KFC Fried Chicken

No one makes fried chicken likes KFC. They have been known for their famous recipe of 11 herbs and spices for a very long time now. You can recreate their fried chicken at home.

overhead view of homemade KFC fried chicken on parchment paper

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Copycat KFC Fried Chicken Recipe

KFC fried chicken is known all the world around. Yes, you can go to pick some up anytime you like at your local Kentucky Fried Chicken fast-food restaurant. But maybe you live away from one and want to make homemade KFC fried chicken. You can with this copycat recipe.

Note this copycat KFC fried chicken recipe is from the KFC leaked recipe featured in the Chicago Tribune. It is supposed to be the KFC original recipe from Colonel Sanders.

The Secret to KFC Chicken is in the Spices

Sanders sold off most of his KFC franchise but still retained rights in the Canadian restaurants. He claimed the company that bought KFC changed the spice recipe, so he went to the Marion-Kay spice company and had a spice blend made specially for him.

Marion Kay still sells the spice blend the Colonel had made for his KFC original recipe, and you can buy the KFC spice blend.

Also, this interesting video tests the spices in the KFC leaked recipe.

Recipe Ingredients

This copycat Kentucky fried chicken recipe features 11 herbs and spices just like the original KFC recipe – basil, black pepper, celery salt, garlic salt, ginger, mustard powder, oregano, paprika, salt, thyme, and white pepper.

It is known that the original KFC recipe would have used cottonseed oil. Now we typically use hydrogenated vegetable oil.

Here’s a list of what you need:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Ground thyme
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Celery salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Ground white pepper
  • Dry mustard powder
  • Paprika
  • Garlic salt
  • Ground ginger
  • Accent flavor enhancer (optional)
  • Whole chicken
  • Egg
  • Buttermilk
  • Vegetable oil for frying
KFC fried chicken recipe ingredients on a tray

How to Make KFC Fried Chicken

Equipment

One thing is decidedly different between a homemade KFC recipe and KFC chicken purchased in a restaurant, and that is pressure cooking. To get it just right, you need a chicken pressure fryer.

Frying under pressure enables faster cooking at lower oil temps than in a conventional deep fryer. Using a pressure fryer ensures that moisture and flavor are sealed in while excess cooking oil is sealed out. This method produces a healthier and juicier chicken made with a Kentucky fried chicken recipe. 

However, you probably don’t have a commercial pressure fryer sitting on your countertop, so you can use a regular deep fryer or even a Dutch oven.

Just in case you don’t have a deep fryer or Dutch oven, you can get the equipment you need on Amazon in order to make the recipe:

Recipe Steps

  1. Combine flour and all of the seasonings in a bowl.
    flour and spices for KFC fried chicken in a bowl
  2. Cut the chicken into pieces (breasts, thighs, legs, and wings).
  3. Whisk the buttermilk and beaten egg together in a large bowl.
  4. Place the chicken pieces in the buttermilk mixture and soak the chicken for 30 minutes.
    chicken pieces soaking in buttermilk
  5. Place a wire rack on top of a baking sheet.
  6. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk and shake off excess.
  7. Put each chicken piece into the flour mixture, turn to fully coat, then shake off excess flour.
  8. Place the breaded chicken onto a wire rack over a baking sheet.
    breaded chicken on a wire rack
  9. Let the breaded chicken rest for 15 minutes before frying.
  10. Heat oil to 350 degrees in a deep fryer or Dutch oven.
  11. Fry the chicken in batches until done. Breasts and thighs take about 15 minutes to cook. Wings and legs take about 12 minutes to cook.
  12. Drain the fried chicken on a clean wire rack on top of a baking sheet.
pieces of homemade KFC fried chicken

Tips for Breading KFC Chicken

  1. Pat it Dry – After soaking your chicken in a buttermilk/egg mixture before breading, pat it dry enough so that the buttermilk is not dripping when you coat it. 
  1. Shake Off the Flour – For crispy, flavorful Kentucky fried chicken, make sure to remove any excess flour. Excess flour will cause the breading to fall off because it is not adhering to the chicken.
  1. Don’t Skimp on the Crumb – Whatever you coat the chicken in, make sure to do it thoroughly. Coat the meat evenly and completely on every side.
  1. Remember the Last Pat – After your chicken is covered in breading, gently pat it down on all sides so that all the coating sticks to the egg layer. Chicken that is well-coated is the key to that crunchy fried texture you expect from a KFC recipe.
  1. Curb Your Impatience – If you’re frying in a Dutch oven or a cast-iron skillet, place the breaded chicken pieces in the hot oil with plenty of space between them and let them be! The more the chicken pieces touch each other, or you touch the chicken with tongs, the more likely the breading is to fall off.

