Here Are the Four McDonald’s Chicken Nugget Shapes

McDonald's chicken nugget shapes put the fun in functional!

I love McDonald’s chicken nuggets so much that I’m a purist when it comes to the menu item. (Same goes for the french fries.) Yes, you heard me. When the drive-thru worker asks me if I’d like any dipping sauces, I say, “No, thank you.” No barbecue, ranch, ketchup or even Big Mac sauce for me—just crispy, salty goodness…and a large Diet Coke.  

Despite having enjoyed this delicacy in its most unadulterated form countless times, I’d never realized that the nuggets always come in the same four shapes…until now. We did some digging to find out these shapes and why they exist in the first place. 

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How Are McDonald’s Chicken Nuggets Made?

To form nuggets, the chicken mixture of white meat, seasonings, flour and more is rolled to the same thickness, then pressed out with a rolling cutter (yes, like your favorite cookie dough). 

The nuggets are then coated in two layers of batter and partially fried. From there, they’re frozen and shipped to McDonald’s locations, where the bites are fully cooked and served up hot and crispy to patrons. 

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McDonald’s Chicken Nugget Shapes

Mcdonalds Nuggets labelled by shapeAlaina DiGiacomo/Taste of Home

McDonald’s forms its nuggets into four shapes—the boot, bell, ball and bone.  

Boot 

This nugget looks like a boot in the same way Italy does—only sort of. Probably the most distinct of the four shapes, this treat is semi-squared off up top, then juts out into a rounded knob at the bottom, a la misshapen Christmas stocking. According to a YouGov poll, the boot was voted consumers’ favorite McNugget shape, earning 36% of the votes.

Bell 

If you squint, you admittedly can see where this title comes from. Picture a bell with a giant clapper. More of a diamond than anything, this nugget is rounded at the top, wider in the middle and narrower again at the bottom to mirror the shape of the top.  

Bone 

This title is perhaps the most misleading. Rounded at the top and flat on the bottom, it looks more like a tombstone than a bone, but, hey, at least those two things are thematically similar. You might also see this shape referred to as the bow-tie.

Ball 

Despite its name, this nugget is not spherical, and as the aforementioned process would suggest, it’s the same thickness as the rest of the bunch. This simple morsel is reminiscent of a lumpy circle. Receiving 7% of the vote, it’s also consumers’ least favorite shape, according to the same YouGov poll.   

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Why Does McDonald’s Have Special Shapes?

Practicality and food safety are the main reasons behind McNuggets’ uniformity. By producing nuggets that are the same thickness and roughly the same size, McDonald’s ensures that fan-favorite snacks take the same amount of time to cook. 

That being said, the different shapes are certainly fun for children, and they make finagling the nuggets into the teensy dipping-sauce containers easier for everyone. We’re lovin’ it! 

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Annamarie Higley
Annamarie Higley is an Associate Print Editor for Taste of Home magazine, as well as the brand's special issue publications. A midwestern transplant originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she enjoys hiking, trivia-ing, and—you guessed it!—all things cooking and baking.