• Each burger is prepared fresh to order — but McDonald’s says that the change isn’t slowing down the chain.
  • Here’s a step-by-step look into McDonald’s kitchen and how exactly the fast-food burger gets made.

On Tuesday, McDonald’s announced it would begin making its Quarter Pounder burgers with fresh — not frozen — beef across the US by early May.

The change took McDonald’s months of behind-the-scenes efforts. For fresh-beef burgers to work, McDonald’s needs to clear certain safety and flavor benchmarks — and make sure the new burgers don’t slow down the drive-thru by even a second.

Complicating the process is the fact that each fresh-beef burger is prepared fresh after customers order.

This week, McDonald’s took members of the media into the kitchen of an Oak Brook, Illinois, location to show exactly how the fresh beef is prepared.

Here’s a step-by-step look at how McDonald’s makes its new fresh-beef Quarter Pounders:

The first step to the new burger is fresh — not frozen — patties.
Kate Taylor

McDonald’s workers are able to distinguish between the two due to the fresh-beef patties being stored in a blue box, in contrast to the standard white box used for frozen patties.

McDonald's had to address major food-safety concerns that come with adding fresh beef to the menu. Workers have special blue gloves that they immediately discard after handling the patties.
Kate Taylor

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Beyond the gloves, however, the burger preparation is pretty much identical.