What are the best fast foods people are making in lockdown?

                           The famous Egg McMuffin (US-style with Canadian bacon slice).

Food Network statistics indicate the nation is searching for recipes online more than ever. And one mission people have taken on with relish is to recreate dishes from their favourite, temporarily closed, restaurant chains and proudly showcase them on social media.

This has been made easier by a few fast food joints sharing recipes for some of their most coveted meals. Outlets including McDonald’s, Greggs and even Ikea have been posting previously secret(ish) recipes. Still no word on those ‘secret spices’ from KFC though…

We’re showcasing some of our favourite attempts and finding out people’s tips for taking things to the next level.

Sausage and Egg McMuffin

McDonald’s got fans excited when it shared the recipe for its breakfast staple, the Sausage and Egg McMuffin. Now you can make it at home, without the 11am cut off – even though some McDonald’s outlets are reopening. You might have already worked out the ingredients: an egg, sausage meat, a slice of American cheese and you guessed it, an English muffin.

On our completely made up ‘makeability’ scale, this gets a solid nine out of ten. If you don’t have all the ingredients, simply swap some out. Helen Orr Keery didn’t have English muffins, so went for a bap for the one she posted on Facebook. But if you don’t have eggs, you’re probably not making this.

Season the sausage meat with salt and pepper, then shape it into a ball, flatten it into a patty shape and grill for several minutes on each side, until cooked. To achieve a perfectly round egg shape, use an egg pan or crack into an oiled round metal cookie cutter and fry until cooked. Layer everything up in your muffin. Take your breakfast up a level by making your own hash browns.

                                  Helen’s Egg Mc...bap? Credit: Facebook / Helen Orr Keery

Swedish meatballs

The Swedish meatball recipe was released in the most Ikea way possible. The image shared on Twitter looks incredibly like the furniture assembly instructions you get with a purchase. All that’s missing is an allen key and we’re half expecting to have some screws left over at the end.

Swedish meatballs are a simple combination of pork and beef mince, breadcrumbs, onion, garlic and milk (though when sold at Ikea stores they contain unsweetened rusk flour, and that’s not the most accessible ingredient). You’ll find a Swedish meatball recipe on BBC Food too. Level up your meatballs and cream sauce with delectable swede mash (pun totally intended).

Greggs’ pasties

Bakery chain Greggs has been showcasing mini cooking demos on its Instagram, including one of its famed Sausage, Bean and Cheese Melt, which you can see here.

Level up: Our own Matt Tebbutt made a sausage, bean and cheese pasty on a recent episode of Saturday Kitchen, with a cheese dipping sauce. Which you could argue is what’s missing from the original.

Don’t like beans and sausage together? Try a cheese and onion pasty.

Pizza Express gets candid about dough

Pizza dough has been among the most popular recipes on BBC Food in the last few weeks, so it’s no surprise the release of Pizza Express’ recipes, including the dough balls, has been popular on Twitter. Many fans have been showcasing their efforts on social media. We adore Liv’s wild garlic version of the restaurant’s recipe, which she also shared on Twitter.

If you’re making straight-up pizza, we have tonnes of recipes for you, including a winning no yeast pizza. Dough balls are literally golf-ball-sized balls of pizza dough baked at a high temperature. Dip them in garlic butter (made by mixing crushed garlic with softened salted butter). It really is that easy.

Fried chicken

KFC isn’t on the list of outlets publishing recipes (as of 7th May 2020), and perhaps that’s down to its famously secret spices... or because it has already re-opened select stores. This hasn’t stopped fans recreating their favourite crispy fried chicken at home though. On the social media platform TikTok, the #KFCchallenge has had over 30 million views (again as of 7th May 2020).

Nadiya Hussain has been frying up a ‘ginger-lickin’ chicken storm. If you’re not into deep-frying, oven-fried chicken is just as delicious! Serve it with crunchy coleslaw and corn on the cob.

Nando’s chicken

We’ve seen Nando’s-style chicken recipes on social media, ranging from those requiring chef-level skills to pouring shop-bought peri-peri sauce over cooked chicken (not to be sniffed at!). If you want something in between these two, Tom Kerridge’s peri-peri chicken with dirty rice and coleslaw will serve you well.

May from London knocks it out of the park with her Nando’s-style dinner on Twitter.

Wagamama’s katsu curry

Not only are we obsessed with executive chef Steve Mangleshot’s energy levels in the first ‘wok from home’ video posted on Wagamama’s Instagram feed (he really loves that katsu curry), but also with how simple the recipe is (a seven out of ten on the makeability scale, for sure). Using some store-cupboard staples, Steve shows us how to make one of the restaurant’s most popular meals at home.

In these times of change, you need to be creative with what you have. That’s why we’re in love with Lucy Watson’s katsu curry using chicken nuggets, which she posted on Facebook. You can even make a katsu curry with an oat crumb if you don’t have breadcrumbs or flour, or a vegan version with tofu.

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