FEMAIL cooked home-made KFC chicken after 'secret recipe' was revealed (2024)

It’s been a closely guarded family secret for decades, but it looks like the Colonel’s famous fried chicken recipe could finally be out of the bag.

The formula for KFC’s globally successful Original Recipe Kentucky fried chicken is believed to have been discovered by Colonel Sanders' nephew, revealing the entrepreneur's top-secret blend of 11 herbs and spices.

The current owner of KFC, Yum! Brands, has disputed the discovery, but many now believe this to be the original secret recipe still used today in the fast food chain.

To find out, expectant mother Joanne Gould, 31, put the family recipe to the test for FEMAIL...

Scroll down for full recipe

The top-secret formula for KFC chicken has been found in an old scrapbook, it's been claimed. Joanne Gould, 31, from Golders Green, London, decided to put the family recipe to the test

Joanne eats a home-made chicken drumstick using the alleged KFC recipe, comparing it to the piece of chicken she bought from a nearby KFC restaurant (on Joanne's plate, above)


The famous recipe is said to have been kept in a vault since the 1940s, but now Joe Ledington, a nephew by marriage of Colonel Sanders, claims to have a handwritten copy of the original.

It was found in a scrapbook which was owned by Sanders’ second wife, Claudia Sanders, according to The Chicago Tribune.


  • Previous
  • 1
  • Next
  • Can dinner made from TINNED food taste as good as fresh?... Is this the best macaroni cheese recipe EVER? The simple...

Share this article


There’s a plethora of fried chicken recipes out there - and many of them attempt to replicate the famous KFC style - but up until now I’ve not been hugely impressed so I’m excited to try this, potentially, original version.

I’m surprised at some of the ingredients and would never have guessed at including things like ground ginger, dried basil or such a large amount of paprika – whilst other spices are fairly obvious, like dried oregano, garlic salt and mustard powder.

The recipe requires flour, salt, canola oil, buttermilk, egg, white pepper, black pepper, garlic salt, ground ginger, celery salt, paprika, oregano, mustard powder, thyme and basil leaves, as well as a whole chicken, cut into pieces

Joanne first mixed the herbs and spices with flour, before setting it aside

After mixing the herbs and spices with flour in one bowl, I combine the buttermilk and egg in another.

I then soak the chicken – a mix of wings, thighs, drumsticks and breasts, halved – in this gloopy mix for 30 minutes before shaking off the excess batter.

Now it’s time to coat the chicken in the spice mix, which is a bit of a messy business. I leave the chicken to rest again for another 20 minutes or so on a wire rack.

The recipe suggests soaking the chicken – a mix of wings, thighs, drumsticks and breasts, halved – in the mix for 20-30 minutes before shaking off the excess batter

Joanne says coating the chicken in the spice mix is a messy business

Before frying, allow the spice-coated chicken to sit on a rack over a baking sheet for 20 minutes

Using a large, high sided pan, I heat the canola oil to a specific 350F (about 175C) temperature.

There’s quite a bit of oil, so this takes a while, but then the first batch of chicken is ready to go in and be fried for around 15 minutes.

The chicken pieces need to be cooked in batches of three or four so as not to overcrowd the pan, so it takes a fair amount of time to get through my 10 pieces.

Using a large, high sided pan, canola oil is then heated to 350F (about 175C) temperature

The chicken pieces need to be cooked in batches of three or four so as not to overcrowd the pan

Transfer chicken pieces to a baking sheet covered with paper towels. Allow the oil to return to temperature before adding more chicken

Each one is then drained on kitchen towel to remove excess oil – and that’s it.

It certainly looks the part, with a far more impressive crispy coating than I’ve ever managed myself.

I think my chicken is perhaps a tad overdone too (I couldn’t get hold of a frying thermometer to monitor the temperature of the oil) but, regardless, I can’t wait to eat it and compare it to the famous chicken chain's version.

Joanne thinks she overcooked her chicken as the colour is darker than chicken from KFC


Quickly popping to my local branch of KFC in Golders Green, London, I pick up a six-piece family bucket so as to compare it to my version.

Immediately I’m struck by the difference in colour, although they do smell very similar.

My version definitely has a crunchier and crispier coating – in fact, the actual KFC is a bit flabby by comparison.

Joanne picked up some chicken from her local branch of KFC in Golders Green to compare it to the chicken she made using the secret recipe found in an old scrapbook

Taste-wise, I’ve roped in some very willing volunteers to help me judge whether this is the exact recipe – 28-year-old brother-in-law Simon and my husband Rich, 31.

Aside from the difference in colour, we all agree that the herb and spice mix is bang-on.

The flavour is almost identical, though the KFC is far, far saltier.Too salty, in fact, the more we try it.

Joanne thinks the recipe is indeed the original as it tastes exactly like chicken from KFC, but Yum! Brands deny it is genuine

One of my testers, Simon – a keen KFC fan – says that he prefers the home-made version as he can taste the individual flavours of the spices, whilst the KFC's spices seem overpowered, possibly by the salt.

Joanne's brother-in-law, Simon, compares the chicken she made with some bought from a local branch of KFC

However, I think it is safe to say that this is probably the correct original recipe, though the KFC outlet's version is slightly sweeter and saltier.

You can taste the spices much more clearly in the home-made version and the recipe has a more pleasing kick to it from the paprika and mustard powder - which is lost a bit from the overpowering saltiness otherwise.


I’m really impressed with this recipe and - although it took about an hour to make all-in - I’d definitely try this again.

This is despite the ingredients coming in at double the price of a bargain bucket - £22 compared to the KFC price of £12.49.


Try the spice mix for yourself with the potentially 'genuine' KFC chicken recipe below

(Serves 4)

Prep: 30 minutes

Soak: 20-30 minutes

Cook: 15-18 minutes


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

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

Expeller-pressed 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 350F degrees. Use a deep-frying thermometer to check the temperature. When temperature is reached, lower the heat to medium to maintain it at 350F. Fry 3 or 4 pieces at a time, being careful not to crowd the pot. Fry until medium golden brown, turning once, which should take 15-18 minutes. Transfer chicken pieces to a baking sheet covered with paper towels. Repeat with remaining chicken.

Taken from The Chicago Tribune

<!- - ad: https://mads.dailymail.co.uk/v8/us/femail/food/article/other/mpu_factbox.html?id=mpu_factbox_1 - ->


FEMAIL cooked home-made KFC chicken after 'secret recipe' was revealed (2024)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Jeremiah Abshire

Last Updated:

Views: 6528

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (74 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Jeremiah Abshire

Birthday: 1993-09-14

Address: Apt. 425 92748 Jannie Centers, Port Nikitaville, VT 82110

Phone: +8096210939894

Job: Lead Healthcare Manager

Hobby: Watching movies, Watching movies, Knapping, LARPing, Coffee roasting, Lacemaking, Gaming

Introduction: My name is Jeremiah Abshire, I am a outstanding, kind, clever, hilarious, curious, hilarious, outstanding person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.