What are the ingredients in McDonald’s fries?

McDonald's fries
Source www.eonline.com

Hello there! Are you curious about what goes into making McDonald’s fries so tasty and addictive? Look no further! In this article, we’ll uncover the secret ingredients and processes that are used to create those perfectly golden, crispy fries that we all know and love.

The Surprising Ingredients in McDonald’s Fries

Are you curious about what actually goes into those perfectly golden, crispy McDonald’s fries? You might be surprised to learn that the list of ingredients is longer than you think, and some of them may not be what you expect. Here’s a breakdown of what makes up the irresistible taste of McDonald’s French fries.

The first ingredient on the list is, of course, potatoes. McDonald’s uses Russet Burbank, Shepody, Ranger Russet, and Umatilla Russet potatoes to make their fries. These potatoes are selected specifically for their high starch content, which allows them to absorb less oil and stay crispy longer. But the potato preparation process is where things start to get interesting.

After the potatoes are harvested, they are sorted, washed, and peeled. Then they are cut into shoestring-like shapes and blanched in hot water. This step removes excess sugar and prevents discoloration. But the blanching is not just with hot water – McDonald’s adds a “natural beef flavor” to give the fries their distinct taste.

Yes, that’s right – McDonald’s fries are not vegetarian or vegan. Even though the “natural beef flavor” comes from vegetable sources, it still contains milk derivatives, so the fries are not suitable for those with a dairy allergy. But this flavoring is just one of the many ingredients added to the fries to give them their signature taste.

After the blanching, the fries are dried and then partially fried in a mixture of canola, soybean, and hydrogenated soybean oils. This is where the fries get their crispy exterior. But before they can be served, they need to be frozen. The fries are then shipped to McDonald’s restaurants, where they are fried again in a mix of vegetable oils and salted before being served to customers.

But wait – there’s more. To keep the fries from clumping together during the freezing process, McDonald’s adds dextrose, a form of sugar, to the mix. And to give the fries their golden color, they are treated with sodium acid pyrophosphate, an ingredient that prevents discoloration. This ingredient has been known to cause stomach upset in some people, but the amount used in the fries is small enough that it is unlikely to cause issues.

Finally, the fries are finished off with a sprinkle of salt. But not just any salt – McDonald’s uses a special blend of salt that is specifically made for their fries. This salt also contains an anti-caking agent to prevent clumping. And with that, the iconic McDonald’s fry is complete.

Despite the lengthy list of ingredients, McDonald’s fries remain a beloved fast food staple. But with the knowledge of what goes into them, you can make an informed decision about whether to indulge in a serving the next time you visit your local McDonald’s.

Potato Varieties Used in McDonald’s Fries

McDonald’s prides itself on producing some of the best fries in the fast-food industry. Looking at the secret behind the taste and texture of McDonald’s fries, a major factor is the potato variety used. Some potato varieties can withstand the rough handling during harvest and transportation, resulting in fewer bruises. As a result, they have a longer shelf life, making them ideal for companies with high demand.

For McDonald’s fries, the company uses a specific potato variety called the Russet Burbank. The potato is long with a rough brownish skin, and it is flavored with a higher concentration of natural sugar, which gives it a distinctive taste. The Russet Burbank potato is a popular variety used by fast-food chains because it meets the right texture requirements and fry color, giving the fries a uniform golden crispy color.

The company doesn’t use just any Russet Burbank potato, though. It only selects the best potatoes that meet strict standards for size, shape, and color. McDonald’s has a potato supplier program that works with farmers and potato growers to ensure the potatoes are perfect. The company defines these guidelines to ensure the high quality of its fries.

Another benefit of using the Russet Burbank potato is its higher starch content. The starch content is essential in making the fries crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Additionally, the sugar levels contribute to the potato’s golden color when fried. This combination of sugar and starch in the Russet Burbank potato makes McDonald’s fries one of the most unique and delicious fries you’ll ever taste.

