KFC Original Recipe Chicken (Copycat)

KFC Original Recipe Chicken decoded by a food reporter and republished with all 11 herbs and spices to make picture perfect KFC chicken at home! KFC Original Recipe Chicken decoded by a food reporter and republished with all 11 herbs and spices to make picture perfect KFC chicken at home!

KFC Original Recipe Chicken has been a huge part of my childhood. As a kid my aunt would walk me home from school and we would stop at the KFC that was a half a block from my school. We’d share chicken and a strawberry parfait they used to sell. Unlike the Pioneer Chicken that my mom used to buy, this food memory is one I can still enjoy anytime I wanted.

So why make a copycat recipe of it if you have one a mile down the road? Well, A: Copycat recipes are a ton of fun and B: Way, way, way, way higher quality. Have you been to a KFC in the last decade? I’ve only been a few times but was disappointed each time because the chicken pieces have shrunken… a lot. Also, and hey to each his own (I’m definitely guilty of my fair share of food sins), but KFC uses MSG in the recipe for its KFC Original Recipe Chicken. Oh, and last thing, as far as fast food goes, it tends to be pretty pricy.

So here we are all trying to decode the famous 11 herbs and spices. Everyone has theories, and according to KFC no one has EVER been right. So I have sort of watched the copycat rounds develop from a distance. Then something pretty awesome happened. KFC Original Recipe Chicken decoded by a food reporter and republished with all 11 herbs and spices to make picture perfect KFC chicken at home!

A food reporter for the Chicago Tribune visited the nephew of good old Colonel Sanders himself. He has memories of this recipe that he used to make by the bucket. And lo and behold he has a copy of the recipe in an old scrapbook. So of course the reporter snaps a picture and proceeds to bring it back to Chicago for some serious taste testing.

Now, as a huge KFC Original Recipe Chicken fan, I’m interested. They recipe test and with the single addition of MSG find that they’ve recreated that distinct amazing flavor. KFC Original Recipe Chicken decoded by a food reporter and republished with all 11 herbs and spices to make picture perfect KFC chicken at home!

So here it is, in all its glory. I did make a couple of adjustments in my side by side comparison during recipe testing.

  1. I ditched the MSG, if you want to add it back in, Accent Seasoning will do the trick and you can add ½ teaspoon for every pound of chicken used. It definitely seems to be the X factor here for that final kick of nostalgic flavor, so again if you want the 100% real deal, grab a canister and add away.
  2. I reduced the paprika by 1 tablespoon. The flavor seemed off to me, and in a comparison of color I found 3 tablespoons to be a better representation of the original. Want to stick to the recipe the Chicago Tribune uncovered? Use the full 4 tablespoons.
  3. Last change, but a really big one. If you were to buy some KFC Original Recipe Chicken and really inspect the breading of the chicken you will find dark specks. Yes, those specks are your herbs and spices, but guess what else they are? Uniform. Maybe to hide the recipe since shapes may give away ingredients. Maybe to prevent the overpowering flavor of biting into an entire piece of dried thyme. Either way, I pulverized the thyme, basil and oregano in my small food processor. Bingo, tiny specks. 😉
  4. I added more oil (truth: I used my deep fryer, but if you just add more oil, you’ll have a full deep fry in a larger stockpot) instead of the cast iron skillet fry that was done in the recipe as printed.

Thanks so much to the awesome folks at the Chicago Tribune for this KFC Original Recipe Chicken “copycat.” KFC Original Recipe Chicken decoded by a food reporter and republished with all 11 herbs and spices to make picture perfect KFC chicken at home!

Or perhaps you want more copycat recipes!

Tools Used In This Recipe:
Deep Fryer: Easy for keeping temperature on point and kind of fun to use!
Accent Seasoning: The x factor, this is MSG, so use at your discretion.
Pigtail Flipper: I LOVE this tool for frying. I am able to drop and pick up pieces without removing any breading at all thanks to this awesome tool.

