10 Simple Secret Menu Hacks to Use at Olive Garden

Updated: Nov. 27, 2023

We finally figured out Olive Garden's secret menu—and we're obsessed!

Calling all Italian food lovers! The Olive Garden secret menu has been brushed off as nonexistent for years, but we did our digging and found super simple (and delicious) menu hacks you have to try. We’re here to tell you that you can, in fact, customize just about anything on the menu.

1. Switch up Your Sampler Platter

Olive Garden’s appetizer menu is full of appealing dishes, and their sampler platter is a great way to make everyone at your table happy. But if the platter on the menu isn’t perfect, you can ask your server to customize it. Ask for whatever apps you’d like—even double up on the family favorite. You’ll be digging into your dream sampler platter in no time.

Learn how to make Olive Garden’s breadsticks at home.

2. Create Creamy Minestrone

If you’re obsessed with the soup, salad and breadsticks, you need this Olive Garden secret menu hack. Customize your soup by asking for half a serving of potato soup and half a serving of made-from-scratch minestrone in the same cup (or bowl!). It really hits the spot.

If you’re craving the classic minestrone dish, check out this copycat Olive Garden minestrone soup.

3. ‘Tis Always the Season

Olive Garden is known for delicious and iconic seasonal dishes. There’s no need to mourn the changing of the menu, though. If the kitchen is stocked with the ingredients needed to make a special dish, the chefs will happily do so. For instance, the fan-favorite chicken fettuccine Florentine can be made year round! Just ask for chicken fettuccine with spinach.

4. Swap Your Sauce

If you love a certain combination of flavors, or a specific dish, but aren’t a fan of the sauce, this is the hack for you. Not only can you hold the sauce on any order, but you can also switch it out for your favorite one. Chicken Parmesan with Alfredo sauce, for example, makes for one cheesy meal.

5. Pick Your Protein

Similar to sauces, you’re free to add any protein to your dish. Whether you’d like to double up on chicken, swap beef for shrimp or anything else your tastebuds desire, the kitchen staff at Olive Garden are more than happy to accommodate. Also, learn how to make Asiago tortelloni alfredo with grilled chicken.

6. Chuck the Chicken

If you’re munching on a meal with your vegetarian (or vegan) pals, you can always nix the meat altogether. But if that has you feeling less than satisfied, you can also ask to double the vegetables. Most of the time they’ll do this free of charge since you’re not getting any meat.

7. Spruce up Your Salads

Like most restaurants, Olive Garden lets you add grilled chicken or shrimp to any salad. But did you know that you can ask for the Chicken Parm chicken on your salad instead? You can also request Shrimp Fritta on your salad to give it some extra crunch. This has to be the best Olive Garden secret menu hack we’ve heard about!

8. Try the Secret Sauce

Zeppoli is just one of the many dazzling desserts on this menu. While we’re big fans of the accompanying chocolate sauce, they have a secret raspberry sauce that’s available upon request. Other flavors are rumored to be at different locations.

9. Skip the Cheese

Whether you’re trying to lighten up your meals, or you really just can’t stomach dairy, you can ask your waiter or waitress to bring you your plate sans cheese. It’s such an easy fix.

10. Redo the Ravioli

The ability to perfect this hack depends on which Olive Garden you’re at, but at certain spots you can customize the ravioli. (Yes, really!) Whether you prefer one or two minor changes, or you’d like to customize the filling, the cooks will do everything they can to serve up the perfect plate. Keep in mind, some locations stuff their pasta first thing in the morning, so it’s not always doable.

Hungry for more? Cook your way through our roundup of Olive Garden copycat recipes!

Up Next: Copycat Olive Garden Soups, Salad and Breadsticks

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