10 Mind-Blowing Secrets McDonald’s Employees Are Forbidden To Tell You

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The Golden Arches beam around the world, with 36,000 McDonald’s restaurants in more than 100 countries. One in eight Americans have worked at a McDonald’s. As you can imagine, with an insider network that large, it’s hard to guard company secrets too closely. Still, there are some McDonald’s mysteries that leave a lot of people puzzled: Why is their Coke so good? And why does it seem like the ice cream machine is always broken?

Here to answer those questions for us, and spill secrets juicier than a Big Mac, is Mike Haracz, a former corporate chef for McDonald’s who has amassed 7.2 million likes on TikTok with his videos about the chain.

The most common question he says he gets asked is whether the beef patties are real meat or if they’re lab grown. Haracz, who has more than 20 years experience in the food industry, visited the facility where they grind the beef and can confidently assure you that the burgers are 100% all beef, ground and sourced in the same manner as what you’re buying at the supermarket.

Here are some fascinating “secrets” you may not know about McDonald’s.

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1. The Best Eggs Are on the McMuffin

The round eggs that are used on the McMuffin come from fresh-cracked eggs, says Haracz. “The round egg is the freshest, best quality from the consumer standpoint,” he says. Meanwhile, his least favorite is the folded egg, which is stocked as a frozen, fully cooked egg square and heated up before it's placed on the biscuit and bagel sandwiches. McDonald’s also uses liquid eggs for its “Big Breakfast,” which is scrambled eggs served with a biscuit, hash browns, and sausage patty.

2. Some McDonald's Sell Birthday Cakes

If you grew up in the 1980s, you were probably on the McDonald’s birthday party circuit or even had your own party at the golden arches. While not as common as they once were, birthday bashes still take place at McDonald’s Play Places. But even if you aren’t throwing a party at Micky D’s, you might be able to pick up a birthday cake featuring Ronald McDonald from the fast-food restaurant.

Some McDonald’s sell chocolate and vanilla birthday cakes. Owner-operators have a big list of approved items they can order, and some regions, where there are lots of kids, may stock up on the cakes, Haracz says. His pro tip: Check in with your local McDonald’s ahead of time to see if they carry cakes. Even if they don’t, they might order some so you can have one for your special occasion.

mcdonalds soda fountain
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3. The Straws Are Probably What Makes McDonald’s Coke Superior

If you swear McDonald’s Coke or Diet Coke is just better than anywhere else, you’re not imagining it. The fast-food chain says it follows the guidelines set forth by Coca-Cola, however the water and syrup are pre-chilled before entering the fountain dispensers, with the ratio of syrup set to allow for ice melt. But the straws served with the soft drinks are wider than a typical straw, so your sip is “inherently more flavorful,” Haracz says.

4. The Truth About the Ice Cream Machines

McDonald’s catches a lot of flack for its ice cream machines being broken down. (There’s even a site called McBroken to check ahead of time which ice cream machines near you are out of service). What gives? The machine that churns out your McFlurries and milkshakes is a complicated piece of equipment that needs to be broken down and cleaned frequently, and only some employees are trained for the task, Haracz explains. Sometimes that disassembly has to be done during prime hours.

5. You Can Make the Burger Seasoning at Home

Turns out, McDonald’s burger seasoning is super simple to make. It’s just salt and pepper. But to get it right, you’ll want to nail the 86-14 proportions, Haracz says. To be precise, you could get out a food scale and order 8.6 grams of salt and 1.4 grams of cracked pepper.

6. A Trader Joe’s Item Can Help Replicate McGriddles

There’s no true replica for the McDonald’s McGriddle, which is a breakfast sandwich with bacon, eggs, and processed cheddar cheese placed between two, maple-flavored griddle cakes. But the closest you could get to a copycat recipe would be with the Dutch Griddle Cakes from Trader Joes. Package instructions suggest putting them in a toaster oven, but, if you love the McGriddle from McDonalds, just pop the griddle cakes in the microwave, Haracz suggests. You can also try DIY-ing at home with our McGriddle recipe.

protesters put pressure on fast food restaurants to not use meat with inappropriate antibiotics
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7. You’ll Have to Buy Cod in Bulk to DIY The Filet-O-Fish

If you’re a big fan of McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish and want to try your hand at making one at home, you’ll have to buy in bulk. The fast-food chain uses wild caught Alaskan cod for its sandwiches. A similar product is hard to track down, but Haracz points to this 10-pound box of breaded, square breaded Alaskan Pollock filets from Trident.

8. There’s No Ketchup in The Big Mac Sauce

Ketchup may be a popular burger topping, but it’s nowhere to be found in the recipe for Big Mac sauce. Paprika is what gives the sauce it’s color, Haracz says. The sauce is a blend of mayo, sweet pickle relish, Dusseldorf mustard, white wine vinegar, paprika, onion powder, granulated garlic, white pepper, Haracz shares the full tutorial for the Big Mac sauce on TikTok.

9. McDonald’s Doesn’t Have a Secret Menu—But Here are Some Ordering Secrets

Micky D’s doesn’t have a secret menu per se. The restaurant wants to make sure it can have an ingredient statement for everything that it sells, with the nutritional information in it. However, there’s some ways to switch up your order, Haracz says, to create your own order. Some of his favorite menu hacks include adding Big Mac sauce to the Filet-O-Fish and subbing the bun for an English muffin or sub out the patties for bacon slices on the Big Mac and add tomato for a BLT sandwich.

10. McDonald’s French Fries Aren’t Vegan

So where does the meat come from? If you take a look at McDonald’s ingredient list—at least in the United States—you’ll notice that the fries contain “natural beef flavor” and “hydrolyzed milk” as starting ingredients.

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