Kentucky Fried Chicken is known for its “finger-lickin’ good” chicken and sides.
While no one truly knows the 11 herbs and spices that are used in their extremely secret recipe, we do know the rest of the recipe for their fried chicken.
Different companies will use different types of oils for their frying, but Kentucky Fried Chicken has two particular types of oil that they use.
Does KFC Use Peanut Oil?
No, Kentucky Fried Chicken does not use peanut oil.
They are dedicated to being able to offer food for as many consumers as possible by looking to avoid a few of the most common food allergies, including peanuts.
Instead, the fast-food chain uses canola oil and hydrogenated soybean oil.
Their frying oil is combined with whichever oil they use, citric acid, and TBHQ, which is a food additive that is used to extend the shelf life and prevent the food product from spoiling.
This is mixed with dimethylpolysiloxane, a silicone-based, anti-foaming agent. Sometimes, low linolenic soybean oil is used instead of hydrogenated soybean oil.
Kentucky Fried Chicken avoids all use of peanuts and tree nuts in their kitchens, due to how easily the allergen can spread to other foods.
The only foods that contain any nuts are not made in the restaurants you order from.
These items are the Reese’s Peanut Butter Pie Slice, the Café Valley Bakery Chocolate Chip Cake, and the Lemon Cake.
Those who have tree nut allergies will also want to avoid all of the other dessert options.
The fried chicken chain has made it a goal to offer a menu that can be enjoyed by the entire family, even if they have food allergies.
KFC offers foods for those who cannot have gluten, soybean, fish, wheat, shellfish, eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, and MSG.
On their website, KFC has an allergen tool that helps customers figure out what is safe for them to eat from their menu.
While there are only a couple of their menu options that contain peanuts, there are vastly more that contain other common allergens.
Just remember that there is still the potential for your order being cooked next to an order with your allergen in it.
The Egg-Free Menu
Two percent of all children are born with egg allergies.
Although most will grow out of this allergy by the time they’re 16, many people still suffer from the allergy through adulthood.
Kentucky Fried Chicken looks to help consumers avoid this allergen.
You will want to avoid any of the Original Recipe fried chicken if you’re allergic to eggs.
The buffalo fried wings they offer also contain eggs.
Instead, try any of the Kentucky grilled chicken, the Spicy crispy chicken, or the extra crispy tenders.
For those craving fried wings without any risk of eggs, try the honey barbeque, Nashville hot, or un-sauced fried wings.
The popcorn nuggets are another safe chicken option and so is every Nashville hot chicken option.
Sadly, all of the sandwiches on KFC’s menu contain eggs and so do their pot pies.
However, the Famous Bowl is completely free of eggs.
A little less than half of all the side dishes that Kentucky Fried Chicken offers have eggs in them.
Coleslaw, cornbread muffins, macaroni & cheese, macaroni salad, and potato salad all pose allergy risks to those who are allergic to eggs.
There’s a variety of safe side dish options for those who are allergic to eggs.
You can order things like barbeque baked beans, biscuits, corn on the cob, green beans, mashed potatoes with or without gravy, sweet kernel corn, or some of their Secret Recipe Fries.
You should also be cautious with the dressings you decide to use.
The buttermilk dressing and the creamy parmesan Caesar dressing are made with eggs.
The honey mustard, ranch, and KFC sauce all also contain eggs.
People who are allergic to eggs can’t eat the majority of the dessert section, except for the apple turnover, the Oreo pie, and Reese’s pie.
The Milk-Free Menu
Milk allergies are one of the most common food allergies, especially in recent years.
There are many different allergens in milk, with the two most common being casein and whey.
Luckily, there is something milk-free on almost every part of the menu.
Similar to those with egg allergies, you will want to skip the Original Recipe chicken if you’re allergic to milk.
You will have to avoid the popcorn nuggets as well.
However, feel free to have any of the other types of chicken that KFC offers, such as extra crispy chicken, Kentucky grilled chicken, spicy crispy chicken, or the fried wings.
The biscuit and the limited edition Cinnabon dessert biscuits both contain dairy products.
The cornbread muffin, mashed potatoes, and macaroni & cheese are also made with milk.
Every other side is a safe option for those with milk allergies.
Nearly all of the sandwiches are milk-free, except for the Crispy Twister and the honey barbeque sandwich.
The house salad is safe for people with milk allergies to eat, but the Caesar salad contains dairy.
The only salad dressing without milk in it is the Marzetti light Italian dressing.
The chicken pot pie is made with milk products and so are all the ingredients in the Famous bowl.
The only dessert that is milk-free is the apple turnover.
Luckily, the only dipping sauces with milk in them are the ranch and the buttery spread.
