Make it on your own: DIY recipes

There is some mysterious allure behind wanting to make our own versions of famous recipes. A burger is never truly complete without one key component. It doesn’t matter how amazing the ingredients you bought are or if the patty is cooked to perfection, without Big Mac sauce, it is pointless. Things like that drive the desire, in both amateur and professional chefs alike, to create mimics of their favorite famous food. Here are some dupes for some of your favorites. These recipes have been modified but based on recipes provided at the websites: Top secret recipes and Cooking Classy.


Big Mac sauce

The Big Mac is a staple in American culture and with that well-known burger comes it’s even more well-known sauce. This recipe is super simple and can be created with ingredients you probably already own. This sauce can be refrigerated and used again, but is best when served fresh. 

Cook time 10 minutes 

Serving size ¾ cup



⅛  teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon granulated white sugar

1 teaspoon white vinegar

1 tablespoon of minced white onion

4 teaspoons pickled relish

2 tablespoons French dressing

½ cup mayonnaise



  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Stir until uniformly mixed. 


Einstein Bros cream cheese shmear 

Einstein Bros cream cheese shmears come in a variety of different flavors depending on the season, all of which have straightforward recipes. In this recipe, roasted garlic and herb shmear is outlined, but if you want to replace it for another recipe, substitute the garlic and herb for additional ingredients. For instance, if you want the strawberry shmear, substitute with some strawberry extract and red food dye. Refrigerate after use. 

Cook time 10 minutes

Serving size 1 cup



1 8- ounce container of softened cream cheese

½ teaspoon of garlic spread concentrate

¼ teaspoon dried parsley flakes

⅛ teaspoon salt



  1. Whip the cream cheese either by hand or in a mixer until smooth. 
  2. Add the remaining ingredients until uniformly mixed. 
  3. Cover with tin foil and place in the refrigerator to chill until firm.


IHOP red velvet pancakes

A personal favorite of mine that led to devastation when they were unfortunately discontinued. If these famed pancakes do not happen to come back for the Valentine season, here is a recipe to keep you satisfied. Additionally, these pancakes are fresh, so no bland box-mix taste. 

Cook and prep time 30 minutes

Servings 8




2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons natural cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

2 cups milk

2 tablespoons white vinegar

½ cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 & ½ tablespoons red food dye

2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

⅓ cup of melted salted butter


Cream Cheese Glaze:

6 ounces of softened cream cheese

6 tablespoons of softened unsalted butter 

2 cups of powdered sugar

½ cup milk

½ teaspoon vanilla extract



  1. Heat up a nonstick frying pan or griddle. 
  2. In a bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients for your pancake mix and set aside.
  3. Thoroughly mix the vinegar into the milk and let sit for 2 minutes. 
  4. Pour the milk and vinegar mixture into a separate bowl and add in the rest of the pancake ingredients. 
  5. Whisk together until combined. 
  6. Slowly begin adding in the dry ingredients while whisking. 
  7. Finish mixing until combined. 
  8. Pour finished batter onto the frying pan with a ¼ measuring cup. 
  9. Cook until bubbles begin to appear on the surface then flip. Do not wait for too many bubbles or the pancakes will lose that red color. 

For the glaze:

  1.  Whip the cream cheese and butter in a bowl until mixed.
  2. Whip in the rest of the glaze ingredients in. 

For garnish, put the glaze into a piping bag and spread over the pancakes.


Photo: T. Heftiba

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