38 Best Copycat Recipes from the Southern Living Archives

Red, White, and Blue Popsicles
Photo: Jennifer Causey

Raise your hand if you've ever heard some iteration of the statement: "We're not going out to eat; we have food here." If you're not raising your hand, you're either lying or very rich. Even as adults, it can be difficult to eat the kale salad in your fridge when you're fighting an overwhelming craving for your favorite local pizza spot. With this list of our best restaurant copycat recipes, though, "we have food here" is the best news a kid (or parent) can get. Whether you have a hankering for the fried goodness of a Bloomin' Onion or the sweet comfort of a Pop Tart in the morning, we have copycat recipes you'll love. With nostalgic copycat recipes like homemade Bomb Pops and Cookie Cake, little ones will want to get involved in cooking up their favorite treats with you. As someone who had carryout Thai food last night, I can't say I always subscribe to the "we have food here" mindset, but these incredible restaurant copycat recipes will have me and you both eating in more often.

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Inspired By: Chick-fil-A Chicken Minis

Copycat Chick-fil-A Chicken Minis
Southern Living

Recipe: Copycat Chick-fil-A Chicken Minis

We've all had a Chick-fil-A breakfast craving on a Sunday morning when they're closed. Instead of being disappointed, try this homemade recipe from Test Kitchen pro and Hey Y'all host Ivy Odom.

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Inspired By: Frosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tarts

Homemade Pop Tarts
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Homemade Pop Tarts

We gave your favorite breakfast pastry from childhood a grown-up (but still oh-so-sweet) makeover in this from-scratch recipe. This would be a fun recipe to get the kids or grandkids involved in baking.

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Inspired By: Outback Steakhouse Bloomin' Onion

Air Fryer Blooming Onion
Photography and Styling: Caitlin Bensel

Recipe: Air Fryer Bloomin' Onion

Is there anything the air fryer can't do? It just might be a miracle to be able to enjoy this famous appetizer at home without a greasy mess. Don't skip making the homemade sauce, y'all.

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Inspired By: Chocolate Moon Pie

Homemade Moon Pies
Shelbie Tunnell

Recipe: Homemade Moon Pies

The Chattanooga brand has been serving up these treats for more than 100 years, but Southerners mostly recognize them from Mardi Gras, where they're often thrown to crowds in parades. Watch Test Kitchen pro and Hey Y'all host Ivy Odom try her hand at recreating the chocolate Moon Pie flavor at the recipe link.

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Inspired By: TGI Fridays Loaded Potato Skins

Mini Potato Skins
Photo: Greg DuPree; Prop styling: Claire Spollen; Food styling: Chelsea Zimmer

Recipe: Mini Potato Skins

This TGI Fridays appetizer is so popular, they started selling it in the frozen section of the grocery store. But don't go store-bought without trying our homemade version first. We promise it will be worth it.

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Inspired By: Starbucks Iced Lemon Loaf

Lemon Loaf Cake
Photography: Caitlin Bensel, Food Styling: Karen Rankin

Recipe: Lemon Loaf Cake

Don't turn into that drive thru! This week, try our homemade iced lemon loaf cake. It's the perfect companion to your morning coffee, and one reviewer even remarked that, "I think its [sic] better than S******ks (coffee chain) lemon loaf cake that everyone raves about."

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Inspired By: Bonefish Grill Bang Bang Shrimp

Bang Bang Shrimp
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Bang Bang Shrimp

Bonefish Grill made these sweet-and-spicy shrimp famous as an appetizer, but there are countless ways to enjoy them at home with our copycat recipe. Put them in lettuce wraps, tacos, or sandwiches, too.

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Inspired By: Chick-fil-A's Carrot & Raisin Salad

Chick fil A Carrot Raisin Salad
Chick-fil-A, Inc.