    Wait until you see a golden rim appear around the side of the chicken submerged in the oil, then feel free to flip it.

Here’s a good article about how to deep fry at home with confidence. 

How to Store Fried Chicken

Fried chicken can be somewhat time-consuming to put together, so many people choose to make it in large batches. So, how do you store fried chicken?

The first thing to pay attention to is that your fried chicken should not be left at room temperature for more than 30-60 minutes. However, keep in mind that your fried chicken will take time to cool completely before it actually reaches room temperature.

Your homemade KFC fried chicken will cool to room temperature in about 30 minutes). It needs to cool completely before you prep it for storage so that you don’t mess with the integrity of the breading.

Wrap each piece of chicken individually in heavy-duty foil and place it in a freezer bag. 

Store fried chicken in your refrigerator for up to 5 days or in your freezer for up to 12 months at 0 degrees. If frozen at a lower temperature, use within 6 months. You absolutely can freeze fried chicken and it will still be crisp and delicious whenever you want to eat it.

Reheating Fried Chicken

If you refrigerated your fried chicken, you can always just take it out, allow it to reach room temperature, and eat it without reheating. It tastes delicious this way.

With frozen fried chicken, you must first allow it to thaw. Unwrap it and let it thaw at room temperature.

You can reheat fried chicken in the microwave or the oven. Refrying the chicken doesn’t work well. You will get an overcooked flavor and/or soggy chicken. The best way to maintain the crispness of fried chicken is to use the oven.

Microwave – Individual fried chicken pieces should be wrapped in a paper towel (to help preserve the breading) and microwaved in 30-second intervals. If the chicken is not sufficiently warmed, turn it over and warm another 30 seconds.

Oven – Place a layer of aluminum foil on a baking sheet or in a pan to help the breading stay crisp. Arrange your fried chicken on the foil in a single layer and cover the top of the sheet/pan with more foil. Warm in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.

homemade KFC fried chicken in a serving basket

Love KFC? Try these copycat recipes!

Check out more of my easy chicken recipes and the best fast food recipes here on CopyKat!

overhead view of homemade KFC fried chicken on parchment paper

KFC Fried Chicken

Recreate KFC Fried Chicken at home with this copycat recipe. 
4.82 from 11 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: KFC Fried Chicken
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 8
Calories: 168kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • tablespoon salt
  • ½ tablespoon ground thyme
  • ½ tablespoon basil
  • tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon celery salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard powder
  • 4 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons garlic salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 3 tablespoons ground white pepper
  • ½ teaspoon Accent flavor enhancer (MSG) optional
  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 cup full-fat buttermilk
  • vegetable oil for frying

Instructions

  • Cut the chicken into breast, thigh, leg, and wing pieces.
  • In a shallow bowl, mix together the flour and all of the seasonings.
  • In a large bowl, add buttermilk and beaten egg. Stir or whisk to combine.
  • Add the chicken pieces to the buttermilk mixture.
  • Soak the chicken for about 30 minutes.
  • Place a wire rack on top of a baking sheet.
  • To bread the chicken, remove the chicken from the buttermilk and shake off excess.
  • Place each piece into the flour mixture.
  • Coat the chicken fully and then shake off all of the excess flour.
  • Place the chicken onto the wire rack.
  • Bread all of the chicken. The breaded chicken should rest for about 15 minutes before frying.
  • Heat oil to 350 degrees in a deep fryer. If you do not have a deep fryer you should use a Dutch oven and fill it half full of vegetable shortening. If you are using a Dutch oven, use a thermometer to make sure the temperature is maintained at 350 degrees. If the temperature drops too low, the breading will become greasy.
  • Cook the chicken in 2 or 3 batches. The breasts and thighs will take about 15 to 18 minutes to cook. The wings and legs will take about 12 to 13 minutes to cook.
  • Drain the fried chicken on a clean wire rack on top of a baking sheet.

Equipment

Deep fryer
Wire rack
Baking sheet

Nutrition

Calories: 168kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 3241mg | Potassium: 194mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1827IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 74mg | Iron: 3mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Rebecca Bryant

    OMG I needed this recipe. My son is obsessed with KFC chicken. Now I can make it at home for him for half the price.

  2. Debbie Lamb

    We love KFC – I am showing this to my hubby. He is our chicken fryer. Accent we have – he uses that spice quite often.

