What Kind Of Cheese Does McDonald’s Use?

McDonald’s: the fast-food giant that everyone knows, home to dollar menus, addictive fries, and a sense of Americana nostalgia. Sometimes, when you find yourself in want of a cheeseburger, you are craving the salty, cheesy, diced-onion filled satisfaction of McDonald’s. But what kind of cheese does McDonald’s use on their cheeseburgers? 

The cheese McDonald’s uses is, typically, a blend of processed cheddar and other cheeses. These are also the components of most American sliced cheeses. It also includes other additives such as water, whey protein, salts, butter and milk, and food coloring. 

What Kind Of Cheese Does McDonald’s Use? 

McDonald’s ranks as one of the most valuable quick food service brands in the world in 2021. Many people, especially in the US, can claim to have eaten one of their products at least once. Some may even be interested in recreating their favorite menu items at home. 

If you want to use the same type of cheese used at McDonald’s, you are in luck. While it is produced specifically for the restaurant by Great Lakes cheese, you will capture the same experience with American slices. 

What is it made of? 

According to McDonald’s themselves, their burgers are topped with 60% real cheese. That 60% is made up of 51% cheddar, and 9% “other cheeses.”  Digging deeper into the ingredients list brings up a good amount of filler and preservatives, like water, salt, and whey protein. 

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Where American cheese comes in is in the fact that it is, more or less, the exact same thing. American pasteurized process cheese is made with a blend of cheeses – typically cheddar- and additional ingredients. These include water, salt, cream, and food coloring, just like you’d find at McDonald’s. 

Is McDonald’s Cheese Vegan? 

The common rumor, more often used to scare consumers away from the fast food chain, is that McDonald’s cheese is vegan. The veganness comes from it being “not real cheese”, and thus not made of any animal byproducts. Typically, the description used for this so-called “fake cheese” is that it is made of plastic. 

However, this is patently untrue. McDonald’s cheese is not vegan because it is made from cheddar, other cheeses, and milk and butter proteins. 


With over 39,198 locations in the world as of 2020, there is no doubt that McDonald’s is a cultural staple. When you think of the chain, you picture a hot, delicious cheeseburger, topped with onions, lettuce, and of course, cheese. It is not uncommon to wonder what, exactly, your food is made of, right down to that very slice of cheese. 

The type of cheese McDonald’s uses is produced for it by the Great Lakes company, and is 60% real cheese. The cheese is blended with other ingredients, and is very similar to American cheese in composition.