Billions Dollar Recipes: The Most Closely Guarded Secret Recipes
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In the world of food, secrets are golden. Whether it’s a recipe for a famous fried chicken or Coca-Cola, companies do everything they can to keep their best ideas hidden. Did you know that there is a secret spice mix used in KFC Original Recipe chicken? Or that there is a special way to make McDonald’s fries so that they taste the same no matter where in the world you buy them? Here are the most closely guarded secret recipes in the world, many of which belong to large corporations that have managed to keep the recipes away from prying eyes.  

KFC Original Recipe Chicken

One of the most famous and loved fast-food meals is the original recipe fried chicken from KFC. The secret recipe, which is more than 70 years old, is a mix of 11 secret herbs and spices. The recipe is so closely guarded that the company will not disclose the ingredients to the public. Colonel Sanders first began tinkering with the recipe in the 1940s. Two KFC managers were able to recite the whole list of seasonings by heart. There are armed guards stationed at the location of the recipe's hiding place, which has two-foot-thick walls, 24-hour surveillance, and two separate pin codes for the two executives who have access to the vault. Not all spices are blended in the same machine, which adds another layer of complexity. Half of the spices are mixed together in one spot before being transferred to another. There is a myth that the formula is only revealed to the two most senior executives chosen by the outgoing holders. The mixture of spices is so heavily guarded that KFC has even applied for a patent for the spices as a food product.  


Coca-Cola is one of the world’s most popular soft drinks. It comes in more than 200 varieties, including ones with different flavors and caffeine levels. But what is in the original drink? If you're wondering about the rumors that the secret ingredient is cocaine, you’re wrong. Coca-Cola’s formula, which was originally invented in 1886, is actually a trade secret, which means that the real recipe is a secret. The exact contents of a can of Coke are both a mystery and an integral aspect of their marketing strategy. The recipe is currently stored in a vault at Atlanta's World of Coca-Cola museum, and it is believed that just two nameless executives are aware of this. Those two individuals are strictly forbidden from taking any flights together.

McDonald’s French Fries

French fries are a staple side order to many meals, and the process of making McDonald’s Fries has been a closely guarded secret for decades. The most important aspects of the production of McDonald’s fries are the temperature of the oiland the timing of when the fries are added to the oil. McDonald's Senior Director of Strategic Sourcing, Michael Butkus, maintains that the secret to their consistent flavor around the world is in the high-starch potatoes, farms, farmers, irrigation, handling, and processing, and the global uniformity of these procedures. They are finished "only with good old-fashioned salt in a precise grind" and served hot at McDonald's restaurants.  Additionally, the method of freezing and thawing the fries is a closely guarded secret. This method allows the fries to be frozen and then thawed a few times before being used in their outlets.

Krispy Kreme

Krispy Kreme is an 85-year-old chain for doughnuts(or donuts) started in the U.S.A. A select few employees at Krispy Kreme's headquarters in the city of Winston-Salem are provided access to the secret formula for the company's signature plain glazed doughnut. The story goes that the company's founder, Vernon Rudolph, acquired the recipe from a chef in New Orleans. Fluffed egg white, mashed potatoes, sugar, and low-fat milk are said to be among the ingredients. Only at the company's main plant is the dry mix manufactured; from there, it is shipped to retailers. Rumor has it only the most trusted workers at this facility have been given the recipe.

Hershey’s Milk Chocolate

Around the turn of the 20th century, innovative American chocolate makers like Hershey and Mars were competing head-on with large English chocolate producers like Fry, Rowntree, and Cadbury. After three years of experimentation, Milton S. Hershey ‘perfected’ the recipe for milk chocolate, protected it as a trade secret, and introduced the world to the first Hershey's Bar in 1900. That placed his name in the annals of chocolate, and culinary, history globally. To this day, nobody outside knows the exact ingredients of the recipe that gives us the Hershey's milk chocolate.

Heinz Ketchup

Heinz, most famous for its ketchup, has been a mainstay of the condiment market since 1867 when Henry J. Heinz made the company’s original ketchup using just five ingredients. Tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, salt, and extracts of various spices and herbs are among the main ingredients. These give the ketchup its savory flavor. Since its inception, the company’s recipe has been altered very little and remains closely guarded. No more than 10 people in the world have both the formula and its hiding place memorised. Members of the Heinz family and some top company leaders are said to be the only recipients.