The super-secret recipe developed by the late Harland David "Colonel" Sanders for Kentucky Fried Chicken may finally have been uncovered.
KFC Corp. has kept the handwritten recipe of 11 herbs and spices safely guarded in a vault for years, according to the Chicago Tribune. It also uses two different suppliers to prepare the recipe so that no one single entity can uncover the secret blend.
During a trip to Corbin, Kentucky, where Sanders first served his chicken more than 75 years ago, Jay Jones of the Chicago Tribune came across a handwritten recipe featuring 11 herbs and spices in a scrapbook belonging to the Colonel’s second wife, Claudia Ledington.
Claudia passed away in 1996 and left many things behind for her family in the scrapbook, including what may be the secret Kentucky Fried Chicken recipe.
The handwritten note on the back of her will and testament lists 11 herbs and spices and their measurements.
If this is in fact the secret Kentucky Fried Chicken recipe, then one could create it at home with two cups of flour, 2/3 tablespoons of salt, 1/2 tablespoon of thyme, 1/2 tablespoon of basil, 1/3 tablespoon of oregano, one tablespoon of celery salt, one tablespoon of black pepper, one tablespoon of dried mustard, four tablespoons of paprika, two tablespoons of garlic salt, one tablespoon of ground ginger and three tablespoons of white pepper.
Joe Ledington, Sanders’ nephew, told Jones that the recipe is legitimate.
“That is the original 11 herbs and spices that were supposed to be so secretive,” he said.
But later, speaking with an editor at the paper, Joe slightly changed his stance.
"It could be; I don't know for sure," he said about the handwritten recipe. "I've only had that album for four years, since my sister passed away."
The Chicago Tribune put the recipe to the test in the kitchen.
Its conclusion: Yes, it does taste like the Colonel's recipe, but only after some of the MSG flavor-enhancer Accent is sprinkled on top of the fried chicken.
“Our chicken was virtually indistinguishable from the batch bought at KFC,” the paper's Joe Gray wrote on Aug. 19. "Does KFC add MSG? A KFC spokesperson confirms that it does use it in the Original Recipe chicken."
The Chicago Tribune believes the recipe Jones uncovered is the real deal.
When Jones contacted Yum! Brands, KFC’s parent corporation, to verify if it was indeed the Colonel’s Original Recipe, a spokesman would not give a straight yes or no answer.
"Lots of people through the years have claimed to discover or figure out the secret recipe, but no one's ever been right,” the spokesman said via email.