Admit it — you love a good cheeseburger. Or a steaming cinnamon bun drizzled in frosting. Or a miniature breakfast sandwich. Or all three. But maybe you feel a little shy about walking into a McDonald's or a Burger King or a Denny's because the market today is flooded with so many sustainably harvested, seasonal, macrobiotic food options, and everyone's on board with the trend. Or maybe you don't feel that way, but the craving for something stacked, juicy, and, chances are, overwhelmingly cheesy, strikes at the most inconvenient of times — say, when you're in your pajamas cuddled up on the couch and about to turn in for the evening. Suddenly, fast food doesn't seem so fast.
Whichever camp you belong to, we have the answer. To sate your appetite, we spoke with the experts — some of the major fast-food chains as well as those who are replicating (and occasionally putting a twist on) their recipes — about how to interpret the meals that have worked their way into our country's collective subconscious. Maybe you'll tweak one of these recipes to be a bit healthier, maybe you'll go the other way and decide to add your own creamy dressing as a topping, or maybe you'll stick with the tried-and-true original. After all, it's a proven recipe for success. Just ask your taste buds.
This article was originally published August 31, 2012.