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[VIDEO] McDonalds Shows Off How its French Fries Are Made

Ever wondered how McDonalds makes its French fries? It seems that a lot of people have, so McDonalds pulled back the curtain on the process with the nex...

Frazer Jones
|Jan 24|magazine6 min read

Ever wondered how McDonald’s makes its French fries? It seems that a lot of people have, so McDonald’s pulled back the curtain on the process with the next installment in its Grant Imahara mythbusting video series on how McDonald’s makes its products.

In this episode Imahara visited Simplot, a major potato supplier for McDonald’s french fries, for a backwards walkthrough from the finished (frozen and ready to ship) product to the beginning of the production line.

Toward the beginning of the production line, Imahara relates that many people have asked him to show where “potato goo” is injected into machines to be molded into a perfect potato shape. Considering the sheer amount of effort and expense that would be exerted to actually do this, it’s not at all surprising that McDonald’s prefers the standard and much simpler “chopping potatoes into potato sticks” model over the “extrude and mold potato mash into perfectly formed artificial french fries” model.

Perhaps the most surprising part to consumers would be that the “ingredient dip” that those potato batons are coated in before moving on to the partial frying (for crispness!) and freezing process. This is what gives the fries their staying power from the factory to the fryer—it’s also what gives the fries their hefty ingredient list. In addition to s blend of canola, corn, and soybean oil, some of the components of the dip include preservatives like citric acid and sodium acid pyrophosphate (the latter of which keeps the fries from graying after freezing), dextrose (a natural sugar that helps the fries stay consistently golden), and hydrolyzed wheat and milk as a part of its “natural beef flavor” that gives McDonald’s fries their signature taste (and makes them decidedly non-vegan.)

“So this is all about maintaining consistency all throughout this process?” asks Imahara. “It’s no wonder the fries always taste the same.” Indeed, it’s a complex process—but it’s all part of keeping those fries dependable and tasting exactly the way consumers remember them from store to store.

Along with the video, McDonald’s also offers up an infographic detailing the process. Check it out: