From its elusive eleven herbs and spices to its out of this world crunch, KFC is perfection in a bucket. The actual recipe is a closely guarded secret, but this copycat recipe will show you how to make KFC chicken recipe at home all the way down to the crispiness KFC is famous for. No one will be able to taste the difference when you recreate this famous recipe at home.
What makes KFC fried chicken so special?
KFC is special in part because the recipe has always been such a secret. Cooks have tried and failed to recreate the KFC crispy chicken recipe at home, but it has never turned out quite as good as what was found in the crispy buckets of goodness. A breakthrough came when a Chicago Tribune reporter visited the nephew of Colonel Sanders. The reporter managed to snap a quick picture of a copy of the original recipe that was stored in a scrapbook. He tested the recipe and lo and behold, it was not too far off from the chicken we all know and love today.
Besides the secrecy surrounding the original recipe, the eleven herbs and spices in KFC chicken provides the perfect mix of sweet, salty, and savory. The affordable prices, total convenience, and famous crunch seals the deal. A few tweaks to the recipe from the scrapbook was all it took to produce chicken that tastes like it is fresh from the nearest KFC restaurant.
The preparation work to copycat KFC chicken
The best fried chicken requires at least a little bit of planning in order to achieve the best results. It is not a last minute meal idea on a busy night because the process cannot be rushed. The chicken should be thoroughly thawed, and the oil should be heated to 350 degrees prior to beginning the recipe. KFC’s rule is “from flour to fryer,” so you don’t want to let the coated chicken sit while the oil heats up. All the tools of the trade should be lined up and ready to go, and you should plan to cook the chicken in small batches to avoid overfilling the fryer.
An assembly line approach is the most practical. Lay out a bowl for the egg wash, a bowl for the flour mixture, the prepared fryer, tongs, and a cooling rack placed over a paper-towel lined cookie sheet. The cooling rack is important because you want to avoid placing the freshly fried chicken directly on a paper towel. Doing so causes the breading to trap steam and become soft. Chicken must be cooked to the proper temperature, so you also want to make sure you have a meat thermometer, like the ThermoPro meat thermometer, to check for doneness.
When making large batches of fried chicken, preheat the oven to 175 degrees before starting. This way, you can “hold” the chicken until it is ready to be served, just like they do at KFC.
How to make KFC style fried chicken?
Now that everything is in place, it is time to cook!
- 1 chicken, cut into 10 pieces (2 wings, 2 legs, 2 thighs, and 2 breasts cut in half)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- 1 Tablespoon black pepper
- 3 Tablespoons white pepper
- 2/3 Tablespoons salt
- ½ Tablespoon dried thyme leaves
- ½ Tablespoon dried basil leaves
- 1/3 Tablespoon dried oregano leaves
- 1 Tablespoon celery salt
- 1 Tablespoon dried mustard
- 4 Tablespoons paprika
- 2 Tablespoons garlic salt
- 1 Tablespoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons Accent Seasoning (aka MSG. This is optional, but recommended for an authentic taste.)
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Preheat the oil in the fryer in either an electric deep fryer or a large heavy pot. Cast iron is a great choice. The oil should be at least five inches high in order to fully submerge the chicken pieces.
- In the first bowl, whisk the buttermilk and egg together.
- Thoroughly mix the herbs and spices together. Whisk this mixture together with the flour in the second bowl until thoroughly combined.
- Working in batches, dip the chicken in in the egg wash and then into the seasoned flour. From the flour, put the chicken directly into the fryer. Do not allow the breaded chicken to sit or the breading will not stick to the chicken. Be careful not to overload the fryer.
- Fry the breasts and wings for 12-14 minutes. Legs and thighs should cook for 14-16 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the fryer and drain on the wire rack. Do not put the chicken directly on the paper towels or the chicken could become soft.
How to get perfect KFC style chicken?
The outside might look crispy and golden, but that does not necessarily mean the chicken is ready to eat. Chicken is considered safe to eat when the internal temperature is 165 degrees. Insert the ThermoPro meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat to check for doneness. If it is not up to temperature, put it in the oven at 175 degrees for 20 minutes. KFC “holds” its chicken in this way to ensure it is thoroughly cooked, and this temperature keeps the skin crispy. Test the temperature again before serving.
It can be difficult to exactly replicate KFC’s signature texture at home thanks to the restaurant’s use of industrial fryers. However, a high quality home fryer or even a large cast iron skillet goes a long way towards tasty fried chicken. The seasoning for almost all of KFC’s chicken is the same, so you can adapt the recipe as desired. Wondering how to make KFC spicy chicken? Add one Tablespoon of cayenne pepper to the spice mixture. Prefer grilled chicken? Omit the flour but rub the seasoning mix on chicken thighs for a grilled chicken thigh recipe.
KFC fried chicken is a timeless favorite that can be made at home with the help of the ThermoPro meat thermometer. Buy one today, and then try this classic recipe. You will be glad you did.