Special Report

26 Cracker Barrel Menu Items to Avoid

sanfel / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

The first Cracker Barrel Old Country Store opened along Highway 109 in Lebanon, Tennessee on September 19, 1969. The franchise is now a fixture of the American road trip, especially in the South and Midwest. Cracker Barrel purposefully built its stores along highways and interstates to entice hungry and weary travelers to stop for a bite. While the business model is no longer exclusive to interstate exits, that is still where most Cracker Barrels are found. With its southern-inspired cuisine, the general store where customers can stretch their legs, and the ambiance created by authentic antique artifacts, the restaurant is a welcome respite from the grind of interstate travel. (And speaking of exhausting, not to mention dangerous, road trips, here is a list of every state’s worst city for driving.)

Cracker Barrel’s large menu offers a wide variety of choices, including many that fit quite nicely into a healthy eating plan. However, some Cracker Barrel dishes ought to be avoided by anyone who wishes to maintain even a moderately healthy diet.

24/7 Wall St. used information provided on Cracker Barrel’s “Nutritional Facts N’ Figures” webpage to compile this list. We scoured the menu, looking for dishes that were extraordinarily high in calories and/or sugar.

Some context is helpful as you consider the nutritional information contained in this list. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 36 grams of sugar for men and 25 grams for children, teens, and women each day. And, according to the National Library of Medicine, an adult woman should consume 2,000 calories per day to maintain her weight. An adult man should consume 2,500 daily calories to maintain his weight. 

The Cracker Barrel menu items we found are not even remotely conducive to staying within these recommended limits. Some of the dishes in our survey contain more than the entire daily recommended amount of calories and/or sugar. 

Side and À La Carte Items

Cracker Barrel exterior
Source: jetcityimage / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
A picture of a Cracker Barrel sign and porch

We began by searching side and à la carte options. Menu items are organized by calorie count.

10. Fried Apples

Cooking apple in a frying pan
Source: Ahanov Michael / Shutterstock.com
Cooking apple in a frying pan
  • Calories: 170
  • Sugar: 26 grams

Cracker Barrel’s fried apples are loaded with sugar. One serving contains more sugar than is recommended for an adult woman for the entire day. It also contains over 72% of the recommended daily sugar for an adult man.

9. Loaded Hashbrown Casserole

Cracker Barrel in North Carolina
Source: Ildar Sagdejev (Specious) / Wikimedia Commons
A picture of a Cracker Barrel porch on a sunny day
  • Calories: 350
  • Sugar: 1 gram

The loaded hashbrown casserole is enough to entice many drivers to stop at Cracker Barrel, but it is high in calories.

8. Bacon Macaroni n’ Cheese

Bacon
Source: LumenSt / iStock via Getty Images
Bacon in a frying pan
  • Calories: 380
  • Sugar: 4 grams

Bacon is added to Cracker Barrel’s macaroni n’ cheese to create a tasty but very unhealthy side dish.

7. Loaded Baked Potato

Close up of loaded baked potato with bacon bits, sour cream and chives on a cutting board.
Source: Natalia Wimberley / Shutterstock.com
A close-up shot of loaded baked potato with sour cream, cheese, and other toppings
  • Calories: 520
  • Sugar: 2 grams

The loaded baked potato is loaded with extra calories.

6. Loaded Baked Sweet Potato

toasted marshmallow
Source: Aleksandr Porvatkin / Shutterstock.com
A toasted marshmallow on a beige background
  • Calories: 530
  • Sugar: 40 grams

A toasted marshmallow is added to Cracker Barrel’s loaded baked sweet potato, seriously raising the calorie and sugar content of the dish.

5. Two Buttermilk Pancakes 

Single pancake top down view studio shot isolated on white background
Source: mares90 / Shutterstock.com
A close-up picture of a pancake
  • Calories: 640
  • Sugar: 33 grams

Pancakes are among the most popular items at Cracker Barrel. These nutritional calculations include one scoop of whipped butter and one bottle of 100% pure natural syrup, which is standard with a side of pancakes at Cracker Barrel.

4. Biscuit Beignets with Butter Pecan Sauce

Cracker Barrel rocking chains
Source: frankieleon / Wikimedia Commons
A Cracker Barrel porch lined with rocking chairs
  • Calories: 700
  • Sugar: 48 grams

Cracker Barrel is known for its cozy atmosphere and comfort food, but the biscuit beignets contain an uncomfortable amount of sugar and calories.

