List Of Fast Food Restaurants That Use MSG? [Explained]

Fast food restaurants have become an integral part of American culture, offering quick and convenient meals to millions of people daily. Among the various ingredients used in fast food preparation, one that has sparked much debate is MSG (Monosodium Glutamate). In this article, we will explore the most famous fast food restaurants that use MSG located in the United States that use MSG as an ingredient in their dishes.

What is MSG?

MSG, short for Monosodium Glutamate, is a flavor enhancer commonly used in the food industry to add umami, a savory taste, to various dishes. While it is naturally present in some foods like tomatoes and cheese, MSG is usually produced through fermentation, making it a popular additive in many processed foods, including fast food.

List Of Fast Food Restaurants That Use MSG
White and Brown Macdonald’s Building at Daytime.

The MSG Controversy

Over the years, MSG has been a subject of controversy, with some individuals reporting symptoms like headaches, nausea, and dizziness after consuming foods containing MSG. This condition is commonly known as “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome” or “MSG Symptom Complex.” However, extensive scientific research has not consistently supported the existence of such reactions in most people.

Is MSG Safe?

Despite rumors and misconceptions, numerous studies have proven that MSG is safe for the vast majority of people when consumed in moderate amounts. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies MSG as “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS) when used as an ingredient in food.

List Of Fast Food Restaurants That Use MSG?

1. McDonald’s and MSG

At McDonald’s, MSG is used in various items such as Chicken McNuggets, Big Mac sauce, and certain seasoning blends. The presence of MSG contributes to the addictive taste that keeps customers coming back for more.

2. Burger King

Burger King also incorporates MSG in some of its offerings, including their flame-grilled burgers and certain chicken products. The inclusion of MSG complements the smoky and savory flavors of their iconic burgers.

3. Wendy’s

Wendy’s, another fast food giant, uses MSG in selected dishes like their spicy chicken sandwiches and chili. MSG helps intensify the spices, creating a memorable dining experience for customers.

4. Taco Bell

Taco Bell is known for its Tex-Mex delights, and MSG plays a role in enhancing the umami taste of its seasoned beef and special sauces.

5. KFC and MSG

KFC is one of the most famous fast-food restaurants in the world. KFC commonly famous for its finger-licking good fried chicken, uses MSG in its proprietary blend of “11 herbs and spices.” This addition contributes to the irresistible flavor of their signature chicken.

6. Subway and MSG

Subway, a popular choice for healthier fast food, uses MSG in some of its savory dressings and meat options, adding an extra kick to its subs.

7. Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut utilizes MSG in its pizza dough and certain sauce recipes, elevating the taste of its classic and specialty pizzas.

8. Chick-fil-A and MSG

Chick-fil-A, renowned for its chicken sandwiches, Chick-Fil-A includes MSG in some of its marinated chicken items, enhancing the overall taste.

9. Domino’s Pizza

Domino’s Pizza uses MSG in its pizza dough and selected toppings, ensuring a delightful burst of flavors in every slice.

10. Dunkin’ Donuts

In some of their delectable donuts and sandwiches, Dunkin’ Donuts incorporates MSG, creating a satisfying and indulgent treat for customers.

11. Starbucks and MSG

Starbucks uses MSG in certain savory food items like sandwiches and wraps, contributing to the overall taste experience.

12. Chipotle Mexican Grill

Chipotle Mexican Grill adds MSG to some of their flavorful dishes like the barbacoa and carnitas, enhancing the essence of traditional Mexican cuisine.

13. Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, famous for its Cajun-inspired flavors, uses MSG in some of its signature dishes like the spicy fried chicken.

14. Sonic Drive-In

Sonic Drive-In uses MSG in selected items to add an extra layer of deliciousness to its diverse menu.

15. Panda Express

Panda Express is also a famous fast food restaurant that uses MSG, a renowned Chinese fast food chain, that incorporates MSG in its dishes, contributing to the authentic umami flavor.

16. In-N-Out Burger

In-N-Out Burger uses MSG in its secret spread, elevating the taste of its classic burgers and animal-style fries.

17. Five Guys and MSG

Five Guys use MSG in certain seasonings, enhancing the overall taste of their handcrafted burgers and fries.

18. Dairy Queen and MSG

Dairy Queen fast food restaurant also includes MSG in certain items to augment the savory experience for its customers.

19. Jack in the Box

In the List Of Fast Food Restaurants That Use MSG? The 19th number restaurant, Jack in the Box also utilizes MSG in selected products, adding a burst of umami to their menu items.

20. Zaxby’s

Zaxby’s, a well-loved fast-food chain specializing in chicken dishes, Zaxbay’s incorporates MSG in some of its menu items. The addition of MSG enhances the savory flavors of their chicken tenders, wings, and signature sauces, providing customers with a delightful taste experience.

Healthy Fast Food Meal! Under 500 Calories


MSG remains a common ingredient in the fast food industry, used by several renowned restaurants to enhance the flavors of their dishes. While the debate surrounding MSG continues, it is essential to remember that health authorities consider it safe when consumed in moderation. Fast food enthusiasts can enjoy their favorite treats with the knowledge that MSG plays a part in creating the irresistible tastes they crave.

Is MSG harmful to health?

Scientific studies show that MSG is safe for the majority of people when consumed in reasonable amounts. However, some individuals may experience mild reactions, which are not life-threatening.

Are there alternatives to MSG for enhancing flavor?

Yes, some alternatives include natural umami-rich ingredients like mushrooms, seaweed, and certain cheeses.

Is MSG the same as Ajinomoto?

Yes, MSG and Ajinomoto are the same thing. MSG stands for monosodium glutamate, and Ajinomoto is the brand name of the most common form of MSG. It is a white, odorless powder that is used as a flavor enhancer in many foods. Ajinomoto was the first company to produce MSG commercially, and it is still the largest producer of MSG in the world.

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