Pin this recipe now to remember it later

Pin Recipe

KFC Original Recipe Chicken

KFC Original Recipe Chicken uncovered by a food reporter from Colonel Sander's nephew and republished with all 11 herbs and spices to make picture perfect KFC chicken at home!
Yield 4 servings
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder

Ingredients
 

  • 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
  • 3 tablespoons paprika (original recipe calls for 4 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons garlic salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 3 tablespoons ground white pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Accent Seasoning , optional (I left this out)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 chicken , cut into 10 pieces (2 wings, 2 legs, 2 thighs and 2 breasts each cut in half to make 4 breast pieces)
  • vegetable oil for frying

Instructions

  • Add the spices to a small food processor until they're all uniform in size and the thyme, basil and oregano aren't larger in size anymore.
  • Add the flour in a bowl with all the herbs and spices and mix with a whisk.
  • In a second larger bowl add the buttermilk and egg together and whisk until combined.
  • Add the chicken to the buttermilk mixture for 20-30 minutes.
  • Remove chicken from the buttermilk soak and let any excess buttermilk drip off.
  • Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour mixture on all sides, then shake off the excess coating.
  • Let it rest on a cookie sheet for 20-30 minutes.
  • Add oil to a deep fryer or a large pot that is at least 5 inches high so that the chicken can be fully submerged.
  • Heat the oil to 350 degrees and fry in small batches for 15-18 minutes.
  • Remove the chicken from the oil and add to a drying rack on top of a clean cookie sheet.
  • If you add it to a paper towel or newspaper the bottom of the chicken will steam from the heat and become soft.

Notes

So here it is, in all its glory. I did make a couple of adjustments in my side by side comparison during recipe testing. More details of how/why available in the post above this recipe card.
I ditched the MSG.
I reduced the paprika by 1 tablespoon.
I pulverized the thyme, basil and oregano in my small food processor.
I added more oil
Thanks so much to the awesome folks at the Chicago Tribune for this KFC Original Recipe Chicken "copycat."

Nutrition

Calories: 729kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 46g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 190mg | Sodium: 6613mg | Potassium: 692mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 3010IU | Vitamin C: 4.1mg | Calcium: 149mg | Iron: 7.5mg
Keyword: KFC Original Recipe Chicken (Copycat)
KFC Original Recipe Chicken decoded by a food reporter and republished with all 11 herbs and spices to make picture perfect KFC chicken at home!
KFC Original Recipe Chicken decoded by a food reporter and republished with all 11 herbs and spices to make picture perfect KFC chicken at home!

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.

Categories

Leave a comment & rating

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

  1. I like how you dont “cook” talk. over my head..lol.
    I can understand all, you make it seen so simple. Usually with so many seasonings. I skip the recipe all together. I’d like to know how to get you cook books, some read novels, I read cook books. And your good, Thank you

  2. I followed the recipe exactly as it was written. Exact measurements, exact oil temp etc. And sorry to say, I wasn’t happy. The breading was so bland and did not crisp up at all. It was nothing close to KFC style chicken. Not gonna use it again. Chicken needs soaked with some seasoning, not in just plain buttermilk. Breading needs more salt and less flour.

    1. Hello Sarah, Im so sorry this recipe didn’t work for you. Thank you for the tips for this recipe as well. Hopefully a different recipe of mine will work better for you 🙂

  3. I am going to oven bake in a pan with butter. Won’t be a perfect KFC but will be less greasy. No need to fear MSG. It got a bad reputation but research says not to worry about it.

  4. Hello Sabrina, this is actually not the KFC original recipe. I’ve been researching it for a long time and the 11 herbs and spices are coriander, savory, garlic, sage, cloves, ginger, white pepper, allspice, thyme, cayenne pepper, tellicherry black pepper. These are what people found in the original chicken sample when they performed laboratory experiments. What I don’t know is the measurement for each. I would be appreciated if you could try to clone with these ingredients and post it on this website. I’m not a chef so I don’t know what measurements to come up with.

  5. I learned to boil the chicken in water first – 15 to 20 minutes until the pieces are nicely cooked inside.

    Place the pieces on a rack over a baking sheet and let cool for 20 minutes. I like to shake some spices on just as I let them cool, the skin soaks in the seasoning as the skin tightens.

    After the chicken has cooled (20min), Place into your buttermilk/egg wash. (Some people will use just hot sauce, so make what you like)

    Dredge into the flour/spice mixture, shake off excess and let it rest a few minutes on the baking sheet.

    Heat your oil in the pot – 350 degrees

    After about 15 minutes, start adding in the chicken, don’t crowd the pot. You need only Cook for 5 minutes or so until the breading is a pleasing color.

    This method’s design is 2 fold; the chicken is completely cooked, and the breading isn’t dark, burned, or displeasing in color. The overall taste is dependant on your seasonings

  6. Made it exactly as recipe says.
    Cooks up and tastes nothing like NZ kfc.
    It’s ‘alright’ but I wouldn’t go to the trouble again

  7. We did this for the first time. Although good, it was very salty. I would be cutting the salt in half next time.

  8. Sorry, but this tasted nothing close to KFC. Recipe followed exactly and quickly followed by wasted time and disappointed. I much preferred the copycat Pioneer Chicken recipe.