Recipe: Carrot & Raisin Salad

We miss Chick-fil-A's Carrot & Raisin Salad. So much so that we even wrote a plea begging them to bring it back. And even though they didn't put it back on the menu, they did share the recipe for it online, for which we're grateful.

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Inspired By: Cracker Barrel Hashbrown Casserole

Hashbrown Casserole
Southern Living

Recipe: Hashbrown Casserole

You won't attend a Southern potluck that doesn't have hashbrown casserole on the sideboard. Both our recipe and Cracker Barrel's contain the usual suspects, but ours is topped with a crunchy cornflake cereal topping that we can't resist.

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Inspired By: Buc-ee's Jalapeno-Cheddar Kolaches

Spicy Sausage-and-Cheddar Kolaches
Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Spicy Sausage-and-Cheddar Kolaches Recipe

Of all the Southern food you can find at Texas-favorite road trip stop Buc-ee's, kolaches are up there on our list of favorites. If you forget to grab one on your next trip to Buc-ee's, try making them at home with coffee and fruit salad for a delicious weekend brunch.

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Inspired By: Panera Bread Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

Broccoli-Cheddar Soup Image
Southern Living

Recipe: Broccoli-Cheddar Soup

It might seem easier to run to Panera to pick up a bowl of warm Broccoli-Cheddar Soup, but this 30-minute recipe will be ready even quicker than that. Serve in a Toasted Bread Bowl for the ultimate Panera-at-home experience.

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Inspired By: Starbucks Sous Vide Egg Bites

Instant Pot Egg Bites
Photography: Caitlin Bensel, Food Styling: Margaret Dickey, Prop Styling: Kay E Clarke

Recipe: Instant Pot Egg Bites

The secret to perfectly cooked egg bites with a soft center is, of course, your do-it-all Instant Pot. Our version of this protein-packed breakfast includes bacon, broccoli, and Cheddar cheese, but you can swap those out for whatever fillings you have on hand.

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Inspired By: Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes

Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes
Southern Living

Recipe: Homemade Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes

Looking for a fun way to keep the kids or grandkids occupied while they're out of school for the holidays? This baking challenge should do the trick! Layers of soft sponge cake and Swiss meringue buttercream knock Little Debbie's version out of the park (no offense, Deb).

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Inspired By: Frosted Wild Berry Pop Tarts

Homemade Pop Tarts
Southern Living

Recipe: Homemade Berry Pop Tarts

Leave it to Test Kitchen pro and Hey Y'all host Ivy Odom to create this adorable copycat version of the berry Pop Tarts you remember from school mornings. She opted for assorted sprinkles that fit a Valentine's Day theme, but you can include a streak or two of blue icing to mimic the store-bought version.

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Inspired By: California Pizza Kitchen The Original BBQ Chicken Pizza

BBQ Chicken Pizza
Photographer: Will Dickey Prop Stylist: Missie Crawford Food Stylist: Erin Merhar

Recipe: BBQ Chicken Pizza

California Pizza Kitchen's Original BBQ Chicken Pizza has been on their menu since 1985. There's a reason it's been around so long—it's just that tasty. Our iteration makes for a family-fun night at home.

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Inspired By: Great American Cookies Cookie Cake

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

Since 1977, the arrival of a Great American Cookies Cookie Cake has automatically been a sure sign of a celebration. Cement your status as a party starter with our homemade version.

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Inspired By: Houston's Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Spinach-Artichoke Dips
Caitlin Bensel

Recipe: Spinach-Artichoke Dip

Houston's menu is full of fancy items like sushi and elegant entrées, but regulars know that classic, comforting Spinach & Artichoke Dip is a must-try appetizer at the restaurant. Our version will keep party guests coming back until the whole dish is scraped clean.

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Inspired By: Starbucks Protein Boxes

Copycat Starbucks Bistro Boxes
Sara Tane

Recipe: Copycat Starbucks Bistro Boxes

When you're on a road trip, Starbucks Protein Boxes are often a saving grace for drivers who want something lighter than burgers and fries. These copycat recipes make great work snacks or after-school bites for kids, pre-portioned and ready to go.

