So what makes KFC 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 (as the original recipe is not available to the public) actually does contain 11 herbs and spices, and the two secrets behind the delicious flavor are the monosodium glutamate (MSG) and the use of a pressure fryer.
Recipe reprinted with permission from America's Most Wanted Recipes by Ron Douglas (Atria Books).
Watch Now: KFC's Original Fried Chicken
- 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
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 is golden brown and thoroughly cooked.
Once the pieces are cooked, release the pressure according to the manufacturer's directions and remove the chicken to paper towels or a metal rack to drain.
Repeat with the remaining 2 pieces of chicken.
- Although you may not be a fan of using MSG, the real secret to making this taste like the original Kentucky Fried recipe is including the Accent in the recipe, so do not eliminate this if you want authentic flavor.
- To assure the coating will stick, allow the chicken to sit for 20 to 30 minutes after rolling in the flour mixture.
- Using a pressure fryer is key to creating the KFC crispiness; make sure the fryer temperature is at 365 F before cooking the chicken.
- To avoid making a mess and burning yourself, use a utensil when adding the chicken.
- Quickly lock the lid on the pressure fryer once all the pieces of chicken have been added.
- If you can't get your hands on a pressure fryer, you can use a deep fryer; add enough vegetable oil or lard to keep the chicken pieces submerged and set the temperature to 350. Fry for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden brown and crispy.
- For crispier chicken, use Crisco (one 3-pound can) instead of lard and double-coat the chicken with the flour mixture.