KFC’s Top Secret ’11 Herbs And Spices’ Was Leaked By Colonel Sanders’ Nephew

KFC's top secret '11 herbs and spices' was allegedly leaked by Colonel Sanders' own nephew.
Credit: Alamy & Chicago Tribune

Have you ever wondered what KFC’s ’11 herbs and spices’ are? Well, they were allegedly leaked by Colonel Sanders’ own nephew.

The fast food chain, which was established by the recognisable Colonel Sanders, is known for its ‘finger-licking good’ menu.

Over the years, many have questioned what makes KFC’s chicken so good –  some are convinced it’s the mysterious ’11 herbs and spices’ that are used to season its dishes.

Well, the secret recipe has seemingly been leaked by Colonel Sanders’ very own flesh and blood.

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People have gone to great lengths to keep the secret recipe away from the public.

Examples of this include KFC using an armoured truck and briefcase marked ‘Top Secret’ and beefing up security at the vault containing the Colonel’s handwritten recipe.

Another method includes using two different suppliers to prepare the 11 herbs and spices so that no single person can crack the code.

However, Jay Jones – a reporter from the Chicago Tribune – has revealed how he got his hands on the alleged recipe.

KFC chicken
Many of KFC’s fans have been left curious as to what makes its chicken so ‘finger-licking good’. Credit: Alamy

In his article, he recalls visiting the small town of Corbin, Kentucky, which is where the Colonel first began serving his legendary chicken.

He was there on assignment for a feature about Harland Sanders Cafe and Museum, which is the ‘first’ KFC and has now been turned into a tribute to the founder of the fast food chain.

Through the help of the local tourism office, Jones made contact and met up with Joe Ledington, a 67-year-old retired teacher who lives in a town nearby.

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This man was soon to be revealed as Colonel Sanders’ nephew and he apparently used to work at the cafe when he was a young boy.

Jones met with Ledington at a restaurant where he had old photo albums, documents, and a scrapbook.

He went through the scrapbook and one handwritten page caught the reporter’s eye.

In blue ink, a page is titled: “11 Spices – Mix With 2 Cups White Fl,” this is followed by a list of 11 herbs and spices and the measurements for each.

Allegedly, Ledington said: “That is the original 11 herbs and spices that were supposed to be so secretive.”

KFC's alleged 11 herbs spices recipe.
KFC’s alleged 11 herbs spices recipe. Credit: Jay Jones via Chicago Tribune

The ingredients are believed to consist of 2/3 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 1/2 teaspoon basil, 1/3 teaspoon oregano, one teaspoon celery salt, one teaspoon black pepper, one teaspoon dried mustard, four teaspoons paprika, two teaspoons garlic salt, one teaspoon ground ginger and three teaspoons white pepper.

However, Ledington claimed that the white pepper is the recipe’s ‘main ingredient’.

He alleged: “I call that [white pepper] the secret ingredient. Nobody [in the 1950s] knew what white pepper was.

“Nobody knew how to use it.”

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Written by Rosario Monachino

Rosario is a content editor at IGV who specialises in film, TV and entertainment news. He has a degree in English and Film from the University of Salford and a masters in Journalism from Liverpool John Moores University.