What to Eat at Cracker Barrel: Healthy Menu Choices and Nutrition Facts

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Cracker Barrel Old Country Store has been serving a full menu since 1969, when the first casual dining restaurant opened in Tennessee. The restaurant is a favorite stop for diners on a road trip who find themselves in search of traditional Southern-style comfort food.

With a substantial menu and large portion sizes, ordering a meal at Cracker Barrel can be challenging if you’re following a specific diet. But the restaurant provides Wholesome Fixin’s options—lighter meal choices for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you’re armed with solid nutritional information, you can make informed choices and build a healthy meal.

What Experts Say

“There are plenty of choices at Cracker Barrel and options to add vegetable sides or substitute lower sodium options. If you eat here on a regular basis, fitting higher fiber foods (including veggies) into your meals while opting for lower sodium options will help maintain daily balance.”

Willow Jarosh, MS, RD

Navigating the Menu

The Cracker Barrel menu is divided into five main sections: Breakfast, Lunch n' Dinner, Vegetables, Sides n' Such, and Desserts. There is also a kid's menu and a section for beverages. Within each main category, you'll find different variations of menu basics, such as burger platters, fried chicken, salads, or soup.

In some areas of the country, regional offerings are provided. You can access the complete nutritional guide for Cracker Barrel online.

Most Nutritious Options
  • Apple n' Cinnamon Oatmeal (Breakfast)

  • Open-Faced Roast Beef Sandwich (Sandwiches and Burgers)

  • Homestyle Chicken Salad w/ Smoky Southern Grilled Chicken Breast (Salads)

  • Vegetable Soup (Soups)

  • U.S. Farm Raised Catfish Filled, Spicy Grilled (Entrees)

  • Steamed Broccoli (Sides and Specialties)

  • Grilled Chicken Tenderloins (Kid's Menu)

  • Fresh Fruit (Dessert)

  • Unsweet Iced Tea (Beverages)

Least Nutritious Options
  • Pecan Pancakes (Breakfast)

  • Sunday Homestyle Chicken Breast BLT (Sandwiches and Burgers)

  • Homestyle Chicken Salad w/ Sunday Homestyle Chicken Breast (Salads)

  • Clam Chowder (Soups)

  • Southern Fried Chicken (Entrees)

  • Baked Potato with Butter & Sour Cream (Sides and Specialties)

  • Macaroni n' Cheese (Kid's Menu)

  • Apple Dumpling with Ice Cream (Dessert)

  • Stewart’s Orange ’n Cream Soda (Beverages)

Breakfast

Breakfast is served all day at Cracker Barrel. Most premade meals on the breakfast menu come in the form of high-calorie, high-fat, and high-carb combinations of traditional breakfast foods such as pancakes, scrambled or fried eggs, hash browns, sausage, and bacon.

Most Nutritious Option

Cracker Barrel's Apple n' Cinnamon Oatmeal provides 310 calories, 7g fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 220mg sodium, 55g carbohydrate, 17g sugar, and 9g protein.

This breakfast choice is one of the lowest in calories and also provides far less sodium than other breakfast choices. You'll also benefit from a healthy dose of fiber (8g) if you choose this item.

Cracker Barrel also provides a "sides" menu for smaller portions of turkey sausage, egg whites, and other breakfast basics like yogurt and granola or fruit worth considering.

Least Nutritious Option

The Pecan Pancakes, on the other hand, come in at 1130 calories, 70g fat, 14g saturated fat, 2720 mg sodium, 119g carbohydrate, 12g sugar, and 15g protein.

This menu choice is not only high in calories, saturated fat, and carbohydrates, but it also provides nearly an entire day's worth of sodium.

Sandwich and Burger Platters

Cracker Barrel’s menu offers sandwich favorites like roast beef, BLTs, as well as cheeseburgers. All the sandwich and burger options are quite large and high in calories and carbohydrates.

Also, the sandwich and burger platters at Cracker Barrel come with a side or a cup of soup and coleslaw—which may be more food than you need for a single meal. You may want to save half to take home for later.

Most Nutritious Option

The Open-Faced Roast Beef Sandwich offers 700 calories, 33g fat, 13g saturated fat, 1g trans fat, 950mg sodium, 52g carbohydrate, 6g sugar, and 51g protein.

