Is McDonald’s Meat Real? (Beef, Chicken, Fish + More)

McDonald’s is the second-largest fast-food restaurant in the world, but have you ever wondered if McDonald’s meat is real?

It’s a question that comes up quite often, and we have all the details on McDonald’s meat, so keep reading to learn the truth!

Is Mcdonald’s Meat Real?

McDonald’s meat is real, and the burgers are made from 100% ground beef that doesn’t contain preservatives or artificial ingredients. Additionally, McDonald’s also uses 100% real meat for their chicken nuggets and sandwiches, along with real pork for their McRib. In most cases, McDonald’s flash freezes most meat to lock in flavor. 

We know you have more questions about McDonald’s meat, so read on to learn even more facts!

What is McDonald’s Meat Made Out Of?

The McDonald’s burgers are made out of 100% beef which is then ground and made into burger patties. Sirloin, round, and chuck trimmings are what’s ground up to make the burgers.

Furthermore, McDonald’s flash freezes the ground hamburger patties, which helps keep the flavors locked into the meat before being shipped out to restaurants.

On top of that, salt and pepper are added to the burgers once they get to the restaurant and are cooked for each order.

How Much Real Meat is in McDonald’s?

All of the meat at McDonald’s is 100% real meat, whether it’s beef, chicken, or even the Filet-O-Fish.

Specifically, with ground beef, there are no additives, fillers, or preservatives that are used to ensure that the burger is fresh and has that iconic McDonald’s flavor.

Is McDonald’s Beef Fresh?

McDonald’s switched from frozen beef to fresh beef back in the Spring of 2018, which means all quarter-pound burgers are now completely fresh!

If you’ve had a McDonald’s burger lately, you’ve probably noticed it does taste a lot better, and the switch to fresh beef is the reason for the better flavor and juicier meat.

Before 2018, McDonald’s did use frozen beef, and that hindered a lot of the flavor of the ground beef, and it didn’t taste nearly as fresh.

Is the McRib Made From Real Pork?

The McRib is made from real pork and, more specifically, meat from the pork shoulder.

Additionally, the pork shoulder is ground up and then formed into the McRib patty for their famous limited-time sandwich.

Interestingly, a rack of rib press is used to give the McRib a rib shape, in a similar way a burger press works to form a burger shape.

What Are McDonald’s Nuggets Made From?

McDonald’s uses 100% all-white meat chicken for their famous chicken nuggets, which are then marinated to seal in juice and flavor.

Furthermore, the nuggets are made from breast, tenderloin, and rib meat. The company uses three nugget suppliers, which have locations in Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia.

Lastly, McDonald’s does not use any artificial flavors or preservatives in their chicken nuggets.

Is McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish Real Fish?

McDonald’s uses Alaska Pollock that’s wild-caught and sourced from a sustainable fishery in their Filet-O-Fish sandwich.

Plus, using sustainable fish is environmentally friendly and protects oceans, which is an important issue for McDonald’s as a company.

Does McDonald’s Use Chickens Treated With Antibiotics?

Does McDonald’s Use Chickens Treated With Antibiotics?

McDonald’s does not use any chickens that have been treated with antibiotics, which was a policy started in 2015.

Further, the chicken that McDonald’s uses do not contain any antibiotics that are important for human medicine. All chicken is USDA-inspected before it’s used in any capacity.

However, chicken farmers do use ionophores to keep the chickens healthy, but that’s a class of antibiotics not used in humans.

What About the McDonald’s Pink Slime Photo That Went Viral?

When it comes to the pink slime that was shown in a viral photo allegedly from a McDonald’s, the company says this is 100% false!

Furthermore, McDonald’s denies this photo has anything to do with McDonald’s, and it’s not a representation of how the company makes any food products, including nuggets.

Lastly, a McDonald’s employee seemingly debunked the pink slime claim once-and-for-all in a TikTok video in late 2020 showing the nuggets coming out of the freezer and into the fryer.

Unfortunately, the pink slime claim has still plagued McDonald’s even 10 years after the claim surfaced and repeated denials from the company.

Did McDonald’s Use Seaweed for a Burger Named the McLean Deluxe?

McDonald’s did try a healthy burger option in the 1990s, which was called the McLean Deluxe.

Interestingly, this burger was made from seaweed and was advertised as less fattening than the traditional Big Mac.

Unfortunately, this McLean Deluxe burger was only 90% meat, and the rest was seaweed extract, which is nothing more than water. Further, the extract is called Carrageenan, and it’s fairly common in the food world to use it.

Sadly, this seaweed burger lacked flavor and appeal to those looking for healthier options, and customers were not buying this creation at all.

Thankfully, this menu item went away just as quickly as it appeared, and it’s considered to be an iconic fail of McDonald’s menu items.

How Much Does the McDonald’s Burger Weigh?

McDonald’s weighs out the uncooked 100% beef patties into 4 oz. portions. When cooked, the burger does shrink down a little. 

Thankfully, weighing out each burger patty to 4 oz. allows for a uniform size throughout all McDonald’s restaurants so customers know what to expect when ordering.

To know more, you might also be interested in reading up on whether or not McDonald’s apple pies are vegan, if McDonald’s frappe has caffeine, and where does McDonald’s get their meat.


Joyfully, we can report that McDonald’s meat is real whether you’re ordering a Big Mac, chicken nuggets, or the McRib.

Additionally, when it comes to the McRib and nuggets, various parts of the animal are ground up and formed to make the delicious creations we’ve come to know and love at McDonald’s.

While some fast-food restaurants might be more hesitant to let you know what’s in their products, McDonald’s is transparent and doesn’t hide how it makes its famous burgers and nuggets.

Photo of author

Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of

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