Do you have fond memories of getting shakes after winning a soccer match as a kid? Or did you and your pals ever split a few burgers at the local diner after school? Whatever your experiences are with diner dishes, you most likely have a few favorites that you’d indulge in on the regular if you could. The problem is, despite being labeled as affordable, most of these dishes will make quite a hole in your wallet after a few trips. Luckily, with a few simple ingredients and a bit of effort, you’ll be able to whip up some diner classics of your own in no time! Here are 10 classic diner dishes you can make at home.
1. French Fries
Let’s start with an app that you’re often tempted to order at your local Ruby’s– fresh French fries. Like any you’d get at your diner, these fries are crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, and perfectly seasoned. However, unlike most fast-food versions, this recipe has the cook bake the fries instead of frying them, which is perfect considering a) baking is, of course, a healthier method and b) all the oil required to cook that many fries isn’t necessarily on the cheap side. They’re also long and lean, perfect for dipping into your favorite condiments. Find this recipe here.
2. Classic Burgers
Sometimes you’re only in the mood for a couple of fries or maybe some onion rings. But other times, you’ve got to get your hands on a juicy, flavorful burger. This recipe is sure to make a hamburger that’s just as good if not better than Johnny Rocket’s, and it couldn’t be easier to make yourself. The key is to use fresh ground beef (don’t overwork it) and season liberally only with salt and pepper, letting the flavor of the meat come through. And no need for a fancy grill! You can make these bad boys on your stove. Start cooking on low, then increase to medium-high, seasoned side down (then season the other side and cook). Put a slice of cheese on each patty to melt, place on toasted buns with your choice of toppings, and enjoy!
3. Chocolate Peanut Butter Milkshakes
What the classic, towering diner shake lacks in nutrition it makes up for in good old-fashioned comfort. And this particular recipe for a chocolate peanut butter round of milkshakes is sure to please all of the milkshake lovers out there- from those who stick to the timeless flavors (like vanilla and chocolate) to those who’d rather shake things up (pun intended). All you need is a good quality vanilla ice cream (we like Tillamook French vanilla), milk, chocolate syrup, and peanut butter. Blend the ice cream, peanut butter, and milk, then layer on the chocolate syrup.
4. Chicken Tenders
Perfectly crispy chicken tenders are a luxury reserved only for those who can afford to go to diners and indulge. Or so we thought until stumbling upon this recipe. These chicken tenders are so simple and tasty to make that you may never go back to Denny’s (note: we said maybe, there are no guarantees). All you’ve got to do is dip some chicken breast strips in a flour-egg mixture, coat them in toasted bread crumbs, and bake in the oven to have a delicious diner dish at the ready minus the mess and grease! Now you can finally put those extra Chic Fil A sauces you’ve been saving to good use…
5. Blueberry Pancakes
Love blueberries? Love pancakes? Love blueberry pancakes? You’re reading the right article! We’ve found this recipe for homemade, fluffy blueberry pancakes made with fresh berries and topped with maple syrup and butter. All you need to make them is flour, baking powder, sugar, egg, and vanilla. Since the blueberries (which are folded into the batter) tend to be quite heavy, adding a bit of vinegar (yes, you read that right) will help the pancakes maintain their fluffiness. This helps to activate the baking soda. Who knew science could be so delicious?
6. French Silk Pie
We may be on a bit of a sugar craze here… but honestly, who could look at a chocolatey French silk pie in a revolving case and not want at least a sliver? This recipe for French silk pie is a blessing for anyone with a chocolate craving and a knack for cooking. Plus, most of the work is done for you if you have a mixer- just combine your melted semisweet chocolate, butter, and sugar (creamed together), vanilla, and eggs one at a time (beating each during five minute intervals). Pour the filling and refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.
7. Onion Rings
With simple ingredients like onions, breadcrumbs, eggs, and flour, it’s a wonder how restaurants can charge up to six bucks for a serving of onion rings. Now, you can save your hard-earned cash for a Jonas Brothers concert and instead make your own! All you’ve got to do is cut off either side of 2 large onions, remove the outer layer, and cut into half-inch rings before coating and frying (yes, we caved into recommending a recipe that has you fry your food instead of baking it). Cook for 2-3 minutes, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate, and season accordingly. Here’s the recipe.
8. Perfect B.L.T.
As a college student (or recent graduate), you likely have random things sitting in your fridge right now (such as bacon, lettuce, and tomato). What better way to utilize them than by crafting a classic B.L.T.? Find this recipe here.
9. Potato Hash With A Fried Egg
Whoever said that breakfast foods should be reserved for breakfast has clearly never tried these perfectly crispy potatoes topped with a rich fried egg. Our favorite version (from New York Times Cooking) can be found here.
10. Beer-Battered Cod
Why should delicious fried fish be reserved for Lent or pescatarians? With this foolproof recipe for beer-battered cod, you’re going to want to move to London just so you can eat fish like this every day without turning any heads. By the way: this fish pairs perfectly with the oven-baked fries mentioned earlier in this article.