The Shocking Secret About Your Fast-Food Eggs

Updated: Feb. 08, 2023

Your early morning bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich is made with a real egg. Right?

Eggs help you stay healthy—and even lose weight! But it turns out not all eggs are what they’re cracked up to be. When you get a breakfast sandwich from a fast-food spot, there’s a pretty good chance that “egg” is a blend of eggs and something else.

When Panera Bread was developing its lineup of breakfast sandwiches in early 2018, it discovered that the FDA didn’t exactly define what an “egg” was. The loose definition of one of our favorite kitchen staples meant a restaurant could include added flavors, xanthan gum, and added color to anything listed with “egg” as an ingredient. What’s really in your fast food is definitely one of the secrets your fast-food worker isn’t telling you.

Pro tip: Luckily, you won’t run into this fake-egg problem with the cartons you’d get at the grocery store—but be sure to follow our egg buying guide to get the best pick.

What’s in popular fast food eggs

Panera did some research and found that 50 percent of the top ten fast-food restaurants that sell breakfast have an “egg” made of at least five ingredients. To confirm, we did some research of our own! Here’s a look at the ingredients in popular fast-food breakfasts:

McDonald’s: The classic Egg McMuffin is made with a real egg. This is what’s in their other breakfast dishes.

Taco Bell: The Breakfast Crunchwrap and Cheesy Toasted Breakfast Burrito, among others, are made with an egg blend that includes whole eggs as well as soybean oil, salt, citric acid, pepper, xanthan gum, and guar gum.

Panera Bread: The Bacon, Egg & Cheese and most of the chain’s other breakfasts are made with a real egg. Some contain a few additives such as citric acid and soybean oil.

Chick-fil-A: The scrambled egg in the Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit is made with whole eggs and water plus salt, natural butter type flavor [medium chain triglycerides, coconut oil, natural flavors], xanthan gum, citric acid, and annatto.

Dunkin’ Donuts: The Bacon, Egg & Cheese Sandwich uses a blend of egg whites, egg yolks, soybean oil, and water, with less than 2 percent of other additives like xanthan gum, cellulose gum, and citric acid.

We’re not going to stop eating at restaurants like Chick-fil-A, but it does make us love Panera and McDonald’s even more than before. And none of these breakfast items are among the fast-food items you should never order.

Is this healthy?

Well, it’s always best to build your diet around whole, unprocessed foods. You want to know exactly what you’re eating, even when you’re on the go. (That’s at the heart of clean eating and plans like Whole 30.) It’s OK to splurge on a breakfast sandwich every now and then, but you can always make a copycat at home—with a freshly cracked egg! Now that you know the truth about fast-food eggs, it’s time to get to the bottom of these other myths about eggs you need to stop believing.

Taste of Home
Originally Published on Taste of Home