12 Surprising Facts About the McDonald’s Apple Pie

Crispy Apple Pie

There’s more to this sweet treat than meets the eye.

12. It Was McDonald’s First Dessert

Before the chocolate chip cookies, McFlurry, ice cream cone and ice cream sundaes, there was the McDonald’s apple pie. It debuted in 1968 and has been a hit ever since.


-The first apple pie ever served was in a franchise located in Knoxville, Tennessee. It was run by Litton Cochran, whose family is credited for inventing the McDonald’s apple pie. According to WVLT in Knoxville, Cochran’s wife baked two to three versions of the apple pie for three to four months. Cochran decided to market it in East Tennessee, and the rest is history. And, here’s another tidbit: The Cochran family also helped create Chicken McNuggets and the McRib, too.

-Another popular menu item debuted the same year: the Big Mac.

11. It Used to be Fried

Deep Fried
Source: Wikimedia Commons By Edward Betts [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]
If you’re old enough, then you likely remember when McDonald’s apple pies were fried, not baked. The fast-food giant switched from fried to baked in 1992 due to consumers becoming more health-conscious. Needless to say, fans were not too happy with the change. They agreed that the old flaky, crispy crust was far tastier.

FUN FACT: An Idaho food-supply distributor revealed in 2014 that he had saved a bunch of fried McDonald’s apple pies from way back when. The pies somehow ended up in the hands of the owner of Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese in Los Angeles, who began selling “throwback apple pies.” Although it was never officially confirmed if those pies were indeed the real deal, customers said they tasted just like the original.

10. It’s Baked Fresh Daily

Baked Fresh
Source: Pixabay

Yes, McDonald’s burgers (at least most of them anyway) and fries are cooked from frozen, but that doesn’t mean that everything at the restaurant is. In fact, according to its website, their apple pies are baked fresh daily and served warm (although sometimes you get one that’s scorching hot).

TIP: If you order an apple pie and a plain cup of vanilla ice cream, you can create your own apple pie à la mode. It’s actually quite tasty and will help bring a bit of balance to your piping-hot pastry.

9. It’s Made with Six Different Kinds of Apples

Source: Pixabay

McDonald’s beloved apple pie is made with six different kinds of apples: Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, Ida Red, Jonagold, and Rome. And, guess what? They’re all handpicked and are 100 percent American grown from multi-generational family farmers.

The apples they use vary by season, but the fast-food giant always uses some combination of the aforementioned varieties.

FUN FACT: Most homemade apple pie recipes call for Granny Smith apples. In fact, they are considered the best variety to use for baking.

8. It Has a Secret Ingredient

Have you ever wondered what makes McDonald’s apple pies so tasty? The answer is simple: there’s a secret ingredient. No, it’s not sugar. It’s actually apple powder. Made up of dehydrated apples and citric acid, the apple powder soaks up extra liquid, thereby keeping the filling thick, former pastry chef Stella Parks told Thrillist. The powder also adds a bit more fruity flavor.

FYI, if you want to use apple powder in your homemade apple pies, you may be able to purchase it from Amazon. It’s currently unavailable right now and Amazon doesn’t know when or if it’ll be back in stock, but you can always check back with them to see if it’s in.

7. It’s One of McDonald’s Healthier Desserts

Mcdonalds Dessert Shop
Source: Wikimedia Commons By SuperArticleGuy [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]
With all the changes made to the apple pie over the years, it really should not come as a surprise that this is one of McDonald’s healthier desserts. That being said, it has 240 calories, 16 grams of sugar, and 11 grams of fat. Now, compare that to the chocolate milkshake (small), which has 530 calories, 74 grams of sugar and 15 grams of fat, or the Oreo McFlurry, which has 570 calories, 68 grams of sugar, and 19 grams of fat.

