17 Secret Recipes That Were Just Released for the First Time (2024)

RD.COM Food Recipes

17 Secret Recipes That Were Just Released for the First Time (1)

ByCarrie Bell

Updated: Jul. 02, 2024

    Your kitchen is about to get a whole lot more interesting.

    The ultimate comfort foods

    When the going gets tough, the tough get going…to grab their favorite comfort foods. But what to do if your favorites are far from home, or worse, closed? Worry not! Some of the best restaurants, chains, theme parks, and airlines have published their secret recipes for their most iconic foods, so you can have your favorites whenever you want them—right from the comfort of your home.

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    Courtesy Hilton

    DoubleTree’s welcome cookie

    You can officially make at home the same warm chocolate chip cookie you’d get when checking in at any DoubleTree by Hilton hotel. More than 30 million of these delicious welcome cookies are consumed on arrival at DoubleTree properties; while you don’t need quitethat many for eating at home, the hospitality giant released directions to make 26 of them in a homemade batch. “A warm cookie can’t solve everything, but it can bring a moment of comfort and happiness,” says Shawn McAteer, DoubleTree’s senior vice president and global head. We agree! While your cookies bake, check out these stunning hotel pools around the world and start daydreaming about your next vacation.

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    Courtesy The Walt Disney Company

    Disney’s assorted delights

    The gastronomic geniuses behind some of the signature eats found throughout Disney’s many amusem*nt parks have gone viral in a Disney Parks blog series to turn fan kitchens into the happiest places on Earth. Sometimes you just really need a fix, and Disney has provided several, including one for the classic Mickey Mouse–shaped beignets. You can Disney-fy your kitchen even further by using a Mickey charcuterie setor a Disney-themed slow cooker.

    But wait—there’s more! Disney also released the following recipes to create further magic in your mouth:

    Toy Story Land’s grilled cheese

    Plant-based cookie fries from Beaches & Cream Soda Shop at Disney’s Beach Club Resort

    Canadian cheddar cheese soup from Epcot’s Le Cellier Steakhouse

    PCH Grill’s chocolate, peanut butter, and banana French toast

    The Grey Stuff mentioned in Beauty & The Beast‘s “Be Our Guest” and served atop a scalloped cookie at both the Red Rose Tavern at Disneyland and Walt Disney World’s Be Our Guest restaurant

    Tonga Toast from Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

    • A frozen pineapple treat that’s a worthy substitute for the Tiki Room’s famous Dole Whip

    When the gates open again, scope out these new foods you have to try at least once when visiting Disney World.

    McDonald’s Egg McMuffin

    Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so fans of Mickey D’s morning-menu items were lovin’ it when a recipe for how to make the popular Sausage and Egg McMuffin was revealed on Twitter. You are only six ingredients and a metal egg cooking ring away from pre-afternoon delight. Adding a red and yellow box with a signature smile makes the meal even happier. McDonald’s published a print-and-construct template on its website. In case you were wondering, this is why the McDonald’s logo is yellow and red.

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    Courtesy Dollywood

    Dollywood’s cinnamon bread

    Dolly Parton doesn’t want her die-hards to go hungry when they aren’t at her famous theme park, so the queen of Nashville wants you to carbo-load from “9 to 5” at home. Among Dollywood’s attractions is a working grist mill, where guests can watch bakers assembling the self-proclaimed “slap your mama good” pull-apart cinnamon bread before enjoying it hot from the oven and slathered in icing or apple butter. It’s so good that they sell, on average, 350 loaves per hour. So, throw on your apron of many colors, turn up the Smoky Mountain songbird’s tunes, and get elbow deep in yeast, butter, flour, sugar, and cinnamon as you use this recipe to make yourself a loaf.

    While Dollywood is tops in Tennessee, here’s the best amusem*nt park in every other state.

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    Courtesy The Cheesecake Factory

    The Cheesecake Factory’s chicken and broccoli pasta

    Unfortunately, no, they did not reveal how to make the namesake dessert. They do need to give diners a reason to return to one of the more than 200 cheesecake nirvanas! But they are divulging recipes for other fan favorites from the 899-page book they call a menu, including the Chicken Taquitos.Some of those had been demoed on broadcast segments before, but the Chicken and Broccoli Pasta was unveiled in the first-ever virtual cooking class with Chief Culinary Officer Donald Moore on Facebook Live.

    Check out these 13 things you probably didn’t know about the Cheesecake Factory’s cheesecake.

