I brine my chicken and use only salt, pepper and garlic powder in bleached flour to taste. I think this comes close to the Colonel's. Can anyone taste other spices in the original recipe?

  • 1
    We have a rule where we support people trying to recreate a dish they had in a restaurant, even if they seem to be worded like recipe requests. I added the correct tag and reworded the title.
    – rumtscho
    Apr 28, 2016 at 9:25
  • 1
    Try Google. Many many people have attempted this. Another ingredient is suggested to be MSG. Note: you may successfully duplicate the flavor, but duplicating the crust and texture will be difficult because the Colonel uses pressure fryers. Not many home cooks have that.
    – Paulb
    Apr 28, 2016 at 10:58

3 Answers 3


It's possible that the breading/spice mixture has been revealed, according to an article in the Chicago Tribune. They also provide a full recipe here, though as far as I can tell, the solid part is the spice mixture, and they're filling in the rest of the recipe.

They say it seems to be a good match... with the addition of MSG:

But more important, did it taste like the Colonel’s secret blend of herbs and spices? It came very close, yet something was still missing. That’s when a reporter grabbed a small container of the MSG flavor-enhancer Accent (how did that get in the test kitchen?) and sprinkled it on a piece of the fried chicken. That did the trick. Our chicken was virtually indistinguishable from the batch bought at KFC. (Does KFC add MSG? A KFC spokesperson confirms that it does use it in the Original Recipe chicken.)

The full story: a nephew of Colonel Sanders spoke with a reporter and showed him a recipe he claimed was the original recipe, then later downplayed it:

"That is the original 11 herbs and spices that were supposed to be so secretive," he says with conviction.

(In a subsequent phone interview with a Tribune editor, Ledington dialed back his certainty and expressed reluctance about sharing a recipe that — if it's legit — ranks among corporate America's most closely guarded secrets. "It could be; I don't know for sure," he said about the handwritten list of ingredients, adding that this was the first time he'd shown it to a reporter. "I've only had that album for four years, since my sister passed away.")

KFC's official responses were of a "neither confirm nor deny" flavor, so it's pretty hard to say if this is real or not, but it certainly could be. The clearest they said was:

"Lots of people through the years have claimed to discover or figure out the secret recipe, but no one's ever been right."

The handwritten recipe:

enter image description here


11 Spices - Mix With 2 Cups White Fl.

1) 2/3 Ts salt
2) 1/2 Ts Thyme
3) 1/2 Ts Basil
4) 1/3 Ts Origino
5) 1 Ts Celery Salt
6) 1 Ts Black Pepper
7) 1 Ts Dried Mustard
8) 4 Ts Paprika
9) 2 Ts Garlic Salt
10) 1 Ts Ground Ginger
11) 3 Ts White Pepper


Most of the other spices are difficult to impossible to detect. I've gotten as far as paprika, onion powder and rosemary for sure. I think there is parsley powder involved as well. There is another couple that I'm close to identifying, but no luck yet.

I want to learn what to put together, too, because I love KFC but my body can't handle it, so I want to learn how to make the coating for my own foods.

  • 1
    Interesting that my answer was marked down, considering the question: "Can anyone taste other spices in the original recipe?" I would be interested in hearing the reasoning behind the downvote. Just curious. I'll happily delete if the explanation makes sense.
    – Shalryn
    Apr 30, 2016 at 22:27

Here is a recipe, referenced by @Jefromi, as it was printed in the article by Joe Gray in The Chicago Tribune on August 23, 2016 (which I've not tested):

Makes: 4 servings
2 cups all-purpose flour
⅔ Tablespoon salt
½ Tablespoon dried thyme leaves
½ Tablespoon dried basil leaves
⅓ Tablespoon dried oregano leaves
1 Tablespoon celery salt
1 Tablespoon ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon dried mustard
4 Tablespoons paprika
2 Tablespoons garlic salt
1 Tablespoon ground ginger
3 Tablespoons ground white pepper
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg, beaten
1 chicken, cut up, the breast pieces cut in half for more even frying
Canola oil

Mix the flour in a bowl with all the herbs and spices; set aside. Mix the buttermilk and egg together in a separate bowl until combined. Soak the chicken in the buttermilk mixture at room temperature, 20-30 minutes. Remove chicken from the buttermilk, allowing excess to drip off. Dip the chicken pieces in the herb-spice-flour mixture to coat all sides, shaking off excess. Allow to sit on a rack over a baking sheet, 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat about 3 inches of the oil in a large Dutch oven (or similar heavy pot with high sides) over medium-high heat to 350 degrees. (Use a deep-frying thermometer to check the temperature.) When temperature is reached, lower the heat to medium to maintain it at 350. Fry 3 or 4 pieces at a time, being careful not to crowd the pot. Fry until medium golden brown, turning once, 15-18 minutes. Transfer chicken pieces to a baking sheet covered with paper towels. Allow the oil to return to temperature before adding more chicken. Repeat with remaining chicken.

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