through baking, we brushed the tops with butter.

Next, we mixed together all the ingredients — mostly powdered sugar, butter, honey, and cinnamon — and blended it into a smooth consistency.

Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed
Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed

Once the rolls were ready, we slathered on that sweet, sweet butter and had a taste!

Chris's thoughts: This was a really good version of cinnamon honey butter, but it wasn’t quite as fluffy and smooth as Texas Roadhouse’s. That being said, it’s a very solid option when the nearest Texas Roadhouse is hundreds of miles away. And let's be real, ultimately we're talking about fresh, warm bread and sweet butter, so it's never going to disappoint.Farrah's thoughts: I feel like this recipe is *really* close to the real thing, but the consistency didn't quite match Texas Roadhouse's recipe. However, it IS an excellent substitute if you're really craving it. And it's really easy to make!
Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed

Chris's thoughts: This was a really good version of cinnamon honey butter, but it wasn’t quite as fluffy and smooth as Texas Roadhouse’s. That being said, it’s a very solid option when the nearest Texas Roadhouse is hundreds of miles away. And let's be real, ultimately we're talking about fresh, warm bread and sweet butter, so it's never going to disappoint.

Farrah's thoughts: I feel like this recipe is *really* close to the real thing, but the consistency didn't quite match Texas Roadhouse's recipe. However, it IS an excellent substitute if you're really craving it. And it's really easy to make!

Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed
Culvers / Farrah Penn

We used Recipe 4 Living's Culver's cheese curd recipe, and it turned out just OK!

Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed

First, we blended all the ingredients to make the batter that would coat each curd, which didn't take too long.

Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed
Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed

The frying part was a little trickier. While some of the batter stayed coated over the curd, a lot of it slid off while frying in the hot oil. We're thinking Culver's makes their own in a deep fryer, which is how they keep a more round shape, but oh well!

The end result was still pretty delicious, even if it wasn't EXACTLY like the real thing.

Chris's thoughts: I’m still not sure what we did wrong, but these weren’t anything like Culver’s fried curds. On the bright side, they were a really delicious mistake! They tasted like miniature grilled cheese pancakes, which probably aren’t a thing, but definitely should be.Farrah's thoughts: THESE WERE DELICIOUS. I mean, it's basically just fried cheese, so it's hard to mess that up. While it didn't look EXACTLY like Culver's fried curds (ours were more flat than round), they still tasted amazing.
Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed

Chris's thoughts: I’m still not sure what we did wrong, but these weren’t anything like Culver’s fried curds. On the bright side, they were a really delicious mistake! They tasted like miniature grilled cheese pancakes, which probably aren’t a thing, but definitely should be.

Farrah's thoughts: THESE WERE DELICIOUS. I mean, it's basically just fried cheese, so it's hard to mess that up. While it didn't look EXACTLY like Culver's fried curds (ours were more flat than round), they still tasted amazing.

Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed
Farrah Penn
Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed

We used the official Shake Shack Chocolate Shake recipe provided by Today.com, and it wasn't QUITE like the real thing.

There are MANY steps to this process, the first of which includes making your own chocolate custard. Farrah blended all the custard ingredients until smooth, and Chris chopped the chocolate into small bits.

Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed
Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed

After heating the custard to the right temperature, we added both the unsweetened cocoa (Hershey's) and bittersweet chocolate (Ghirardelli) and blended that combination until smooth.

Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed
Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed

We then chilled the chocolate custard overnight. The instructions say to churn it in an ice cream maker, but we didn't have one on hand. Instead, we ended up blending the custard in a blender with the additional milk.

We noticed a few issues right away: 1) The consistency didn't match Shake Shack's shake consistency. 2) IT TASTED VERY STRONGLY OF HERSHEY'S CHOCOLATE...which is obviously because we used that brand of unsweetened cocoa, but still. 3) The coloring was way darker than the original.

Chris's thoughts: While our shake was tasty in its own way, it was thicker, and more aggressively chocolatey than Shake Shack’s. It tasted like someone melted a Hershey’s bar into a Wendy’s Frosty, which is great — it’s just not the taste we were trying to re-create here. If you’re craving a chocolate shake, you might be better off saving the time it takes to prepare custard and just blending some high-quality ice cream with milk.Farrah's thoughts: OK, this tasted nothing like Shake Shack's chocolate shake, but it wasn't BAD. It was very rich and sweet and I felt accomplished because I've never made custard in my life, but it wasn't worth the long process to make something that doesn't exactly taste like a copycat recipe!
Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed

Chris's thoughts: While our shake was tasty in its own way, it was thicker, and more aggressively chocolatey than Shake Shack’s. It tasted like someone melted a Hershey’s bar into a Wendy’s Frosty, which is great — it’s just not the taste we were trying to re-create here. If you’re craving a chocolate shake, you might be better off saving the time it takes to prepare custard and just blending some high-quality ice cream with milk.

Farrah's thoughts: OK, this tasted nothing like Shake Shack's chocolate shake, but it wasn't BAD. It was very rich and sweet and I felt accomplished because I've never made custard in my life, but it wasn't worth the long process to make something that doesn't exactly taste like a copycat recipe!

Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed
Whataburger / Farrah Penn

We used this recipe from CopyKat.com for the chicken strips, along with this recipe provided by Whataburger.

Whataburger
Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed

We first mixed all the ingredients for the batter in a large bowl until the consistency was "shaggy," and then we coated the chicken.

Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed
Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed

Then we fried the chicken with oil on medium-high heat until all the strips were fully cooked. But while they were frying, we buttered and toasted the Texas toast and applied the cheese and BBQ sauce.

Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed
Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed

Finally, it was time to add the chicken and VOILÁ! Our re-creation was complete.

Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed
Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed

And honestly, for making it ourselves, it looked pretty damn close to the real thing!

Chris's thoughts: My expectations were exceeded on this one! The chicken strips turned out great and combined with the cheese and BBQ sauce to create a filling, on-point imitation of the honey BBQ chicken strip sandwich. Frying the chicken strips may be a little bit of work to some, but the juice is definitely worth the squeeze. If you’re struggling with not having a Whataburger near where you live, I recommend giving this a shot!Farrah's thoughts: Wowow. This was incredible. The chicken strips came out better than I expected, and savory and hearty flavors came together to make a sandwich that's so close to the real thing. I'm so sad there's not a Whataburger in Los Angeles, but man, it's good to know we're capable of re-creating it if we get a hankering.
Farrah Penn / BuzzFeed

Chris's thoughts: My expectations were exceeded on this one! The chicken strips turned out great and combined with the cheese and BBQ sauce to create a filling, on-point imitation of the honey BBQ chicken strip sandwich. Frying the chicken strips may be a little bit of work to some, but the juice is definitely worth the squeeze. If you’re struggling with not having a Whataburger near where you live, I recommend giving this a shot!

Farrah's thoughts: Wowow. This was incredible. The chicken strips came out better than I expected, and savory and hearty flavors came together to make a sandwich that's so close to the real thing. I'm so sad there's not a Whataburger in Los Angeles, but man, it's good to know we're capable of re-creating it if we get a hankering.

While all of these were enjoyable, we'd definitely make the In-N-Out Animal Fries and Whataburger's Honey BBQ Sandwich again, but the Shake Shack Shack and Culver's cheese curds were too many steps for not exactly an identical payoff!

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