These Brands Are Spilling the Secret Recipes of Their Signature Foods During the Pandemic

A roundup of DIY treats to try at home, from a McMuffin to a Dole Whip

As governments continue to urge people to stay at home to flatten the Covid-19 contagion curve, people have been flocking to their kitchens in lieu of shuttered restaurants, hoping to be able to fill in the experiential gap with sharpened culinary skills.

Unsurprisingly, that newfound cooking hobby has led to a notable increase in traffic to food websites during the pandemic., Food52, Bon Appétit and BuzzFeed’s Tasty have all seen a spike in recipe demo and how-to-video views.

Previously, we’ve shared how to make DoubleTree by Hilton’s beloved chocolate chip cookies, as well as a “recipe” (more like a list of ingredients with cooking methods open to interpretation) by Burger King France for a “Quarantine Whopper.” BK France also shared ingredient lists for menu items exclusively found in the fast-food chain’s French locations.

Amid the uncertainty of when things will “return to normalcy” in a post-pandemic world, other food brands have been spilling the secrets for some of their most famous dishes and treats. Here are a few:

Disney’s Churro Bites

It’s no exaggeration that millions of people have bitten into the sweet sensation that is a Disney cinnamon churro, available at all Disney parks worldwide. Though all these themed locations are temporarily closed due to Covid-19, at least families who had planned trips can recreate the magic of Disney’s beloved churros at home. The recipe was released on April 5 on the Disney Parks Blog.

Ingredients (serves four):  

  • 1 cup water
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable or canola oil
  • ½ cup sugar
  • Favorite dipping sauce


  1. Combine water, butter, salt, ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon in a 1 ½-quart saucepan over medium heat. Bring pot to a boil, and then reduce heat to low.
  2. Add flour to the pot and stir until mix forms into a ball. Remove the pot from heat and let rest for 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add eggs to the pot and stir until combined; set aside.
  4. Heat oil in a medium skillet or 1-quart saucepan over medium-high heat (or until temperature reaches 350 F).
  5. Spoon dough into a piping bag with a star tip. Pipe 1-inch strip of dough over the saucepan, cut and drop into hot oil. Repeat until the churro bites fill the saucepan with additional room to fry.
  6. Fry the churro bites until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon or mesh spider strainer, and drain the churro bites on a paper towel.
  7. Mix sugar and remaining ground cinnamon in a medium-sized bowl. Toss in the churro bites until coated.
  8. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

Disney’s Dole Whip Pineapple Frozen Treat

The day after Easter and a week after Disney released its churro recipe, the brand rolled out another park guest favorite on the Disneyland app: the pineapple Dole Whip. While the frozen treat could only be relished in certain locations throughout the Disneyland and Walt Disney World properties pre-coronavirus, now it can be found in the comfort of your own kitchen.


  • 1 generous scoop of vanilla ice cream
  • 4 ounces of pineapple juice
  • 2 cups of frozen pineapple


  1. Add ice cream, pineapple juice and frozen pineapple to a blender at low speed, and then increase to high speed. Blend until smooth.
  2. Use a piping bag with a star tip to recreate the classic Dole Whip swirl—or use a regular ice cream scooper—and add soft-serve to bowl.

Ikea’s Swedish Meatballs

Trips to Ikea stores aren’t complete without a mid-shopping lunch break to nosh on Swedish Meatballs, but since Ikea’s stores are closed until further notice, the international ready-to-assemble furniture chain has shared the recipe for its signature dish.

When the cream sauce and Swedish meatballs are ready to eat, serve them with your favorite potatoes—Ikea recommends either a creamy mash or mini new boiled potatoes.

Ingredients for the meatballs (serves four):

  • 500 grams beef mince
  • 250 grams pork mince
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic (crushed or minced)
  • 100 grams breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 5 tablespoons of milk (whole milk)
  • Generous salt and pepper

Ingredients for the cream sauce (serves four): 

  • Dash of oil
  • 40 grams butter
  • 40 grams plain flour
  • 150 mL vegetable stock
  • 150 mL beef stock
  • 150 mL thick double cream
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Instructions for the meatballs: 

  1. Combine beef and pork thoroughly until the meat is not lumpy. Add finely chopped onion, garlic, breadcrumbs, egg and mix. Add milk, and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Shape mixture into small, round meatballs (it should make about 16-20). Place on a different plate, cover and store in the fridge for two hours.
  3. Heat oil on a frying pan on medium heat. When hot, add meatballs and cook until browned on all sides.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  5. When browned, add to an ovenproof dish and cover. Place in the oven for 30 minutes.

