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Homemade KFC Fried Chicken

This recipe is adapted from the original KFC Fried Chicken recipe published in the Chicago Tribune.  Instead of 11 herbs and spices, it is simplified to fewer ingredients without sacrificing flavor. 

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword chicken
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 6


Marinate overnight or at least 2 hours in the fridge

  • 3 lb chicken parts about 1 whole chicken
  • 1 Tb salt
  • 1 tsp sugar

Whisk together in a separate bowl:

  • 1 1/2 c all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 Tb salt
  • 2 Tb paprika
  • 2 Tb garlic powder
  • 3 Tb Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tb black pepper
  • 1 Tb dried mustard
  • 1 Tb ground ginger
  • 2 tsp chicken bouillon powder
  • 2 Tb white pepper

Wet ingredient for dredging in a separate bowl

  • 1 1/2 c buttermilk

For frying

  • 4 c oil


  1. Mix up the chicken with the salt and sugar.  Let marinate at least 2 hours to overnight.  This will impart extra flavor to the chicken, so each bite is juicy and flavored. 

  2. Whisk together all the flour ingredients in a large bowl.  Coat each chicken piece with flour.  Have a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or foil to put the coated chicken in. 

  3. Dip chicken pieces in buttermilk, then pack in the flour, and back to the lined sheet pan.  

  4. Let chicken rest for 30 minutes so the flour coating sticks to the chicken.  You can put the chicken in the fridge or at room temperature. 

  5. Heat oil in a pan to 375 degrees.  If you don't have a thermometer, it will start to look swirly.  You want to catch the oil before it starts smoking.  You can test the oil by dropping a bit of flour crumb into the oil to see if it starts bubbling. If it does nothing and sinks to the bottom, the oil is too cold. 

  6. Drop chicken pieces into hot oil in 1 layer.  You may need to do this in 2-3 batches depending on how big your pan is.  Fry for 4-5 minutes, flip with tongs, and fry until golden brown.  It may look light golden, but you really want to leave the chicken inside the oil until it is a rich, dark golden brown.  

  7. Remove chicken from oil onto a rack or paper towels to drain excess oil.  Let chicken cool for 5-10 minutes before the first bite to avoid burning your tongue. 

Recipe Notes

  1. Bake until a thermometer registers 140 degrees in the thickest part of the meat. 
  2. If you prick open a piece, the juices should run clear.  If they are tinged pink, the chicken needs to cook longer.  Check again in 5-10 minutes. 
  3. The chicken will stay very crispy for the first hour after cooking. 
  4. Store in a 200 degree oven to stay warm, and eat within a couple hours. 
  5. After the first hour, the chicken will be less cripsy but still tasty.