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50 Secret Recipes for Classic Diner Foods

Cook up a blue plate special! We've collected the best homemade versions of classic diner foods, from breakfast sunny side up to desserts worthy of a glass cake dome.

Chicken-Fried Steak & Gravy

As a child, my grandmother taught me how to make these chicken fried steaks. I taught my daughters, and when my granddaughters are bigger, I’ll show them, too. —Donna Cater, Fort Ann, New York

Lemon Supreme Pie

A friend and I often visit a local restaurant for pie and coffee. When they stopped carrying our favorite, I got busy in the kitchen and created this version, which we think tastes even better! The combination of the cream cheese and tart lemon is wonderful. —Jana Beckman, Wamego, Kansas

Buttermilk Pancakes

You just can't beat a basic buttermilk pancake recipe for a down-home hearty breakfast. Pair it with sausage and fresh fruit for a mouthwatering morning meal. —Betty Abrey, Imperial, Saskatchewan

Ham and Swiss Omelet

This easy omelet will be a snap to fix for breakfast or dinner. —Agnes Ward, Stratford, Ontario

Stuffed Hash Browns

Ever since we met, my husband has made me hash browns with bacon, pepper jack and sour cream. We share it when we have guests, too.—Annie Ciszak Pazar, Anchorage, Alaska

Chicken Salad Croissants

This tempting chicken salad that gets its special taste from Swiss cheese and pickle relish. It's a favorite of my brother, who insists I make it whenever he visits. —Laura Koziarski, Battle Creek, Michigan

All-American Bacon Cheeseburgers

Where can you get a juicy bacon cheeseburger that is so superior to drive-thru fare? Right in you backyard with this delicious recipe. —Jackie Burns, Silverdale, Washington

Peanut Butter Milk Shakes

You’ve got milk. You’ve got peanut butter. Probably vanilla ice cream, too. Using just a few ingredients, you can whip up a creamy treat in seconds. —Joyce Turley, Slaughters, Kentucky

Cheddar-Topped Barbecue Meat Loaf

My family loves the bold barbecue flavor of this tender meat loaf. I love that it's such an easy recipe to prepare in the slow cooker. —David Snodgrass, Columbia, Missouri

Red, White and Blueberry Pie

This creamy pie gets dressed up with berries to make a showstopping display at any Fourth of July party or summer get-together. It's as pretty as it is tasty! —Kimberly McFarland, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

This is an old Southern recipe that I've adapted. It's a classic, hearty breakfast that takes you on a trip to the South every time it's served. —Sue Baker, Jonesboro, Arkansas

Moist Turkey Breast with White Wine Gravy

I modified a favorite dish for slow cooker ease. It’s moist and tender each time and perfectly complemented by the white wine gravy. It’s best with drinking wine, not cooking wine. —Tina MacKissock, Manchester, New Hampshire

Lemonade Iced Tea

I have always loved iced tea with lemon and this great thirst-quencher just takes it one step further. The lemonade gives this refreshing drink a nice color, too. —Gail Buss, Beverly Hills, Florida

Brunch Cinnamon Rolls

A biscuit-textured cinnamon bun with the ease of food processor preparation. This family friendly breakfast bun is glazed with maple and vanilla flavors to accent the cinnamon and nuts.—Rita Vogel, Malcom, Iowa

Tuna Ciabatta Melts

Any good crusty bread can be used as the backbone for this delish tuna spread. Top with slices of crunchy cucumber for extra freshness. —Barb Templin, Norwood, Minnesota

Family-Favorite Fried Chicken

I was never impressed with the fried chicken recipes I'd tried, but then I started to experiment and came up with one that my whole family loves. Once you taste it, you'll know why! —Samantha Pazdernik, Breckenridge, Minnesota

Light Strawberry Pie

People rave about this luscious strawberry pie. Best of all, it’s a low-sugar sensation that you won’t feel one bit guilty to eat. —Lou Wright, Rockford, Illinois

Chocolate Chip Elvis Pancakes

I'm one of 13 children, so making a recipe that everyone likes can be a challenge. This one was a Saturday-morning special that we all loved. —Keenan McDermott, Springfield, Missouri

Super Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Heat up your indoor grill to make these ooey-gooey grilled cheese sandwich recipes. They're delicious served with soup! —Debbie Murray, Fort Worth, Texas

Quick Cream of Mushroom Soup

My daughter-in-law, a gourmet cook, served this soup as the first course for a holiday dinner. She received the recipe from her mom and graciously shared it with me. Now I'm happy to share it with my own friends and family. —Anne Kulick, Phillipsburg, New Jersey

Blue Plate Open-Faced Turkey Sandwich

Turkey with gravy makes divine comfort food that reminds me of old-time diners on the East Coast. Happily, my gravy is not from a can. —Chris Schwester, Divide, Colorado

Irresistible Coconut Cream Pie

My husband and I grow 500 acres of wheat on the farm his family homesteaded in 1889. I grind my own flour and love to use it in this recipe. The easy, pat-in crust has a rich grain flavor. It’s irresistible topped with old-fashioned coconut cream and a fluffy meringue. —Roberta Foster, Kingfisher, Oklahoma

Strawberry Creme Crepes

I always feel like a French chef when I serve these pretty crepes. Although they take a little time to prepare, they're well worth the effort. My guests are always impressed. —Debra Latta, Port Matilda, Pennsylvania

Toasted Reubens

New Yorkers say my Reubens taste like those served in the famous delis there. For a little less kick, you can leave out the horseradish. —Patricia Kile, Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania

Zippy Breaded Pork Chops

Need a perky update for baked breaded pork chops? These chops with ranch dressing and a light breading will bring a delightful zing to your dinner table. —Ann Ingalls, Gladstone, Missouri