Instructions for the cream sauce: 

  1. Melt butter in a frying pan. Add in the plain flour and whisk, stirring continuously for two minutes.
  2. Add the vegetable stock and beef stock to the pan and continue to stir. Combine with the thick double cream, soy sauce and Dijon mustard.
  3. Bring to a simmer and allow the sauce to thicken, continuing to stir.

McDonald’s Sausage & Egg McMuffin

McDonald’s UK dropped the recipe for a classic Sausage & Egg McMuffin earlier this month on Twitter, ensuring that loyal customers could get their breakfast sandwich fix even though many McDonald’s are offering drive-thru, takeout and “McDelivery.”


  • 1 English muffin
  • 75 grams sausage meat
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 slice of American cheese
  • 1 potato


  1. Toast the English muffin until golden brown.
  2. Season sausage meat with salt and pepper, then shape into balls. Flatten the balls into patties and cook under a preheated grill for six to seven minutes on each side.
  3. Brush the inside of a metal ring with oil and place in a small frying pan. Pour in water to cover the base and then bring to a boil. Crack the eggs into the rings, cover the pan and cook for two to three minutes.
  4. Layer a slice of cheese on top of the English muffin, and then assemble the patty and egg on top of the cheese.

Pret a Manger’s Mac and Cheese

On its Facebook page, Pret a Manger has been spilling the secrets to several of the British fast-casual restaurant chain’s hottest menu items (and is even asking customers to share pictures of their finished product to add to an upcoming Pret a Manger cookbook).

The brand claims that this Mac and Cheese recipe can be modified to your liking with some suggested ingredient combos, such as salmon and kale, sun-dried tomato and bacon, chorizo and red pepper, butternut squash and sage, and mushroom and truffle oil.

Ingredients (serves four): 

  • 300 grams dried macaroni
  • 60 grams butter
  • 4 tablespoons plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 600 mL whole milk
  • 250 grams mature Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 200 grams blanched cauliflower florets
  • Handful of chopped parsley
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 50 grams parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Any added extras you’d like


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. Cook the macaroni in boiling salted water until “al dente,” then drain and refresh under cold, running water.
  3. Heat the butter in a pan on medium to low heat and stir in the mustard and flour to make a roux. Gradually add the milk, beating continuously with a whisk until the mixture is smooth. Slowly bring to a boil over a low heat and whisk frequently until the mixture thickens.
  4. Stir the cheddar cheese into a white sauce and mix well until the cheese has melted. Add the cooked macaroni, cauliflower, parsley, and the additional extras to the sauce and mix well. Season with sea salt and black pepper and spread the mixture in a large, wide gratin dish.
  5. Combine the parmesan cheese with breadcrumbs and olive oil, sprinkle over the top of the macaroni mixture and bake for around 30 minutes until the topping is golden and crisp and the middle is piping hot.

Wagamama’s Chicken Katsu Curry

Japanese-cuisine and noodle chain Wagamama, which has a global presence in the United Kingdom and at least 22 other countries, shared its signature Chicken Katsu Curry recipe on Instagram. The eight-minute tutorial video is narrated and run by Wagamama’s executive chef, Steve Mangleshot.

Ingredients for the katsu curry sauce (serves two): 

  • 2–3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2.5 cm piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 heaped tablespoons of mild curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • 300 mL chicken or vegetable stock
  • 100 mL coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar, to taste

Ingredients for the dish (serves two): 

  • 120 grams rice (any rice will do)
  • 1 quantity katsu curry sauce
  • 2 skinless chicken breasts
  • 50 grams plain flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 100 grams panko breadcrumbs
  • 75 mL vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 40 grams mixed salad leaves


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@monicroqueta Mónica is a breaking news reporter at Adweek.