Here’s the Secret That Makes KFC’s Fried Chicken So Crispy

Not all fried chicken is created equal. Below, KFC's secret recipe for drumstick perfection is revealed.

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Nothing says comfort food quite like a bucket of fried chicken. But few places do it better than the aptly named Kentucky Fried Chicken, one of the most popular fast food restaurants, 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.

Eleven secret spices

Want 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. This is what makes consumers come back and want more—even making some want it so much they K-F-C them in court with fast-food lawsuits!

  • 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

Fry immediately

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 to deep fry with your at-home pressure cooker, you can still recreate the KFC crunch with a deep fryer, a Dutch oven, or a heavy-bottomed pot. Simply heat your oil to 350 or 360 degrees F and leave each piece in for exactly 12 minutes.

This is how to make fried chicken that’s better than KFC.

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 a monosodium glutamate (MSG) flavor enhancer. You can add this into your seasoning mix before breading or sprinkle it on the chicken after frying. Can’t find Accent at the grocery store? No problem! Purchase it 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. There seems to be a method to the madness behind all the iconic menu items at fast food chains and we can’t get enough! Oh, and if you’re dealing with leftovers, these are the best ways to reheat fried chicken.

Taste of Home
Originally Published on Taste of Home