These Guys Figured Out Exactly When McDonald’s French Fries Turn Disgusting

how long do mcdonald's fries last

Remember that shocking scene in the 2004 film Supersize Me? Documentarian Morgan Spurlock went on a mission to eat nothing but McDonald’s for a month, in the name of science (and hunger). In one scene, he showed his audience that McDonald’s French fries happen to stay preserved, making them look indestructible…which made us fear for our digestive system, if we’re being honest. This experiment is somewhat similar, but based on taste.

Even if something looks fine on the outside, it doesn’t mean that it’ll taste the same as it did fresh out of the fryer. Staff members over at The Takeout did their own experiment to see when, exactly, America’s favorite fast food fry goes from delicious to inedible. And the results are actually surprising.

This wasn’t just a one-time study. The Takeout went to three different McDonald’s locations at three different times in order to get their research. So, this wasn’t just a lunchtime dare. They put thought into it to make sure their information was as accurate as possible.

Here’s what they learned.

Ten minutes after ordering, McDonald’s fries started to lose their appeal. But it was 18 minutes when they just became cold shells of what they formerly were. That may make you rethink takeout all together if you live a good 10 or 15 minutes away from your closest McDonald’s.

Curious about the research? Turns out, three different staffers hit each location with a similar plan in mind. When they went into the McDonald’s location, they made sure to sit in an area where they could get a good view of the fryer.

The second that a fresh batch entered the scene, each staffer ordered fries. So, each of them dealt with the same level of initial freshness, which is important in making sure the study is legit (and consistent).

Each order was delivered in a red sleeve within a bag, as per usual. Upon eating, staffers set a stopwatch in order to time when, exactly, the freshness started to wear off.

Staffers only shared their data after eating the fries, meaning they couldn’t influence each other’s opinions. As mentioned, this is true scientific research.

The first five minutes were definitely the best. That’s when they were both fresh and actually hot. But by minute six, the taste went from “very good” to “good.”

Unfortunately, things went downhill from there. And when you taste a fresh fry, no amount of additional heat will bring it back to its original state. Certainly no microwaving.

Two staffers noticed a change in texture after around nine minutes. They were less crispy. Edible, but not wonderful.

Do you know what this actually means? If you haven’t eaten fries inside of a McDonald’s in a few years, your idea of what McDonald’s fries taste like may be completely different than someone else. Because, honestly, they still get eaten after they’re not that great.

Minute 13 was when the fries started getting cold, and as one staffer described them, “mealy.” That word alone describes many fries eaten in the past.

But, the official “time of death” for the fries was somewhere between minutes 17 and 18. It makes you think a little bit — have you ever had a sleeve of fries that even lasted that long?

Usually, when eating fries, it seems more like a “how many can I eat all at once” contest than a “let’s see how long I can pace myself eating these” ordeal. But if you do happen to eat a spare fry that got left in the bag hours later, it’s not a great experience.

Still, it should inspire you to actually sit down at a McDonald’s to enjoy the fries. Because their taste definitely changes, and they could very well be inedible by the time you sit down to enjoy your Big Mac from the comfort of your own home.

Even though there’s no reason not to believe the staffers over at The Takeout who conducted the experiment, you can still feel free to give the fry test a shot yourself. It’s the perfect way to justify going to McDonald’s three times a week.

Or, you can take the test one step further. How long do you think the Burger King fries last before tasting bad? In-N-Out’s? Wendy’s? Do they have a better life than McDonald’s fries?

And let’s throw Arby’s in the mix as well. How do curly fries match up?

If you didn’t have plans this weekend and happen to have an appetite for science, you’re welcome.

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