Do McDonald’s Burgers Go Bad?

Estimated read time 2 min read

A former McDonald’s chef isn’t just debunking the myth that McDonald’s burgers never go bad and that their buns never mold, he’s giving us a very specific reason why they appear to stay fresh-looking forever. 

“When anyone talks about the McDonald’s burgers never going bad, that is false. What is happening is that bun or burger is becoming dehydrated,” Mike Haracz, a former corporate chef for McDonald’s, shared on his TikTok. 

As Haracz explained, McDonald’s puts mold-inhibiting ingredients in its burgers and buns, so when they are “stored in an enclosed environment to keep them moist, they will mold after a week or two like every other bun.” he noted, you can test this yourself by putting a “McDonald’s burger in a Ziploc bag or something similar and let that sit, and you are going to see it go bad very, very quick.”  

As for why so many people are able to pull out weeks-old burgers that appear to look fresh, Haracz explained that this is due to a combination of dehydration and “the fact McDonald’s cooks their burgers and its meats well done so there’s no raw protein.” 

“There’s a lot less moist and fat in there,” he added. “The fact they salt and season after it’s cooked – so that salt is dropping the water activity. Salt absorbs any free moisture and that free moisture is what microbes and things use to grow.”

So really, what you’re doing by saving that burger for months on end isn’t for science, but rather, you’re “basically making jerky and croutons,” Haracz added. 

This is far from the first time Haracz has spilled a McDonald’s secret. In March, he also shared the secret to that famous Big Mac Sauce, revealing it’s a combination of mayonnaise, a quarter cup of sweet pickle relish, two tablespoons of Dusseldorf Mustard, and one teaspoon of white wine vinegar, along with one and one-fourth teaspoon of paprika, one teaspoon of onion powder, one teaspoon of granulated garlic, and one-eighth a teaspoon of white pepper.   

And, in 2023, he famously revealed the worst times of day to visit a McDonald’s, naming 10:30 a.m. as the worst of all, as it’s right between the breakfast and lunch switch. The more you know, right? 

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