Recipe: The Colonel’s KFC Three-Bean Salad

Three bean salad KFC style

KFC Three-Bean Salad (plus bonus garbanzos)

I miss the KFC three-bean salad they used to serve at the Colonel’s. Luckily, this recipe is a dead ringer. Makes enough for a tailgate party, about 16 servings.


15.5-oz can kidney beans
15.5-oz can green beans (cross cut not french cut)
15.5-oz can wax beans
1/2 c (or more) garbanzo beans (optional)
1/2 c chopped green pepper
1/2 c chopped white or red onion
1/2 c cider vinegar
1/4 to 1/3 c sugar*
1 1/2 t salt
1/2 t black pepper
1/2 c vegetable oil

Method: Drain kidney beans into a colander and rinse to remove soaking liquid. Drain green beans and wax beans into the same colander. Transfer beans to a non-reactive bowl and add onion and pepper.

Add all dry ingredients to a jar, add vinegar, shake until sugar and salt are dissolved. Add oil, shake to emulsify, pour over bowl ingredients and mix gently with a spoon. Marinate at least 6 hours before serving, preferably overnight.

*I’ve decided my original 1/3 cup of sugar makes it too sweet, and have cut back. Recommend you start with 1/4 cup and add more after tasting if you need it.

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2 Responses to Recipe: The Colonel’s KFC Three-Bean Salad

  1. cc1958 says:

    This is the real deal and after a day of marinating it tastes the same as the KFC in 1970 bean salad ! Make sure the oil mixed very well and totally dissolve the dry ingredients before pour on as they never break down when added to beans and veg

  2. Good advice, thanks. Also, it’s fine to vary the vegetables as you like (more green pepper or onion, a whole can of garbanzos or no garbanzos etc) but keep the salt, pepper, sugar, vinegar and oil in these measurements for the authentic experience.

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