When asked what makes KFC fried chicken so special, Colonel Sanders used to say, "It's still freshly prepared in every restaurant, seasoned with a secret blend of 11 herbs and spices, and then hand breaded all day long by a certified cook." This copycat recipe (the original remains a secret) contains 11 herbs and spices, but the keys to the delicious flavor are monosodium glutamate (MSG) and the use of a pressure fryer.
A pressure fryer works similarly to a pressure cooker, but the two cannot be interchanged. If you don't have access to a pressure fryer, you can prepare the chicken in a deep fryer or heavy Dutch oven, but the result won't be quite as authentic. Do not attempt to fry the chicken in a pressure cooker such as an Instant Pot.
Recipe reprinted with permission from America's Most Wanted Recipes by Ron Douglas (Atria Books).
Click Play to See This KFC Copycat Fried Chicken Recipe Recipe Come Together
- 1 large egg (beaten)
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 (3-pound) chicken (cut into 6 pieces)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground oregano
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon onion salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons Accent (MSG seasoning)
- 1 can lard (enough to cover chicken in the fryer)
Gather the ingredients.
Combine the egg and buttermilk in a large bowl. Soak the chicken pieces in the mixture.
Put the flour in a separate bowl and whisk in all the herbs and spices.
Remove the chicken from the buttermilk mixture, letting the excess drip off. Roll the chicken in the seasoned flour until completely covered.
Add the lard to a pressure fryer and heat to 365 F. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's directions.
Using a utensil, lower 4 pieces of the chicken into the hot oil and lock the lid in place. Be careful not to burn yourself with the hot oil.
Allow to fry for 8 to 10 minutes, until the chicken turns golden brown and thoroughly cooks.
Release the pressure according to the manufacturer's directions and remove the finished chicken to paper towels or a metal rack to drain.
Repeat with the remaining 2 pieces of chicken.
Serve and enjoy!
If you can't get your hands on a pressure fryer, you can use a deep fryer or heavy Dutch oven. Just add enough vegetable oil or lard to keep the chicken pieces submerged and set the temperature to 350 F. Fry the chicken for 15 to 18 minutes in batches, or until it turns golden brown and crispy.
- Accent, or MSG, adds authentic flavor, so do not eliminate it if you want your chicken to closely resemble the original KFC recipe.
- Let the chicken sit for 20 to 30 minutes after you roll it in the flour mixture so the coating sticks when you drop the pieces into the fryer.
- For KFC-level crispiness, you need to use a pressure fryer. (Do not try to substitute a pressure cooker such as an Instant Pot.) Make sure to bring the oil to 365 F before you add the chicken.
- To avoid making a mess and burning yourself, use tongs or another utensil when you add the chicken.
- Quickly lock the lid on the pressure fryer after you add all the chicken in the batch.
- For crispier chicken, use Crisco (one 3-pound can) instead of lard and double-coat the chicken with the flour mixture.