KFC secret recipe: Uproar after additive in fried chicken seasoning is exposed

Has KFC’s secret and highly-guarded original chicken recipe finally been revealed?

The secret Original Recipe has been classified more highly than most state secrets since the 1940s and is the underpinning of the fast food chain’s success.

But in 2016, the Chicago Tribune published what one relative of KFC Colonel Harland Sanders believes is the recipe, which has been safely tucked away in a family scrapbook for years.

The blend of 11 herbs and spices is kept in a vault, says the company, and no one – except the company, of course – knows what it is. 

In fact, Sanders came up with the idea to have two different companies make part of the recipe, so no one company would ever have the entire thing.

But Joe Ledington, a nephew of the colonel by marriage, has a scrapbook that was once owned by Claudia Sanders, second wife of the colonel. And inside that scrapbook might be the chicken world’s biggest secret.

One of Colonel Sanders’ distant relatives by marriage, Joe Ledington, thinks he may have found the original finger lickin’ recipe for KFC chicken, hidden inside of a family scrapbook

Above, a commemorative representation of the 11 secret herbs and spices Colonel Harland Sanders made famous in his recipe for Kentucky Fried Chicken

Above, a commemorative representation of the 11 secret herbs and spices Colonel Harland Sanders made famous in his recipe for Kentucky Fried Chicken

Inside the scrapbook is a handwritten recipe stuck inside of an envelope that also contained Claudia’s will. Claudia passed away in 1997.

Ledington said he has had the scrapbook for about four years, as it was passed down through family members.

Does he think it’s the real Original Recipe?

‘Yeah, I do,’ he told the outlet. ‘I don’t want to get in an argument with [parent company] Yum! Brands about it but … I’m pretty sure that it’s pretty close to the original.’

The Tribune decided to put the recipe to the rest, whipping it up as written, and then comparing it to a batch of fresh KFC bought at a local restaurant.

After several tries that went awry, the test cooks finally came up with a batch, using the same ingredients but also sprinkling on some MSG flavor-enhancer Accent, that the outlet said tasted ‘indistinguishable’ from that bought at the fast food joint.  

Yum! Brands, however, is squawking that it’s not the recipe at all: ‘Lots of people through the years have claimed to discover or figure out the secret recipe, but no one’s ever been right,’ the company said, somewhat coyly.

Could it mean until now? Try it for yourself:

Prep: 30 minutes

Soak: 20-30 minutes

Cook: 15-18 minutes

Makes: 4 servings

2 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 tablespoon salt

1/2 tablespoon dried thyme leaves

1/2 tablespoon dried basil leaves

1/3 tablespoon dried oregano leaves

1 tablespoon celery salt

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon dried mustard

4 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons garlic salt

1 tablespoon ground ginger

3 tablespoons ground white pepper

1 cup buttermilk

1 egg, beaten

1 chicken, cut up, the breast pieces cut in half for more even frying

Expeller-pressed canola oil

1 Mix the flour in a bowl with all the herbs and spices; set aside.

2 Mix the buttermilk and egg together in a separate bowl until combined. Soak the chicken in the buttermilk mixture at room temperature, 20-30 minutes.

3 Remove chicken from the buttermilk, allowing excess to drip off. Dip the chicken pieces in the herb-spice-flour mixture to coat all sides, shaking off excess. Allow to sit on a rack over a baking sheet, 20 minutes.

4 Meanwhile, heat about 3 inches of the oil in a large Dutch oven (or similar heavy pot with high sides) over medium-high heat to 350 degrees. (Use a deep-frying thermometer to check the temperature.) When temperature is reached, lower the heat to medium to maintain it at 350. Fry 3 or 4 pieces at a time, being careful not to crowd the pot. Fry until medium golden brown, turning once, 15-18 minutes. Transfer chicken pieces to a baking sheet covered with paper towels. Allow the oil to return to temperature before adding more chicken. Repeat with remaining chicken.

– The Chicago Tribune



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