How many calories in a medium McDonald’s French fry?

McDonald’s French fries are a popular menu item at the fast food chain. But many people wonder just how many calories are in the medium-sized serving of fries. In this comprehensive article, we will examine the calorie count for a medium order of McDonald’s french fries and other key nutrition information.

Quick Answer

A medium order of McDonald’s French fries contains 380 calories.

Calorie Count for McDonald’s French Fries

Let’s take a closer look at the calorie count for the different sizes of McDonald’s french fries:

French Fry Size Calories
Small 230
Medium 380
Large 510

As you can see, the medium McDonald’s french fry order contains 380 calories. This is based on the standard serving size at McDonald’s restaurants.

For reference, a small order of fries contains 230 calories, while a large has 510 calories. So the medium fry size sits right in the middle with 380 calories.

Nutrition Facts for Medium McDonald’s French Fries

In addition to calories, there are other key nutrition facts to consider for a medium serving of McDonald’s fries:

  • Total Fat: 19g
  • Saturated Fat: 3g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 190mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 44g
  • Dietary Fiber: 3g
  • Sugar: 0g
  • Protein: 4g

As you can see, the majority of calories in McDonald’s fries comes from carbohydrates. There is also a significant amount of total fat.

It’s important to keep these nutrition facts in mind if you are closely monitoring your daily calorie or macronutrient intake.

McDonald’s French Fry Ingredients

McDonald’s french fries are made with simple ingredients:

  • Potatoes
  • Vegetable oil (canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil)
  • Natural beef flavor (wheat and milk derivatives)*
  • Dextrose
  • Sodium acid pyrophosphate (to maintain color)
  • Salt

*The natural beef flavor contains hydrolyzed wheat and hydrolyzed milk as starting ingredients. McDonald’s states that these ingredients do not contain gluten.

So the primary ingredients are potatoes that are deep fried in vegetable oil. There are also some additional ingredients used for flavor, color, and texture.

Percentage of Daily Value

McDonald’s provides the Percent Daily Value (%DV) for some key nutrients found in a medium serving of french fries:

  • Total Fat: 29%
  • Saturated Fat: 15%
  • Cholesterol: 0%
  • Sodium: 8%
  • Total Carbohydrates: 15%
  • Dietary Fiber: 12%

These percentages are based on a daily diet of 2,000 calories. As you can see, a medium fry provides a significant amount of your Total Fat and Saturated Fat daily values. The Total Carbohydrates make up 15% of a day’s worth as well.

When consumed as part of an overall healthy and balanced diet, a medium serving of McDonald’s fries can fit into your daily nutrient needs. But if you eat a lot of other high fat or high carb foods in the same day, it could lead to excess intake of certain nutrients.

Medium French Fry Calories in Context

To put the 380 calories for a medium McDonald’s french fry order into context, here is how it compares to some other popular McDonald’s menu items:

Menu Item Calories
Big Mac 540
6-piece McNuggets 280
Medium Fries 380
Medium Coke 210
Vanilla Cone 170

A medium fry provides more calories than a 6-piece McNugget, but less than a Big Mac. It has nearly double the calories of a medium Coke.

When comparing it to other side items, a medium fry has about twice the calories of a vanilla ice cream cone.

So while 380 calories may not seem too high on its own, it adds up quickly when paired with other menu items. Keep this context in mind when deciding on McDonald’s meal options.

Tips for Enjoying McDonald’s Fries While Managing Calories

Here are some tips to keep in mind to enjoy McDonald’s french fries as part of a balanced calorie intake:

  • Order a small fries instead of medium or large to save calories.
  • Share your fries with a friend to divide up the calories.
  • Pair fries with lower calorie menu items like salads or wraps.
  • Limit high calorie add-ons like cheese, bacon, or sour cream on baked potatoes.
  • Watch your portion of other sides like apple pie or cookies to balance out fry calories.
  • Skip high calorie sugary drinks and stick to water or unsweetened tea.
  • Balance your daily calories with plenty of low calorie nutrient dense foods.

Enjoying McDonald’s french fries and managing calories comes down to moderation, balance, and mindful ordering. With some simple tweaks, you can satisfy your fry craving while maintaining overall nutrition goals.

