The 12 Foods You Should Be Ordering At Cracker Barrel
  • Feb. 13, 2023 2:20 pm EST

Cracker Barrel has cemented itself on the national food scene as an American icon. Since opening its doors in 1969, Cracker Barrel has expanded its unique brand of old-timey comfort foods into more than 650 locations. Often strategically positioned just off the highway, the restaurant has become a nourishing beacon of light for diners that offers breakfast all day, old-fashioned rocking chairs, and a wood-burning fireplace (via Cracker Barrel). The restaurant is also well known for its rustic country store that sells everything from vintage glitter globes to deluxe wooden chess sets. All of this is to say: Cracker Barrel has carved out a unique niche for itself — and there's no other restaurant out there that's quite like it.

At the end of the day, the main reason people flock to Cracker Barrel is for a solid meal. Which comes as no surprise: Cracker Barrel boasts an impressively extensive menu that offers a wide variety of deliciously indulgent dishes, ranging from specialty pancakes stuffed with cheesecake to crispy pieces of bone-in Southern fried chicken. But if you aren't clued in to all of the best dishes that the restaurant cooks up in its kitchens, you might feel a little left in the dark when it's time to order. Luckily for you, we're well acquainted with the ins and outs of Cracker Barrel's menu — and we're here to spill the beans on what's best. Here are 12 foods you should be ordering at Cracker Barrel.

1. Loaded hashbrown casserole

Potatoes. Whether they're baked in the oven and stuffed with toppings like butter and chives or cut into wedges and fried until they're nice and crispy, these versatile root vegetables have seemingly endless ways of deliciously filling our bellies. But perhaps one of the most celebrated manifestations of the almighty potato is the beloved hash brown. Cut into long, thin shreds, hash browns are a little crispy on the outside but soft and creamy on the inside. Even when prepared in this simple way, hash browns are incredibly satisfying.

Cracker Barrel has become well known for its hashbrown casserole, which is made with shredded potatoes, chopped onions, and cheese. But the restaurant takes this dish a step further by kicking it up a notch to offer a version that's loaded with some extra toppings. Cracker Barrel's loaded hashbrown casserole amps up the richness by topping it with a little extra Colby cheese — and then knocks it out of the park by sprinkling on some crispy bits of smokey bacon. When the flavor of creamy and crispy strands of potatoes mix with melted cheese and bacon, each bite tastes better than the last. Every forkful is a burst of smoky, cheesy flavor filled with starchy goodness. One thing's for sure: A visit to Cracker Barrel isn't truly complete until you've enjoyed a plate of the restaurant's loaded hashbrown casserole.

2. Turkey n' dressing

If you're anything like us, you get occasional cravings for a hearty Thanksgiving feast even when it's not November. Which makes sense: It's hard to beat a big plate of juicy turkey and buttery stuffing drizzled with creamy gravy. It's only natural to want something so delicious more than once a year, yet this type of food is often unjustly relegated to a special meal for an annual holiday. Cracker Barrel has smartly stepped up to the plate to give people like us what we truly want, by offering plates of turkey n' dressing every Thursday. 

Cracker Barrel's turkey n' dressing plate comes with succulent slices of baked turkey and classic stuffing drizzled with turkey gravy, sweet potato casserole topped with pecans, and your choice of hand-rolled buttermilk biscuits or corn muffins. It also comes with your choice of another side, with options like bacon baked beans and macaroni and cheese. This is a generous spread that packs a punch when it comes to flavor, thanks to the tenderness of the turkey and a healthy smothering of mouthwatering gravy. The sweet potato casserole has a delicious, autumnal flavor that's truly a privilege to enjoy yearround. So when you get a hankering for a good old-fashioned meal that tastes like Thanksgiving on a plate, be sure to swing by a Cracker Barrel on a Thursday to take advantage of its turkey n' dressing dinner. Plenty of diners know that when it comes to turkey and dressing, Cracker Barrel's is top notch (via TripAdvisor).

3. Old timer's breakfast

It doesn't get much better than kicking off the day with a well-rounded breakfast. Sure, you can always just stay at home and eat some overnight oats, but where's the fun in that? When you're in the mood for a big, filling breakfast, Cracker Barrel has got you covered. And there's no doubt that the restaurant's "Old Timer's Breakfast" is one of its best spreads.

The "Old Timer's Breakfast" comes with two farm-fresh eggs cooked to order, biscuits and gravy, and your choice of three thick strips of crispy bacon or two smoked sausage patties. But this deal doesn't stop there — it also comes with your choice of a side, with plenty of tasty items to choose from such as fresh fruit or buttermilk pancakes. This dish tends to be a popular favorite among die-hard fans of the restaurant, since its consistently cooked to perfection (via TripAdvisor). The beauty of this dish is that it's basically a customizable Cracker Barrel breakfast sampler. For a very reasonable price, you get to chow down on some of the restaurant's best breakfast fare all on the same plate. Add on a coffee or some orange juice, and you're locked and loaded for an awesome meal.

