Why are McDonald's Chicken Nuggets so tasty? (2024)

If there's one thing kids and adults alike can't resist, it's a Chicken McNugget. Maybe it's the clever name, the crispy outside or the juicy chicken inside that makes us order McDonald's chicken nuggets. Whatever it is, we can't imagine chicken nuggets not being on the menu, but the truth is, they originally weren't.

History of the McNugget

Original,McDonald'swas a burger and fries. When the fast-food restaurant wars began to rage between McDonald's, Burger King and Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonald's CEO Ray Kroc quickly realized that the menu needed to be expanded.

Kroc added items like the Big Mac, the Filet-O-Fish sandwich and the Egg McMuffin to the McDonald's lineup, all of which became menu hits. But in 1977, the Senate issued its first set of dietary guidelines recommending that Americans reduce their consumption of red meat—which was bad news for Mickey D's, whose menu consisted mainly of hamburgers.

McDonald'sHowever, he had a trick up his sleeve: a chef named René Arend.Kroc hired Arend to revamp McDonald's menu. After the new guidelines started hurting McDonald's business, Arend was tasked with creating a new menu item that did not contain red meat.

Arend suggested fried chicken, but KFC already dominated that market. He suggested chicken pot pie, but Kroc wanted something customers could eat on the go. At first chef Arend made something like the onion lump, but it was a miss. Finally,Chicken McNuggets were introduced to the menu in 1983. Arend and a team of culinary specialists came up with a way to create a boneless chicken nugget that became the McNugget we know and love today.

What makes the McNugget so good?

There are four unique things that make Chicken McNugget so delicious: the taste, the texture, the shape and the sauces. But to really understand the difference between a McNugget's chicken nugget and another fast food restaurant's chicken nugget, you need to know how McDonald's nuggets are made.

How are McDonald's Chicken Nuggets made?

There are some common misconceptions when it comes to how McNuggets are made. But luckily for us, McDonald's has released oneHow It's Made Episodeabout his chicken nuggets (just like it's an episode about hisFrench fries). The section offers fvMythBustershost Grant Imahara, who takes viewers through the Tyson facility to debunk the Internet rumors surrounding McNuggets — and spoiler alert: McDonald's chicken nuggets are made with real chicken.

First off, McDonald's McNuggets are only made with white meat - including brisket, rib meat, tenderloin, and just a little bit of chicken skin (for extra flavor). The chicken is ground into a coarsely ground chicken mixture. It's coarser than the ground chicken you find at the grocery store, which gives the McNugget its thick, meaty texture.

Then the ground chicken is mixed with marinade ingredients, that's itpublicly available on the McDonald's site. Ingredients include water, sodium phosphates, modified food starch, salt, natural flavor, wheat starch, dextrose, citric acid, autolyzed yeast extract, rosemary extract and thistle oil. These components work together to add moisture, improve flavor and maintain freshness.

The chicken is then formed into four iconic shapes: a bow, boot, bell and ball. The resulting piece of chicken is breaded three times: first in a light batter, then in a breadcrumb with celery and white pepper, and finally in a thick tempura batter that contains leavening agents to lighten the batter. This gives the McNugget its crispy yet airy texture and slightly spicy taste.

The McNuggets are only partially baked at the factory to allow the batter to set, then flash frozen and shipped to eachMcDonald'srestaurant, where they are prepared to order. An interesting note is that the factories have on-site kitchens where fully cooked nuggets can be tasted every hour to ensure perfect pieces are produced.

While the chicken nugget is delicious on its own thanks to the crispy, fluffy breading and juicy all-white chicken inside, the McNugget is even better with some dipping sauces (and McDonald's knows this).

The secret behind McDonald's sauces

Chef Arend not only created the legendary McNugget, but he also changed the way Americans viewed sauces. He tested hundreds of sauces and narrowed them down to four that were served at the launch of the McNugget: mustard sauce, sweet and sour, honey sauce and barbecue. The sauces all went to the market, served in a dipping cup perfectly sized for a gold nugget.

Today, a variety of these four sauces are still available, plus Buffalo and Ranch.

Whether you dip your McNuggets or not, the idea of ​​serving sauces with the chicken nuggets so that everyone can have a different taste experience is brilliant.

We can't imagine itMickey D'swithout the iconic McNuggets, so the next time you order six, you'll know you have a French chef to thank.

Why are McDonald's Chicken Nuggets so tasty? (2024)


Why are McDonald's Chicken Nuggets so tasty? ›

The formed chicken nugget is breaded three times — first in a light batter, then in a breading with celery and white pepper, and finally in a thick tempura batter that contains leavening agents to aerate the batter. This gives the McNugget the crispy, yet airy texture and lightly spiced flavor.