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Inspired By: Panera Bread Bread Bowls

Toasted Bread Bowls
Jennifer Davick; Styling: Rose Nguyen

Recipe: Toasted Bread Bowls

It's so much easier to recreate your Panera order than you thought. Simply buy bread rounds from your local bakery, cut the tops and scoop the centers, and toast. Our secret to making them even more delicious than takeout? A sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

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Inspired By: The Original Bomb Pop

Red, White, and Blue Popsicles
Jennifer Causey

Recipe: Red, White, and Blue Popsicles

Can't you just hear the ice cream truck's song coming down your street? Relive the wonder of Southern childhood summers with homemade Bomb Pops at home. Mamas will love that our version is made with fresh strawberries and blueberries and no food dye.

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Inspired By: Olive Garden Shrimp Alfredo

Shrimp Alfredo Recipe Image
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Shrimp Alfredo

You don't have to go out to eat to indulge in a creamy, comforting Alfredo pasta dish. You don't even have to buy a jar of sauce at the store. This lightened-up, elevated recipe will raise your bar for shrimp Alfredo.

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Inspired By: DeMet's Turtles

Homemade Turtles
Southern Living

Recipe: Homemade Turtles

These delightful clusters of caramel, pecans, and chocolate make wonderful food gifts during the holidays. While your friends will be wowed with the homemade treats, these candies are actually pretty easy to master, so they just might turn into a Christmas tradition for you.

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Inspired By: The Masters Egg Salad Sandwiches


Recipe: The Masters Egg Salad Sandwiches

Augusta National is home to one of the world's most famous golf tournaments, the Masters. Perhaps even more well-known than some of the golfers who play in it are the unique Masters traditions. Though the $1.50 pimiento cheese sandwiches get the spotlight, the egg salad sandwiches are the real favorite of regulars.

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Inspired By: Pillsbury Crescent Rolls

50 Best Thanksgiving Homemade Crescent Rolls
Beau Gustafson

Recipe: Hurry-Up Homemade Crescent Rolls

Even though we're huge proponents for making most things from scratch, there are plenty of store-bought shortcuts even our Test Kitchen pros use on the regular. It's safe to say we probably all have a can of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls in our freezers right now. But for the holidays or a special occasion, try our easy homemade version that will impress your guests.

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Inspired By: Stuckey's Pecan Log Rolls

Pecan Logs
Victor Protasio, Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall, Prop Stylist: Kathleen Varner

Recipe: Old-Fashioned Pecan Logs

The original Stuckey's Pecan Logs were homemade by Mrs. Stuckey herself back in the 1930s. Recreate this Southern go-to road trip snack at home with our recipe that one five star reviewer wrote: "Wonderful recipe! A new Christmas favorite for sure!"

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Inspired By: Chick-fil-A's Peach Milkshake

Peach Milkshake
Jennifer Causey; Food Styling: Loren Wood; Prop Styling: Christine Keely

Recipe: Peach Milkshake

Each summer, Chick-fil-A fans eagerly await the moment when the news will break that the chain's beloved peach milkshake is back on the menu for a limited time. Instead of being on Chick-fil-A's timeline, make one yourself with this easy recipe.

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Inspired By: Popeye's Classic Chicken Sandwich

Fried Chicken Sandwich
Photographer: Jennifer Causey Food Stylist: Rishon Hanners Prop Stylist: Christina Daley

Recipe: Homemade Fried Chicken Sandwich

The "Chicken Sandwich War" of 2019 was so viral and inescapable, it got its own Wikipedia page. Since the hype has slowed considerably in the past few years, why not throw your own version of the fried chicken sandwich in the ring with our recipe?

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Inspired By: YORK Peppermint Patties

Homemade Peppermint Patties
Southern Living

Recipe: Homemade Peppermint Patties

YORK Peppermint Patties have been in the picture since 1940, and we're bringing that refreshing taste to your kitchen with this homemade recipe. For a festive holiday look, we topped our version with crushed peppermints.

