8 Facts You Might Not Know About McDonald’s French Fries

Updated: Mar. 19, 2024

There’s actually a lot that goes into making those crispy, golden, delicious fries.

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Harvested Young Fresh organic potatoes with soil
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They’re made with real potatoes

Yes, it might be a shocker but McDonald’s French fries are actually made with real potatoes. According to the McDonald’s website, their famous fries are made with Russet Burbank, Ranger Russet, Umatilla Russet and the Shepody potatoes.

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Close-up Of Person Rinsing Cut French Fries
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They’re cut with a knife

Some people believe that the perfectly straight fries are made using molds and fake potato goop. But since the fries are made with real potatoes, they are cut with a real knife. After the potatoes are skinned and washed, they are shot through a high pressure water tube at 60 to 70 miles per hour. The tube sends them to a series of blades that cut them into French fries.

By the way, this is how to get fresh McDonald’s fries every time you order. Also, don’t forget to get your receipt at McDonald’s, here’s why.

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McDonalds sign with blue sky in the background
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They’re flash frozen before they get to the store

Before being packaged, the fries are dried, partially cooked and flash frozen. This maintains the color and crunch. They’re then sent out to McDonald’s franchises around the country.

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French fried fries close-up
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There’s a reason they look just like the commercials

Have you ever noticed how the fries look particularly fresh after having been stored in the freezer? You can thank chemicals for that. After the fries are cut, they get covered in sugar so they are all the same color. Then, they’re coated in sodium acid pyrophosphate to keep them from turning gray when frozen.

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fry basket at McDonald's
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They have 19 ingredients

Well, technically there are only 14 individual ingredients; some are listed twice because they’re used in two different stages of production. Some of the ingredients include potatoes, canola oil, soybean oil, natural beef flavor, hydrolyzed milk and citric acid.

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worker at McDonald's filling a cup of French fries
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They’re gluten-free

The items on the McDonald’s menu that are free from ingredients containing gluten include the French fries, which are cooked in dedicated fryers using a non-hydrogenated vegetable oil. They also include the hash browns, fruit bags, carrot sticks and Shaker Side Salad. Not to mention some of the McFlurry desserts.

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McDonald's French fries
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The secret ingredient that makes them so addictive

The real reason you can’t help but pull over to grab fries every time you see the golden arches: Beef flavoring. Yep, you read that right. McDonald’s has been adding beef fat to their fries since the 1950s. This practice has been updated to be a canola oil blend containing beef flavoring. This is to mimic the beef tallow that was originally used.

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McDonald's McPlant and French fries
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They’re not vegan or vegetarian

It’s no surprise that after learning the secret ingredient, you also find that McDonald’s fries aren’t vegan. Initially, McDonald’s fries were fried in beef tallow while other restaurants used vegetable oil. However, after switching to vegetable oil themselves, customers noticed a decline in taste. To ensure the great-tasting and recognizable flavor we all love, McDonald’s now uses a canola oil blend that contains beef flavoring.

Next up: the secrets McDonald’s employees won’t tell you.