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The 10 Best Things About McDonald's

From the fries to the fountain soda, Mickey D's does it right.

There's a lot to love about McDonald's. The worldwide fast-food chain has some of the most iconic menu items out there, like the deliciously juicy Big Mac and the crunchy, crispy, iconic French fries. After all, there's a reason we get upset when we learn not every McDonald's is open 24 hours—we want it all the time. So what exactly is it about McDonald's that makes the fast-food giant as legendary as it is?

We rounded up the 10 best things about Mickey D's that make a pretty strong case and prove why it's hard to resist those golden arches. Consider this your guide to the big McDonald's facts every true frequenter should know.

Fountain soda tastes the best at McDonald's.

soda fountain station

You aren't crazy if you've always thought McDonald's fountain soda tastes better than anywhere else's. There's a very real reason for that.

According to the McDonald's website, the restaurant strictly follows Coca-Cola's guidelines for serving. The key is that the water and Coca-Cola syrup are chilled before being put into McDonald's soda fountain. On top of that, McDonald's even filters the water before it goes into the fountain.

There's also a very delicate balance of syrup to water that takes into account that the ice will melt, so that Coke you order really is the best of the best. McDonald's even serves its soda with a slightly wider-than-normal straw to maximize the flavor.

The fries are something special.

Eating mcdonalds fries

Just like the fountain soda, McDonald's has exceptionally awesome fries for a very specific reason: They're lightly seasoned with beef flavoring. McDonald's site lists natural beef flavor as a main ingredient in the fries, giving them a little something extra on top of that pure potato goodness.

The top-notch quality of McDonald's fries could also be chalked up to the fact that they're made of a combination of potatoes: Russet Burbank, Russet Ranger, Umatilla Russet, and Shepody.

Breakfast is available all day.

mcdonalds breakfast pancakes with sausage coffee on tray

We'll never forget when it was finally announced in 2015 that McDonald's breakfast items would be available all day. Now, you can get your favorites, like McMuffins, McGriddles, and biscuits, whenever you want, rather than rushing into a McDonald's at 9:55 a.m. to try to snatch the last remaining breakfast remnants.

The McRib has its own season.

Mcdonalds mcrib

The McDonald's McRib has become a cult favorite since it launched in 1981. The sandwich—which isn't even ribs at all—was created because chicken farmers couldn't keep up with McDonald's demand for their products. So, the chain sprung for the pork patty-filled McRib instead.

After McDonald's removed the sandwich from its menu in 1985, there was so much public outcry that they brought it back from 1989 to 2005. Now, we get to see it for a limited time every year, typically in the fall. So start your countdown for the next McRib season in October or November!

That. Special. Sauce.

Special sauce

The Big Mac, while a delicious sandwich in and of itself, wouldn't be the bestseller it is without that special sauce. McDonald's kept the recipe under wraps for decades, but in 2012, they revealed a sauce recipe akin to what's served in the stores. It includes mayonnaise, yellow mustard, white wine vinegar, relish, garlic powder, paprika, and onion powder. You can also order the sauce on other sandwiches if you aren't feeling up to eating a whole Big Mac.

Sauce on the side is free.

girl eating fries with dipping sauce

Say you want that Big Mac special sauce for your hamburger. Rather than ordering it on your burger, order a side of the special sauce. According to a Q&A session with a McDonald's employee on Reddit, the chain doesn't charge for a single sauce on the side with your meal. You can get any of the sauces this way, including tartar sauce. But choose wisely because you only get one!

There really is a secret menu.

Mcdonalds ordering stations

Like most restaurants, McDonald's has an unofficial secret menu. But it's not like In 'N Out's "animal style" fries. You can't walk in and order something from the secret menu by name because not everyone knows what a Land, Sea, and Air Burger (hamburger, Filet-o-Fish, and chicken) is. You have to spell out for the cashier what you want.

The good news is your options are practically endless when it comes to customizing your order. You might just come up with a new creation that everyone else will want to try, too.

There's an easy way to get fresh fries.

Straight on mcdonalds fries

There's an old McDonald's wives' tale that the way to get the freshest French fries from the fast food chain is to order them salt-free. That way, they'll have to dump a new batch in the fryer and the fries will be piping hot when they get to you.

But it's actually easier than that to get fresh fries at McDonald's—and you don't have to skip the salt to do it. On Reddit, the aforementioned McDonald's employee said you don't have to be sneaky to get fresh fries. "Don't ask for no salt fries, just ask for fresh," the employee wrote. "We will make them fresh. We know what you're doing."

The apple pie is truly classic.

McDonald's apple pie
Courtesy of McDonald's

Not only are the apple pies at McDonald's a killer deal, but there's a distinct reason they're so delicious. Former pastry chef Stella Parks told Thrillist that McDonald's apple pies are inherently American and impressive in structure.

Whereas most apple pies require a thickening agent that can alter the taste, McDonald's actually uses dehydrated apple powder to thicken the mixture inside the pastry. It also gives McDonald's pies an extra dose of apple flavor.

Asking for a receipt will get you the best service.

mcdonalds worker handing receipt

If you want the freshest food at McDonald's but don't feel comfortable asking for it (or requesting salt-less fries), there's another thing you can try: Simply ask for your receipt before the cashier even has a chance to offer it to you.

A former McDonald's employee named Kamran Adnan wrote on Quora that employees are all trained to know that a mystery shopper—someone who is secretly evaluating the food and service—will always ask for a receipt so that they can get reimbursed. If a McDonald's employee suspects you're a mystery shopper, you'll get the freshest food, and you'll get it fast. (As a former mystery shopper myself, I can confirm it's a surefire way to get the best service.)

Hedy Phillips
Hedy is a freelance writer with years of experience covering buzzy food trends, wellness, and weight loss. Read more about Hedy
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