Why do McDonald's nuggets taste so good? ›

They're coated in a light tempura batter, partially fried and quickly frozen to preserve flavor. Once in our restaurants, they're fully fried and served hot to you with a delicious taste that is full of flavor. Still curious about the ingredients in Chicken McNuggets®?

Are chicken nuggets from mcdonalds real chicken? ›

McDonald's Chicken McNuggets® are made with all white meat chicken and no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. The chicken, which is cut from the tenderloin, breast and rib, gets mixed with a marinade for flavor and to help the Chicken McNuggets® keep their fun shapes.

What brand of nuggets does McDonald's use? ›

To keep restaurants across the US chain from running out, the fast food company teamed up with Tyson Foods for its poultry supply. This is why McDonald's chicken nuggets come in one of four shapes. In Australia, the local supplier is Ingham Enterprises.

Why are McNuggets unhealthy? ›

Nuggets are fried in hydrogenated oil and contain high amounts of sugar, fat, and preservatives. This makes them an unhealthy choice, especially if you eat them often.

What are the healthiest fast food chicken nuggets? ›

"Chick-fil-A's Grilled Nuggets are one of the best fast-food options out there," shares Marisela Gomez Raffo, RDN, LDN. "High in protein and low in fat and carbohydrates, they are grilled instead of fried, which reduces the overall amount of fat compared to most other fast food chicken nuggets," she adds.

Are McNuggets made by Tyson? ›

Tyson does make McDonalds McNuggets. Tyson makes a huge variety of different chicken nuggets with different breading and different meat formulas. The nuggets you buy at retail or in a club store are very different as to both breading and meat formulas compared to McNuggets.

What is inside of McDonald's chicken nuggets? ›

Ingredients: White Boneless Chicken, Water, Vegetable Oil (canola Oil, Corn Oil, Soybean Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil), Enriched Flour (bleached Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Bleached Wheat Flour, Yellow Corn Flour, Vegetable Starch (modified Corn, Wheat, Rice, Pea, ...

Are Chick-fil-A nuggets real chicken? ›

Our Chicken

Chick-fil-A sources 100% real, whole, boneless breast of chicken that has never been ground or separated, and that contains no fillers or added steroids or hormones*.

Is pink slime unhealthy? ›

On the one hand, consumers demand safe foods and are right to do so; they also need to recognize that the production of safe foods requires processing interventions.” In other words, it might have an image problem, but Lean Finely Textured Beef – aka 'pink slime' – is safe to eat.

What is the meat glue on chicken nuggets? ›

MYTH: “Meat glue” is used to hold chicken nuggets together. FACT: Transglutaminase, referred to by some as “meat glue,” is an enzyme sold for almost two decades that is used mostly in food service to bind pieces of meat together, such as a beef tenderloin or a strip of bacon to a filet.

What is the pink stuff at McDonald's? ›

Does McDonald's use 'pink slime' in burgers or beef treated with ammonia? Nope. Our beef patties are made from 100% pure beef. We season with just a punch of salt and pepper, otherwise nothing else is added.

Which store-bought chicken nuggets are closest to McDonald's? ›

So, rather than just relying on the ingredients to find the closest match, he suggested buying a frozen grocery store brand that uses the same tempura-style batter as McDonald's: Pilgrim's Chicken Breast Nuggets.

What frozen chicken nuggets are closest to Chick-fil-A? ›

Costco's frozen chicken nuggets, Just Bare Lightly Breaded Chicken Chunks, went viral after fans posted TikTok clips comparing them to the famous Chick-fil-A nuggets.

Who supplies McDonald's meat? ›

Through a joint venture with Taylor Fresh Foods Inc., GSF is one of the biggest and longest-serving suppliers to McDonald's restaurants, including liquid products, and it is McDonald's third-largest beef supplier in the U.S. market.

Why does come taste better at McDonald's? ›

The fast-food chain gets its co*ke syrup delivered in stainless steel tanks. According to the New York Times, the material keeps the soda fresher, and your tongue can taste the difference. Check out these other 17 things McDonald's employees won't tell you.

Why does McDonald fries taste so good? ›

“It's because McDonald's cooks their fries with beef flavoring mixed within their vegetable oil,” the San Diego-based content creator explains in a TikTok posted last week that's served up 9.6 million views. It's “why the fries taste so good,” he added, but it's “probably bad news for vegetarians.”

Why is McDonald's fries so tasty? ›

When our suppliers partially fry our cut potatoes, they use an oil blend that contains beef flavoring. This ensures the great-tasting and recognizable flavor we all love from our World Famous Fries®. The Fries are cooked in our kitchens, seasoned with salt, and served hot to you. Still curious?

Why does McDonald's fries taste better? ›

After doing some digging, McDonalds do explain on their website that during the process of making the fries "suppliers partially fry our cut potatoes" using an "oil blend that contains beef flavoring."

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