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

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

Charlotte potatoes background which are a popular early variety potatoTony Baggett/Shutterstock

They’re real potatoes

Yes, it might be a shocker but McDonald’s French fries are actually made with real potatoes. Check out these mindblowing facts about McDonald’s.


sliced potatoesbogdan ionescu/Shutterstock

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 series of blades that cut them into French fries. The fries actually move through the machine at 60 to 70 miles per hour!

Bangkok, Thailand - 17,July 2018 : A closed up photo of junk food with selective focus on Fresh fried french fries from McDonalds .Editorial only, McDonald's is a brand from America.BORIMAT PRAOKAEW/Shutterstock

There is a reason they look just like the commercials

Have you ever noticed how all the fries are the same color and look particularly fresh for having been stored in the freezer for who knows how long? 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. These are the McDonald’s secret menu items you never knew about.

AMSTERDAM - OCTOBER 20: Mcdonalds Logo on the wall of the restaurant onOctober 20,2015charnsitr/Shutterstock

They’re flash frozen before they get to the store

Before being packaged up, the fries are partially cooked and flash frozen. Then they’re sent out to McDonald’s around the country.

mcdonalds friesGrzegorz Czapski/Shutterstock

They have 19 ingredients

Well, technically there are only 14 ingredients because 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.

mcdonalds friesenchanted_fairy/Shutterstock

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: A special beef flavor. Yep, you read that right. In the 1950s, the company that gave McDonald’s vegetable oil couldn’t afford the equipment needed to hydrogenate the oil, which would extend its shelf life. So, they gave them a mixture of oil and beef fat instead. In the 1980s they took the ingredient out due to it being high in saturated fat but they still wanted the delicious beefy flavor that came along with it. Now, they add “natural beef flavor” to their vegetable oil. Next, read about the secrets McDonald’s employees won’t tell you.

Morgan Cutolo
Morgan is the Assistant Digital Managing Editor at Reader’s Digest. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2016 where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. When she’s not writing for rd.com or keeping the 650+ pieces of content our team produces every month organized, she likes watching HGTV, going on Target runs, and searching through Instagram to find new corgi accounts to follow.