    1. Sorry it wasn’t a recipe you enjoyed. I’m glad you enjoyed the pioneer chicken one, that’s my favorite for nostalgic reasons!

  9. I thought 3tbs of white pepper sounded a lot so i halved it, but i was still tasting white pepper all night.

  10. What confuses me is that KFC claims to use only water, not buttermilk and egg: are they incorrect?

  11. Some of these comments are lying. They clearly have no idea, the chicken is not cooked first and there is no egg dip. The basket contains completely everything, flour, spice, powdered milk and powdered egg. There is one orginal recipe box and a zinger box. The chicken gets dipped into water then breaded. The zinger side (used for wings, crispy strips and zinger fillets) is double dipped with the basket water. Zingers usually deep fried in open pressure cooker and original is pressure cooked.

  12. No matter what I did, the pieces came out with a very dark coating..looked burnt. Tasted good but looked bad.

  13. not going to rate because I’ve yet to try the seasonings. right off, though, this recipe is wrong.

    my aunt worked at a local Kentucky Friend Chicken for years post divorce, and the big secret other than those spices, they pressure cook the chicken pieces FIRST. Then it coat up and FRY for that wonderful skin and flavor.

    Ever notice how the chicken just nearly falls apart? this is the pressure cooking. my understanding is that the chicken is purely cooked in pressure cooker, also, not partially then finished up in deep fryer.

    Secret to the bar-b-que’d chicken – if you recall that they previously had such a type of chicken, it’s the day old chicken pieces or whole part that are then slathered in the Kentucky Friend Chicken house sauce that was thick, bright translucently red and sweet w/ a touch of savory.

  14. Could you do a video on this? I followed all the instructions above but it came out horrible. I really want to see how you did it.

  15. KFC Doesn’t Let The Chicken Sit Around On A Tray , It’s Fixed And Then Straight Into A Broaster/Pressure Fryer !!!

  16. I never leave reviews on recipes but this horrible. I wasted food. It was so hot my kids couldn’t eat it. I find it hard to believe that it was a tested recipe. Skip this one for sure!

  17. I have worked for KFC for a couple years. The key missing step from all the recipes for this is that Col. Sanders, and KFC Restaurants, presser cook the chicken in a Original is pressure cooker. The extra crispy is deep fried, but the original is pressure cooked. Also, the chicken is prepped in a basket that sets in the prep machine until it reaches 70. Then it is breaded, dipped in an ‘egg dip and breaded again. The extra crispy is breaded twice and put into a deep fryer until it’ done. The breading comes premixed and in a 50 pound bag. When the chicken is done right….

    1. I didn’t see your comment before saying the same thing about the pressure cooking of the chicken.

      I do recall that it sat breaded up (?) in a basket waiting for frying? I believe that was what they basket was used for – dumping the extra flour as I recall it being explained by my aunt.

    2. Just adding my two cents…I’m with Linda B., I worked for KFC as a teen and I remember the pressure frying and double breading too. I agree the pieces are much smaller than they used to be, and remember the center breast? Best piece of chicken evah! 🙂

  18. where do you find the powered buttermilk, and other powered ingredients?
    thanks so much for the KFC recipe.
    Julie Warren

    1. I get it off of Amazon. In the recipe card, the word buttermilk is in green and if you click on it, it’ll take you to the product. Hope this helps!

    2. You can find powdered buttermilk in almost any grocery store, on the baking isle. Walmart carries it.

  19. I grew up 30 miles as the crow flies, in Eastern Kentucky. I met Colonel Sanders several times. He was a sharp business man known for his love of young ladies.
    I remember him hitting on a date when I was in college in 79′ at Boone’s tavern in Berea.

    The only ingredients that really mattered were MSG and white pepper. Both very unique in those days. Every house wife in Kentucky knew it.

    That was not his secret. He used fresh farm raised chickens, A different experience from our modern ones, and a pressure cooler to fry them in. High quality consistent food.
    I remember the original chicken. It was nothing like today. The original was better than Popeye’s or Churches.

    John Y Brown had to pay him an extra million dollars to get him to stop going into the restaurants in Lexington and Louisville and screaming about the quality of the food.
    Literally no one one tasted original KFC after 1964

  20. I tried this recipe and was very careful to follow the recipe. The chicken looked great. However, it was very “hot”. There seems to be far too much pepper and maybe paprika. The result tasted more like a very hot version of Chester’s Chicken and in no way resembled the taste of KFC. I was very disappointed.

    1. The Reason Is In The Amount Of White Pepper In This !!! White Pepper Is A Lot Hotter Than Black Pepper , And A Little Goes A LONG Way !!!

Show More Comments