3. White Cheddar Cheese Bites with Buttermilk Ranch

Cracker Barrel in Alabama
Source: Michael Rivera / Wikimedia Commons
Exterior shot of a Cracker Barrel in Alabama
  • Calories: 760
  • Sugar: 6 grams

Cracker Barrel is a great place to stop, but the white cheddar cheese bites are not a great choice.

2. Loaded Hashbrown Casserole Tots with Buttermilk Ranch

Top view of a small bowl of ranch dressing on a wood table top illuminated with natural light.
Source: BW Folsom / Shutterstock.com
Buttermilk ranch dressing in a cup
  • Calories: 800
  • Sugar: 4 grams

Buttermilk ranch adds lots of calories to the loaded hashbrown casserole tots.

1. Country Fried Pickles with Buttermilk Ranch

Deep Fried Pickles on a Plate
Source: Dennis Wildberger / Shutterstock.com
Fried Pickles on a Plate
  • Calories: 1,070
  • Sugar: 3 grams

One serving of the fried pickles at Cracker Barrel contains 43% of the recommended daily calories for a man and over 50% of the daily recommendation for a woman.

Breakfast

Cracker Barrel sign
Source: jetcityimage / iStock Editorial via Getty Images
A close-up photo of a Cracker Barrel sign

After researching Cracker Barrel’s side and à la carte options, we then constructed full breakfast meals to demonstrate how calorie and sugar content can skyrocket by selecting some of Cracker Barrel’s most popular menu items. It should be noted that diners who choose different side items can significantly reduce the overall amount of calories and sugar they consume.

8. Biscuit Benny

Cracker Barrel Breakfast Benny
Source: Michael Rivera / Wikimedia Commons
The Biscuit Benny from Cracker Barrel
  • Calories: 1,240
  • Sugar: 30 grams
  • Meal Options Included: Buttermilk Biscuit, Over-Easy Egg, Hollandaise Sauce, Tomato/Green Onion Blend, Smoked Sausage, Loaded Hashbrown Casserole, Fried Apples

The Biscuit Benny meal we built is high in both calories and sugar.

7. Momma’s Pancake Breakfast

Sausage patties isolated on a white background
Source: BWFolsom / iStock via Getty Images
Two sausage patties before cooking
  • Calories: 1,270
  • Sugar: 47 grams
  • Meal Options Included: Three Pancakes with Butter, Two Eggs, Two Smoked Sausage Patties, One Bottle of 100% Pure Natural Syrup

Sausage patties are a popular side option included with the Momma’s Pancake Breakfast.

6. Grandma’s Sampler French Toast Breakfast

Cracker Barrel scrambled eggs
Source: Studio Sarah Lou / Wikimedia Commons
Scrambled eggs from Cracker Barrel
  • Calories: 1,290
  • Sugar: 56 grams
  • Meal Options Included: French Toast, Two Eggs, Meat Sampling with Country Ham, One Bottle of 100% Pure Natural Syrup

Customers often order scrambled eggs with the Grandma’s Sampler French Toast Breakfast.

5. Steak n’ Egg Hashbrown Casserole

Buttermilk Biscuits
Source: BHodanbosi / Shutterstock.com
Two biscuits on a white background
  • Calories: 1,400
  • Sugar: 5 grams
  • Meal Options Included: Hashbrown Casserole, Scrambled Eggs, Sirloin Steak Tips, Cheese, Fried Onions, Green Onions, Diced Tomatoes, Two Biscuits

Customers may not realize how many calories are added by the biscuits that come with many meals. One Cracker Barrel biscuit contains 160 calories.

4. Stuffed Cheesecake Pancake Breakfast

powdered sugar
Source: fotyma / Getty Images
Powdered sugar in a sifter
  • Calories: 1,490
  • Sugar: 73 grams
  • Meal Options Included: Two Eggs, Two Pancakes, Cream Cheese Filling, Seasonal Fruit, Powdered Sugar, Strawberry Syrup

Cracker Barrel’s stuffed cheesecake pancakes are covered with powdered sugar. The dish contains more than twice the recommended daily sugar intake for an adult man.

3. Momma’s French Toast Breakfast

French Toast with Syrup
Source: willmilne / Shutterstock.com
French toast topped with syrup and powdered sugar
  • Calories: 1,520
  • Sugar: 72 grams
  • Meal Options Included: French Toast with Butter, Two Eggs, Two Smoked Sausage Patties, One Bottle of 100% Pure Natural Syrup

A breakfast of French toast contains a ton of sugar and calories.

