Corporate Guano Thinking —  For many years, scientists have attempted to discover the authentic Colonel Sanders ‘ ingredients  but without success. Some formula books have nearly devised similar tasting fried chicken, but there is only one on the market which has CLOSELY cracked the KFC technique. Everybody loved it.

Keeping things secret is nothing but more corporate bullsh*t than anything else…  Who cares, I don't,  because even when they do everything wrong, their places were filthy,  greasy dirty, untrained help, lousy health records with the kitchen police… people went there for the flavor of the chicken and rubber sneakers stuck to the floor from the aerated grease.

This is the closest and it came from Australia, I believe.  If you spent the time to read my comments on four visits to four different KFC stores, you will understand my disdain for this chicken franchise and I coined the phrase “ Who killed the frickin Chicken”.

The grease and filth, poor quality overstayed food which should have been dumped hours ago.  Still in the hot tables kept way too long, and served to the public and some of the stupidest help I have ever encountered worse than Mickey Dee.

History  —  A copy of the recipe, signed by Sanders, is held inside a safe inside a vault in KFC's Louisville headquarters, along with eleven vials containing the herbs and spices. To maintain the secrecy of the recipe, half of it is produced by Griffith Laboratories before it is given to McCormick, who add the second half.

In 1983, William Poundstone conducted laboratory research into the coating mix, as described in his book Big Secrets, and claimed that a sample he examined contained only flour, salt, monosodium glutamate and black pepper.

KFC maintains that it still adheres to Sanders' original 1940 recipe. In Todd Wilbur's television program Top Secret Recipe, the Colonel's former secretary, Shirley Topmiller, revealed that Sanders learned from his mother that sage and savory are good seasonings for chicken. Also, Winston Shelton, a former friend of the Colonel, said that the secret recipe contains Thalassery black pepper.

Screen Shot 2021-08-12 at 4.40.22 PM

Legal Schmegal Pounding Salt  —  It is well attested that Harland Sanders asked Bill Summers of Marion-Kay Spices in Brownstown, Indiana, US to recreate his secret blend of 11 herbs and spices.  While alive, Sanders recommended the Marion-Kay seasoning to franchisees over the corporate version, as he believed the latter had been made inferior by its owners. 

In 1982, after Sanders' death, KFC brought a lawsuit against Marion-Kay and the latter was barred from selling its mixture to KFC franchises. The Marion-Kay seasoning is still sold under the name "99-X," and according to Sanders biographer Josh Ozersky, it is indistinguishable from the original KFC recipe. It works and no prepping and mixing needed. and is available from them.

Screen Shot 2022-02-03 at 6.35.04 AM
Screen Shot 2021-08-12 at 4.40.22 PM

Joe Ledington  —  In August 2016, the Chicago Tribune reported that Joe Ledington of Kentucky, a nephew by marriage of Colonel Sanders, had claimed to have found a copy of the original KFC fried chicken recipe on a handwritten piece of paper in an envelope in a scrapbook. Tribune staffers conducted a cooking test of this recipe, which took several attempts to get right.

They had to determine whether the “ s" meant tablespoons or teaspoons, and soon concluded the correct interpretation was tablespoons.   After some trial and error, they decided the chicken should be soaked in buttermilk and coated once in the breading mixture, then fried in oil at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until golden brown. They claimed that with the addition of MSG as a flavor enhancer, they could produce fried chicken which tasted “ Indistinguishable” from fried chicken they had purchased at KFC.

— The Recipe Credited / Found By Joe Ledington 11 Spices —

Plan A —

  • Mix With 2 Cups White Flour Called “ Lite Flour”  - Key ingredient — Wondra
  • 2/3 Ts Salt
  • 1/2 Ts Thyme
  • 1/2 Ts Basil
  • 1/3 Ts Oregano
  • 1 Ts Celery salt
  • 1 Ts Black pepper
  • 1 Ts Dried mustard
  • 4 Ts Paprika
  • 2 Ts Garlic salt
  • 1 Ts Ground ginger
  • 3 Ts White pepper

Plan B —  Here Is The Backup  Recipe

  • 2 eggs, beaten well
  • 1 1/2 cups milk, regular
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup fine bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp. Knorr chicken bouillon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder (not salt)
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder (not salt)
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/8 tsp. ground sage
  • 1 tbsp. chopped parsley
  • 2 large cloves garlic, bashed
  • 1/2 tsp. soy sauce - Kikkoman
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. Wondra flour or arrowroot.

You will also need, additional flour for separate pre-coating, 5-6 cups non-hydrogenated Crisco or peanut oil, and obviously frying chicken, cut in pieces. 

Do it the KFC way and get a handle on using a pressure cooker, cooks in minutes ! ! ! Pour the oil into the pressure fryer or deep pan suitable for frying, read INSTRUCTIONS for amounts and then heat over medium heat to about 360°F. or adjust dial. 

I do mine in my electric WOK sometimes.In a small bowl beat the egg, milk, and soy sauce, then stir in 1/2 tsp. Knorr chicken bouillon (save the other 1/2). Put the garlic cloves through a garlic press and add into the egg mixture. Add half of the parsley and 1 tablespoon Wondra all-purpose flour. Stir well.

In a separate bowl, combine the 1 cup flour and the bread crumbs, and the remaining ingredients. Mix well with a fork.  The Wondra flour is important, as it’s lighter and cooks faster than regular flour.  Put about 1/2 cup additional flour in a separate small bowl and use this to dip each chicken piece, prior to dipping in the milk and seasonings.Roll each piece of chicken around until well covered, first in plain flour, then in milk mixture, then in flour/bread crumbs mixture.  Gently lower the chicken pieces into the hot oil and allow to become a golden color.

