Food blog

The Irresistible Secrets Behind McDonald’s Deliciosly Crispy Hash Browns

This is why McDonald’s hash browns are so delicious.

The Facts

We at Mashed have been known to wax poetic about McDonald’s hash browns. Born in 1977, Mickey D’s Hash Browns are still one of the best innovations ever to hit fast food. Made with eight ingredients that don’t seem all that terrifying considering some of the shady things we’ve learned about fast-food restaurants in the past decade, these golden, oval-shaped morsels manage to be delightfully crispy on the outside and improbably fluffy on the inside. At the same time, they offer a satisfying bite and a flavor that’s unmistakably unique.
Not for nothing did McDonald’s hash browns easily rise to the top of our definitive ranking of fast-food hash browns, where they have yet to be unseated. And that brings up something else we’re known for around here, which is a tendency to obsess over what exactly makes the dishes and menu items we like so incredibly lovable. Take, for example, the time we got super granular about why McDonald’s breakfast sandwiches taste so good. Well, now it’s time to examine what makes McDonald’s hash browns so delicious.

McDonald’s Hash Browns are unique for a reason.

Sure, we were a little surprised to learn that some McDonald’s menu items are made with obscure, hard-to-pronounce ingredients. And maybe we were a little disappointed to find two of those ingredients in McDonald’s hash browns. Still, we’re not here to preach about chemicals in beloved foods – in fact, we’d say one of the rules of enjoying fast food is not to think too much about what might be in your food.
But the fact is, there’s a good reason why even the best copycat recipe can’t quite replicate the taste of McDonald’s hash browns. McDonald’s has mastered the art of taking the wholesome ingredients in their hash browns – potatoes, vegetable oil, salt, and cornmeal – and transforming them into the next level of greatness with the help of some chemical magic.
For starters, McDonald’s hash browns contain sodium pyrophosphate to keep the potatoes from turning gray, as potatoes do (via McDonald’s). They also contain dextrose, a corn-based sugar that McDonald’s uses during those times of year when the natural sugars in the potatoes aren’t able to produce the golden color you’ve come to expect. Here’s the good news: Neither is a significant health concern, according to registered dietitian George Fear (via ABC), so you can probably relax and enjoy your breakfast.

The totally unexpected ingredient in McDonald’s Hash Browns that makes them so unique

There’s another reason your home-cooked hash browns don’t match the flavor of McDonald’s, and it comes down to three words you might not expect: natural beef flavor, with the emphasis on “flavor” and not actual beef.
McDonald’s practice of adding subtle beefy notes to its fried potato products predates the invention of its hash browns by nearly two decades. Beginning in the 1950s, McDonald’s fried its potatoes in vegetable oil and beef tallow. But by the 1990s, concerns about tallow’s saturated fat content led fast-food restaurants to stop frying with beef fat. Rather than give up the beef flavor altogether, McDonald’s developed its own “natural beef flavor” and has been using it to flavor its vegetable oil ever since (via McDonald’s).
You should know that the “natural” in Beef Flavor does not refer to beef, but to wheat and milk. In fact, there is no actual beef in the natural beef flavor, which is made from hydrolyzed wheat and flavored milk. “Hydrolyzed” is a fancy way of saying that the chemicals that make up a protein have been broken down into their smaller parts called amino acids, and in the case of the beef flavor, the amino acids that can recreate a beef flavor are used in McDonald’s hash browns.

McDonald’s Hash Browns are made from up to seven different types of potatoes.

Another thing that makes McDonald’s hash browns so delicious, not to mention unique, is that they’re made from up to seven different types of potatoes, according to the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC). These include several sub-varieties of the common russet potato and a Canadian-grown potato known as the shepody.
Each of the potato varieties used by McDonald’s adds its own unique flavor and/or texture to McDonald’s potato products. For example, the Burbank russet has a distinctive earthy flavor, while the Ranger russet provides lightness, crispness and a golden color, and the Blazer russet helps give McDonald’s hash browns a nice, crispy crust along with a tender, fluffy interior, according to the IPC.
These different potato varieties are also harvested at different times of the year, which contributes to the overall quality and taste of McDonald’s hash browns. By carefully selecting and combining these potato varieties, McDonald’s achieves a harmonious blend of flavors and textures that make its hash browns irresistible.
In summary, there are several reasons why McDonald’s Hash Browns are so delicious. The use of sodium pyrophosphate and dextrose helps maintain the perfect texture and color of the potatoes, while the addition of natural beef flavor derived from hydrolyzed wheat and milk creates a unique and savory taste. In addition, the incorporation of multiple potato varieties adds complexity and depth to the flavor profile of McDonald’s hash browns.
So the next time you bite into a McDonald’s Hash Brown, enjoy the crispy exterior, the fluffy interior and the delicious combination of flavors. It’s the result of careful craftsmanship and a secret recipe perfected over the years. McDonald’s Hash Browns are truly a delicious and satisfying breakfast option that continues to delight millions of people around the world.


– “This is why McDonald’s Hash Browns are so delicious” –
– “Why McDonald’s Hash Browns Are So Good” – ABC News


What makes McDonald’s Hash Browns so delicious?

McDonald’s Hash Browns are delicious because they have the perfect balance of a crispy exterior and a fluffy interior. They are made with a combination of high-quality potatoes, vegetable oil, salt and cornmeal. In addition, the use of sodium pyrophosphate and dextrose helps maintain the ideal texture and golden color.

Why can’t I get the taste of McDonald’s Hash Browns at home?

Replicating the exact taste of McDonald’s Hash Browns at home can be challenging because McDonald’s uses a special blend of ingredients, including sodium pyrophosphate and dextrose, which contribute to the unique taste. In addition, the addition of natural beef flavor, derived from hydrolyzed wheat and milk, adds a distinctive savory note that is difficult to replicate.

Are McDonald’s Hash Browns unhealthy because of the added ingredients?

The added ingredients in McDonald’s Hash Browns, such as sodium pyrophosphate and dextrose, are used in small amounts and do not pose significant health concerns. Registered dietitians have determined that these ingredients are safe to consume in moderation, so you can enjoy McDonald’s Hash Browns as part of a balanced diet.

How many different types of potatoes are used in McDonald’s Hash Browns?

McDonald’s Hash Browns are made with up to seven different types of potatoes. These include several varieties of russet potatoes, known for their earthy flavor, and shepard potatoes, which add their own unique characteristics. The combination of these potato varieties contributes to the overall flavor and texture of the hash browns.

Are there vegetarian or vegan options for McDonald’s Hash Browns?

McDonald’s Hash Browns are vegetarian-friendly as they contain no meat or animal by-products. However, they are cooked in the same oil as other McDonald’s menu items, including those that contain meat. Therefore, individuals following a strict vegan diet may wish to avoid McDonald’s Hash Browns due to the potential for cross-contamination.

Can I enjoy McDonald’s Hash Browns as part of a gluten-free diet?

McDonald’s Hash Browns do not contain gluten in their ingredients. However, cross-contamination can occur during the cooking process because they are cooked in the same oil as other menu items that contain gluten. If you have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, it is recommended that you use caution or find alternative gluten-free options.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *