Call it ChikiLeaks.
One of the most famous “secret recipes” in the world may have just been revealed online.
A relative of Col. Harland Sanders, the late founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, appears to have shown off a copy of his blend of 11 herbs and spices to the Chicago Tribune.
Joe Ledington, a nephew of the poultry pioneer, shared the recipe from a scrapbook he says belonged to his father’s sister, Claudia Ledington, who married Sanders in 1949.
You can see the full recipe in the clip above and image below, but the blend is largely made of ingredients found on nearly any home spice rack ― with one possible exception, especially at the time the recipe was first written.
“The main ingredient is white pepper,” Ledington told the Tribune. “I call that the secret ingredient. Nobody (in the 1950s) knew what white pepper was. Nobody knew how to use it.”
The company insists this isn’t the recipe.
“Many people have made these claims over the years and no one has been accurate — this one isn’t either,” a spokesperson emailed the Louisville Courier-Journal. “Though, we imagine that might make some tasty fried chicken, too.”
“I don’t want to get in an argument with Yum! Brands about it but ... I’m pretty sure that it’s pretty close to the original,” he told the Courier-Journal.
KFC says on its website that the secret recipe is locked inside a 770-pound digital safe protected by two feet of concrete and motion sensors.
The company says:
And the secret blend of KFC’s 11 herbs and spices is so secret that not even the company that produces the blend knows the exact formulation. The spice blend is shipped from different locations in the United States before the final blending. We’ve got to keep it a secret from those imitators creating KFC copycat recipes that just don’t come close to the real deal.
News organizations around the world quickly put the recipe to the test.
The Daily Mail gave it a positive review, but found chicken bought at the chain was “slightly sweeter and saltier.”
“Comparing my fried chook to some KFC from down the road, there’s an astounding difference,” declared Stuff.co.nz. “I think the Colonel may be sad about his legacy’s state of affairs.”
“It was delicious,” declared News.com.au. “But not yet something I could pass off as KFC.”
It seems there may be one missing ingredient ― something Col. Sanders didn’t use. When the Tribune did its own taste test, they also found it wasn’t quite like KFC... until someone added MSG.
“That did the trick,” wrote the paper’s food and dining editor, Joe Gray. “Our chicken was virtually indistinguishable from the batch bought at KFC.”
The company confirmed to the newspaper that they do indeed add MSG to its Original Recipe chicken ― perhaps making it not quite the original recipe after all.