Here’s the Secret That Makes KFC’s Fried Chicken So Crispy
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Not all fried chicken is created equal. Below, KFC's secret recipe to drumstick perfection is revealed.
Nothing says comfort food quite like a bucket of fried chicken. But few places do it better than the aptly-named Kentucky Fried Chicken, especially when paired with creamy mashed potatoes and a buttery biscuit.
What sets Kentucky Fried Chicken apart from the rest? It’s not just their affordable prices and convenience, it’s also how crispy they’re able to make their chicken (there’s a reason it’s called extra crispy!). Now, you can recreate KFC’s secret recipe at home by following the steps below. We bet you won’t even be able to taste a difference. One thing we already know: why KFC changed its name from Kentucky Fried Chicken.
11 secret spices
To really nail the traditional flavor of Kentucky Fried Chicken, it’s all about their 11-spice seasoning blend. Combine KFC’s secret recipe for its breading with two cups of flour to thoroughly coat your chicken pieces after dipping in an egg and milk wash.
- 2/3 tablespoon salt
- 3 tablespoons white pepper
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1/2 tablespoon basil
- 1 tablespoon celery salt
- 1 tablespoon dried mustard
- 2 tablespoons garlic salt
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1/3 tablespoon oregano
- 4 tablespoons paprika
- 1/2 tablespoon thyme
Some insist that you should let the coated chicken sit before frying. Not at KFC—their rule is “from flour to fryer.” If the chicken is left to sit, the breading will soften for a less-than-crispy result and the skin will fall off the chicken too easily.
All about the fryer
KFC swears by high temperature, industrial-strength pressure fryers for their extra-crispy skin. While you won’t be able at deep fry with your at home pressure cooker, you can still recreate the KFC crunch with a deep fryer, a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot. Simply heat your oil to 350 or 360 degrees and leave each piece in for exactly 12 minutes.
Never fried chicken before? Try this fried chicken recipe that’s been viewed over 200,000 times.
The real secret ingredient
According to Ron Douglas, author of America’s Most Wanted Recipes, the real key to the perfect crispy texture is one thing: Accent, which is monosodium glutamate (MSG) flavor enhancer. You can add this into your seasoning mix before breading or sprinkle it on the chicken after frying. If you’re cooking at home, here’s how to tell if your chicken is bad. Regardless, it’s a must. Can’t find Accent at the grocery store? No problem! Purchase here.
Take a rest
Biting into a piece of chicken right out of the fryer isn’t the smartest idea. At Kentucky Fried Chicken, they “hold” the chicken in an oven set to 175 degrees for about 20 minutes according to a former employee. This allows the chicken to finish cooking while keeping it warm and the skin crunchy. Do the same by holding your fried chicken in a warm oven for a few minutes.
Even if you follow the above step by step, cracking the crispy skin code may be difficult to do at home. That’s because the texture we all love and crave is largely due to their method of cooking—and if you don’t have a restaurant-grade pressure fryer, it can be tough to recreate. Here’s everything you need to know about making irresistible fried chicken at home.