  3. Ms Match

    it has not been removed from the recipe as stated. Since so many people have difficultly in obtaining the herb, it has been removed from the recipe. If you can access Fines herbs add 2 teaspoons to the flour mixture. It can be found at Penzys.com.
    2 pkg. DRY Instant Chicken Broth (Do Not Use Canned)
    2 tsp. Seasoned Salt
    1 tsp. fines herbs
    1/2 tsp. Black Pepper
    1 C. Flou

  4. RicklWright

    You say the Fines herbs has been removed from the recipe but it still says 1tsp Fines Herbs in the ingredient list. In the body of the recipe it says if you DO have Fines Herbs use 2 teaspoons. Which is it?

  5. Miley_cyrus

    bakwaas english mn kiya khaak koanannanan
    oking ki samajh aati hy hahahahhahahahaha im not beauty queen i m just beautiful me ananananananan an

  6. Bcook6489

    I know for sure the Pepper used in KFC Original recipe is a variety called Tellicherry pepper most notably from India. There is also the Spice “Savory” in the mix and Sage.
    I worked for KFC many years ago but we used to Prep the Chicken in 110 Dgegree water with Salt and MSG present in that water prep bath.
    You have to use a good old pressure cooker to cook the chicken or it will not be close.
    So its a process not just the herbs and spices.

    • Bcook6489

      Sorry, Also the oil used to fry in the presasure cooker is regular old cooking oil and not Peanut oil or Canola or any other of the more exotic olis. When we changed oil in the big pressure cookers it was called simply a “Shortening Change” Nothing majical here…

      • Wasy98

        Shortening is not oil. An example of shortening is Crisco…the white stuff that looks like lard. It contains trans-fats which are not good for your cardiac health. KFC has changed to the use of canola oil to cook their chichen as of several years ago, in Canada anyway.

  7. redskin

    The difference with this, is coating with soy sauce and seasoning the chicken in a bowl first, then dusting with flour. And a lot of spices.

    Close To KFC Chicken
    2 lb. chicken pieces
    1 T. soy sauce or more to coat chicken

    1+1/2 cup of flour
    3/4 cup cornstarch

    1 t. onion powder
    1 t. sugar
    1/2 t. MSG
    1/2 t. celery salt
    1/2 t. sage
    1/2 t. garlic powder
    1/2 t. allspice
    1/2 t. oregano
    1/2 t. black pepper
    1/2 t. sweet basil
    1/2 t. marjoram
    1/2 T. paprika
    1/2 T. onion salt
    1/4 t. chili powder or to taste

    — Use peanut oil, for best results.

    To Prepare ;
    – Heat oil in pan or deep-fryer.
    – Preheat oven to 250 – 275*F.

    *** Do a ”Taste Test” ;
    Season one small piece of chicken, dust with flour ; deep-fry the piece of chicken and taste for spiciness ; add more or less of what spice you like.

    – Sprinkle 1 T. soy sauce on chicken & ” stir / mix ” ; to coat evenly.
    – Place all the spices in a med-sized bag and shake to mix.
    – Place flour & cornstarch in large bag & shake to mix well.
    – Put all the chicken pieces in a large bowl.
    – Sprinkle 1/4 to half the bag of spices on chicken pieces in bowl &
    mix with your hands, to coat all chicken pieces evenly.
    – Shake pieces in flour mixture and fry just till chicken is browned.
    – Place chicken pieces on a cookie sheet & finish cooking in warm
    oven ; the juices should run clear when pierced with a knife.

    Internal Temp. ;
    Bone-In chicken piece = 170*F.
    Bone-less piece = 165*F.

    • Bcook6489

      That sounds good but there is no soy sauce in KFC original recipe, and your recipe is way too complex for a simple recipe that is done with a pressure cooker.

      • Sandy May Jones Cardwell

        Red skin never said it was ‘the’ exact recipe, if you read it properly he says ‘close to’

    • Anonymous

      I was a manager at KFC 50 years ago and this was our process. We made a milk and egg wash and a large container of KFC flour with spices already in it. We would put the chicken in the milk and egg wash and let the chicken drain for a minute of two and then into the flour and we would then repeat this procedure. Quite often we left the chicken in the flour until the oil came up to 350 degrees in the pressure cookers. We had large pressure cookers and we could cook two chickens at once in each pressure cooker. We would brown the chicken until it was the color of corn flakes shaking gently at least once so it would brown evenly. Then we would close the lids and get the cooker up to 10 lbs. pressure and cook for 11 minutes. We carefully let the steam out and then hung the perforated container on the side of the cooker until it drained. Then we put the chicken in the Kresskor on a rack over a little hot water. You could only keep it 2 hours and it had to be thrown away.
      No soy sauce ever!