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Inspired By: Buffalo Wild Wings Honey BBQ Wings

honey bbq chicken wings

Recipe: Honey BBQ Chicken Wings

Honey BBQ is one of the wing chain's most popular sauce flavors among dozens. Our homemade sauce will convince you to leave the bottle on the store shelf and forget that online order to BWW.

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Inspired By: Café du Monde Beignets

New Orleans Beignets
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: New Orleans Beignets

This simple and surprisingly easy beignet recipe will give you a delicious taste of New Orleans. However, we can't promise you the French Quarter atmosphere to go along with it.

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Inspired By: Ruth's Chris Steak House Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet Potato Soufflé
Micah Leal

Recipe: Sweet Potato Soufflé

This New Orleans-founded steak house is famous, of course, for its steaks. But a steak is nothing without some delicious sides to complement it, as any Southerner who's ever been to a potluck knows. Like Ruth's Chris fan-favorite sweet potato casserole, our Sweet Potato Soufflé is topped with an irresistibly crumbly and sweet topping that contains brown sugar and pecans.

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Inspired By: Sonic Cherry Limeade

Homemade Cherry Limeade
Southern Living

Recipe: Homemade Cherry Limeade

The drive-in restaurant is famous for its roller-blade clad staff, cool drinks, and corndogs. This recipe from Nashville entertainer Katie Jacobs is her go-to for the annual Fourth of July Party. If you're preparing it for an adults-only party, try our Vodka Cherry Limeade on for size.

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Inspired By: Chicken Salad Chick's Cranberry Kelli

Cranberry Chicken Salad
Victor Protasio, Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall, Prop Stylist: Kathleen Varner

Recipe: Cranberry Chicken Salad

Chicken salad has long been a Southern favorite for quick, delicious lunches, and Stacy Brown turned that concept into a Southern chain of fast-casual restaurants called Chicken Salad Chick. Her menu has plenty of sweet and savory options for you to get your chicken salad fix, and this Southern Living recipe is most like the Cranberry Kelli variety.

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Inspired By: The Cheesecake Factory's Ultimate Red Velvet Cake Cheesecake

Red Velvet Cheesecake-Vanilla Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Red Velvet Cheesecake-Vanilla Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

These beauties combine layers of red velvet cheesecake and white cake for a stunning presentation that's ready for a holiday. Both The Cheesecake Factory's version and ours are encased in a classic cream cheese icing.

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Inspired By: Cracker Barrel's Meatloaf

Boarding House Meatloaf
Southern Living

Recipe: Easy Boarding House Meatloaf

Just like Cracker Barrel's meatloaf recipe, ours includes tomatoes, onions, and green peppers. However, if we do say so ourselves, our meatloaf sauce on top is truly something special.

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Inspired By: Pillsbury Funfetti

Classic Birthday Cake
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Classic Birthday Cake

Funfetti products are some of the most nostalgic options on the baking aisle, but y'all know Mama won't bake with a boxed mix. This homemade version of a Funfetti cake will make any occasion feel like a party.

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Inspired By: Chick-fil-A's Cole Slaw

Chick Fil A Coleslaw
Courtesy chick-fil-a.com

Recipe: Chick-fil-A Cole Slaw

Among the discontinued Chick-fil-A items we wish they'd bring back is the chicken restaurant's beloved cole slaw. Luckily, Chick-fil-A shared their real recipe, so you can relive the magic at home.

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Inspired By: Zaxby's Fried Pickles

Fried Pickle Chips
Alison Miksch

Recipe: Fried Pickle Chips

Fried pickles were once a limited-time offering on Zaxby's menu, but fans are rejoicing that the fast food chain has officially added them to the menu full time. If we're being honest, though, our Roundhouse Kick Sauce is so much better with them.

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