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    Courtesy Wagamama

    Wagamama’s katsu curry

    With many people working from home, the Asian fast-casual chain figured why shouldn’t they drop a letter and wok from home, too. They created an online video series with instructions on how to make some of the brand’s popular meals, starting with the Katsu Curry. After that, requests for Steve Mangelshot, executive chef, to show other recipes came fast and furious, and Wagamama responded by shooting demos for its house salad dressing and Firecracker Curry. It also posted full recipes for its versions of dishes like Chili Chicken Ramen, Chicken Donburi, and Yaki Soba on its U.S. website.

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    Courtesy Blue Bottle Coffee

    Blue Bottle’s Liège wafels

    Blue Bottle Coffee, an Oakland, California–based network of third-wave cafés in the United States, Japan, and Korea, knows that mornings can be rough, so they’re giving you a reason to get out of bed. Behold, the secret strategy to whipping up their addictive Belgian-style yeasted Liège wafels. Fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside, the batter needs a couple of hours to double in size, so plan ahead. (It can also be made the night before and refrigerated for a slower rise.)

    To get the interior caramelized crunchy and sweet spheres that this European style of waffle is known for, you’ll need to procure pearl sugar (a compressed beet sugar that is near impossible to substitute) and a good waffle iron. The coffeehouse’s suggested caffeinated pairing is Giant Steps, its darkest blend named in honor of jazzman John Coltrane.

    When you’re finished perfecting your waffles, check out these 5 tricks for making the perfect cup of coffee.

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    via arnotts.com

    Arnott’s biscuits

    The 155-year-old company responsible for Down Under wonders like Tim Tams, Choc Ripples, and Tina Wafers vowed to release a new secret biscuit (that’s Australian for cookie) recipe from its closely guarded vault every week that stay-at-home orders were in place in Australia. Arnott’s Big Recipe Release campaign kicked off with the Monte Carlo, a cream-filled cookie sandwich, and continued with Scotch Fingers, a classic shortbread stick that requires only four fairly common ingredients.

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    Courtesy Ikea

    IKEA’s Swedish meatballs

    For many, a trip to the Swedish furniture emporium is just as much about sinking your teeth into some Swedish meatballs at the in-store cafeteria as it is about buying build-your-own bookshelves. That’s why, according to IKEA U.K. and Ireland country food manager Lorena Lourido, the company felt a call to provide “an almost-as-delicious alternative” to “fill a gap.” The exact recipe, developed in 1985 with the help of founder Ingvar Kamprad, remains a mystery. But IKEA gets points for creativity. When IKEA dropped the recipe for the meatballs and accompanying cream sauce (which you might be surprised to learn includes Dijon mustard and soy sauce), it was cleverly disguised as the illustrated assembly instructions that come with their products. Here’s hoping you don’t have any parts or screws left over at the end.

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    Courtesy Pret A Manger

    Pret A Manger’s dark chocolate vegan cookies

    Not to be outdone by DoubleTree, the quickie eatery and grab-and-go market released instructions on its Facebook page for how to make its famous chocolate chip cookie. According to the Independent, cookie monsters had inundated the company’s social media accounts with requests for the recipe. Pret then posted directions to whip up its Little Cup of Goodness (a yogurt and granola bowl) and dark chocolate vegan cookies. No matter which recipe you choose, avoid these 12 baking mistakes you didn’t know you were making.

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    Courtesy Cathay Pacific Airways

    Cathay Pacific Airways’ Cathay Delight

    Try a round of frozen award-winning mocktails/co*cktails created by Cathay Pacific Airways—without being at 35,000 feet. To prepare the Cathay Delight, which is served in first and business class and in Cathay lounges, follow the recipe below. Now you can enjoy them at an on-the-ground happy hour!


    • ½ cup (135 ml) whole milk
    • 1 ⅓ tablespoon (20 ml) coconut milk
    • 1 cup (240 ml) kiwi juice
    • Mint leaves
    • Optional: alcohol of choice


    • Pour all ingredients together in a blender; keep some mint sprigs aside
    • Add in ice
    • Blend until combined and frothy
    • Pour into your favorite glass
    • Garnish with mint sprigs

    The Bend Soup Company’s broths

    Owner Dave Johns vowed to post a recipe a week for one of his 30 proprietary Bend blends and broths on his business Facebook page, while his Oregon mobile soup stop was out of commission. So far, he’s released French Onion, Mommy’s Chicken Noodle, Zuppa Soupa, Lasagna Devotion, Undercover Sausage Lentil, and a gluten-free vegan squash soup called Golden Autumn. He told local TV station KTVZ 21 that it is a “big deal” for a chef to share his secrets but that he wanted to reward loyal customers hunkering down in difficult times. “I just want people to spend some time at home and make some soup,” he says. “It’s comfort food.”