The Russet Burbank potato also has a dry matter level of about 20 percent. The dry matter in a potato is the percentage of its weight that’s not water. The percentage of dry matter determines how much potato is left after frying. In the case of the Russet Burbank potato, a high dry matter percentage means less moisture in the potato resulting in crispy fries.

Apart from the Russet Burbank, McDonald’s used to use a combination of potato varieties for their French fries, including the Shepody, Umatilla Russet, and the Ranger Russet. However, they’ve phased out the use of other potato varieties and now only use the Russet Burbank.

In conclusion, the secret behind McDonald’s delicious fries is the Russet Burbank potato that they use. The specific potato variety has a unique natural flavor, higher starch and sugar content and is selected and grown to McDonald’s strict guidelines. The Russet Burbank potato brings out the golden crispy texture and color that has made McDonald’s fries a customer favorite for decades.

The Science Behind the Perfectly Crispy Fry Texture

There’s no denying that one of the best things about McDonald’s is the fries. Crispy, golden, and perfectly seasoned, these fries are hard to resist. But have you ever wondered how they manage to keep that perfect texture? Let’s take a closer look at the science behind the perfectly crispy fry texture.

The Power of Starch

The secret behind the crispy texture of McDonald’s fries lies in the type of potato they use. McDonald’s famously uses Russet potatoes, which are high in starch content. When these potatoes are sliced into fries and soaked in water, the water removes excess starch from the potato. This starch is key to creating the crispy exterior of the fry.

Once the fries are removed from the water and dried, they are coated in a thin layer of dextrose. Dextrose is a type of sugar that helps the fries to cook evenly and gives them their characteristic golden color. It also helps to form a crispy coating on the outside of the fries.

The Importance of Oil

The oil that McDonald’s uses to fry their potatoes is also an essential component of the crispy texture. McDonald’s fries are cooked in a blend of oils, including canola, corn, and soybean. This specific blend of oils has a high smoking point, which means that it can be heated to a high temperature without burning. This is important for creating the crispy texture of the fries.

The oil also plays a crucial role in the drying process. As the fries cook in the oil, the water on the surface of the fry begins to evaporate. This allows the starch on the surface of the fry to crystallize and form a crispy coating.

The Magic of Hydrocolloids

Hydrocolloids are a type of thickening agent that is commonly used in the food industry. McDonald’s uses a specific type of hydrocolloid called methylcellulose in their fries. Methylcellulose is a plant-based thickener that helps to give the fries their uniform shape and prevents them from clumping together during the cooking process.

But methylcellulose also plays another important role in the perfectly crispy texture of McDonald’s fries. As the fries cook in the hot oil, methylcellulose helps to create a barrier between the oil and the fries. This barrier helps to prevent the oil from penetrating too deeply into the fry and causing it to become soggy.

The Perfect Combination

So there you have it – the science behind the perfectly crispy fry texture at McDonald’s. It’s all about the right combination of potatoes, oil, and hydrocolloids. Of course, there’s also something to be said for the expert cooking techniques that McDonald’s has perfected over the years.

Next time you bite into a crispy McDonald’s fry, you can appreciate the science and skill that goes into creating that perfect texture. It’s not just luck – it’s a carefully crafted combination of ingredients and cooking methods that have been refined over decades.

Controversies Surrounding McDonald’s Fry Production

McDonald’s fries are loved and consumed by millions of people every day. However, the production of these fries has been mired in controversy due to the use of certain ingredients and processes that some claim are harmful to human health and the environment.

Use of GMO Potatoes

One of the main sources of controversy surrounding McDonald’s fries production is the use of genetically modified organisms (GMO) potatoes. In 2014, McDonald’s announced that it would start using non-GMO potatoes in its fries. However, this decision only applied to potatoes used in the United States, and not those used in other countries.

GMO potatoes are genetically engineered to be resistant to pests and diseases, reducing the need for pesticides and chemicals. However, they have been linked to health concerns such as antibiotic resistance and increased risk of cancer. The use of GMO potatoes also raises ethical and environmental issues, as it may contribute to the consolidation of the seed industry and harm biodiversity.

