What’s in McDonald’s French Fries?

by kimgerber on 06/30/2011

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McDonald’s French Fries.  As American as apple pie and corn on the cob.  As common as state fairs in the summertime.  I actually think it might be difficult to find an American who has never popped (or more accurately, crammed) those spears of crisp, salty potato into their mouths.  If you are one of those people, I applaud you.  I wish I could say the same.  Back in our McDonald’s days, (I’m happy to report my family is now MDPF – McDonald’s Product Free), I would feed my children those little nuggets of “chicken” making sure they had eaten a few fries to round out the meal (I literally gag as I remember).  One of the many things I didn’t know then is how many ingredients actually go into those puffs of salty decadence.   French Fries should contain potatoes, oil and salt.  They may not be a health food, but they should be natural.  McDonald’s French Fries are as natural as…well, they’re just not._____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

THE COMPARISON: McDonald’s French Fries vs. Out of the Box Food Restaurant Style French Fries

(All ingredients followed by an * can be referenced at www.wikipedia.org by clicking on the ingredient)


McDonald’s French Fries


CONTAINS: WHEAT AND MILK *(Natural beef flavor contains hydrolyzed wheat and hydrolyzed milk as starting ingredients).

**All listed product ingredients are taken from the products website.  Though Out of the Box Food makes every effort to provide complete ingredient information, please check the package/website for the most current information.


Out of the Box FoodSM Restaurant Style French Fries

Adapted from Emeril Lagasse’s Perfect French Fries

Several years ago, I went in search of the perfect french fry recipe.  I tried Emeril’s Perfect French Fries Recipe and never looked back…This method of rinsing, soaking and precooking the potatoes makes a beautifully light and crispy fry.  I use Canola oil, but feel free to use any oil that can withstand a high smoking point (Emeril suggests peanut oil)

Special Equipment: Deep pot, fry thermometer, large bowl, paper towel lined baking sheet


  • potatoes
  • vegetable/canola oil
  • sea salt


  • Cut potatoes lengthwise into 1/4″ planks.  Cut each plank into 1/4″ x 1/4″ sticks.
  • Put cut potatoes into large bowl and rinse with cold water until water is clear.  Top with water and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  • Heat oil to 325 degrees.  Take potatoes out of the water and dry well.  In small batches, fry potatoes until lightly blond but not crisp.
  • Remove from oil and place partly-cooked fries on a paper towel lined baking sheet.  Bring to room temperature.
  • Increase oil temperature to 350 degrees.
  • Re-fry potatoes until browned and crisp.  Remove from oil and sprinkle with sea salt.  Serve.


Will these taste the same as the McDonald’s French Fries?  No.  How can they taste the same when they don’t contain the same laundry list of ingredients.  But will they taste delicious and satisfy that craving for crisp, salted potatoes?  You bet.

Now, if you’re like me and are working to reduce the amount of fat in your families diet, we’ve got a baked version for you.  Our oven baked french fries are just as easy as the fries you buy frozen in bags, but again, with our recipe you’re just feeding your family fresh, natural ingredients.  Come back next week to bake up your fries instead.  Until next week…



© 2011, kimgerber. All rights reserved.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

hap July 3, 2013 at 7:15 pm

Just thought I’d also add that the “beef flavor” is probably just used to replicate the flavor of frying in lard (beef fat). In the past, it was common to fry food in either lard or bacon fat which people saved when they cooked bacon. Contrary to some information, it’s been proven that frying in lard in actually healthier than using certain oils (canola oil is considered to be a definite bad one, for example). Studies were done in Central America where many people still fry using lard, and they found much less cardiovascular disease in relation to people who fried in lard versus vegetable oil. I think it all depends on many factors; but McDonald’s probably can’t really use lard, as it would freak people out.


Courtney January 28, 2013 at 5:13 am

Hi, I read this article it helped me for my project I’m doing in school thanks it’s school food or mckyds


OmI November 2, 2012 at 11:08 pm

is beef flavoured used in this fries??


Barbara July 31, 2012 at 7:25 am

Why can’t we remove most of the fat from the fries? Could we gently boil the fries, pour off the fat, and then make hash browns in a skillet without adding any fat?


Leah June 26, 2012 at 11:47 pm

Had a sneezing and wheezing attack after eating the Mcdonalds fries. I am allergic to wheat and dairy. Thank God I know now.


Rosewood June 23, 2011 at 7:07 pm

First off, http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2010/05/the-burger-lab-how-to-make-perfect-mcdonalds-style-french-fries.html and the recipe http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2010/05/perfect-french-fries-recipe.html

Now, let’s look at that list of ingredients. First, you have a mixed oil. Most cooks used mixed oils as it is a way to get a different flavor. There is nothing wrong with the oil selection.
In fact there is nothing wrong with anything there.

The amount of “wheat” in their fries is negligible at best. If you made as many fries as they did you would need anti-clumping agents as well. What is there isn’t going to bother anyone that is trying to be gluten free as the frying would not create gluten from the what little wheat protein there is.

Look, there are plenty of reasons to hate on McDonalds, but be educated about it. Go read the Serious Eats articles and drop the smug. Also please reference their articles on how you should actually blog about food.


Maxime June 22, 2011 at 6:26 pm

Try it with russet potatoes… better than mcd’s fries.


Lisa June 13, 2011 at 10:13 am

This is the way my grandmother used to make “chips” when I was a kid…brings back memories! Thanks Kim 🙂


Holly Carter June 13, 2011 at 8:36 am

Wow, who’d have know that MS’s french fries contained wheat? For everyone who needs to eat Gluten Free, this is important information. Just one more important tip for us from Out of the Box Foods. Thanks!!!


Susie June 13, 2011 at 4:37 am

Looking forward to the baked version next week! This version sounds great but you lost me at “fry thermometer” 😉


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