Growing up in Elora, Ontario, did not afford us many options when it came to ordering in. We didn't order take-out very often, but when we did, it was always Kentucky Fried Chicken.
In our small village of 3,500 people, there were two pizzerias and one Chinese restaurant that offered questionable food at best. So a few times per year, when it was a special occasion or my mom just didn't have time to cook, she picked up the phone and ordered KFC.
As decades flew by and food awareness grew strong, KFC lost its appeal and no longer resonated with me as a weekend treat. That is until I read a recent article by Esquire that rumoured the original KFC fried chicken recipe to be, you guessed it, leaked.
First thought: Are these real ingredients being used?
Second thought: Is this really the real KFC recipe?
Third thought: Mystique, we have to make this!
Much to my expectation, the recipe called for all real ingredients, though I am positive the in-store version of the recipe has a few additives. The article also mentioned that when tested against a piece of KFC chicken, it didn't taste identical because of the MSG ingredient (who really knows). Either way, we made it. While I've never made true deep fried chicken before, I had all the ingredients and used my basic chicken brining recipe – dipping the chicken in buttermilk and egg, then dredging in flour and frying in peanut oil.
The crust was crispy, savoury with a touch of spice to it, the chicken was tender and moist. Keeping aligned with childhood nostalgia, we paired it with homemade crispy baked fries and coleslaw. While the recipe didn't exactly resemble my childhood KFC days it was still finger licking good, and continues to fall into the category of a once a few years kind of treat.
Give it a try and tell us what you think.
Bon appetit xo
Ready to eat? Get the printable version of this recipe below.
Homemade Kentucky Fried Chicken
- 6 whole chicken legs split into thighs and drumsticks
- 4 cups water
- 3 tbsp salt
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 ½ cups sheep's milk or buttermilk if no lactose sensitivity
- 1 tbsp vinegar only if using regular milk
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ⅔ tbsp salt
- ½ tbsp thyme
- ½ tbsp Basil
- ⅓ tbsp oregano
- 1 tbsp celery salt
- 1 tbsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp dried mustard
- 4 tbsp paprika
- 2 tbsp garlic salt
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 3 tbsp white pepper
- 4 cups peanut oil for frying
- No. 1 | In a sauce pan, warm water with 3 tbsp of salt and 2 tbsp of sugar until dissolved. Allow to cool completely and add chicken pieces, cover and place in your fridge for a minimum of 8 hours.
- No. 2 | Take the chicken out of the fridge, remove from brine and pat dry. Leave it on the countertop for 30 minutes to remove the chill before cooking. In a bowl, whisk together the milk, vinegar and egg. In another dish, stir together the flour and 11 herbs and spices.
- No. 3 | Place all of the chicken in the milk bowl. Using one piece of chicken at a time, dredge it in the flour mixture, and set aside on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Repeat the process, until all pieces are well coated.
- No. 4 | In a wide pot, heat a couple inches of oil to 325 F. (It should be hot, but not smoking)
- No. 5 | Cook 3-4 pieces at a time, without crowding the pot, for 12-15 minutes. The larger pieces will take a few minutes longer.
- No. 6 | Set aside on another rack set over a baking sheet while you finish the rest. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken, without touching the bone. The cooked pieces should register 160 F.