The colonel's secret recipe revealed? Not so fast, says KFC (2024)

  • A reporter visited with Joe Ledington, a nephew of Kentucky Fried Chicken founder Colonel Harland David Sanders
  • The reporter was working on a story for the Chicago Tribune about Corbin, Kentucky, where the colonel served his first fried chicken
  • At one point, Ledington pulled out a family scrapbook containing the last will and testament of Sanders' second wife, Claudia Ledington
  • On the back of the document is a handwritten list for a blend of 11 herbs and spices to be mixed with two cups of white flour
  • While Joe Ledington initially told the reporter that it was the original recipe, he later said that he didn't know for sure
  • KFCsays that the recipe the reporter saw is not the real thing

By Associated Press

Published: | Updated:

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KFC is insisting a recipe discovered in a scrapbook belonging to Colonel Sanders' nephew is not authentic.

However, that hasn't stopped rampant online speculation that one of the most legendary and closely guarded secrets in the history of fast food has been exposed.

It all started when a Chicago Tribune reporter visited with Joe Ledington, a nephew of Kentucky Fried Chicken founder Colonel Harland David Sanders.

Joe Ledington, of Corbin, Kentucky, holds a 1980s photo of him with his uncle, Colonel Harland Sanders, who created his world-famous Kentucky Fried Chicken in his Corbin cafe

A handwritten list of 11 herbs and spices, jotted down on the back of the will of Claudia Sanders, the late wife of Colonel Harland Sanders who created his world-famous Kentucky Fried Chicken, is displayed

The reporter was working on a story for the Tribune's travel section about Corbin, Kentucky, where the colonel served his first fried chicken.

At one point, Ledington pulled out a family scrapbook containing the last will and testament of Sanders' second wife, Claudia Ledington.

On the back of the document is a handwritten list for a blend of 11 herbs and spices to be mixed with two cups of white flour.

While Joe Ledington initially told the reporter that it was the original recipe, he later said that he didn't know for sure.

Colonel Harland Sanders is pictured in this file photograph

Joanne Gould tried out the recipe that was discovered in the scrapbook. She said: 'I think it is safe to say that this is probably the correct original recipe'

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KFC — which is a subsidiary of Yum Brands Inc. — calls its recipe 'one of the biggest trade secrets in the world'.

It says that the recipe the reporter saw is not the real thing.

'Many people have made these claims over the years and no one has been accurate — this one isn't either,' KFC said in a statement.

The Louisville, Kentucky-based company says that the original recipe from 1940 handwritten by Sanders is locked up in a digital safe that's encased in two feet of concrete and monitored 24 hours a day by a video and motion detection surveillance system.

Joe Ledington could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday.

Above, a commemorative representation of the 11 secret herbs and spices Colonel Harland Sanders made famous in his recipe for Kentucky Fried Chicken

THE ORIGINAL 11 SPICES SECRET RECIPE?

Prep: 30 minutes

Soak: 20-30 minutes

Cook: 15-18 minutes

Makes: 4 servings

2 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 tablespoon salt

1/2 tablespoon dried thyme leaves

1/2 tablespoon dried basil leaves

1/3 tablespoon dried oregano leaves

1 tablespoon celery salt

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon dried mustard

4 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons garlic salt

1 tablespoon ground ginger

3 tablespoons ground white pepper

1 cup buttermilk

1 egg, beaten

1 chicken, cut up, the breast pieces cut in half for more even frying

Expeller-pressed canola oil

1 Mix the flour in a bowl with all the herbs and spices; set aside.

2 Mix the buttermilk and egg together in a separate bowl until combined. Soak the chicken in the buttermilk mixture at room temperature, 20-30 minutes.

3 Remove chicken from the buttermilk, allowing excess to drip off. Dip the chicken pieces in the herb-spice-flour mixture to coat all sides, shaking off excess. Allow to sit on a rack over a baking sheet, 20 minutes.

4 Meanwhile, heat about 3 inches of the oil in a large Dutch oven (or similar heavy pot with high sides) over medium-high heat to 350 degrees. (Use a deep-frying thermometer to check the temperature.) When temperature is reached, lower the heat to medium to maintain it at 350. Fry 3 or 4 pieces at a time, being careful not to crowd the pot. Fry until medium golden brown, turning once, 15-18 minutes. Transfer chicken pieces to a baking sheet covered with paper towels. Allow the oil to return to temperature before adding more chicken. Repeat with remaining chicken.

- The Chicago Tribune

KFCChicago

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The colonel's secret recipe revealed? Not so fast, says KFC (4)

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The colonel's secret recipe revealed? Not so fast, says KFC (2024)

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