For many Americans, fast food is a way of life, despite the associated nutritional hazards. Even conscientious eaters indulge sometimes, however. In those instances, it's often healthier and tastier to make homemade versions of the drive-through meals you love. You might be surprised how close these recipes come to the real thing.
How to Make 20 Fast Food Favorites at Home
Perhaps the only fast food item more popular than the Big Mac is the golden fries that come with it. Replicating the basic yet unique texture and flavor of McDonald's fries involves special attention to the shoestring thickness and the heat of the cooking oil. Recipe: Food.com
Tender fried chicken breast and fluffy buns make Chick-fil-A's signature sandwich a worthy competitor to the standard fast food hamburger. Use home-breaded chicken breast and improve on it with generous helpings of lettuce and tomato (usually short-changed at this chain restaurant). Recipe: Damn Delicious
Most Taco Bell menu items are just ways of repackaging the basic ingredients of ground beef, nacho cheese, sour cream, and tomato. But the Crunchwrap Supreme is especially popular with its tostada-shell-within-a-flour-tortilla setup, although some advise breaking up chips for better crunch and easier folding than a tostada shell allows. Recipe: Cooking With Janica
There are no White Castle locations in the western United States, but those who can't buy the chain's greasy, onion-loaded sliders can make them at home in less than an hour. The ingredients are straightforward but for a single tablespoon of peanut butter that gives these mini-burgers their unusual texture. Recipe: Favorite Family Recipes
No other taco tastes quite like Jack in the Box's, although a homemade imitation can comes close -- without the paste-like ground beef texture. The decidedly un-Mexican creation requires only affordable ingredients available in any grocery store, including American cheese, refried beans, and mild taco sauce. Recipe: Food.com
This clone may take longer to prepare than delivery, but it's just as cost-effective, particularly since there's no driver to tip. Knead and crisp the dough in oiled cake pans before adding seasoned tomato sauce, mozzarella, and thin pepperoni, or whatever other ingredients you desire. Recipe: CDKitchen
Orange chicken is an irresistible, if not authentic, fixture of Americanized Chinese food. A quick and straightforward copycat calls for ingredients found in most kitchens to bread and fry the chicken pieces before combining with the tangy, orange-juice-based sauce. Recipe: Food.com
It's far more cost-effective to make Cinnabon's decadent namesake rolls in batches at home using this recipe than to buy a single $4 bun at the mall food court. At 463 calories per roll instead of 880, it's a whole lot healthier, too -- if you can resist eating more than one at a time. Recipe: Jo Cooks
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