4. Country fried steak

When you're feeling exceptionally ravenous, it's hard to beat a big helping of country fried steak. There's some inexplicable magic that happens when a tender cut of steak is pounded thin, thoroughly dredged in a well-seasoned breading, and then deep-fried until it's a crispy golden brown. As if that weren't delicious enough, country fried steak also gets smothered with some creamy sawmill gravy to provide an extra layer of lusciousness that ties everything together.

Cracker Barrel's country fried steak is made with top-notch USDA choice beef — so you know that you're getting a high-quality cut of beef every single time. This meal also comes with up to three sides along with an order of hand-rolled buttermilk biscuits or corn muffins. When it comes to the sides, we'd recommend that you make sure to order some mashed potatoes. Tasting a forkful of country fried steak and creamy mashed potatoes all in the same bite is pure bliss. Plus, mashed potatoes are a great way to make sure you're putting all of the sawmill gravy to good use. It's no wonder this dish is a go-to order for diners (via Reddit). Hearty and flavorful, Cracker Barrel's country fried steak is easily one of the most delicious and filling items on the restaurant's menu.

5. Mac and cheese

Is there anything more comforting than a creamy bowl of macaroni and cheese? It's one of those dishes that seems to please just about everyone. Simple yet delicious, there's nothing like giving a gooey bowl of this stuff a good stir with your spoon and bathing your tongue with its warm, cheesy noodles. The macaroni and cheese at Cracker Barrel is exceptionally delicious, with a rich, velvety sauce that'll have you licking every last drop from the bowl.

What's the secret to Cracker Barrel's mac and cheese? According to an alleged line cook at the restaurant, Cracker Barrel uses a cheese sauce that's similar to Velveeta (via Reddit). Elbow macaroni noodles get mixed with this cheese sauce and then baked in the oven until it's bubbly and delicious. If you're a cheese-lover on the prowl to get your fix, make sure to hook yourself up with a bowl of Cracker Barrel's macaroni and cheese the next time you pop in for a visit. There's a reason that fans of this stuff are desperate to recreate this dish at home (via Reddit). While there's nothing wrong with taking a stab at trying to make some yourself, sometimes it's best to just leave it to the professionals.

6. Chicken and dumplings

For many of us, chicken and dumplings are one of the first things that come to mind when we think about Cracker Barrel. In a way, this dish seems to embody the cozy, nostalgic feel and ambience of the restaurant itself. It makes total sense for this dish to be on Cracker Barrel's menu, since chicken and dumplings conjures up a comforting, old-fashioned vibe that perfectly suits the restaurant's brand. There's a good reason this dish is so beloved: This savory stew is made with slow-simmered chicken and handmade dumplings — all prepared fresh every single day by cooks in the kitchen.

The dumplings in this dish are flat as opposed to bulbous, which allows them to easily and thoroughly soak up all of that rich, flavorful broth. In fact, the chicken and dumplings at Cracker Barrel are so good that plenty of people have been inspired to try and whip up a fresh homemade batch in their own kitchen (via Reddit). Cracker Barrel serves its chicken and dumplings with your choice of two or three sides along with its signature hand-rolled biscuits or corn muffins. That might seem like a lot of food, but once you get started chowing down on this meal, your plate will be licked clean before you know it.

7. Pecan pancakes

If you ask us, pecans are the perfect way to compliment pancakes. Pecans have a sweet, buttery flavor that pairs perfectly with some fluffy pancakes drizzled with maple syrup. So it's a smart move for Cracker Barrel to offer some pecan pancakes on its menu — and it's even more amazing that they're available all day long. We love that Cracker Barrel offers its breakfast menu around the clock, which comes in especially handy on those days that we get a late start but still crave a solid breakfast.

What's cool about ordering pancakes at Cracker Barrel is that you get a choice of different syrups to pick from. There's the standard "100% pure natural syrup," blueberry syrup, strawberry syrup, and even a sugar-free maple syrup. In this context, we'd recommend the plain, classic syrup so that you can enjoy the natural flavor of the pecans in these fluffy pancakes — although we're sure they'd be delicious no matter what type you choose to use. You can also add extra toppings such as fresh strawberries and chocolate whipped cream. It's no wonder diners love these pancakes so much and have a habit of recommending them (via TripAdvisor). If you find yourself in the mood for some scrumptious pancakes with a nutty twist, you can't go wrong with a plate of these bad boys.