This selection is lowest in calories and also has more protein and less sodium than the other choices in this category.

Least Nutritious Option

The Sunday Homestyle Chicken Breast BLT provides 950 calories, 58g fat, 20g saturated fat, 1670mg sodium, 66g carbohydrate, 7g sugar, and 44g protein.

If you’re looking for a simple burger with a single side, check the kid’s menu. A plain hamburger has 400 calories, 17 grams of fat, and 27 grams of protein.

Salads

At Cracker Barrel you won’t have a wide range of salad choices. You can add a house salad to your meal for 260 calories (with no dressing) but this won't be substantial enough for a meal. Larger salads—even without dressing—tend to be higher in sodium.

Most Nutritious Option

The Homestyle Chicken Salad with Smoky Southern Grilled Chicken Breast offers 550 calories, 28g fat, 13g saturated fat, 1050mg sodium, 23g carbohydrate, 7g sugar, and 52g protein.

This salad option is the lowest in saturated fat and sodium. The smoky chicken adds plenty of flavor, which reduces the need to add dressing (which can add substantial fat and calories).

Least Nutritious Option

The same Homestyle Chicken Salad but with the Sunday Homestyle Chicken Breast comes in at 930 calories, 54g fat, 18g saturated fat, 2000mg sodium, 53g carbohydrate, 7g sugar, and 58g protein.

Avoiding creamy salad dressings, crunchy toppings such as croutons or crackers, and a starchy side of bread or a roll, can help keep your salad meal lower in calories, fat, and sodium.

Soup

Hot soup is one of Cracker Barrel’s specialties and it can make a relatively smart meal choice. The daily and weekly offerings rotate, but you’ll always find a regular selection of classic soups like chicken noodle, vegetable, chili, and chowder.

Soup can be a high-sodium choice, but several soup choices at Cracker Barrel are lower in calories, fat, and sodium while also adding some protein to your day.

Most Nutritious Option

A bowl of the Vegetable Soup offers 170 calories, 2g fat, 720mg sodium, 33g carbohydrate, 7g sugar, and 6g protein.

This selection is the lowest in calories, sodium, fat, and calories if you are choosing a bowl, which is the meal-sized portion. You'll also benefit from 5 grams of fiber.

Least Nutritious Option

A bowl of the Clam Chowder, on the other hand, provides 880 calories, 65g fat, 37g saturated fat, 1800mg sodium, 54g carbohydrate, 10g sugar, and 27g protein.

If you’re adding soup to your meal, choose a smaller cup portion instead of a bowl. To reduce a soup's carb count and save 70 calories, pass on the complimentary crackers.

Entrees

If you're looking for a full entree, Cracker Barrel offers daily specials for both lunch and dinner. Everyday offerings include traditional southern-fried favorites such as chicken livers, catfish, chicken and dumplings, or steak. You'll also find an entire fried chicken menu, a Fancy Fixin's menu (which includes larger-sized traditional meals), and a section called Wholesome Fixin's.

Most Nutritious Option

The U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish Fillet (prepared "spicy grilled") provides 130 calories, 5g fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 330mg sodium, <1g carbohydrate, 0g sugar, and 19g protein.

The catfish is your best bet if you are trying to reduce calories, fat, and sodium. The grilled chicken tenderloins are another smart choice (off of the Wholesome Fixin's menu), are slightly higher in calories and higher in sodium.

Least Nutritious Option

The Southern Fried Chicken offers 1640 calories, 100g fat, 23g saturated fat, 4730mg sodium, 78g carbohydrate, 0g sugar, and 108g protein.

Dinner plates are served with several sides. If you choose a hearty, high-calorie, high-fat meal such as chicken and dumplings, consider skipping the buttered cornbread and opt for lighter sides, like salad. For a range of healthy lunch and dinner choices, the Wholesome Fixin’s menu is your best bet.

Sides and Specialties

If you're looking to add a side dish to your meal, or to pair a few sides to build a meal, you can check the side dish menu or the Specialties menu. Cracker Barrel Specialties include larger portions of turnip greens, pinto beans, or a combination of beans and greens that can be shared. These menu options come with corn muffins and butter.

