Image: Chicago Tribune

5 Fast Food Favorites You Can Make At Home

If you’ve got a hankering with fast food, why not make your favorites at home? You’ll skip the paper waste, use less grease, avoid waiting in line, and can make substitutions as needed. We’ve rounded up familiar favorites that you can make right in your own kitchen. 

Big Mac

Here’s a copycat McDonald’s favorite complete with the special sauce but a simpler, cleaner version. It’s not going to taste exactly like the original, but you’ll want to slap it on everything from fries to burgers. Blogger Kelly Brinker created this version and it’s pretty tasty!

Ingredients – Sauce

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons French dressing
  • 4 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced white onion
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  1. Combine all ingredients in bowl, stir and mix thoroughly.
  2. Cover and let chill for several hours or overnight.
  3. Cover everything you want with this delicious sauce.

Now for the burger itself.

What’s in a Big Mac? Just think of the song: two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, and a sesame seed bun.

Let’s assemble those ingredients as our sauce chills.

Ingredients – Big Mac

  • 2-2.5 ounces of ground beef (depending on how thin you want your patties)
  • 1 slice American cheese
  • 2 dill pickle slices
  • ½ cup lettuce, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon onion, diced
  • Sesame buns (3 per burger)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Toast the buns lightly, then set aside
  2. Cook burgers patties on 1-2 minutes each side, salt and pepper to taste
  3. Add the sauce, ½ teaspoon of onion, ¼ cup of lettuce, cheese and a patty to the bottom bun
  4. Add more sauce, rest of onions and lettuce, cheese, pickles, and patty to the middle bun
  5. Place middle bun and ingredients on top of bottom’s patty, top with top bun
  6. Enjoy!

Wendy’s Chili

I’m always in the mood for Wendy’s chili, no matter the weather. Whip up a big batch of this chili to have on its own and on a baked potato. It’s even gluten-free!


  • 2 pounds fresh ground beef
  • 1 quart of tomato juice
  • 1 (29-ounce) can tomato puree
  • 1 (15-ounce) can red beans, drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, drained
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/4 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chili powder (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. Brown ground beef in a large skillet, draining off fat.
  2. Combine beef with rest of the ingredients in a pot
  3. Cover and simmer for 1 to 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally
  4. Top with cheddar cheese and crackers, if desired

Chick-fil-A Nuggets

These were a staple when I was growing up. If you want to make your own at home for whatever reason…here’s how!


  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 pound chicken breasts, cut into chunks
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3 inches of peanut oil


  1. Process breadcrumbs until finely ground.
  2. Combine chicken pieces, milk, and eggs in a large bowl or bag
  3. Let chicken chill in fridge for 15 to 20 minutes
  4. Take peanut oil and fill dutch oven with it, then heat to 365 degrees — you want it bubbling, but not burning
  5. Combine flour, breadcrumbs, sugar, salt, white pepper, and chili powder in a bowl, mix well
  6. Coat the chicken pieces in the mix, let sit so it sticks well
  7. Fry under golden brown and slightly crunchy, then remove and let drain on sheet pan
  8. Eat with honey mustard or your favorite sauce

Arby’s Beef n’ Cheddar

Arby’s is just one of those places that when I want it, I want it. This Arby’s copycat recipe is for their classic Beef n’ Cheddar and contains tons of cheesy goodness. The red sauce is a near-perfect match for the fast food giant’s sauce, and you’ll love it. Make your own curly fries or grab a bag of the frozen ones for the complete experience.

Ingredients – Sauce

  • ½ cup of ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • ¼ teaspoons garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoons onion powder
  • Salt to taste


  1. Mix together in a bowl until finely combined
  2. Add to cheese sauce on completed burger.

Ingredients – Burger

  • 4 onion buns
  • 1 lb thinly sliced, deli roast beef
  • 5 slices American cheese
  • 3 tablespoon milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Heat skillet on medium heat, add meat, and cover, cooking on medium low.
  2. Take new pot, and cook cheese, milk, garlic powder, and pepper, stirring to melt into thick cheese sauce
  3. Top buns with meat, then cheese sauce and Arby’s sauce, top with top bun
Image: Chicago Tribune

Burger King Chicken Fries

Chicken fries debuted at Burger King in 2005, and were discontinued in 2012. BK fans weren’t happy, even going as far as to create a petition. Burger King listened and made the fries available again in August 2014 for a limited time. The fries finally found their way back permanently on the menu board in 2015. Make them at home in no time.


  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp chili flakes
  • 1 tsp oregano


  1. Slice chicken into strips about 1-2 inches thick.
  2. Toss breadcrumbs, chili flakes, and oregano together in a bowl.
  3. Pour flour in a plastic bag, shaking the chicken strips and coating well
  4. Dip chicken strips into egg, then breadcrumb mixture
  5. Heating an inch of oil, deep fry until crisp
  6. Drain on a sheet pan


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