Fun and delicious, dining out allows you to enjoy a great meal without doing any of the work. While enjoyable as an occasional splurge, heading to restaurants on the regular can put a serious dent in your budget.
In order to turn a profit, many eateries sell their dishes at a serious markup, but you can make your own versions of many restaurant dishes at home. We consulted with HelloFresh to get dish recommendations from their extensive recipe archive. Take a look at 11 dishes from popular chain restaurants that can be made for a fraction of the price in your own kitchen.
The Cheesecake Factory — Chicken Bellagio
A mouthwatering pasta dish, Chicken Bellagio stands out on The Cheesecake Factory’s massive menu because it’s something you won’t find anywhere else. Thankfully, the restaurant has made the recipe available online, so you can prepare it anytime you want at home. You’ll shave nearly 88 percent off the menu price and you’ll get to bypass the always-crowded restaurant’s typically long wait for a table.
Panda Express — Broccoli Beef
- Cost to eat out: $9.90
- Estimated cost to eat at home: $2.46
Delicious for lunch or dinner, the Broccoli Beef entrée at Panda Express serves up a hearty mix of red meat and greens, helping you enjoy a balanced diet. It’s tempting to stop into this fast food chain every time you have a craving for it, but doing so isn’t a budget-savvy move. The good news is you can make your own Broccoli Beef dish at home for around 25 percent of the restaurant price, because restaurant dish mimic master Stephanie Manley of CopyKat Recipes figured out the recipe.
LongHorn Steakhouse — Outlaw Ribeye
- Cost to eat out: $26.49
- Cost to eat at home: $9.99
There are few things more appetizing than a sizzling ribeye steak from LongHorn Steakhouse, but the bill that accompanies it can easily ruin your blissful food coma. Just as delicious, the Peppered Rib-Eye Steak from HelloFresh offers the taste of one of your favorite restaurant dishes at home for less than half the cost. Not only that — the food subscription service delivers all the ingredients to your doorstep, so there’s no need to visit the grocery store.
Steak ‘n Shake — Frisco Patty Melt
- Cost to eat out: $6.99
- Estimated cost to eat at home: $2.35
There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself to a Steak ‘n Shake Frisco Patty Melt once in a while, but your Steakburger tab can add up fast if it becomes a regular habit. Instead of limiting how often you enjoy this cheesy, double patty delight, recreate it at home. This will save you nearly two-thirds of the cost, allowing you to eat well while saving some serious cash.
California Pizza Kitchen — Chicken Tequila Fettuccine
- Cost to eat out: $16.79
- Estimated cost to eat at home: $1.40
A favorite of California Pizza Kitchen diners, the Chicken Tequila Fettuccine is one of the chain’s most beloved pasta dishes. Unfortunately, it’s also rather expensive, but luckily the ingredients used to make it don’t add up to its sky-high sticker price. You can make it at home for about 11 times cheaper than what you’ll pay at the restaurant.
The Olive Garden — Chicken Marsala
- Cost to eat out: $20.49
- Cost to eat at home: $9.99
A savory chicken and mushroom dish, the Olive Garden’s Chicken Marsala entree is an Italian classic. You’re probably tempted to visit the restaurant constantly to feed your craving, but your bank account balance won’t thank you.
For an option that’s just as delicious, HelloFresh will deliver perfectly portioned ingredients for Chicken Marsala directly to your home for about half the price. Not only will you get a great meal, but you can skip the grocery store and avoid purchasing large quantities of ingredients you won’t use.
Yard House — Macaroni & Cheese
- Cost to eat out: $14.45
- Estimated cost to eat at home: $3.04
Not your average macaroni and cheese dish, the Mac & Cheese item on the Yard House menu is a hearty mix of chicken, bacon, cheese and more. Unconventional ingredients make this entrée delicious, but also surges the price to a starting point of $14.45.
The good news is, you don’t have to choose between going broke and adding this delicious food into your regular diet, because Family Cookbook Project recreated the recipe. One of the more decadent copycat recipes, you can save about 80% by making this dish in your own kitchen.
Jason’s Deli — Chicken Pot Pie Soup (Bowl)
- Cost to eat out: $5.99
- Estimated cost to eat at home: $0.48
A bowl of Jason’s Deli Chicken Pot Pie Soup will warm you right up on a chilly day, but the cost of this comfort food won’t make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. The good news is you can get the same chicken-and-vegetable goodness for roughly 10% of the restaurant price by using this CopyKat Recipes substitute to make it in your own kitchen. Saving money and not having to go out in the cold makes this option an all-around win.
Cracker Barrel — Broccoli Cheddar Chicken
- Cost to eat out: $10.99
- Estimated cost to eat at home: $1.60
Too good to only eat once per week, the Broccoli Cheddar Chicken is the Wednesday Daily Dinner Feature at Cracker Barrel. Oozing with cheesy-broccoli goodness, this loaded chicken entrée can get pricey — even if you’re only ordering it on a weekly basis.
Thanks to a version you can make at home, this restaurant favorite can be made at home for approximately 85% less than the menu price. Follow the instructions from CopyKat Recipes to make it in your kitchen in about an hour.
Whataburger — Breakfast on a Bun
- Cost to eat out: $2.98
- Estimated cost to eat at home: $1.06
Quick and easy, Whataburger’s Breakfast on a Bun is a delicious way to start the morning, but if they become a regular part of your day — and they will — your bank account will feel the hit. Avoid this by stocking your refrigerator with the ingredients for this gloriously cheesy bacon or sausage sandwich and constructing it at home, allowing you to shave off two-thirds of the cost.
Denny’s — Moons Over My Hammy
- Cost to eat out: $9.59
- Estimated cost to eat at home: $2.58
A classic Denny’s breakfast, Moons Over My Hammy is great for breakfast, lunch, dinner or all three. The only problem is that several orders of this cheesy ham and egg sandwich will quickly drain your monthly food budget, so recreate it in your kitchen. Since you’ll save more than 75% per sandwich, you enjoy one of your favorite restaurant dishes at home whenever you like, without fretting about your bank account balance.
Images are for representation purposes only. Menu prices may vary based on location.
About the Author
Laura is a writer with nearly 10 years of experience in marketing and personal finance. She is a Los Angeles-based writer specializing in personal finance, higher education, legal matters and marketing. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Pittsburgh and an MBA from Robert Morris University.