2. Sunday Homestyle Chicken n’ French Toast

Decor in a Cracker Barrel in the Florida Keys
Source: Haydn Blackey / Wikimedia Commons
Decor in a Cracker Barrel in the Florida Keys
  • Calories: 1,650
  • Sugar: 63 grams
  • Meal Options Included: Sunday Homestyle Chicken, French Toast, Powdered Sugar, Whipped Butter, One Bottle of 100% Pure Natural Syrup

The Sunday Homestyle Chicken n’ French Toast feels quite comfy, but it is terribly unhealthy.

1. Country Boy Breakfast

Cured country ham.
Source: RFondren Photography / Shutterstock.com
Close-up photo of country ham
  • Calories: 1,670
  • Sugar: 36 grams
  • Meal Options Included: Three Eggs, Country Ham, Biscuits and Gravy, Hashbrown Casserole, Fried Apples

Country ham is a popular option in Cracker Barrel’s Country Boy Breakfast.

Lunch & Dinner

Cracker Barrel menu
Source: jill, jellidonut... whatever / Wikimedia Commons
Cracker Barrel lunch and dinner menu

Finally, we constructed some lunch and dinner meals by combining main dishes with some of Cracker Barrel’s most popular sides. Again, customers can choose different options to vastly reduce their sugar and caloric intake.

8. Chicken Pot Pie

Isolated Image of Chicken Pot Pie
Source: TDC Photography / Shutterstock.com
Chicken pot pie with a spoon
  • Calories: 1,280
    Sugar: 6 grams
    Meal Options Included: Chicken Pot Pie, Two Biscuits

Chicken pot pie is a comfort food, but it is packed with an uncomfortable number of calories.

7. Homestyle Chicken BLT with Sunday Homestyle Chicken Breast

Cracker Barrel store
Source: Todd Van Hoosear / Wikimedia Commons
Customers paying their checks at Cracker Barrel
  • Calories: 1,370
  • Sugar: 31 grams
  • Meal Options Included: Sandwich, Cup of Chili

You’ll want to pay your check, of course. But the homestyle chicken BLT comes at an even higher cost to your health.

6. The Barrel Cheeseburger

Steak fries
Source: stockcreations / Shutterstock.com
Close-up picture of steak fries
  • Calories: 1,470
  • Sugar: 12 grams
  • Meal Options Included: Cheeseburger, Thick-Sliced Bacon, Steak Fries

Steak fries are often paired with the Barrel Cheeseburger.

5. Country Fried Shrimp

Hush puppy on fork
Source: George W. Bailey / Shutterstock.com
A hush puppy on a fork
  • Calories: 1,810
  • Sugar: 20 grams
  • Meal Options Included: Fried Shrimp, Hushpuppies, Cocktail Sauce, Steak Fries, Breaded Fried Okra, Two Biscuits

Hush puppies add a serious amount of calories to a shrimp dinner.

4. Chicken Fried Chicken

A small blue bowl of fried okra, cooked to a perfect golden brown with a brown table top background.
Source: Your Photo Quest / Shutterstock.com
Fried okra in a bowl
  • Calories: 1,980
  • Sugar: 10 grams
  • Meal Options Included: Sunday Homestyle Chicken Breasts with Sawmill Gravy, Loaded Mashed Potatoes, Macaroni n’ Cheese, Breaded Fried Okra

Fried okra is a popular side item with meals such as the chicken fried chicken.

3. Southern Fried Pork Chops

pork chops on a white background
Source: robert6666 / Shutterstock.com
Fried pork chops on a white background
  • Calories: 2,050
  • Sugar: 11 grams
  • Meal Options Included: Fried Pork Chops, Two Pieces of Cornbread, Dumplins, Bacon Macaroni n’ Cheese

Cracker Barrel’s fried pork chops are as unhealthy as they sound.

2. Cracker Barrel Sampler

Cracker Barrel peg board game
Source: EnterTheLight / Shutterstock.com
Customer playing the peg board game at Cracker Barrel
  • Calories: 2,570
  • Sugar: 79 grams
  • Meal Options Included: Chicken n’ Dumplins, Meatloaf, Hickory-Smoked Country Ham, Loaded Baked Sweet Potato, Bowl of Pinto Beans, Fried Apples

The peg board game is a fun way to kill time until your Cracker Barrel order arrives. This Cracker Barrel sampler meal contains more calories and sugar than is recommended for the entire day, though. There is nothing fun about that.

1. Southern Fried Chicken

Fried chicken leg
Source: yuthn / Getty Images
Close-up shot of a fried chicken leg
  • Calories: 2,710
  • Sugar: 12 grams
  • Meal Options Included: Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes with Sawmill Gravy, Beans n’ Greens, Two Pieces of Cornbread

Fried chicken is a popular item at Cracker Barrel, but it might be the single most unhealthy choice on the entire menu. 

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