How To Make Real KFC Chicken (With All 11 ‘Secret’ Herbs And Spices)

How To Make Real KFC Chicken (With All 11 ‘Secret’ Herbs And Spices)
Image: Getty

It’s hard to keep a closely guarded recipe a secret these days. Luckily for us fried chicken obsessed foodies, a former KFC employee leaked the alleged “11 secret herbs and spices” to the world. After extensive testing, we can safely say the recipe checks out.

This video shows you how to make bona fide KFC chicken at home. The good news is, you probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry already.

KFC Original Fried Chicken Recipe

Joe Ledington is the nephew of KFC founder Colonel Sanders. As a kid, it was his job to mix the “secret recipe” of herbs and spices in large batches. Last year, Ledington shared the recipe with a reporter from The Chicago Tribune. To put Ledington’s claims to the test, the outlet conducted a cooking experiment and concluded that the final product tasted “indistinguishable” from chicken purchased from KFC.

You can watch a step-by-step guide in the video above, courtesy of Business Insider. Here’s the purported recipe in full including those, count them, 11 secret KFC herbs and spices:


  • Chicken parts of your choice
  • Celery salt
  • Dried Mustard
  • White pepper
  • Garlic salt
  • Paprika
  • Ground ginger
  • Basil
  • Salt
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Black pepper

How to make KFC chicken:

  1. Prepare oil in a cast-iron pot to fry. In a bowl, mix 2 cups of flour, 1/3 tbsp of salt, 1 tbsp of black pepper, 1/2 tbsp of thyme, 1/2 tbsp of basil, 1/3 tbsp of oregano, 1 tbsp celery salt, 1 tbsp of dried mustard, 4 tbsp of paprika, 1 tbsp of garlic salt, 1 tbsp of ground ginger, and 1 tbsp of white pepper.
  2. In a separate bowl, add milk and an egg and beat. Mix your chicken into the bowl, and then coat the chicken in the flour & spice mix.
  1. Finally, fry the chicken in the pot for 10 to 15 minutes. Let it cool and then serve.

Note: To get the flavour just right, you might need to add a pinch of MSG flavor-enhancer.

So does this recipe compare to real KFC chicken fresh from the fast-food joint? Try it and let us know.

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[Via Business Insider]

This story has been updated and retimed since its original publication.


  • Get me the recipe for “hot and spicy” and I will be impressed. The normal stuff is grease ladened crap, hot and spicy is lighter and tastes MUCH better.
    For fast food, anyway.

  • I have made this at home, and this recipe is incorrect.

    You need to leave the chicken in butter milk overnight, then put it in the flour mix

    comes out great, less greasy

  • That recipe has been doing the rounds for years, its as fake as Joe’s claim he is related the Sanders.

    • He’s apparently a nephew by marriage. Take that as related or not as you will, but it does allow him to be a part of the household as a kid, which is where the basis for his claim comes from.

      Whether you consider him related or not is secondary to whether he had access to the family recipe, and given his age, the rabid nature of the secrecy over it wouldnt have been as tight when he was the age he claims when he was mixing it.

      Personally, I have zero opinion either way. Whether its the actual recipe or not, its apparently pretty close, which for most people is good enough.

  • Wheres the preservatives, and the number and letter flavourings??? i smell bullshite

    • They didn’t have that shit back when it started, no reason to add it now.

      Why do you need preservatives in a spice mix?

      • Oh course they did.

        Anti-caking agents and suphites are as old as the hills. Why? They stop your spice mix turning into a block of concrete on a humid day and they stop mould growing inside of 24 hours.

  • Not sure why anyone would want to recreate it as its pretty awful, but even if this is the correct recipe it wouldn’t be pressure cooked if fried in a pan, so not the same.

  • Incorrect, we have a daughter who is a KFC assistant manager, she has the current recipe and has been greatly improved by my wife, first, remove the slimy, disgusting skin, it prevents the herbs and spices from being drawn into the chicken meat.
    Disagree if you please, you’re the loser, not me!

    • Store staff dont mix the recipe in-store, its out of a packet. No reason store staff would be in posession of the recipe.

  • Really guys ..??

    If you’re going to attempt to “copy” my recipe … at least get it right!

    1/3 tbsp of salt <– 2/3 tbsp not 1/3
    1 tbsp of garlic salt <– 2 tbsp not 1
    1 tbsp of white pepper <– 3 tbsp not 1

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