The secret to KFC's success is the Seven Herbs and Spices. It's the what makes the chicken so finger lickin' good. The secret of the KFC recipe is much like the secret of Microsoft's source code in that they are both two of the most closely guarded secrets around. The difference between the two is that you feel less sick and greasy after eating KFC than you do after using Windows.

From the Kentucky Fried Chicken website:

KFC has learned that an internet hoax falsely claims that we are not using real chickens to make Kentucky Fried Chicken products. In order to lend an air of authenticity to the hoax, the hoax refers to a study supposedly done by the University of New Hampshire. The University of New Hampshire internet web site confirms that "there is no such research or study that was done here." Simply said, there is no truth to the hoax. Our chicken is purchased through many of the same suppliers that you might find in your local grocery store. Our chicken meets or exceeds USDA standards and it must pass our own rigorous internal quality guidelines.

This internet hoax is intended to destroy the trust that you have placed in KFC to provide high quality chicken meals at all of our restaurants. Although we hope that readers of the hoax will recognize it as obviously false, we take this or any other attack on the quality of KFC's product seriously. Accordingly, we intend to identify and prosecute the originators of the hoax to the maximum extent permitted by law.


So there.
The secret behind KFC's is quite simple, actually: MSG. That's right, our old buddy monosodium glutamate. Batter chicken with some o' this, flour, salt and a little black pepper and fry up some of your own finger lickin' goodness.

Now that's what I call open-source KFC.

According to the KFC website, the recipe is soo closely guarded, that only a few souls on this Earth know what is actually in it (and they are probably under horrible NDA). The company even goes as far as having two companies prepare the half of the batter, so that neither knows exactly what is in it.

The Eleven Herbs and Spices were scientifically analysed by John Stossel a few years back.

    In order of prevalence
  1. flour
  2. flour
  3. flour
  4. flour
  5. flour
  6. flour
  7. flour
  8. flour
  9. flour
  10. salt
  11. pepper

A persistent rumour claims that Kentucky Fried Chicken shortened its official name to 'KFC' because genetic manipulation had supposedly made the meat used to no longer be legally classifiable as chicken. This is patently ridiculous, as scrutiny of the menu in any KFC—or, for that matter, the quote in Twiin's writeup elsewhere on this page—shows that their chicken is indeed referred to as chicken, repeatedly and with no legalistic quibbling. Yet, the rumour persists; like the absurdist supposed description of life in the 1500's, like the infamous Good Times virus hoax, like the supposed speech by Kurt Vonnegut, like the saccharine e-mail forward attributed to George Carlin, like any number of jokes that become folklore through quiet removal of inconvenient plausibility-destroying details, this dandelion-hardy rumour stands as testament to the extraordinary credulity of human beings.

Oh, and as for the Colonel's secret recipe, William Poundstone in his book Big Secrets found Original Recipe chicken to contain eight and only eight ingredients: chicken (of course), cooking oil, skim milk, eggs, flour, salt, black pepper, and MSG. No matter—even if you made an exact duplicate of their chicken, they'd still outsell you on name recognition alone.

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