10 Cheesecake Factory Hacks Your Taste Buds Will Thank You For

Given that The Cheesecake Factory already has over 250 menu items on it, you might wonder what else anyone could want. There's undoubtedly something on the extensive menu that should suit everyone's tastes, but that hasn't stopped Cheesecake Factory fans from dissecting the menu, getting creative, and seeing just how far they can push their meal customizations.

What you might not know is that a team of cooks and chefs prepare nearly every single item on the menu from scratch, every day, in every single restaurant across the country. Nothing on the menu comes out of a bag frozen, pre-cooked, or pre-assembled. Even the egg rolls and fried macaroni and cheese balls are individually made by hand. It's because of the menu's considerable size and the restaurant's complete control over the food production process, that the kitchen at The Cheesecake Factory is uniquely able to adapt its dishes based on special requests. Here are some of the most irresistible menu hacks you'll want to try for yourself. Just keep in mind that since these are unofficial items, the choice to make these modifications is at the discretion of The Cheesecake Factory staff. 

Order the crusted chicken Romano, parm style

Cheesecake Factory employees know the ins and outs of every single dish on the menu, so who better to turn to when you want to indulge in an off-menu dish that the staff has probably perfected behind the scenes? TikTok creator @thegoldenjew points out that there isn't specifically a classic chicken parmesan dish on the menu. Instead, you'll find a chicken parmesan sandwich, chicken parmesan "pizza style," and the Crusted Chicken Romano. While he says that all of these dishes are phenomenal as they are, if you're only in the mood for a traditional chicken parmesan, you'll have to place a special order. 

First, you'll ask for the Crusted Chicken Romano, and tell your server you'd like it "parm style." If they know what you're asking for, you're all set, but if not, you'll need to specify how you'd like to customize the dish. Ask for mozzarella cheese to be melted on top of the crusted chicken instead of (or in addition to) grated parmesan cheese. Then, you'll ask to swap the creamy marinara sauce with regular marinara sauce for the spaghetti. 

Upgrade your Caesar salad with Louisiana-style chicken

The Louisiana Chicken Caesar Salad (essentially a crispy chicken Caesar salad) started as a viral menu hack on TikTok and ended up making it all the way to The Cheesecake Factory menu for a limited time back in early 2022. The Caesar salad currently on the menu already suggests adding a protein, including grilled chicken, grilled shrimp, salmon, or chargrilled steak. Order the salad with the addition of chicken, then ask to swap in the spiced, breaded, and fried chicken that comes on the Louisiana chicken pasta instead. Taking it one step further, the original viral video suggests adding caramelized onions to top it all off.

While the salad isn't officially on the menu anymore, you can still order it and see what all the fuss is about. The chain is known for its customizable salads, making them a great base for nearly anything you're in the mood for. But it's rare for a Cheesecake Factory item no longer on the menu to ever officially return — so the Louisiana Chicken Caesar Salad will probably remain an off-menu favorite for now.

Indulge in a White Four Cheese Cajun Pasta

It's not hard to see why people like The Cheesecake Factory's Four Cheese Pasta. Mozzarella, ricotta, parmesan, and romano cheeses are all present, served with marinara sauce and fresh basil over penne pasta. Even the pickiest eaters can enjoy it. But maybe that's not enough cheese for you (no judgment), and you'd like to take the creaminess up a notch.

Ask to substitute alfredo sauce for the marinara sauce, then add cajun seasoning to build some heat (which is typically used on dishes like the Cajun Jambalaya Pasta) and to help cut through all that dairy. Like many of the other dishes on the menu, you have the option to add a protein, and either shrimp or chicken are ideal additions to this secret menu hack.

Maybe the idea of adding some spice to your alfredo appeals to you, but the prospect of such a heavy dish keeps you from ordering the White Four Cheese Cajun Pasta. Instead, consider sticking with the fettuccini alfredo that's already on the menu and ask to add cajun seasoning to it. If you want just a little extra cheese, ask to add some ricotta to the dish to boost the creaminess just a little more. The fettuccini alfredo is also available with additional protein options, so you won't miss out on anything but the extra cheese.

Turn your fresh grilled salmon dish into a salmon piccata

A video on TikTok by @yourcheesecakebestie shows a secret "lemon sauce salmon" that's not listed on the menu. The dish includes a piece of grilled salmon, seasoned with herbs, laid over The Cheesecake Factory's famous mashed potatoes. It's served with a side of broccoli, and topped with a sauce that looks to have sauteed mushrooms and capers in it, before getting finished with fresh lemon slices.

While no other information is given, we put our keen menu detective skills to work to figure out which dishes were combined to create this secret menu hack. There is a herb-crusted fillet of salmon on the menu that comes with a lemon sauce and mashed potatoes, but it's got far more herbs on it than the one in the original TikTok video, and is served with a side of asparagus. The fresh grilled salmon dish has everything the salmon in the video has, minus the mushroom and caper lemon sauce. So we pulled up the specialties section of the menu and knew at first glance that the lemon sauce with mushrooms and capers used for the Chicken piccata is what is used to top off the Fresh grilled salmon dish for this secret menu hack.

Your server may or may not know what you're talking about if you order a "salmon piccata," so you may need to specify that you'd like to add the chicken piccata sauce and toppings to your salmon dish.

Make a cheesecake hot fudge sundae

While it's not possible to change the actual slice of cheesecake (since it's already baked), you can absolutely customize the toppings for it. Most slices of cheesecake come with one or two large swirls of fresh whipped cream, and sometimes a sauce, fresh fruit, sprig of mint, cookie, or another garnish to compliment the cheesecake itself. So if you're in the mood for a chocolate mousse cheesecake, for example, but want some berries to go with it, just ask for them.

