Many of us grew up going to McDonald’s — whether it was a road trip lunch, after-school snack, or just when the craving hit — and we have learned to love those thin and crispy french fries from the Golden Arches. While some people have mixed opinions on the rest of the food that McDonald’s offers, it’s hard to dislike their perfectly seasoned and cooked spuds. If you have ever attempted to recreate this addictive fast food at home, you most likely ended up with disappointing potatoes that didn’t even come close to the real thing. So why is that?
After doing some serious research and development (and eating way too many french fries), we figured out a couple tricks to make the perfect copycat McDonald’s spuds. Beside the one secret you need to know for making the best french fries, McDonalds has a couple other surprises that set their potatoes apart from others.
First, McDonald’s adds dextrose, which is just a fancy name for sugar, to their fries before they’re cooked. The added sugar caramelizes during the fry process which helps achieve that soft golden color that makes them so distinct. To do this at home, simply soak your cut potatoes (russets of course) in water mixed with a little corn syrup for 30 minutes.
Although McDonald’s hasn’t cooked its fries in beef fat since 1990, we are still obsessed with that technique. The other secret to McDonald’s perfectly tasty spuds is that they now flavor them with a natural beef seasoning, made up of several different ingredients. A shortcut that we found yields a similar end product to the current version of the fries, but makes life much easier: adding some beef tallow (rendered beef fat) to the frying oil when cooking the potatoes for the second and final fry. For some additional flavor, we also toss the hot fries in a mixture of salt and beef bouillon right as they come out of the fryer. Now that you know how to make the perfect copycat McDonald’s french fries, pair them with one of our 50 best burger recipes.