Most Nutritious Option

An order of Steamed Broccoli offers 40 calories, 0g fat, 10mg sodium, 6g carbohydrate, <1g sugar, and 4g protein.

This side dish option is not only fat-free and low in calories, but also provides 4g of healthy fiber.

Least Nutritious Option

The Baked Potato with Butter and Sour Cream comes in at 470 calories, 18g fat, 11g saturated fat, 150mg sodium, 69g carbohydrate, 4g sugar, and 9g protein.

While many of Cracker Barrel's meals come with more than one side, don't forget that you can customize your order. If you’re having a large entree for the main part of your meal, for example, you may be satisfied with a small side salad or side of steamed veggies—or even no side at all.

When you're choosing a side, pay attention to how it’s prepared. Vegetable sides can be sensible options but can also quickly add to your overall calorie and fat intake if they’re fried. For example, while okra is a healthy vegetable, a side of Cracker Barrel's Breaded Fried Okra adds 250 calories, 520mg of sodium, and 38 grams of carbohydrate.

If you’re trying to eat low-carb, you’ll also want to avoid starchy sides like mashed potatoes, biscuits, french fries, dumplings, mac and cheese, and corn muffins.

Kid's Menu

Children who visit Cracker Barrel can choose from menu sections including breakfast, homestyle meals, sandwiches, and country plates.

Most Nutritious Option

The Kid's Grilled Chicken Tenderloins come in at 120 calories, 3g fat, 430mg sodium, 3g carbohydrate, 3g sugar, and 18g protein.

You'll get three tenders with this meal option and a choice of sauces. Keep in mind that if you add sauce, you'll add calories and substantially increase sodium intake. Consider skipping the sauce and sharing a healthy side dish like broccoli or apple slices (from the breakfast sides menu).

Least Nutritious Option

The kid's Macaroni n' Cheese provides 540 calories, 32g fat, 12g saturated fat, 1410mg sodium, 45g carbohydrate, 6g sugar, and 19g protein.

Another option for kids is to combine several side dishes (such as apple sauce and broccoli) for a full meal. The Country Vegetable Plate menu option allows you to select two sides for one price.

Dessert

Desserts at Cracker Barrel are generally high in calories, fat, and sugar. Decadent options like the Baked Apple Dumplin' topped with pecan streusel and served with two scoops of ice cream, for example, has nearly an entire day’s worth of calories.

Most Nutritious Option

While not listed on the dessert menu, the Fresh Seasonal Fruit found on the breakfast sides menu is a great end of meal treat with 50 calories, 0g fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg sodium, 12g carbohydrate, 9g sugar, and <1g protein.

If you are looking only at the dessert menu, the kid's Nut Sundae with Caramel or Chocolate Sauce is the lowest calorie choice with 200 calories, 12g fat, 6g saturated fat, 45mg sodium, 20g carbohydrate, 15g sugar, and 4g protein.

Least Nutritious Option

The Apple Dumpling & Ice Cream provides 1710 calories, 73g fat, 30g saturated fat, 1600mg sodium, 246g carbohydrate, 118g sugar, and 18g protein.

If you want dessert to top off your meal, consider choosing one of the lower-calorie options and splitting it with your dining partners.

Beverages

Whether you’re going out to eat or cooking at home, water is the healthiest drink you can have with your meal. Depending on your dietary needs and preferences, you may find some other beverage options at Cracker Barrel that are low in calories and don’t have any added sugar.

Most Nutritious Option

For a healthy choice with a little flavor, try the Unsweetened Iced Tea which offers 0 calories, 0g fat, 0mg sodium, 1g carbohydrate, 0g sugar, and 0g protein.

Since this drink choice has no nutritive value it is the smartest choice. If you're looking to add protein to your meal, consider skim milk.

Least Nutritious Option

Stewart’s Orange ‘n Cream Soda provides 250 calories, 0g fat, 85mg sodium, 64g carbohydrate, 64g sugar, and 0g protein.

If you’re looking at Cracker Barrel’s selection of warm drinks, keep in mind that with 200–400 calories per serving, options like lattes and hot chocolate can be closer to a dessert than a beverage to accompany your meal.