8. Meatloaf

Meatloaf is the epitome of working-class American comfort food. Humble yet tasty, meatloaf often nostalgically calls to mind dinners at home with the family. Easy to prepare but big on flavor, the ground meat is typically mixed with common kitchen staples like ketchup and breadcrumbs, then baked and paired with mashed potatoes and a vegetable of some kind. The meatloaf at Cracker Barrel tastes just like it could've been magically plucked right out of your childhood oven from those golden days of yesteryear when your parents did all the cooking for you.

Cracker Barrel's meatloaf is made with onions, diced tomatoes, and green peppers, which gives it a subtle vegetal flavor that pairs well with its juicy beefiness. It's also lightly basted with ketchup to give it that classic touch of tomatoey tang that we all know and love. This dish comes with Cracker Barrel's signature biscuits or corn muffins and comes with two or three sides. We'd recommend pairing it with macaroni and cheese for one of those sides, since its creamy cheesiness tastes extra flavorful with a forkful of juicy meatloaf.

9. Chicken fried chicken

As you can imagine, there's really only one major difference between chicken fried steak and chicken fried chicken. They're both breaded and deep-fried until golden brown and crispy, then topped with a creamy coating of sawmill gravy. But when you'd rather have some juicy farm fowl rather than a big ol' hunk of beef, nothing beats some chicken fried chicken. In fact, there's a good chance that this dish has even more mass appeal, since fried chicken tends to be a bit more widespread than fried steak.

Cracker Barrel's chicken fried chicken comes out amazingly crispy with a wonderfully seasoned, crunchy exterior. You don't have to just take our word for it — diners are happy to point out how filling and tasty this dish is (via TripAdvisor).

The simple yet delicious sawmill gravy that's ladled on top is punctuated with a touch of black pepper, lending the dish a subtle pop of mild spice. When hunger strikes, it's hard to beat a plate of this stuff nestled beside a generous mound of creamy mashed potatoes, corn, and green beans.

10. Peach cobbler

When you have a sweet tooth, Cracker Barrel's peach cobbler really hits the spot. Made with fresh seasonal peaches, the peach cobbler at Cracker Barrel is the perfect way to finish up your meal. Fruity, sticky, and sweet, each spoonful captures the floral succulence we've all come to know and love in a juicy peach.

In fact, some diners love this stuff so much that they make the commute to Cracker Barrel purely to enjoy the peach cobbler on the menu. Made with only a handful of simple ingredients that includes peaches, sugar, water, and cornstarch, Cracker Barrel's peach cobbler filling is also available by the can in the restaurant's country store and their website (via Cracker Barrel). So to those of you who want to give this stuff a try but live a bit too far from your nearest Cracker Barrel — fear not! You can always order a can of Cracker Barrel's peach cobbler filling and take a whirl at whipping up a batch from the comfort of home.

11. Chicken pot pie

As far as comfort food goes, it doesn't get much more classic than a steaming bowl of hot chicken pot pie. Made with a buttery crust and a creamy filling that includes tender chunks of chicken and mixed vegetables, chicken pot pie is hearty and delicious. Cracker Barrel's chicken pot pie boasts an updated recipe that captures all the flavors you crave from this nostalgic dish. In fact, some diners have enjoyed Cracker Barrel's version so much that they've declared it "the best chicken pot pie ever" and "comfort food at its best" (via TripAdvisor).

Cracker Barrel's chicken pot pie is loaded with slow-simmered chicken that truly melts in your mouth. The creamy sauce inside of this dish also contains succulent chunks of potatoes along with a mix of peas, carrots, onions, and celery. Topped with a flaky crust that's baked until it's a picturesque golden brown, this one-dish meal hits all the right notes to satisfy your cravings. Part of the lure of chicken pot pie is how each spoonful feels like a well-rounded meal, with juicy pieces of chicken, tender vegetables, and flaky bits of pie crust all in one bite. When hunger strikes and you're in the mood for chicken pot pie, you'll be hard-pressed to find a better batch than the ones coming out of Cracker Barrel's kitchens.

12. Loaded hashbrown casserole tots

If you're already well aware of how awesome Cracker Barrel's loaded hashbrown casserole is and you also happen to love tater tots, then buckle up — you're in for a real treat. In a delicious stroke of genius, Cracker Barrel came up with the brilliant idea of creating a version of its loaded hashbrown casserole in the form of tater tots. These kinds of culinary mashups from big restaurant chains can be hit or miss, but we can safely say that Cracker Barrel's loaded hashbrown casserole tots are a triumph of taste.

While this dish is certainly delicious in its traditional casserole form, it takes on a new level of tastiness as tater tots. The main difference here is the texture: The tots are fried until crispy golden brown, offering a pleasant crunch that the plain casserole just can't compete with. The ingredients are still the same, featuring shredded potatoes, Colby cheese, and little bits of bacon — but that crunchiness makes all the difference. The simple buttermilk ranch dressing that these tots are served with is the perfect dipping sauce, and dunking these cheesy tots in it is pure bliss.