For the characters, see Chicken McNuggets (characters).

Chicken McNuggets (introduced in 1983 with support from the McNugget Mania campaign)
are a Chicken nugget product offered by international fast-food restaurant chain McDonald's. Consisting of small pieces of processed chicken meat that have been battered and deep fried.

Description and origin

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 are sold in packages of 4, 6,10 and 20. 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]

The 2004 documentary Super Size Me states that "[o]riginally created from old chickens that can no longer lay eggs, McNuggets are now made from chickens with unusually large breasts. They're stripped from the bone, and ground-up into a sort of 'chicken mash', which is then combined with all sorts of stabilizers and preservatives, pressed into familiar shapes, breaded, deep-fried, freeze-dried, and then shipped to a McDonald's near you". Super Size Me also alleged inclusion of chemicals such as tertiary butylhydroquinone (a phenolic antioxidant used as a chemical preservative), polydimethylsiloxane (an anti-foaming agent), and other ingredients not used by a typical home cook.[9] This was recently restated by CNN.[10] Marion Nestle, a New York University professor and author of What to Eat, says the tertiary butylhydroquinone and dimethylpolysiloxane in McNuggets probably pose no health risks. As a general rule, though, she advocates not eating any food with an ingredient you can’t pronounce.

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,[11] found in other foods like Girl Scout Cookies[12] and Quaker Chewy Granola Bars.[13] 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,[14] 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).



  1. The Cult of the McRib. MAXIM (3 February 2009). Retrieved on 25 October 2011.
  2. History of McDonald's Corporation – FundingUniverse. Retrieved on 2013-02-03.
  3. What Are The Four McNugget Shapes? – Oldiez 96. Retrieved on 2013-02-28.
  4. 4.0 4.1 McDonald's USA Ingredients Listing for Popular Menu Items. McDonalds (9 October 2010). Retrieved on 2 December 2010.
  5. Aamoth, Doug. CrunchDeals: 50 piece Chicken McNuggets bucket for $10 this weekend. Crunch Deals. Retrieved on 2 December 2010.
  6. Halal McNuggets a Hit in Detroit. Huda.
  7. Weiser, Benjamin. "Word for Word/Fast-Food Fracas; Your Honor, We Call Our Next Witness: McFrankenstein", 26 January 2003. Retrieved on 2 December 2010. 
  8. "Word for Word/Fast-Food Fracas; Your Honor, We Call Our Next Witness: McFrankenstein". 
  9. Template:Cite video
  10. Martin, David (25 June 2010). All McNuggets not created equal. CNN. Retrieved on 2 December 2010.
  11. TBHQ — The most effective choice for vegetable oils.
  12. Nutrition Information for Girl Scout Cookies.
  13. Quaker Chewy Granola Bars — Chocolate Chip Nutritional Information.
  14. 21 C.F.R. § 172.185. Retrieved on 2013-02-03.

External links

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