KFC Original Recipe Chicken (Copycat)

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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 1/2 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.

Recipe

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KFC Original Recipe Chicken

5 from 16 votes
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Course: Main
  • Cuisine: American
  • Author: Dinner, then Dessert
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!

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

Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. 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.
  2. Add the flour in a bowl with all the herbs and spices and mix with a whisk.
  3. In a second larger bowl add the buttermilk and egg together and whisk until combined.
  4. Add the chicken to the buttermilk mixture for 20-30 minutes.

  5. Remove chicken from the buttermilk soak and let any excess buttermilk drip off.
  6. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour mixture on all sides, then shake off the excess coating.
  7. Let it rest on a cookie sheet for 20-30 minutes.

  8. 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.
  9. Heat the oil to 350 degrees and fry in small batches for 15-18 minutes.

  10. Remove the chicken from the oil and add to a drying rack on top of a clean cookie sheet.
  11. If you add it to a paper towel or newspaper the bottom of the chicken will steam from the heat and become soft.

Recipe 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."

This post contains affiliate links.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 4 servings, Amount per serving: 729 calories, Calories: 729g, Carbohydrates: 59g, Protein: 46g, Fat: 33g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 190mg, Sodium: 6613mg, Potassium: 692mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 60.2g, Vitamin C: 5g, Calcium: 14.9g, Iron: 41.7g

All images and text © for Dinner, then Dessert.

Keyword: KFC Original Recipe Chicken (Copycat)
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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.

See more posts by Sabrina

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:

Chicken Recipes Copycats Main Course Main Dishes Meat & Seafood Most Popular Recipe

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Comments

  1. I have researched a lot of KFC duplicate recipes, and this is, by far, the best one. Honest and detailed. Thank you Sabrina. I love your candor.

  2. I have read some recipes for fried chicken that call for peanut oil. Is there a big difference from vegetable oil? I am going to make this recipe tonight for the first time

  3. I followed the recipe to the letter and it was incredibly salty. ( I put 2 Tablespoons of salt plus the other celery & garlic salt’s as per the recipe). 5 to 6 Tablespoons of various salt types is way too much. Perhaps it should say Teaspoons? If I attempt to make this fried chicken again I would dramatically reduce the amount of the salt so that I can taste the other herbs and spices.

  4. Hello, I am writing from Brazil.
    The temperature of the oil to fry the chicken pieces is in degrees Fahrenheit?

  5. I tried this recipe, and it’s not even close to tasting like KFC chicken. It’s good, don’t get me wrong; but the same as what you get from KFC? No way. I give it three stars only because it does make decent fried chicken.

  6. I made this recently and I would agree to take it a bit easier on the paprika! Mine had a tinge of firey spice right to the back of the throat while eating. I thought the recipe was pretty close. I used an air fryer also and did not marinade the chicken. I will definitely marinate next time to see if it helps. I had too much breading stick to the chicken so even though the chicken was cooked I had sections of floured spice still powdery. I didn’t add the msg either so maybe I didn’t give it the full go. Excellent recipe though!

    1. White pepper is hotter than black but is less complex with fewer flavor notes. You can usually find it at Target, Walmart or even Amazon. Hope this helps!

  7. Though this makes adequate fried chicken it’s nowhere near being a copy-cat recipe. It doesn’t even come close to tasting the same. I will have to keep looking.

  8. HOLY WHITE PEPPER BATMAN!!I just made this tonight and ALL we could taste was white pepper. The other Ingredients were spot on. My recommendation would be to take the white pepper down to 1 tablespoon. 3 was WAY too much!

  9. This is my go to fried chicken recipe we love it. Your site is fab. Gonna try your chili recipe today. Thanks so much. ?

  10. The original KFC recipe called for cooking in a pressure cooker using lard. The oil was changed after every 5th or 6th batch.

  11. Made this tonite instead of buying kfc. WOW! Tastes just like it. Sorry, that statement is incorrect. Tastes nothing like it, this is MILES better.. Made a big batch, whole family agreed this is better than kfc. Will defo make this again, is a total hit in our house. Magnificent recipe. For those about to eat this, i salute you x

  12. This recipe was SO delicious! I had to substitute turmeric for the dry mustard (because I didn’t have any) and believe it or not, I actually substituted coconut-almond milk for the buttermilk, and it still turned out wonderful! I’m definitely bookmarking this one, AND sharing it with my mom! Thanks for posting it! ?