But maybe you're in the mood to go even bigger for dessert. In that case, The Cheesecake Factory has the makings for hot fudge sundaes on hand, which you can order as additions to your slice of cheesecake. Whether that means adding on a single scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce, or going all-out with a scoop of ice cream, a generous pour of hot fudge, toasted almonds, and a cherry on top — they've got you covered.

Other options include more or less whipped cream, chocolate, raspberry, caramel, and marshmallow sauces, freshly sliced strawberries and bananas, mixed berries in macerated berry juice, glazed strawberries, graham crackers, and Oreo pieces. There's a good chance there will be an additional cost for the additional ingredients, but you can be sure you're getting your money's worth for the portion size. It's entirely up to you whether or not you share.

Assemble your own Buffalo chicken mac and cheese

In 2020, TikTok user @how.kev.eats shared the brilliant idea of making your own off-menu buffalo macaroni and cheese with one of the dishes on the menu. They created the hack with the Chicken Littles dish, which is essentially chicken tenders, tossed with cajun spice and served with a side of mashed potatoes and corn. He substituted macaroni and cheese for the mashed potatoes, added the cajun chicken to the macaroni once it was delivered to the table, and topped it all with the restaurant's popular house buffalo sauce. You could still opt to go that route, but we think there's an even better way to make the perfect off-menu buffalo chicken mac and cheese with existing menu items at The Cheesecake Factory.

Order the Buffalo chicken strips appetizer and substitute buffalo sauce for the blue cheese dressing (or get both, no judgment). Also order a side dish of macaroni & cheese. When the food arrives, break the buffalo chicken strips down into bite-sized pieces, and mix them into the macaroni and as much Buffalo sauce as you can handle.

Order sauces for dipping your brown bread

This one makes so much sense that we're not sure why we didn't think of it ourselves. The bread basket at The Cheesecake Factory comes with two types of bread and a dish of butter. We kept seeing people posting videos of dipping Cheesecake Factory's wildly popular brown bread eaten with various dipping sauces, in effect turning the bread basket into its own little appetizer course. Whether you're a diehard brown bread fan, or love all loaves equally, ordering a dipping sauce is definitely the way to go.

Given that there are over 120 sauces, all made fresh in each restaurant, there's probably an option for whatever you're in the mood for. But of course, plenty of Cheesecake Factory fans have weighed in with their favorite bread dipping sauce picks. Carlye Wisel, theme park journalist and host of the Very Amusing podcast, swears by barbecue ranch dressing with her brown bread. TikTok creator @yourcheesecakebestie likes the creamy ranch or peanut dressings with their sourdough bread and garlic butter, olive oil and vinegar, or simple jelly and butter with brown bread. And @ambersentient opts for the balsamic dressing with their bread basket.

Cool off with a boozy peach tea cocktail

The drink components of the Georgia Peach aren't poured from a premade mix or left churning away all day in a frozen drink machine. Instead, the bartender expertly pours each cocktail ingredient into a high-powered blender, and creates the perfectly-portioned drink to order.

We asked the bartending team if they were prepared and willing to make any drink that guests threw at them, even if it wasn't on the menu. Assuming the ingredients and liquors are on hand, they agreed that they'd do their best to deliver, which got us thinking about making our own secret menu drink, based on what's on the current menu.

Using the Georgia peach as inspiration, we think a boozy peach tea would be a fun spin-off. The menu already has a spiked lemonade cocktail — the J.W.'s Pink Lemonade. What we're suggesting is swapping the lemonade out for iced tea, and substituting the peach liqueur used in the Georgia peach in place of the black raspberry liqueur. We'd keep the Absolut Citron, for a nice lemony kick to our peach tea cocktail, and maybe finish it with a sprig of mint or lemon wedge.

‌Lighten up your tacos with butter lettuce wraps instead of corn tortillas

 On the  Cheesecake Factory menu you'll find multiple options for tacos, and while the portions are generous, the calorie counts can be surprisingly high. But there are still plenty of easy ways to eat a little lighter and enjoy a full meal at The Cheesecake Factory at the same time, beginning with the widely-liked Skinnylicious menu, which offers dishes that are all 590 calories or less.

That's where we first noticed the Asian chicken lettuce wrap tacos. There are also chicken and shrimp tacos on the Skinnylicious menu made with soft corn tortillas instead of lettuce wraps. But maybe you'd really rather have the Baja chicken tacos that are on the regular menu, just with slightly fewer calories. The tacos are typically served on soft corn tortillas, which can potentially add 150 calories or more. In comparison, butter lettuce hardly even registers any calories, once you expend the energy to eat it, which inspired us to order our tacos with the leafy green wraps instead. If it saves us a few hundred calories during our meal, we'll gladly spend them on ordering another specialty beverage or slice of cheesecake later.

Swap in brown bread for your sandwich

If the single serving of brown bread in the basket at the beginning of your meal just isn't enough to keep you satisfied, this is how to get even more of those precious carbs with your meal. Right off the bat, when your server offers to bring bread, ask to skip the plain baguette and have two portions of brown bread instead. This will cut down on the number of times your server will need to run to the bread station for refills, and instantly double the quantity of the good stuff at the table. Everyone wins. Still can't get enough? Order one of the hearty sandwiches that the restaurant offers, and substitute brown bread for whatever bread it normally comes with. It's such a regular request that the restaurant also makes brown bread sandwich loaves, just for this purpose.

Finally, if you find the limit does not exist when it comes to your affinity for this bread, but dining at The Cheesecake Factory every day isn't an option, you can just buy it from your closest major grocery store. It comes in three different shapes: mini baguettes, a sandwich loaf, and dinner rolls.