Diet-Specific Options

If you follow a special diet, it may be difficult to find a meal you can eat at a restaurant. Asking for modifications or swaps may help you create a meal at Cracker Barrel that suits your needs and wants even if you don't find what you're looking for on the menu.

A chart containing allergen information for Cracker Barrel’s menu is available to download on the chain’s website. Reviewing this important information before you go can help you know what to ask for when placing an order at Cracker Barrel.

Gluten-Free

While you won’t see certified gluten-free options on Cracker Barrel’s menu, there are several items on the menu that don’t contain gluten or wheat ingredients.

Cracker Barrel menu choices that may be suitable for a gluten-free include:

  • Fresh Seasonal Fruit
  • Country Vegetable Plate
  • House Salad (no croutons)
  • Eggs, Egg Whites, or Egg Beaters
  • Baked Potato with Butter and Sour Cream

Since your food will be prepared in the same kitchen as any other menu item, it’s possible the meal you order at Cracker Barrel will come into contact with gluten or wheat-containing ingredients during the storage, prep, or cooking process.

If you have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, it’s always best to exercise caution when dining out. Let your server know if you have gluten sensitivity when placing your order.

Low-Carb

  • Grilled Sirloin Steak
  • Lemon Pepper Grilled Rainbow Trout
  • Chicken or Noodle Soup (cup)
  • Wholesome Fixin's Vegetable Platter
  • Two Eggs/Whites with Turkey Sausage

Diabetes-Friendly

  • Roast Beef
  • Hamburger Steak
  • Spicy Grilled Catfish
  • Lemon Pepper Grilled Rainbow Trout
  • Country Morning Breakfast

Low-Fat

  • Scrambled Egg Whites
  • Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
  • Sweet Whole Baby Carrots
  • Grilled Chicken Tenderloins (Kid's Menu)
  • Vegetable Soup

Low-Sodium

  • Grits
  • Brocolli
  • Grilled Sirloin Steak
  • Baked Sweet or White Potato
  • Hamburger (Kid's Menu)

Vegetarian & Vegan

Even though Cracker Barrel’s menu includes many vegetables, these dishes are typically cooked in butter and/or animal fat—meaning they aren’t suitable for vegan diets.

The only item on Cracker Barrel’s menu that is vegan as-is would be a slice of sourdough bread. Vegan diners may also be able to request a salad of mixed greens with no cheese, egg, meat, dressing, or other toppings, though it wouldn’t leave much to make a satisfying meal.

Depending on the type of diet, vegetarians may have more choices at Cracker Barrel. However, because many dishes on the menu are made with animal products, a meat-free dish prepared in a shared kitchen may not be accepted for some plant-based diets.

Potentially vegetarian-friendly choices at Cracker Barrel menu include:

  • Oatmeal
  • Yogurt & Granola
  • Applesauce or apple slices
  • Tossed Salad (no croutons)
  • Baked Sweet or White Potato (no dairy-based toppings)

Vegetarians should note that Cracker Barrel’s cornbread, hash browns, turnip greens, green beans, and pinto beans are made with meat seasoning and all fried dishes are prepared in the same fryer, whether it’s meat or veggie.

Food Allergies and Safety

If you have a food allergy, you can consult Cracker Barrel’s online allergen information, which is available as a downloadable PDF.

Common allergens found on Cracker Barrel’s menu include

Cross-contamination of allergens is possible since all food at Cracker Barrel is prepared in shared kitchen space. According to the company's allergen information, Cracker Barrel does not guarantee that menu items are completely free from food allergens. 

If you have a food allergy be sure to let your server know which ingredient or ingredients you need to avoid when they are taking your order.

A Word From Verywell

Cracker Barrel’s large menu of homestyle dishes inspired by Southern tastes offers a mix of comfort foods and lighter veggie-based fare. While it’s possible to create a relatively nutritious breakfast, lunch, or dinner at Cracker Barrel as long as you stick to smaller portions and avoid adding multiple sides to your meal, diners who adhere to special diets or are vegan/vegetarian may find their choices to be limited.

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  1. Cracker Barrel Allergen Guide. Cracker Barrel.