McDonald's reveals what exactly goes into the fan favourite Chicken McNugget

McDonald's Chicken McNuggets. Photo: Getty Images
McDonald's Chicken McNuggets. Photo: Getty Images
McDonald's has lifted the veil about what really goes into one of the favourite items on the menu - chicken nuggets.

And no, there was no sign of chicken beaks, feet, claws, offal, or cartilage going into the mix.

The Herald was invited behind the scenes of the Ingham's plant in South Auckland to see how Chicken McNuggets are made - a first in New Zealand.

They're made with 100 per cent chicken breast meat, with some skin, and flavouring.

Plant manager Issac Flynn says the creation process starts with the breast being delivered and checked over to make sure there are no bruises or blood spots.

It's then minced together, then combined in a brine mix, before being moulded into one of four shapes - the bone, the bell, the boot and the ball.

Moulded nuggets then go through the battering process, are flash fried, snap frozen, weighed, bagged, and packaged before being delivered to restaurants.

Typically they process around 20 tonnes of McNuggets, that's around 1.3 million a day.

The nuggets were made in Golden Arches Place in south Auckland. Photo: Alex Burton / NZH
The nuggets were made in Golden Arches Place in south Auckland. Photo: Alex Burton / NZH
The PR offensive comes off the back of years of speculation about what goes into a McNugget, from chicken offcuts and pink slime.

McDonald's is keen to show when you bite into a McNugget, that is simply not the case.

Stubborn rumours have circulated on social media for years, including the food chain using worm meat and other burger fillers on their menu.

A video of the pink slime went viral online, and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver even once claimed it was a key ingredient.

However, that simply isn't the case. At least, it wasn't when the Herald visited the plant on Wednesday morning when all that was used was chicken breast.

Flynn was teased and asked numerous times about beaks, feet and claws, but he is able to assure diners there are no hidden nasties in your favourite chicken recipes.

It came as McDonald's offered one million free McNuggets to Kiwis for one day only.

McDonald's is committing to the promise that was delayed during Covid-19 lockdown health and safety requirements in August.

Nugget lovers could only get their hands on a free six-pack if they download the McDonald's app and redeem the digital voucher in-store or in the drive-thru.

McNuggets first featured in New Zealand in 1985 and McDonald's managing director Dave Howse says they wanted to give back to Kiwis after 35 years of them supporting the sale of chicken nuggets.

"It became clear during lockdown that Chicken McNuggets are a firm favourite so we decided to shout Kiwis a six-pack and celebrate 35 years of love for them.

"We're proud of our long-standing supplier relationships, and to offer Kiwis Chicken McNuggets raised in our own backyard."

More than 140 million Chicken McNuggets were consumed by Kiwis in 2019.

McDonald's annual chicken order equates to just over 3.75 million tonnes, all of which is reared by 30 farmers based in the Waikato region.

Nothing but chicken meat is used to make the nuggets, despite popular belief. Photo: File
Nothing but chicken meat is used to make the nuggets, despite popular belief. Photo: File
Some nuggets about McNuggets:
• Chicken McNuggets were first offered on New Zealand menus in 1985;

• Chicken McNuggets are available in four shapes – the bone, the bell, the boot and the ball;

• Rene Arend, McDonald's first executive chef, created the Chicken McNugget recipe in 1979;

• In America, Chicken McNugget dipping sauce is available in seven varieties, including the Sweet 'n Sour and BBQ options available in New Zealand;

• Szechuan Sauce is McDonald's most sought-after limited edition dipping sauce. Released in New Zealand earlier in 2020, the sauce ran out in some restaurants within hours.








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