Pressure cooked 'KFC' style chicken with the Magfesa star pressure cookers.

There is absolutely nothing better than 'KFC' style pressure cooked chicken made at home. However, you can only do this with a very limited number of pressure cookers, namely a Magfesa star pressure cooker1, with an extra metal arm that is wrapped around the lid. You can also do this at home using older chicken bucket cookers, but the safety features on the older style pressure cookers aren't as good. You can't do this with any other pressure cooker- certainly not your insta-pot! It will blow up or just melt. Magfesa does not advertise that you can pressure cook using oil due to legal liability- but it is made like the old chicken buckets, and folks use these specific pressure cookers when they use oil. I have cooked this recipe many times at home using a 16 quart Magfesa cooker, but I am super diligent and carefully follow this method.

Add the following in a glass bowl:

  • ½ teaspoon Cayenne pepper. Black pepper, salt.
  • Fill up to the top with buttermilk.
  • Optional: 1 beaten egg.
  • Let chicken sit in buttermilk in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. I try to leave in in the fridge for at least two hours. You can also leave it overnight.
  • Take chicken out of fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Create the breading. My typical ingredients include:

    • 2 Cups of flour.
    • 1/3 cup of parmesan cheese.
    • 1 teaspoon Cajun spice mix.
    • 1 teaspoon basil.
    • 1 teaspoon rosemary.
    • 1 teaspoon thyme.
    • ½ teaspoon Cayenne pepper.
    • ½ teaspoon Greek seasoning.
    • ½ teaspoon paprika.
    • ½ teaspoon celery salt.
    • ½ teaspoon ground ginger.
    • ½ teaspoon black pepper.
    • ½ teaspoon salt.

  • Mix thoroughly.
  • Take the chicken out of the buttermilk mixture. Shake the chicken gently in order to drain off the buttermilk for 30 seconds or so. Once drained off, dredge the chicken through the flour spice mix. Use tongs while dipping chicken into mixture.
  • Put aside on lined baking sheet.
  • Wait 30 minutes, dredge again. This time it does not use as much flour. You're only trying to cover portions that were not covered in the first dredge.
  • Wait for 30 minutes to allow chicken to warm up to room temperature. This also allows the flour mixture to bond with the chicken.
  • Dredge again and lightly season the chicken with any extra herbs that you want to put in. Don't over-season.
  • Inspect the main seal and the spinning pressure release by blowing into it and seeing if air comes out. Do not continue if the seal or release valve is not working.
  • In pressure cooker, heat peanut oil up to 350 degrees with the top off. Use a long thermometer to gage temperature. You must use peanut oil, or a specialty oil mixes that are sold to deep fry turkeys with.
  • Other oils won't hold up with the high temperatures, and they may catch fire as the smoke point is too low.
  • Once the peanut oil reaches 350 degrees, use long tongs and carefully drop chicken into the oil. Work in batches, even with a large pressure cooker, I only put in 4-6 pieces of chicken at a time. It is also advisable to wear thick insulated gloves that you would wear when using a BBQ. Be careful of splattering.
  • Cover the pressure cooker and tighten. Wait a minute or two to allow the pressure to build. Do not leave the area once you have applied heat to the pressure cooker.
  • Once pressure builds up and the pressure release top starts spinning, immediately turn down the heat on the burner down a little more than 2/3rds without actually turning the stove off. I turn my electric stove down to 4 (high is set at 15), and set the timer.

  • Set timer for:
    • Legs: 10 minutes.
    • Thighs: 12 minutes.
    • Breast: 15 minutes.

  • Watch the pressure cooker carefully- if the release top starts spinning like crazy, turn the burner down further. If the emergency pressure release is popped (the 2nd safety feature, turn the stove off and move the pot off of the burner.
  • After the timer goes off, release the pressure manually and carefully use tongs to pull the chicken out. I do not put the pressure cooker under water to quick release the pressure. Play it safe- water and oil do not mix.
  • Make sure that the pressure is released before opening the lid, otherwise, you may have oil come up the pot, make a mess, and perhaps get burned.

Helpful tips: for chicken breasts and thighs, you can also gently precook or smoke the meat halfway done prior to soaking the chicken in the butter milk. This allows you to shorten the time by a few minutes and not over-burn the skin.

Happy (and safe) eating!

Further reading:
Cookistry: Pressure fried chicken
Serious Eats: Gadgets: Magefesa Star Pressure Cooker

1Note: I am in no way affiliated with Magfesa, and don't derive any income from this post. I just like deep fried chicken and this is the most economical way to make this at home!