      I know it had:
      Garlic Salt
      Onion Salt
      Thyme
      Oregano
      Sage
      Rosemary
      Marjoram
      Basil
      Black Pepper
      Paprika
      Savory

      Back then we had to keep a few pouches of the spices in case we ran out of the seasoned flour and we would have to run to the grocery store and buy flour and then add the seasonings.

  8. Leanne Weatherford

    Here is a recipe I was given years ago. I am not sure where it came from, but it taste just like KFC.

    1 frying chicken, cut into frying pieces
    1 1/2 cups flour
    1 Pkt. (dry) Good Seasons Italian Dressing (THE 11 herbs and spices!)
    1 Envelope Lipton (or other brand) Tomato Cup of Soup
    2 eggs, well beaten
    2/3 cup milk
    Vegetable oil to cover bottom of your skillet; about 1/2 inch deep.

    1. Combine eggs and milk. Set aside.
    2. Combine flour with the Italian dressing and soup mix.
    3. Dip chicken pieces in milk-egg mixture and roll them in the
    flour-seasoning mixture. Repeat procedure.
    4. Fry pieces over medium heat for 25 to 30 minutes, turning often.
    5. Remove from fire. Drain and serve.

    • Donna

      Sorry, but anything with MSG is out the door! Thought it’s a great rat poison!! Thanks for the heads up on MSG in KFC – I won’t be eating there again – besides, they have the worst mashed potaoes & gravy anywhere

      • Jeremy

        You are aware that MSG has never been proven to cause health problems for anyone that is not allergic to it, right? MSG occurs naturally in ingredients such as hydrolyzed vegetable protein, autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed yeast, yeast extract, soy extracts, and protein isolate, as well as in tomatoes and cheeses. It only causes allergic reactions in people that are sensitive to it, like peanuts, shellfish, or any other food out there. It’s not a poison.

      • Rick Wright

        Thanks for saying what I was thinking. But I doubt you’ll convince someone who has irrational fears.

  9. Dennis

    I happen to have a jar of Fines Herbs in my cabinet. The listed ingredients are Thyme, Oregano, Sage, Rosemary, Marjoram, Basil.

    • nico

      do you know what msg is and where to get it ???
      MSG is located in the spice section of your grocery store, it is also is known as ‘Accent’ ~Stephanie

  10. ron

    i saw on unwrapped a cooking show that did kfc’s chicken and the coating mix has dried milk powder added to it.the chicken is put into an egg wash turned 7 times and then into the breading,and also turned 7 times no more no less.the original was fried in open fry pans but now they cook the chicken in pressure cookers timing i’m not sure of.pressure cooking cooks faster and gives that really crispy skin that we all love.if they’d serve just the skin with all the breading and spices on it i’d be the first in line . as far as i’m concered the skin is the best part. also if anyone has the recipe for they’re gravey i’d love to have a copy.
    thanks hope this helps a little on the kfc

    • Kami

      I do happen to have a recipe for the gravy I read on a copykat site, might have even been this one. make a roux in the bottom of your saucepan with 2T butter and flour until the flour is nice and chocolate brown. Slowly add 2 C stock, add salt, pepper and couple teaspoons MSG (the MSG gives it the distinctive flavor, the roux gives it the color) cook about an hour, stirring consistently, or until thickened and will thicken more as it stands. If it seems a little thin, more roux to start will maintain it’s color, but if it’s thin at the finish and you find yourself wanting to add more flour, it will taste the same but won’t be as brown.

      • Stephanie

        I appreciate your suggestion. I would add just a bit of caution here, some people are allergic to MSG. So if you are sensitive to MSG, omit this, I think the gravy would still be tasty.

      • Laura

        2% of the world population is allergic to MSG. Most people don’t even know that the products they consume contain MSG. If you want it to taste good, add the damn MSG

    • Anonymous

      We used pressure cookers 50 years ago and there wasn’t anything about doing the thing about 7 times. We did it twice at that time.

  11. Amy

    I just tried this last week. It is very very close to KFC. Close enough that the recipe is going to be used over and over in at my house. It is very salty so I do recommend cutting down on or even cutting out the 1 TB of salt. The seasoning salt is plenty. I didn’t have FInes Herbs so I substituted kroger brand poultry seasoning. I also mixed eggs and milk to dip the chicken in first instead of the water and I dipped the chicken twice in the egg bath and flour mixture. I let the chicken rest for a few minutes while the oil heated so that the flour had time to absorb the moisture and actually stay on the chicken while frying. My husband who never eats chicken even ate it and asked for more.

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