Nutrition Comparison to Other Fast Food French Fries

How do McDonald’s fries compare to fries from other fast food chains? Here is a calorie and nutrition breakdown:

Restaurant Serving Size Calories Total Fat (g) Carbs (g) Protein (g)
McDonald’s Medium 380 19 44 4
Burger King Medium 340 15 41 4
Wendy’s Medium 370 18 51 4
Arby’s Medium Crinkle-Cut 435 18 51 4

Burger King has slightly lower calories and fat compared to a McDonald’s medium fry. Wendy’s is fairly comparable to McDonald’s in its nutrition profile. Arby’s crinkle-cut fries have the most calories of the bunch.

When comparing popular fast food chain french fries, McDonald’s has mid-range calorie and fat content for a medium serving size.

Air Fried vs Deep Fried McDonald’s Fries

McDonald’s fries are deep fried in vegetable oil during preparation. Some people make “homemade” versions of the fries by coating potato wedges with oil and air frying instead. Here is a calorie comparison of air fried vs deep fried fries:

Preparation Method Calories Per Serving
Deep Fried (McDonald’s) 380
Air Fried 200-250

Air frying helps reduce the fat and calorie content since less oil is used during cooking. The exact air fried calorie count can vary based on factors like potato size, added coatings, and cook time.

While air frying can produce a lower calorie alternative, the taste and texture will likely differ from the iconic deep fried McDonald’s fries.

Calories in French Fries vs Baked Potato

McDonald’s also offers baked potatoes as a lower calorie alternative to french fries. Here is the calorie comparison:

Side Item Calories
Medium French Fries 380
Medium Baked Potato w/o toppings 220

The baked potato has around 160 fewer calories than a medium serving of fries. However, toppings like butter, cheese, bacon, and sour cream can quickly increase the calories of a loaded baked potato.

Going with a baked potato and lighter toppings is a good way to cut some calories while still enjoying a tasty McDonald’s side.

Should You Eat McDonald’s Fries on a Diet?

When following a diet for weight loss or health reasons, is it ok to occasionally eat McDonald’s french fries? Here are some things to consider:

  • Eating fries should be limited if closely tracking daily calories. The medium serving is high at 380 calories.
  • Fries don’t provide much nutrient value beyond carbohydrates and fat. They have little protein, vitamins, or minerals.
  • Pairing fries with lower calorie foods can help balance out a meal. For example, add a side salad.
  • Pay attention to portion size andFrequency of indulgences. An occasional small or medium fry won’t sabotage most diets.
  • Those following very low carb, keto, or paleo diets should avoid fries due to the high carb content from potatoes.
  • Individual health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, etc. may warrant limiting or avoiding French fries when following dietary protocols.

The bottom line is that an occasional order of McDonald’s french fries can fit into a healthy diet for most people. But portion size, frequency, and overall dietary balance are key factors to consider.

Are McDonald’s Fries Vegan?

When examining the ingredients list, McDonald’s french fries may appear to be vegan. Potatoes, oil, and basic seasonings all fit a vegan diet.

However, the fries are not considered fully vegan because McDonald’s cooks them in the same oil as menu items that contain animal products like chicken nuggets and fish sandwiches.

So while the fries themselves don’t contain any animal ingredients, cross-contamination occurs during the cooking process. Strict vegans may want to avoid McDonald’s fries for this reason.

Gluten Free or Not?

Are McDonald’s french fries gluten free? According to McDonald’s, their fries do not contain gluten ingredients. They are cooked in dedicated fryers separate from gluten-containing menu items.

However, the fries do contain “natural beef flavor” that uses wheat and milk derivatives in the initial production stages. McDonald’s states that by the time the natural flavor reaches the fry recipe, gluten is no longer detectable.

So while the fries themselves test below the FDA limit for gluten content, extremely sensitive celiac disease patients may want to exercise caution or avoid McDonald’s fries.

Preparing Lower Calorie Fries at Home

You can recreate lower calorie versions of McDonald’s french fries at home. Here are some tips:

  • Use fresh potatoes – go for starchy russet potatoes and cut into fry shape.
  • Rinse fries in cold water to remove excess starch after cutting.
  • Use 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil or avocado oil to coat fries before cooking.
  • Season to taste with salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, or other spices.
  • Cook in an air fryer or bake in the oven at 400°F for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway.

Air frying or baking at home results in a lower fat and calorie fry compared to deep frying. And you can control the ingredients to avoid additives found in McDonald’s version.


A medium order of McDonald’s French fries contains 380 calories and 19 grams of fat. While an occasional medium fry can be worked into a balanced diet, portion size and frequency of indulgence should be monitored.

Those looking for lower calorie options can request a small fry, switch to a baked potato, or make healthier oven-baked fries at home. Being mindful of your overall daily calories and macros will allow you to enjoy McDonald’s fries in moderation.

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