Why Do McDonald’s Fries Have Almost 15 Ingredients?

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By Mayukh Saha / Truth Theory

The ingredients in the McDonald’s fries are more than just oil, potatoes, and salt. 

If you ask anyone about the recipe for French fries they will tell you the same thing, more or less- deep-fry the potatoes in oil and add some salt for taste. These are the three ingredients that everyone knows, but if you peep into the kitchens of McDonald’s you will be surprised.

The Ingredients For A Tasty Treat Of McDonald’s Fries

The ingredients that are used to make McDonald’s fries are; Potatoes, Canola Oil/Soybean Oil, “Natural Beef Flavor”, Citric Acid as a preservative, Dextrose, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate to maintain the color, and at last, salt. However, it must be noted that the list of ingredients differs as we move from one region of the globe to the other. 


In the US, McDonald’s fries are prepared in vegetable oil which consists of Canola Oil, Soybean Oil, Corn Oil, and Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, along with TBHQ and Citric Acid, which preserves the freshness of the oil. Dimethylpolysiloxane is also added to reduce the splatter of oil when it is being cooked.

The “Natural Beef Flavor” contains hydrolyzed wheat and milk as the initial ingredients.

The Process To Make A Tasty Batch Of Fries

In the beginning, you have to coat the potatoes with a combination of oils, which includes hydrogenated soybean oil. This provides shelf stability. “Natural Beef Flavor” and Citric Acid are also added to the mix. You need to sprinkle some salt, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, and some sugar on it. The compound of sodium is added to keep the potatoes from turning brown.

TBHQ is known as tertiary butylhydroquinone and is used to fry potatoes. Dimethylpolysiloxane is used as an antifoaming agent to prevent the oil from splattering.

The fries that you see from your favorite McDonald’s might not be as pristine as you thought they were. But on the other hand, they would not have lasted for so long, if not for these chemicals that are added to them. The McDonald’s fries might even turn brown or the oil might splatter!

The company has stopped frying its fries in beef fat and uses a natural beef flavor as an alternative. It contains hydrolyzed wheat and hydrolyzed milk and nothing else. Hydrolysis is the chemical process that breaks bonds by adding water to them. There is an amino acid reaction in the midst which results in the “beefy” taste. 

Image credits: 123RF
Borrado de Imagenes II, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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