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Here’s How McDonald’s Fries Are Made and What’s in Them

By Lana Kisner | October 31, 2023

Golden and crispy french fries are one of the most popular items on the McDonald’s menu. From the shape and color to the smell of a hot batch, there are many reasons why McDonald’s fries have become world famous.

When it comes to fast-food fries, it really doesn’t get better than McDonald’s french fries. They are crunch on the outside, soft on the inside, and have that perfect taste that makes you reach for more.

Did you ever wonder if McDonald’s fries are made of real potatoes and what’s actually in them? If so, keep reading because I have the answers for you.

What Are the Ingredients in McDonald’s Fries?

According to the McDonald’s website, there are five main ingredients in their fries: Potatoes, vegetable oil, dextrose, sodium acid pyrophosphate, and salt.

This may sound like a lot of ingredients for simple french fries, but there are reasons why each ingredient is used throughout the process of making them.


McDonald’s uses real potatoes to make their fries, which include a mix of Russet Burbank, Russet Ranger, Umatilla Russet, and the Shepody. These potatoes are known to make french fries that are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

McDonald’s made this information available to the public on their website. This means that the myth of McDonald’s fries not being real potatoes but some type of chemical substance is busted.

Vegetable Oil

McDonald’s started using vegetable oil to cook their fries in the mid-1990s. Before then, they used beef tallow to give fries more flavor, but switching to vegetable oil allowed them to reduce the saturated fat content.

Their vegetable oil is a blend made of Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Canola Oil, and Corn Oil. Natural beef flavor that contains wheat and milk derivatives is also added to the vegetable oil for flavoring.


Dextrose is used in many foods as a preservative. It allows McDonald’s to extend the shelf life of the fries and maintain their color and consistency.

Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate

This is another ingredient commonly used in many processed and packaged foods. It allows McDonald’s to preserve the golden color of their fries when they are frozen.


Salt is the last ingredient McDonald’s adds to their fries when they’re cooked at restaurants. This will enhance the flavor of the fries, and according to their website, they only add a small amount of salt.

How McDonald’s Fries Are Made

French fries have been a part of the McDonald’s menu since 1949 when they replaced the original side of potato chips. There’s a whole science and a long process to make these World Famous Fries.

First, the suppliers that McDonald’s works with peel, cut, and blanche the potatoes. Next, all the ingredients I mentioned above are added to the fries to make sure they have a consistent color and taste regardless of which McDonald’s location you order them from.

Then, the suppliers dry, partially fry, and freeze them right away to be transported to the restaurants. The initial frying allows the fries to get that crispy shell on the outside.

Once they arrive at the restaurants, McDonald’s employees fry them the second time and add salt for that taste we all know and love!

About the Author

Lana Kisner is a writer on the team with more than 15 years of experience in the food service industry. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, exploring new restaurants, listening to live music, and hiking with her dog.