KFC unearths Colonel Sanders’ secret recipes

By Karen Flores, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at May 31 2012 01:08 PM | Updated as of Jun 01 2012 08:12 PM

KFC unearths Colonel Sanders’ secret recipes 1
A statue of Kentucky Fried Chicken founder Colonel Harland Sanders is displayed during a KFC event in Manila. Photo by Karen Flores, ABS-CBNnews.com

MANILA, Philippines – A restaurant employee recently unearthed a half-inch thick manuscript written by Kentucky Fried Chicken's Colonel Harland Sanders himself while digging through the fast food chain’s archives in the United States.

The decades-old document is filled with 35 of Sanders’ most treasured recipes for dishes ranging from pancakes to pies, as well as heaps of advice.

But fans of KFC’s “original” chicken should not get too excited – the secret behind the fast food chain’s signature product is not included in Sanders’ manuscript. It is still locked away in a vault, with only a select few knowing about the 11-ingredient recipe, which is also included in KFC’s gravy.

“Only a handful of people in the world know the recipe,” said Jennifer Cunanan, KFC’s category manager for the Philippines.

Two thousand copies of the Colonel’s manuscript will be released worldwide on June 5 so cooks will have a chance to whip up Sanders’ recipes at home.

It will also be made available online for free. Here in the country, the manuscript will be available for download at the KFC Philippines Facebook page.

Top secret

The so-called 11 secret herbs and spices of KFC's original recipe chicken

Source: The Internet Today

  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons Accent (an MSG-based seasoning)

Sanders is considered the world’s first celebrity chef as he gained popularity for his cooking way before the term became widely used in recent years.

He came up with KFC’s “original” chicken, one of the world’s safely-guarded food secrets, in 1940.

Even the general manager of KFC chains here in the Philippines, Cha-Cha Juinio, said she has no clue as to what the 11 herbs and spices are, especially since these are mixed in different locations in the US.

“I’ve worked with the [KFC] brand for 17 years,” Juinio said. “But I don’t know the secret, either.”

“I only know two, salt and pepper,” she said in jest.

Not surprisingly, several versions of the recipe were posted online as people struggle to copy Sanders’ most profitable dish.

One of them is the website called “The Internet Today,” which published 11 "leaked" ingredients including two types of salt, an MSG-based seasoning, and a variety of spices.


On Wednesday, members of the media were given a taste of one of Sanders’ recipes in his manuscript – the hushpuppies.

A popular dish in Kentucky, hushpuppies are deep-fried savory balls made from cornmeal batter usually served with meat or chicken.

Chef Sharwin Tee of the Lifestyle Network’s “Curiosity Got the Chef” gave his own twist to the Colonel’s recipe by adding two different types of cheese and peach and basil ketchup.

KFC unearths Colonel Sanders’ secret recipes 2
Chef Sharwin Tee prepares his own version of the Colonel's hushpuppies. Photo by Karen Flores, ABS-CBNnews.com

“It’s crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside,” Tee said about the dish. “It goes well with fried chicken. It’s very Kentucky.”

Tee then gave some tips when preparing Sanders’ hushpuppies. “When frying, just add five pieces at a time to the pan. Too much will make the oil go cold,” he said,

“This would also taste better with gravy,” he added.

Double cheese hush puppies with peach and basil ketchup

By Chef Sharwin Tee, inspired by Colonel Sanders’ recipe

KFC unearths Colonel Sanders’ secret recipes 3
The hushpuppies are crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. Photo by Karen Flores, ABS-CBNnews.com


  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup fresh milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 onion
  • 40 g blue cheese
  • 60 g mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 4 pcs peach (canned)
  • 8 basil leaves
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Black pepper


  1. In a bowl, mix together cornmeal, flour, salt, cayenne pepper, baking soda and baking powder.
  2. In another bowl, mix together egg and milk. Grate onion into the milk mixture.
  3. Pour milk mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk, coming up with a pancake batter-like texture.
  4. Add in grated mozzarella cheese and crumbled blue cheese into the mixture and mix well.
  5. Fry hush puppies by the tablespoon until golden.
  6. To make the sauce, blend together ketchup, peaches and basil. Season with cayenne pepper and black pepper.
  7. Serve family style with sauce or as a side dish.