The Ingredients of McDonald's Food


McDonalds, and many other fast food chains, has taken criticism for high-fat food items with poor nutritional value. The restaurant says it has taken steps to countering this claim by offering healthier menu items, such as salads. McDonald's also lists the ingredients of all of their menu items online.

French Fries

  • McDonald's French fries are the most popular item they sell. Originally, McDonald's cut fresh potatoes each morning, but as the chain grew they made the switch to frozen fries for consistency and cost effectiveness. Changes have also been made in their cooking oil over the years. The fries are made of potatoes, vegetable oil, Canola oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, natural beef flavor, wheat and lecthin derivatives, citric acid, dextrose, sodium acid pyrophosphate to maintain color and salt.

Big Mac

  • The Big Mac is McDonald's most popular sandwich. The Big Mac was created by a franchise owner, not a development lab, to compete with a sandwich made by one of their competitors. The ingredients of the Big Mac are 100 percent beef patty, bun, pasteurized processed American cheese, Big Mac Sauce, lettuce, pickle slices and onions. There are two beef patties and three layers of buns on the Big Mac. The ingredients of the buns are enriched flour (bleached wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid and enzymes), water, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, soybean oil and partially hydrogenated soybean oil. The meal contains 2 percent or less of the following: salt, calcium sulfate, calcium carbonate, wheat gluten, ammonium sulfate, ammonium chloride, dough conditioners (sodium stearoyl lactylate, datem, ascorbic acid,azodicarbonamide, mono- and diglycerides, ethoxylated monoglycerides, monocalcium phosphate, enzymes, guar gum, calcium peroxide, soy flour), calcium propionate and sodium propionate (preservatives), soy lecithin and sesame seeds. The ingredients of the Special Sauce are soybean oil, pickle relish (diced pickles, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, vinegar, corn syrup, salt, calcium chloride, xanthan gum, potassium sorbate (preservative),spice extractives, polysorbate 80], distilled vinegar, water, egg yolks, high fructose corn syrup, onion powder, mustard seed, salt, spices, propylene glycol alginate, sodium benzoate (preservative), mustard bran, sugar, garlic powder, vegetable protein hydrolyzed corn, soy and wheat), caramel color, extractives of paprika, soy lecithin, turmeric (color) and calcium disodium EDTA (protect flavor).

Snack Wrap

  • The Snack Wrap is McDonald's third most popular menu item. There are several wraps available. The flower tortillas used for the wraps are made of enriched flour, water, vegetable shortening (which may contain one or more of the following: hydrogenated soybean oil, soybean oil, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, hydrogenated cottonseed oil with mono- and diglycerides added). It contains 2 percent or less of the following: sugar, leavening (sodium aluminum sulfate, calcium sulfate, sodium phosphate, baking soda, corn starch, monocalcium phosphate), salt, wheat gluten and dough conditioners (sodium metabisulfite, distilled monoglycerides). Each wrap has a different set of ingredients. Some are grilled, which is healthier, and some are battered and fried.

Happy Meal

  • Happy Meals usually come with a hamburger, cheeseburger or four Chicken McNuggets. The hamburger has 100 percent beef patty, bun, ketchup, mustard, pickle slices and onions. The cheeseburger adds pasteurized processed American cheese.

Chicken McNuggets

  • Chicken McNuggets are made of white boneless chicken, water, food starch, salt, seasoning (yeast extract, salt, wheat starch, natural flavoring), sodium phosphate and natural flavor. The meat is battered and breaded with water, enriched flour, yellow corn flour, bleached wheat flour, food starch, salt, leavening (baking soda, sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate, calcium lactate), spices, wheat starch, dextrose, corn starch. It's prepared in vegetable oil (canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness). Dimethylpolysiloxane is added as an antifoaming agent. Sauces for the Chicken McNuggets include: barbecue, honey, honey mustard, hot mustard sauce and sweet and sour sauce.


  • A McMuffin's ingredients are an English muffin, egg, pasteurized processed American cheese, Canadian style bacon and liquid margarine. The English muffin is made of enriched flour, water, yeast, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, wheat gluten, soybean oil or canola oil, and contains 2 percent or less of the following: salt, calcium sulfate, calcium carbonate, citric acid, calcium citrate, yellow corn flour, corn meal, rice flour, barley malt, artificial flavors, natural flavors, dough conditioners (ascorbic acid, azodicarbonamide, datem, tricalcium phosphate, monocalcium phosphate, enzymes, calcium peroxide), calcium propionate and potassium sorbate, and soy lecithin.

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