For the characters, see Chicken McNuggets (characters).

The Chicken McNuggets are a product of McDonald's. Consisting of small pieces of processed chicken meat that have been battered and deep fried. 

Description and origin

6 Piece Chicken McNuggets

The Chicken McNugget is a small piece of processed chicken meat that is fried in batter and flash frozen, then shipped out and sold at McDonald's restaurants. McDonald's first Executive Chef Rene Arend created Chicken McNuggets in 1979. "The McNuggets were so well received that every franchise wanted them", said Arend in a 2009 interview. "There wasn’t a system to supply enough chicken".[1] Supply problems were solved by 1983, and Chicken McNuggets became available nationwide.[2] In 2013, McDonald's announced that the McNuggets come in:[3] Bell shaped, Bone shaped, Boot shaped, and Ball shaped.


As of October 9, 2010, the ingredients within the United States are as follows: Chicken, water, salt, sodium phosphates. Battered and breaded with bleached wheat flour, water, wheat flour, modified food starch, salt, spices, wheat gluten, paprika, dextrose (sugar), yeast, garlic powder, rosemary, partially hydronated soybean oil and cottenseed oil with mono- and diglycerides, leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphate, baking soda, ammonium bicarbonate, monocalcium phosphate), natural flavor (plant source) with extractives of paprika. Fried in vegetable oil (Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with tert-Butylhydroquinone (TBHQ) and citric acid). Dimethylpolysiloxane is added as an antifoaming agent.[4] McDonald's ingredients can vary outside of the US.

Allergy advice

Contains wheat; gluten. Allergens are in bold.


Chicken McNuggets were sold in packages of 4, 6, 10, 20 and 40. In June 2011, McDonald's brought back the 20 piece for a limited time and continues to sell today. In New Zealand, and Australia, they are also available in 3 packs in Happy Meals and Heart Foundation approved Tick healthy meals. They come with a choice of various flavors of dipping sauce (Pure Honey, Tangy Barbeque, Sweet n' Sour, Honey Mustard, Hot Mustard, Spicy Buffalo, Sweet Chili, Curry, Creamy Ranch and Chipotle Barbecue). In countries like China, it's sold as nine pieces instead of ten, and in addition to BBQ, Sweet n' Sour, and Hot Mustard, there is also a chili garlic sauce which is very popular in China. They have recently been introduced in India, first as a part of its "Breakfast Meal" and later in the regular menu in May 2009. 50-piece McNuggets meal deals have been promoted at times for special events such as U.S. football's Super Bowl. In select areas of the United States, however, 50 piece Chicken McNugget meals are on the menu at all times during the year for $9.98 plus tax.[5]

A halal version of the McNuggets are sold at two McDonald's franchises in Dearborn, MI being very successful making double the average of McNuggets sales.[6]


In a 2002 lawsuit against McDonald's, Judge Robert Sweet commented that Chicken McNuggets are a "McFrankenstein" creation.[7] The judge identified that rather than being merely chicken fried in a pan, McNuggets included elements not utilized by the home cook, including the unusual sounding ingredients like: extracts of rosemary, vitamins (niacin, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), leavening (baking soda, calcium lactate, etc.).[8]

As of October 9, 2010, dimethylpolysiloxane and Tert-Butylhydroquinone TBHQ) are listed as ingredients in the McNuggets cooking process.[4] According to Lisa McComb, a media relations representative for McDonald's, dimethylpolysiloxane is used as a matter of safety to keep the frying oil from foaming. The chemical is a form of silicone also used in cosmetics and Silly Putty. A review of animal studies by the World Health Organization (WHO) found no adverse health effects associated with dimethylpolysiloxane. TBHQ is a common preservative for vegetable oils, cereals, nuts, cookies, chips, and animal fats,[9] found in other foods like Girl Scout Cookies[10] and Quaker Chewy Granola Bars.[11] The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sets an upper limit of 0.02% (0.0002) of the oil or fat content in foods,[12] which like other foods, applies to the oil used in McNuggets. Effective use of TBHQ is 1 gram per 5000 grams of cooking oil (1 gram per 11 pounds of cooking oil).


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