KFC Fried Chicken

No one makes fried chicken like 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 with this recipe for the KFC coating, and now you don’t have to worry about the secret recipe, because you can make their chicken.

overhead view of homemade KFC fried chicken on parchment paper

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Copycat KFC Fried Chicken Secret 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 especially 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 for KFC Coating

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


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 drumsticks take about 12 minutes to cook.
  12. Drain the fried chicken on a clean wire cooling 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. 
4.97 from 106 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


  • 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


  • 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.


Deep fryer
Wire rack
Baking sheet


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


  1. Dave

    OK folks. If you want the original seasoning blend from the company that used to mix it for Harlan Sanders before he sold out, it was and still is made by Marion Kay Spices and it’s their “Chicken Seasoning 99x”. Sanders liked it better than his original because Kay put in one more thing. You can google the story. It runs about $1.00 per ounce and IS the real deal. It’s just not worth arguing over what’s in it. What it is is GOOD!

  2. baltisraul

    5 stars
    DD nailed it! Thanks! I don’t understand all the fuss about MSG (Accent)? The complaint about this use of msg was that it could give people headaches. This came about in the late 50’s early 60’s concerning the use in Chinees eateries. Maybe I don’t get out enough but I have yet to meet anyone that got headaches from it’s use. It is just a flavor enhancer and we use it a LOT. If you ever eat at a Soul Food place get ready for a good dose of Accent. They buy it by the truck load! For those of you who want to duplicate KFC’s pressure cooking method, DONT USE YOUR HOME PRESSURE COOKER. iT COULD EXPLODE.

    • Stephanie

      I have some accent on hand. I am not personally sensitive to it, it really does make food taste better. I feel like the science behind it isn’t always clear. MSG exists naturally in some food. A lot of food manufactures simply call it something else. So we are still consuming it. Chick Fil A also uses MSG in their chicken as well.

  3. DD

    3 stars
    I just wanna add I worked for KFC way back when I for those of you who like Original Recipe chicken it’s all the above recipe and comment additions with the spices except its cooked in a Pressure Fryer. Very important distinction. That’s how Original recipe gets made.

    For those who like the Extra Tasty Crispy, NO Breadcrumbs. You see that step where you dunk the chicken in the water and then in the flour and herb/spices mix? Yeah, do that twice, then straight up dunk fry it. Doesn’t have to be fully submerged, but at least half covered when you fry it or the center won’t get hot enough and cook through before it burns on the outside. Honestly, the second dunk and flouring before frying is the only difference between Crispy and Original other than how they fry.

  4. happy wheels

    5 stars
    Thank for your post! It is easy to understand, detailed and meticulous! I have read many other articles about the same topic, but your article convinced me! I hope you continue to have high quality articles like this to share with veryone!

  5. Gary Moore

    Very good recipes. To make it even better, soak the chicken for 12 hours in egg and buttermilk. The acid in the buttermilk tenderizes the chicken and gives a better flavor. southern ladies have done this for years.
    use peanut or coconut oil to cook in. all other oils are not good for you. the others burn at higher heat and releases cancer chemicals.

      • Kate

        I moved from the states to Xi’an, China. Yes we have KFC here, but like most other American fast food restaurants here, the recipes are altered. The chicken here has different seasoning. So, yes it may be recognized world-wide, but it is not the same product.

      • SAR

        You can buy it on Amazon.com or here’s a recipe:

        Fines Herbes
        1 teaspoon thyme
        1 teaspoon basil
        1 teaspoon savory (grind parsley, tarragon, chives & dill)
        1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
        1 teaspoon marjoram
        1 teaspoon sage

        1. Mix together all of ingredients & store in tightly sealed glass container.

    • Lydia

      Gary Moore: using a salt brine to the soak also helps really plump up the chicken meat. Who would have thought that “bro science” at the gym would ever come in handy: excess sodium makes you….retain water, duh! Haha!

    • Sheri B.

      Avocado oil is very good for you!
      It lowers you bad cholesterol and you can use it for high heat.It does not burn like olive oil.
      Take care!

  6. Rick Wright

    I think for people who can’t find Fines herbs, or don’t like MSG or want it to be as close to the Colonels, I would read what SNUGSCAT wrote. She has first hand experience. KFC does NOT use soy sauce, and DOES use a pressure cooker. Always have. If you want the real 11 herbs and spices, see her list. Play with it to find the correct amounts.

  7. Lexie Lane

    Can’t believe KFC hasn’t taken MSG off their ingredients list yet but not sure I’d want them to change things either. They are so good and am so thankful for your recipe!

    • Mike

      If you eat tomatoes. They have sone of the highest concentration of msg in any fruit or vegetable lol. Msg is not bad for you. Check your facts first. It’s not a banned substance. Restaurant owners just put up the signs to make you feel better.

  8. RoseSiders

    This sounds amazing! Certainly cheaper than ordering the real thing 🙂 I will definitely be trying this in the very near future.

  9. Lorane Rhoden

    Nobody does it quite like KFC i tell you. I’d rather go in to have it rather than try to duplicate it

  10. Ashley @irishred02

    we no longer fry our chicken but oven bake it. I’m sure a lot of fried chicken fans will be all over this recipe

  11. Jeanine @ sixtimemommy.com

    I love KFC fried chicken. I haven’t been able to eat it for a long while because of my gallbladder and boy oh boy do I miss it. This looks so good! I will have to try it!

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