KFC™ Chicken Original Recipe

By : | 6 Comments | On : September 2, 2008 | Category : KFC

This is probably the most secret of all of the restaurant recipes out there.  As a matter of fact, Colonel Sanders build an entire restaurant chain based on his original recipe chicken with 11 secret herbs and spices.

This all started in the little town of “Corbin, Kentucky”.  That’s where Harland Sanders opened up Sanders Cafe, which eventually became Kentucky Fried Chicken™.  For a time in the 90’s they started branding the initials KFC™.  The company has now returned to Kentucky Fried Chicken™, but most people still call it KFC™.

It’s not too tough to recreate the taste of that special coating, but it is difficult to match the juiciness of the chicken.  That’s because Kentucky Fried Chicken™ uses pressure cookers to fry their chicken.  This cooks the chicken fast, reducing the “greasiness” as well as locking in the juice from the chicken.

The recipe below is as close as you’ll ever get at home.  Obviously Harland Sanders didn’t use Italian Dressing or tomato soup packets in his original recipe, but this will give you the exact same flavor.

KFC™ Chicken Original Recipe
  • 2 envelopes dry tomato soup mix (Lipton cup-o-soup works perfect)
  • 2 envelopes Italian dressing mix
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried chervil (it's a lot like parsley, but don't try to substitute)
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon instant chicken bouillon powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon tarragon
  • ½ teaspoon sage
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cups pancake mix, (Bisquick works well)
  • 3 cups buttermilk (enough to soak the chicken)
  • 4 cups oil (southerners love using lard but you may want to substitute)
  2. Blend all of the dry ingredients for the coating in a blender.
  3. Soak the chicken pieces in buttermilk for at least one hour in the refrigerator.
  4. Remove chicken from buttermilk and roll in the chicken coating mixture above.
  5. Let chicken sit at room temperature while waiting for the oil to get hot.
  6. Use a deep fryer if possible for the most authentic copy of the original Kentucky Fried Chicken recipe. If that is not possible, use a cast iron skillet. Do not crowd the chicken when placing into the skillet.
  7. Brown the chicken in the skillet on high heat. Then turn down the heat and cover the pan. Cook until the fried chicken is done, about 30 minutes.
  8. During the last 5 or 10 minutes, uncover the pan and turn up the heat. This will crisp up the fried chicken. Be careful not to burn the chicken during this last step.
  9. Remove the fried chicken and drain on paper towels. Serve hot.


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My parents had a copycat book back in the 80's when KFC was still as good...and it had MSG a-plenty. Thats why it isnt as good anymore...no more MSG in the mix.


I worked at Ginos in Maryland back in the 70's. Ginos sold KFC. I cooked it. I don't know what was in the ingredient pack because it was pblank white paper, but I do know that we dipped the chicken in an egg wash before breading it. There wasn't any kind of soaking at all.


Pablo: In my first sentence the point I was trying to make is that even Kentucky Fried Chicken isn't the same as it used to be. The KFC you buy today does not have the flavor the original Kentucky Fried Chicken did. Nowhere near it. Surely the owners must be out of their minds for not using the original ingredients. Why would they not? After all, they do have stiff competition so why be foolish enough to worry about a possible extra cost for the right spices and herbs. It just doesn't make sense!

Chef Pablo
Chef Pablo

Oh, you're absolutely right. This isn't the same recipe Col Sanders used. But, because it's so highly guarded, nobody can claim to know what's in the recipe. This is meant to give a VERY similar taste. But, it's not an exact duplicate.


You know good and well that today's Kentucky fried Chicken is not the same thing we used to get back in the 1960's and early 1970's. The taste just isn't there. The recipe reads instant tomato soup is an ingredient. That is an insult to anyone's intelligence. That junk wasn't even around when the old man started selling his chicken. Besides,he was as tight as the bark on a tree and I'll guarantee you he didn't spend a penny more than he had to for spices. Someone come up with the truth of the recipe. It was so unique.