Thin Mint Milk Shake

Save a sleeve of Girl Scout cookies for this creamy milkshake that's fun for kids and adults, too. —Shauna Sever of The Next Door Baker, San Francisco, California

Tomato and Green Pepper Omelet

Fresh green pepper, onion and tomato give this savory omelet garden-fresh flavors. You can easily vary it based on the fresh ingredients you have on hand. —Agnes Ward, Stratford, Ontario

Swiss Cobb Salad

Topped with ham, roast beef, bacon and other fixings, this hearty salad has an excellent blend of flavors. A from-scratch vinaigrette adds the refreshing final touch. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

Buffalo Chicken Wraps

Blue cheese dressing and hot pepper sauce enhance these yummy tortilla wraps. Filled with chicken, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes, they're colorful, fun to eat...and tote-able, too! —Athena Russell, Florence, South Carolina

Blue-Ribbon Apple Pie

This pie is special to me because I won a blue ribbon for it at the local fair and was able to compete at the state farm show. —Collette Gaugler, Fogelsville, Pennsylvania

New Mexico Green Chili Breakfast Burritos

Back when I lived in the Southwest, we wrapped everything up in a tortilla. Breakfast burritos in every possible combination are very popular in New Mexico. —Angela Spengler, Tampa, Florida

Fruit Cup with Citrus Sauce

This fruit salad is so elegant that I serve it in my prettiest crystal bowls. With its dressed-up flavor, it's perfect for a special event, but easy enough for every day. —Edna Lee, Greeley, Colorado

Best Spaghetti and Meatballs

One evening, we had unexpected company. Since I had some of these meatballs left over in the freezer, I warmed them up as appetizers. Everyone raved! This classic recipe makes a big batch and is perfect for entertaining. —Mary Lou Koskella, Prescott, Arizona

Silky Chocolate Pie

Chocolate makes the world go round! We have a family that just loves chocolate pies, and this version with a splash of brandy is smooth as silk and oh-so-special. —Kathy Hewitt, Cranston, Rhode Island

True Belgian Waffles

It was on a visit to my husband's relatives in Europe that I was given this Belgian waffle recipe. Back in the U.S., I served the waffles to his Belgian-born grandmother. She said they tasted just like home. Our grandkids love these homemade waffles with any kind of topping: blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, fried apples, powdered sugar or whipped topping. —Rose Delemeester, St. Charles, Michigan

Cara's Crunchy Chicken Strips

Crushed croutons—buy ’em or make ’em—are the crunchy secret to these easy-bake nuggets of chicken. —Cara Winterhoff, Tempe, Arizona

Eggs Benedict with Homemade Hollandaise

Legend has it that poached eggs on an English muffin started at Delmonico’s in New York. Here’s my take on this brunch classic, and don’t spare the hollandaise. —Barbara Pletzke, Herndon, Virginia

Best Ever Mac & Cheese

To make this amazing mac, I make a sauce loaded with three different cheeses to toss with the noodles. When baked, it's ooey, gooey and cheesy good. And don't get me started on the crunchy topping! —Beth Jacobson, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Makeover Nutty Monkey Malts

Get all the flavor of a classic diner milkshake with only a fraction of the calories and fat. Flavored with peanut butter and bananas, this is one drink the kids will go crazy for! —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

Sunday Pot Roast

With the help of a slow cooker, you can prepare a down-home dinner any day of the week, not just on Sundays. The roast turns out tender and savory every time. —Brandy Schaefer, Glen Carbon, Illinois

Very Vanilla French Toast

These French toast slices have creamy vanilla flavor from convenient pudding mix, plus a hint of cinnamon. We like to top them with syrup or powdered sugar and fresh berries. —Linda Bernhagen, Plainfield, Illinois

30-Minute Chicken Noodle Soup

This great soup is perfect for a cold, wintry day. It is my favorite thing to eat when I'm not feeling well; it makes me feel so much better. —Lacy Waadt, Payson, Utah

Banana Cream Pie

Made from our farm-fresh dairy products, this pie was a sensational creamy treat anytime that Mom served it. Her recipe is a real treasure, and I've never found one that tastes better! -Bernice Morris, Marshfield, Missouri

Country Brunch Skillet

Using frozen hash browns and packaged shredded cheese shaves minutes off the prep time of this skillet egg dish, making it an appealing meal you can put together quickly. —Elvira Brunnquell, Port Washington, Wisconsin

Bacon & Swiss Chicken Sandwiches

I created this sandwich based on one my daughter ordered at a restaurant. She likes to dip her sandwich in the extra honey-mustard sauce. —Marilyn Moberg, Papillion, Nebraska

Chipotle Turkey Club Sandwich

We’re crazy for BLTs. A nearby roadside stand carries gorgeous tomatoes every summer. We load up, then stuff our sandwiches with the usual suspects, plus smoked turkey and cheese. —Pamela Shank, Parkersburg, West Virginia

Burger Joint Onion Rings

These onion rings cook to a crisp, golden brown. This is one of those foods you never tire of and a great side dish to so many meals. —Betsy King, Duluth, Minnesota

Diner Corned Beef Hash

I created my hash to taste like a dish from a Northern Arizona restaurant we always loved. We round it out with eggs and toast made from homemade bread. —Denise Chelpka, Phoenix, Arizona

Blackened Pork Caesar Salad

When I cook, the goal is to have enough leftovers for lunch the next day. This Caesar with pork has fantastic flavor even when the meat is chilled. —Penny Hedges, Dewdney, British Columbia

Quick Pork Chili

A dear neighbor gave me a pot of this delicious chili, and I asked for the recipe. The pork sausage is a nice change from the ground beef many chili recipes call for. —Janice Westmoreland, Brooksville, Florida

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