Regional menu items such as the country fried steaks, chicken gizzards, and the chicken livers all contain milk.
These items can only be found at certain locations.
Gluten-Free Options At KFC
KFC faces a problem that many fast-food chains struggle with.
There are very few items on the menu that cater to customers who can’t have gluten.
Like most fast-food restaurants, you are limited to salads and a few sides.
People who can’t have gluten can only have one of two salads, with that one being the house salad.
The only gluten-free dressing is their light Italian.
Even their gluten-free sauces are limited to their barbeque sauce or honey mustard.
There are only a few safe sides for those with gluten allergies, which include coleslaw, corn on the cob, sweet kernel corn, green beans, or potato salad.
Like the other fast-food chains, Kentucky Fried Chicken could do with an expansion of their gluten-free menu.
Soy-Free Foods At KFC
Soy is what is most commonly used in KFC’s frying oil.
Most of KFC’s food is cooked in fully refined soybean oil, which the Food & Drug Administration does not count as an allergen.
There have also been studies done that show that not all people who are allergic to soybeans have a reaction with soybean oil.
There are some foods on KFC’s menu that you will still need to avoid if you’re allergic to soybeans.
Avoid any of the Kentucky grilled and fried wings options because they all are cooked with soybean-based ingredients.
The popcorn nuggets are also out of the question for those allergic to soybeans, along with any of the famous bowls and the chicken pot pie.
Instead, enjoy the Original Recipe, extra crispy, or spicy crispy chicken.
While most of the Nashville hot chicken is safe to eat, don’t order the Nashville hot Kentucky grilled chicken.
A little more than half of all the sides are soybean-free.
Sides like the baked beans, green beans, Secret Recipe fries, and the mashed potatoes are not soybean-free.
The regular biscuit is safe to eat, but not the Cinnabon dessert biscuit.
The majority of the sandwiches contain high levels of soybean.
The only safe sandwiches are Crispy Colonel’s sandwiches and the Crispy Twister.
Although neither of the salads is made with soybean, two of the dressings for the salads are made with soybean.
These dressings are the Hidden Valley Original Ranch Fat-Free Dressing and Creamy Parmesan Caesar dressing.
The country fried steak with or without gravy contains a dangerous amount of soybean, but regional items such as the chicken gizzards or livers don’t contain any soybean.
The apple turnover is the only safe dessert.
The Wheat-Free Menu
Those who are allergic to wheat will be avoiding many of the same foods as those who are allergic to gluten.
Most of the menu is off the table for those with wheat allergies and the only categories they have as options are the sides and salads.
People with wheat allergies can order sweet kernel corn, corn on the cob, potato salad, coleslaw, and green beans.
You can still order mashed potatoes, but the gravy contains wheat.
You also have the option of either of the salads and any of the dressings.
Just make sure you don’t get any croutons.
A Warning To Those With Fish Allergies
Searching over Kentucky Fried Chicken’s menu, you will notice a reasonable lack of fish.
Most people would assume that those with fish allergies are probably safe from any risk of allergen exposure at a fried chicken restaurant, but there is one menu item you need to watch out for.
KFC’s Creamy Parmesan Caesar dressing contains anchovies, which many people with fish allergies are allergic to.
Luckily, there is no sign of any shellfish anywhere on the menu.
Avoiding MSG At KFC
MSG stands for monosodium glutamate and is a flavor enhancer that is used for meats, vegetables, and soups.
Those who are allergic to it experience headaches, sweating, heart palpitations, nausea, and chest pains.
The majority of KFC’s menu contains MSG, but luckily, there are a few options for people who have this allergy.
It isn’t as limited of a menu as what is available for those with wheat or gluten allergies.
Almost every kind of chicken that KFC offers has monosodium glutamate in it, with the only exception being the fried wings.
None of the flavors of the fried wings use MSG, so whichever one you choose will be safe.
The side menu is a pretty safe bet for those with MSG allergies.
The only sides that you will need to avoid are the green beans, the Secret Recipe fries, and the gravy that goes on the mashed potatoes.
Mashed potatoes without gravy are MSG-free.
Both the house salad and the Caesar salad are safe options.
You can pair them with almost any of the dressings, with the exception being the fat-free ranch from Hidden Valley.
The best news of all for those with MSG allergies is that you can have anything you want from the dessert menu.
None of the desserts have monosodium glutamate in them.
KFC And Food Allergies
While not using peanut oil has made KFC more accessible for those with peanut allergies, they still have a long way to go before they can truly cater to the entire family.
Living with a food allergy can be difficult, especially when you’re looking for a quick bite to eat.
Hopefully, as companies see how great the need is for a place that can serve everyone, they will begin to reconfigure their recipes in ways that avoid many of these common allergies.