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    Courtesy Panera

    Panera Bread’s favorites

    The casual bistro that’s best known for its soups, salads, and sandwiches has released enough recipes through its Panera at Home initiative for folks to recreate the “You Pick 2” plan in their own kitchens. Choose from Panera favorites like Chipotle Chicken and Ranch Flatbread, Fuji Apple Quinoa Grain Bowl, Caprese Mac & Cheese, or Brazilian Seafood Stew. Many use items from their retail line as the starting point, but no one is stopping you from throwing that broccoli cheddar soup into one of those sourdough bread bowls you’ve been stress baking.

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    via shakeys.com

    Shakey’s mojo potatoes

    Talk about comfort food in the comfort of your own home! The Japanese arm of longtime pizza parlor Shakey’s let the secret recipe for its zesty fried spuds slip to SoraNews24. The recipe is pretty simple, but the taters fry up best when the slices are all the same size. A mandolin takes the guesswork out of the equation, and a deep fryer will help you obtain restaurant-quality crispness.


    • Potato (sliced into 9mm-wide wedges)
    • 100 grams of fried chicken breading mix
    • 30 grams of salt
    • 10 grams of pepper
    • Cooking oil


    1. Microwave the potato spuds for five minutes, preferably at a power setting of 700 watts.
    2. Next, carefully remove the heated potatoes out of the microwave.
    3. Stir the dry ingredients (fried chicken breading mix, salt, and pepper) in a separate bowl. Then, mix in the potato spuds, leaving no area unseasoned.
    4. Deep fry until you reach desired level of crispiness.

    In addition to a mandolin and a deep fryer, these are the kitchen gadgets you’ll wish you had years ago.

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    Courtesy Ace Hotels

    Ace Hotels’ delectable dishes and drinks

    The hipster hospitality company rounded up recipes for co*cktails, sweets, and dishes served at several of the brand’s in-house hotel bars and restaurants and packaged them with an activity book, doodles, affirmations, and virtual backgrounds. The Dropbox Care Package, which they initially emailed to patrons in their distribution list, includes favorites such as Whitfield’s Buttermilk Biscuits and Mushroom Gravy (Ace Hotel Pittsburgh), Best Girl’s Pozole Verde (Downtown Los Angeles), King’s Highway’s Date Shake (Palm Springs), Seaworthy’s Holy Water co*cktail (New Orleans), and Hoi Polloi’s Smoked Bacon and Onion Hash (London Shoreditch). While these recipes will continue to be favorites, here are 10 things you won’t see in hotels anymore.

    Popeyes’ marinade techniques

    The Louisiana Kitchen is still embroiled in a “whose fried chicken sammie is better” war, so they’d be pollo loco to reveal the spycraft behind what makes its poultry simultaneously crispy, tender, and juicy. But the brand’s head of culinary innovation, Amy Alarcon, did let some marinating strategies out of the bag during an interview with Forbes. The main takeaways were Crystal hot sauce, buttermilk, and lots of time in the fridge (at least 12 hours and preferably overnight). She also relinquished her roasted chicken recipe, which employs similar techniques.

    Taco Bell’s copycat recipes

    Taco Bell stopped shy of revealing its secrets. But the restaurant isn’t leaving fans high and dry either. The Mexican fast-food chainis helping chalupa connoisseurs make a run for the border while sheltering in place by admitting which copycat recipes it thinks are the closest approximations to the real thing. To get even closer, grab Taco Bell’s Original Taco Seasoning Mix and a variety pack of the signature mild, hot, fire, and verde sauces on Amazon. That is, if you aren’t like those of us who already have a pantry full of hoarded packets.


    The Independent: “Pret a Manger publishes ‘secret’ chocolate chip cookie recipe for fans to make at home”

    KTVZ21: “Bend Soup Company releasing secret recipes to public”

    SoraNews24: “Shakey’s Japan Reveals Its Mojos Recipe For Your Quarantine Cravings”

    Forbes: “How To Make Perfect Popeyes Chicken At Home”

    Originally Published: May 15, 2020


    Carrie Bell

    Carrie Bell brings more than 20 years of experience writing about entertainment, pop culture, travel and lifestyle topics for national magazines, newspapers and websites to RD.com, where her coverage runs the gamut from road trip guides to Star Wars locations you can visit in real life, best crime shows to infamous awards show scandals. She has a j...

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