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

The recipe for KFC chicken used to be a closely guarded secret. However, a former KFC employee recently leaked the alleged "11 secret herbs and spices" to the world - and after extensive testing, 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 cupboard already.)

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:


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


  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.
  3. 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 flavour-enhancer.

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[Via Business Insider]

This story has been updated since its original publication.


    Coat your chicken twice. Egg it, coat it, egg it then coat it again. It makes for a far richer, far crisper coating.

      He's gone insane!!
      Man was never meant to play God!!

    In practice, as I understand it, when actually tested in a laboratory the only 'spices' identifiable in KFC are salt and MSG.

    In fact, KFC doesn't even emphasise the "11 herbs and spices" claim anymore and hasn't for years.

    Material referring to 11 herbs and spices is typically very cagey in the language used. For example "Sanders spent the next nine years ... perfecting his secret blend of 11 herbs and spices, as well as the basic cooking technique we still use today." Which implies that the spices are still used today, although if you read the sentence closely it's actually only saying that the 'basic' cooking techniques are still used today (ie, throw the chicken in a fryer).

    Of course, it is well known that the ORIGINAL recipe had a great many more spices than what's in the product you can actually buy today.

    Last edited 20/01/18 8:22 pm

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

    Aaaaand there it is...

      MSG itself is fine. It cannot harm you. MSG is just sodium and glutamate. Lots of foods you eat have it in it naturally.

      All the stuff people say is hysteria. There have been several scientific studies of it and not a single one have found any harms caused by it.

        Good luck with that Djbear.
        Add in the insanely successful marketing terms: organic, all natural, gluten free and the over the top fear mongering of non-gmo and the like.
        Rationality was lost years ago.

        Last edited 21/01/18 12:53 am

      The only herb and / or spice that matters.

        Lies. All you need is chicken salt

    "The good news is, you probably have most of the ingredients in your cupboard already

    Salt + Pepper does not add up to 11.

      Salt and 2 different types of pepper? Oh and celery salt (wtf is that?) too so umm 4 different types plus msg = close enough.

    So the ashes of the Colonel himself was just a urban legend then?

    Those may be the herbs and spices but the recipe is wrong. They don't use milk and egg, they use a brine to stick the breading to the chicken. Then it is pressure fried, not deep fried.

      Brine? Nah mate, tap water. Dip the chicken in water then in the flour which has a pack of milk and egg mix and a pack of "seasoning" then yes, pressure fried

    This story comes out annually.
    If this were the actual recipe, wouldn't the guy be sued into oblivion?

      Hard to sue the anonymous

      you can't copyright recipes

        You can't copyright the listings of ingredients. You can copyright *how* the recipe is written technically, i.e. if its written in a book, the jargon it's written with etc. It's very sketchy.


      You cannot copyright a combination of publically avalible food products.

      If the person was however selling the recipe and claiming it was KFC chicken they could be sued.

      You cant sue people for combining food products.

    Well ya learn something new every day. I guess it makes sense though.

    Whoops, this was meant to be a reply to twelvedogs up there.

    Last edited 21/01/18 1:21 pm

    One tip, cook the chicken first, then batter and fry otherwise you you'll end up burning the coating and potentially undercooked chicken.

      You need to turn your oil heat down if you're doing that

      That's actually not a good idea. If you do that first, the batter won't stick to the outer layer of the chicken very well. All you need to do is fry the chicken on a setting that isn't 'hotter than hades'.

        See, all I'm getting from that is with the weather these days I can just leave it in a pot of oil outside and the local temperature of "not quite hades, close though" will generate KFC chicken for me. Score!

        On another note, sir... You've got my vote when the 'Cooking with Weresmurf' channel launches.

          Dude dont leave a pot outside in Australian weather lately... are you MAD???

            The sickly, muggy heat of an Australian cloudy summer day will make food rot faster than it can fry, even if you're helping with an actual pressure fryer on a stove!

    The real question is, why would you want to make it taste like KFC - its gross.
    I'm not a big fan of fried chicken (i usually peel all the batter and skin off and just eat the meat), but even as far as fried chicken goes KFC is nasty compared to other franchises like Popeye's

    Last edited 22/01/18 11:14 am

      Actually, the real question is, why even order fried chicken if you're just gonna peel the batter and skin off...?

        Funny thing that, there's this thing called sharing a meal...

          Whoever you're sharing a meal with obviously does not care that you don't like fried chicken...

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