The Top-Secret KFC ‘11 Herbs and Spices’ Recipe May Have Been Just Revealed

A reporter at the Chicago Tribune figured out the recipe after interviewing Colonel Sanders’ nephew and former employee

Alert the Colonel: The secret is out.

Since the mid-twentieth century, one of the biggest marketing ploys of Kentucky Fried Chicken was the mysterious 11 herbs and spices used to coat their fried chicken. There have been many attempts to crack the recipe code before, and until now it’s stayed under lock and key. But after interviewing Colonel Sanders’ nephew and former employee Joe Ledington, Chicago Tribune reporter Jay Jones thinks he has uncovered the secret that the Colonel’s descendants have closely guarded all these years. Here is the recipe in all of its greasy, juicy glory:

11 spices — mix with 2 cups white flour

1) 2/3 teaspoon salt

2) 1/2 teaspoon thyme

3) 1/2 teaspoon basil

4) 1/3 teaspoon oregano

5) 1 teaspoon celery salt

6) 1 teaspoon black pepper

7) 1 teaspoon dried mustard

8) 4 teaspoons paprika

9) 2 teaspoons garlic salt

10) 1 teaspoon ground ginger

11) 3 teaspoons white pepper

The secret ingredient, Ledington says, is the white pepper. Back in the 1950s when the recipe was first being developed, “no one knew how to use white pepper,” he told the Chicago Tribune.

When Jones asked if the recipe was correct, KFC responded:


"In the 1940's, Colonel Sanders developed the original recipe chicken to be sold at his gas station diner. At the time, the recipe was written above the door so anyone could have read it. But today, we go to great lengths to protect such a sacred blend of herbs and spices. In fact, the recipe ranks among America's most valuable trade secrets. Lots of people through the years have claimed to discover or figure out the secret recipe, but no one's ever been right."