Cookbook Author Todd Wilbur Reveals KFC's Top Secret Chicken Recipe

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A new cookbook will reveal the secrets to making a perfect copy of KFC's Original Recipe Chicken

Top Secret Recipes Step-by-Step by Todd Wilbur

Top Secret Recipes Step-by-Step by Todd Wilbur

It wasn't always what they said that gave me the information I needed. It was also what they didn't say or suspiciously refused to confirm."

Food hacker Todd Wilbur says he knows what's in one of America's most protected secret recipes and he is now sharing his discovery with the world in a new cookbook.

After speaking with close friends of Harlan Sanders and visiting the kitchen where The Colonel's famous recipe was created, Wilbur has developed a formula that he says makes a perfect clone of KFC Original Recipe Fried Chicken.

While shooting his 2011 CMT TV Show, Top Secret Recipe, Wilbur talked at length with two of Colonel Sanders' former friends, each of whom saw Sanders' handwritten page of 11 herbs and spices that is the foundation of today's $23 billion worldwide fried chicken chain.

Wilbur interviewed Winston Shelton, President and founder of Winston Industries who, for many years, provided KFC restaurants with pressure fryers for cooking the chicken; and Shirley Topmiller, Sanders' longtime personal assistant.

In one instance while taping the show, Shelton pulled Wilbur aside and whispered to him that tellicherry pepper was the secret ingredient that gives KFC Chicken it's distinct aftertaste. Apparently Shelton did not realize that the cameras were rolling and had recorded the entire conversation.

"But it wasn't always what they said that gave me the information I needed," says Wilbur. "It was also what they didn't say or what they suspiciously refused to confirm that gave me the clues I needed to come up with the perfect recipe."

Wilbur was also granted access to KFC's test kitchen at company headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky, and he was allowed inside the kitchen at the Harlan Sanders Cafe in Corbin Kentucky, where the original recipe was developed in the 1940's. Wilbur used additional clues gathered from these locations, such as cooking times and temperatures, plus tidbits he picked up from employee interviews and digging through dumpsters behind KFC stores to create his final clone recipe.

Over the next several years Wilbur spent many hours of testing in his own kitchen to determine proper measurements and cooking times to perfect what he says is the best KFC Original Recipe Chicken clone ever revealed. According to Wilbur, the 11 herbs and spices in the secret recipe are:

tellicherry pepper
white pepper
onion powder
garlic powder
cayenne pepper

Wilbur reveals the recipe and cooking technique in his new cookbook, Top Secret Recipes Step-by-Step (Plume) that comes out on November 17th. He also shares his recipes for KFC's Grilled Chicken and Cole Slaw along with recipes for dozens of other popular brand-name foods.

Todd Wilbur has been hacking famous foods since 1987 and has authored 11 Top Secret Recipes cookbooks with over 5 million books in print. He has appeared on many popular shows including The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Dr. Oz Show, Good Morning America, Today Show, Rachael Ray, Extra and The Steve Harvey Show. He has the #1 copycat recipes website:, and lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.


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