6. It’s the Only Vegan Option on the Menu

Source: Pixabay

Yes, it’s true that the apple pie is the only vegan option on the fast-food giant’s menu. But, what about the salads you ask? Well, if you order them with no meat, no cheese and no dressing, then yes they’d be vegan. But then you’d be left with just lettuce, spinach, kale, and tomato. That’s not really much of a salad. Well, the French fries are vegan right? That’d be true if they just consisted of potatoes, salt and vegetable oil. But, the truth of the matter is they contain way more ingredients than that, including natural beef flavor and hydrolized milk. Oh, and you can forget about the hash browns. They’re infused with natural beef flavor, too.

5. Its Recipe Changed Recently

As we stated earlier, McDonald’s stopped frying their apple pies and started baking them. But, that wasn’t the only change made. Just recently the recipe was tweaked to include a lattice crust, sliced apples instead of the diced filling from the original recipe, and a dusting of sugar instead of the brown sugar coating we’d grown accustomed to. Needless to say fans were not too happy with the changes. They took to social media to sound off:

@McDonalds the apple pie crust was my treat with the brown sugar! Change it back! –Terri Songer (@tahsonger) September 18, 2018

Tbh I hate the new apple pies from McDonald’s –Adriana (@_Jess_Ara) September 13, 2018

@McDonalds I don’t even know what to say!!! Where’s the green box? Where’s the apple PIE?!! The Franken-Strudel you have offered 2 nite is yet another example of big business sticking it to the common man!! You know what I’m talking about @Mazzios!! #lowbudget pic.twitter.com/kON8sQMGOT –Jason Lindley (@The_Mr_Lindley) September 12, 2018

4. It’s Not the Only Pie Served at McDonald’s

Pumpkin Pie
Source: Pixabay

Although it was the fast-food giant’s first dessert, and, logically, its first pie, it’s no longer the only one served there. The menu has expanded to include year-round offerings like the Strawberry and Creme pie, and seasonal offerings like the Pumpkin and Creme pie, which makes an appearance every fall, and the funfetti-inspired Holiday Pie, which, according to its website, is a “creamy smooth, vanilla custard nestled in a flaky, buttery crust glazed with sugar and topped with rainbow sprinkles.” It rolls out just in time for the Christmas season.

3. Other Countries Serve Different Pies Also

Pineapple Pie
Source: Wikimedia Commons By Minseong Kim [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]
American McDonald’s locations are not the only ones to offer different types of pies. In the Philippines, for example, customers can order a banana pie. And, in Germany customers can purchase blueberry-cheesecake-style pies. In Thailand, McDonald’s sells pineapple pies and corn pies (not sure if that’s anything like corn bread??). In Hong Kong, customers can get their apple pie à la mode with a chocolate or strawberry topping. Sounds delicious! Hopefully they’ll start selling some of these pies here in the U.S. (fingers crossed).

2. There Used to be an Apple Pie Tree Character

Apple Pie Tree
Source: Flickr

McDonald’s has been known for its many colorful characters over the years — Hamburglar, Grimace, the McNugget Buddies, the Fry Guys, and of course the beloved Ronald McDonald. But, we bet you probably didn’t know there was a character known as the Apple Pie Tree. It was introduced in 1971 along with all the other McDonaldland Characters.

FUN FACT: The creators of H.R. Pufnstuf, a television series that aired in 1969, sued McDonald’s over its characters because they seemed quite similar to the characters on H.R. Pufnstuf. Although McDonald’s admitted to being inspired by H.R. Pufnstuf, the company denies stealing their ideas.

1. It’s Part of a Hong Kong Wedding Package

Chinese Wedding
Source: Pixabay

As part of McDonald’s “Happiness Package,” people who get married in Hong Kong can get a “McDonald’s Double Apple Pie Box Cake Display” for their wedding. Also included in the package is a McDonald’s fries photo frame, rose-shaped balloons, a pair of sweetly cups, invitations, thank you cards, gifts for guests, and more. There’s a minimum charge for the party, and the booking fee includes venue renting (any 2 hours from 6 pm to 10 pm), basic audio equipment, and a party emcee.


Now that you know a little something about the McDonald’s apple pie, check out these little known secrets about McDonald’s French fries.