Use of Trans Fats

Another source of controversy surrounding McDonald’s fries production is the use of trans fats. Trans fats are a type of unsaturated fat that have been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and other health problems. McDonald’s fries were previously cooked in a blend of oils that contained trans fats, but the company stopped using trans fats in the US in 2003 and globally in 2018.

However, critics have argued that McDonald’s is still using partially hydrogenated oil (PHO), which is a major source of trans fats. PHO is used to improve the texture and shelf-life of foods, but it has been shown to increase the risk of heart disease and other health problems. In 2015, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared that PHO is no longer generally recognized as safe and gave food manufacturers three years to stop using it.

Environmental Impact

The production of McDonald’s fries also has environmental impacts. Potatoes require large amounts of water, fertilizers, and pesticides to grow, and their cultivation can cause soil erosion and pollution of waterways. In addition, the energy used to process and transport potatoes and fry oil contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

McDonald’s has taken steps to reduce its environmental impact, such as sourcing potatoes from sustainable farms, using energy-efficient equipment, and recycling cooking oil. However, critics have argued that these measures are not sufficient to address the scale of the environmental problems associated with McDonald’s fries.


The controversies surrounding McDonald’s fry production highlight the complex and contentious issues involved in modern food production. While McDonald’s has taken steps to address some of the concerns raised by critics, there is still considerable debate about the safety, ethics, and environmental impact of its fries. As consumers, it is important to be informed about the food we eat and to make choices that align with our values and beliefs.

Alternatives to McDonald’s Fries for Health-Conscious Diners

For those who are health-conscious, McDonald’s fries may not be the best option to satisfy cravings. Although they are delicious, they contain unhealthy ingredients such as trans fats, sodium, and preservatives. Fortunately, there are healthier alternatives that can be just as satisfying.

1. Baked Sweet Potato Fries – Sweet potatoes are a nutrient-dense root vegetable that are naturally sweet. They are an excellent alternative to regular fries because they are low in fat, high in fiber and loaded with vitamin A. To make baked sweet potato fries, simply slice the sweet potatoes into thin sticks, toss them with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper, and then bake them in the oven until they are crispy.

2. Zucchini Fries – Zucchini is a low calorie, nutrient-dense vegetable that is high in antioxidants, vitamin C, and potassium. To make zucchini fries, slice the zucchinis into thin sticks, dip them in egg wash and then coat them with a mixture of breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and Italian seasoning. Bake them in the oven until they are crispy and golden brown.

3. Butternut Squash Fries – Butternut squash is a nutrient-dense winter squash that is high in vitamins A, C, and E. This vegetable has a rich, sweet flavor and a creamy texture that is perfect for making fries. To make butternut squash fries, slice the squash into thin sticks, coat them with a little bit of oil, salt, and pepper, and then bake them in the oven until they are crispy and golden brown.

4. Carrot Fries – Carrots are low in calories and high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They are also sweet, crunchy, and delicious when made into fries. To make carrot fries, slice carrots into thin sticks, coat them with a little bit of oil, salt and pepper, and then bake them in the oven until they are crispy and golden brown.

5. Jicama Fries – Jicama is a root vegetable that is low in calories and high in fiber, vitamin C, and potassium. It has a crisp texture and slightly sweet flavor that makes it a great alternative to regular french fries. To make jicama fries, slice the jicama into thin sticks, toss them with a little bit of oil, salt, and pepper, and then bake them in the oven until they are crispy and golden brown.

These alternatives to McDonald’s fries are not only healthier, but they are also easy to make and delicious. They are perfect for those who want to indulge their cravings without compromising their health. Give them a try and see how they stack up against traditional french fries!

Thank you for learning about the ingredients in McDonald’s fries. It’s important to know what we’re consuming and how it affects our health. While McDonald’s fries are undoubtedly delicious, they’re also high in calories, sodium, and fat. It’s okay to indulge in moderation, but it’s also important to make healthier choices and incorporate a balanced diet into our daily lives. With that being said, enjoy your fries and remember to treat yourself to a healthier option every now and then!

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