Screen Shot 2021-08-12 at 4.40.22 PM

PLAN C  —  The Third Version  

The recipe, as written in the notebook and transcribed in the Chicago Tribune, seemed so simple:

11 Spices — Mix With 2 Cups White Flower  ( Arrowroot)  or WONDRA
1) 2/3 Ts Salt

6) 1 Ts Black Pepper
7) 1 Ts Dried Mustard
8) 4 Ts Paprika
9) 2 Ts Garlic Salt
10) 1 Ts Ground Ginger
11) 3 Ts White Pepper
12)  Buttermilk or Brine

NOTE:   It was obviously no ordinary flour they were mixed with. This was much finer and lighter.  Thus arrowroot or superfine Wondra flour and fried chicken loves a bath in buttermilk or brine prior to it’s breading.  Buttermilk*  gives the best results. Make sure larger flakes of dried thyme, oregano and basil should spend a few seconds in a food processor.  I use a small coffee grinder which is much finer on all herbs. I have two, the other sticks with coffee. You can use a mortar and pestle if you are a professional gourmet herbologist and seek authenticity above the average mortal  —  

Bang :  We Deleted The KFC Use Of Msg In Their Current Chicken Recipe.  The final missing piece, the other great secret to Kentucky Fried Chicken’s succulent deliciousness, is their use of a glorious piece of equipment called a pressure fryer.   A cross between a pressure cooker and deep fryer, it fries the chicken under pressure, speeding up the cooking process and yielding much juicier results because the super heated moisture cannot escape.  It only needs about a 1/4 oil as the pressure does the fluidity and work.  It s basically a pressure cooker filled with small amounts of oil.   You can manage a pressure cooker using minimum amounts of oil according to instructions.

Here’s Another Hint  —    If you love Buffalo or Hotter (and there are thousands of deadly combos) wings or tenderloin chunks but find most of the coverings like the most popular hot sauces like FRANKS a bit too much,  we found using Buttermilk mixed with Franks and tossed in a container calms the process down a hair and give the wings an even greater flavor.   Milk is the secret blend when one stupidly thought a Habanero was a small tomato.  It might save your throat and larynx.  Buttermilk is great too mixed with Frank Dedicated Wing Sauce.

Preparation  —  

Do it the KFC way and get a pressure cooker, cooks in minutes ! 
Pour the oil small amount into the pressure fryer cooker
In a small bowl beat the egg, milk, and soy sauce, then stir in 1/2 tsp. Knoor  chicken bouillon (save the other 1/2).
Put the garlic cloves through a garlic press and add into the egg mixture. 
Add half of the parsley and 1 tablespoon Wondra all-purpose flour. 
Stir well.In a separate bowl, combine the 1 cup flour and the bread crumbs, and the remaining ingredients. Mix well with a fork.
Put about 1/2 cup additional flour in a separate small bowl
Use this to dip each chicken piece, prior to dipping in the milk and seasonings.
Roll each piece of chicken around until well covered, first in plain flour, then in milk mixture, then in flour/bread crumbs mixture. 
Gently lower the chicken pieces into the oil and lock the top and allow to become a golden color. 15-20 minutes,

Screen Shot 2021-08-12 at 4.40.22 PM

PLAN D  —  Another Take On KFC For Chicken ( No Pressure Cooker)  —  I made this recipe three times with various adaptations. The recipe below tastes the closest to the original KFC recipe even though it was deep-fried not pressure-fried.  Salty, juicy, a hint of that herbal spice, the flavors are pretty close. The biggest difference is the texture:  KFC’s skin is softer while this version is much crispier and more delicate. Most taste testers said this is the closest to KFC. Some liked it better.

Wilbur’s recipe calls for tellicherry pepper, a fine black pepper known for its fruity notes from the Malabar region of India. I doubt the Colonel was using this, so I opted for regular black pepper. The recipe also calls for skim milk in the dredge, but I’m inclined to believe the Colonel prefers buttermilk, so that is what I used. I also marinated the chicken for an extra half-hour which resulted in a more flavorful bird. 

A bit of baking powder also makes the bird crisper, a tip I got from Niagara College chef-instructor Michael Olson. If you want that iconic salty, spicy umami bomb go to the Colonel. If you want a crispier version with a fresher herbal taste, make this at home.

For The Brine To Pre-Soak The Chicken  —  

1/3 cup  table salt
8 cups water
10-15 pieces of chicken (drumsticks, wings and breasts)

For The Dredge  —  
2 large eggs
2 cups (500 mL) buttermilk

For The Breading  —  
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

For The Seasoning  —  
1tbsp + 1tsp table salt
2 tsp granulated sugar
2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 ground savory
1/2 ground sage
1/2 ground marjoram
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 ground cayenne
Vegetable oil for frying

Process  —  

  • In a large bowl, whisk MSG and salt in water. 
  • Add chicken. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate cold  for 3 1/2 hours.  
  • Remove chicken from brine. Rinse with water and blot dry with paper towel.
  • In another bowl, whisk together eggs and buttermilk. Set aside.
  • In a large shallow bowl, combine all ingredients for breading. Set aside.  
  • Meanwhile, in a large pot over medium-high heat pour oil about 3-inches deep. 
  • Bring oil to 300F (150C).
  • Dip chicken into buttermilk mixture. Transfer to bowl of breading and toss until evenly coated.
  • Shake off any excess breading and let sit for five minutes before frying. 
  • Repeat with remaining chicken.
  • Fry chicken two to four pieces at a time, making sure chicken isn’t crowded in pot.
  • Adjust heat so oil stays at 300F. Cook chicken for 15 to 18 minutes or until skin is golden brown.