13 Tasty Hidden Gems At Cracker Barrel's Old Country Store

If you're craving some homestyle food such as baked potatoes, look no further than Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, which takes its menu inspiration from country favorites that taste like they're right out of grandma's kitchen. This chain has over 650 restaurants all over the United States and a fixture in 45 states. Regular patrons have their favorites but there are plenty of gems on the menu that don't get as much attention as the classics and specials. Some are menu items that are often overlooked while other gems are combinations of normal items that, when put together, transform into an even more mouthwatering meal. There are even off-menu treats that you can get at Cracker Barrel if you know to ask.


The restaurant's biscuits appear often on our list thanks to their delicious flavor and flaky, soft texture. But you'd be surprised how many ways you can upgrade a simple biscuit and some of the best menu items at Cracker Barrel and turn these biscuits into a tasty meal or side dish. Cracker Barrel's chicken tenders also get rave reviews but some of the hidden gems include new ways to prepare them, pairings that boost the flavor, or added sauces that make them even more delicious. There are also seasonal selections, must-order sides, and drinks that will become a permanent fixture in your lineup of Cracker Barrel favorites. Here are some of ours.

Bee sting chicken

This newer menu item doesn't have the following that some of the old favorites do but it's definitely worth checking out. It combines crispy chicken with hot honey drizzle, a condiment that is practically flying off the shelves and getting plenty of attention at restaurants. Honey is a longtime staple of homestyle cooking but the addition of spicy heat makes it something unique. The hot honey is drizzled over the top but you can ask for it on the side as a dipping sauce if you prefer. It's also a good way to get the platter of chicken tenders and customize the heat to your preference or leave it off completely if you're sharing with someone who doesn't want any sauce.


You can order it as a platter or sandwich, which is a great option for lunch. The sandwich is served with fries, which you can also dip in the hot honey sauce. Ask for extra on the side as well as sauce drizzled over your chicken to really pump up the heat. The same chicken tenders are also available with sweet mustard barbecue sauce. You can get small dishes of both sauces and mix them for a sweet, tangy, and spicy combination.

Pancake tacos

Tacos for breakfast? Fortunately for taco enthusiasts and pancake lovers alike, you can get this menu item any time of the day, but they make a great handheld breakfast that includes everything you need. You get all the most delicious parts of breakfast with these pancake tacos, which use Cracker Barrel's crispy-edged pancakes as a taco shell and loaded with breakfast fixins. They include pancakes, thick strips of bacon, eggs, and shredded cheese melted over the top and are available all day just like many of the restaurant's breakfast items. It comes with over-hard fried eggs. The order comes with two pancake tacos and you can even customize each one separately.


The pancake tacos come with a small dish of syrup that you can either drizzle over the top of the pancakes, add to the inside of the taco, or use for dipping. You also get to choose one breakfast side, such as fried apples, sliced tomatoes, or their famous hashbrown casserole. If you like potatoes with your breakfast, scoop some of the hashbrown casserole into your taco.

Buffalo buttermilk ranch mac n' cheese

If you love Cracker Barrel's macaroni and cheese, the buffalo buttermilk ranch version takes things to the next level. Served as an entree, this dish has plenty of flavor thanks to the zesty ranch dressing with a buffalo kick. It tops the traditional mac and cheese, which is made with elbow macaroni and gooey cheese sauce, with the popular Cracker Barrel crispy chicken tenders and buffalo ranch sauce. This loaded macaroni and cheese also comes with their famous biscuits or cornbread. To make the most of your sides, use the cornbread to scoop up every delicious bite.


The macaroni and cheese is good on its own and comes with a crispy crust thanks to the time it spends baking in the oven. When you add the crispy chicken tenders on top, plus a creamy buffalo sauce, it's really something special. Ask for extra tomatoes and green onions over the top if you want some extra fresh brightness to the dish. You can ask for extra buffalo sauce on the side to use as a dipping sauce for fries as well or as a dressing on a side salad.

Friday fish fry

You have to come on Friday to enjoy fish and chips at Cracker Barrel but it's worth the trip. The fish fry platter includes four cod filets, two sides, and biscuits or cornbread. The fish fry is flaky and delicious and served piping hot. It is a very popular menu item so come in early to get your fill.


To take the standard fish fry meal to the next level, cut your biscuit or cornbread in half and use it to make a fried fish sandwich. Put a filet of fish on the sandwich, top it with coleslaw, and slather with tartar sauce. You also get to choose a side with your fish and can opt for fries, which turns this fish fry into a fantastic fish and chips platter. Ask for extra lemon to spritz over the top and your server is likely to bring an entire dish of them. You can also get extra tartar sauce if you'd like with your fried fish.

Homestyle grilled chicken BLT

Cracker Barrel does chicken and bacon really well so when you put them on a chicken BLT sandwich, it's a tasty combo. The main protein in the sandwich is grilled chicken but you also get a savory taste from the thick cut bacon. The sandwich comes on a bun fully stocked with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayo with a sweet and smoky flavor. You can also substitute Cracker Barrel's buffalo buttermilk sauce for something with a little bit more heat.


You can also get this sandwich with fried chicken but the grilled option hits the perfect note if you're looking for something a little bit lighter. There are a lot of fried options on the Cracker Barrel menu but not as many non-fried options that are still packed with flavor. The grilled chicken has a nice seasoning and the mayo really takes the flavor up. You can ask for extra on the side to dip your fries in or ask for extra put on your BLT. Cracker Barrel suggests ordering it with their steak fries but you can choose any side that you want.

Broccoli cheddar chicken

The grilled chicken at Cracker Barrel is a delicious alternative to their popular fried chicken, which is featured in many of their favorites. This casserole is only available on Wednesdays so be sure to mark your calendar. It combines chicken with broccoli and cheese for gooey deliciousness, perfect if you like the combination of broccoli and cheese, plus a little protein to round out the dish. It's a good meal if you want something that will fill you up but still has some greens included. The chicken is combined with a creamy cheese sauce and broccoli florets, then baked in the oven with a crispy breadcrumbs top. If you really want to load up on broccoli, you can get a side of extra florets. But the casserole has plenty baked into it even for a broccoli enthusiast.


It comes in a lunch or dinner portion but both are available all day after 11:00 a.m. It reheats well so consider ordering the larger dinner portion and taking your leftovers home to enjoy later. Cracker Barrel will also restock your supply of biscuits and cornbread on your way out so you can make two entire meals out of just one order.

Biscuit beignets

Everyone looks forward to being greeted with a basket of Cracker Barrel's biscuits but you can keep enjoying the flavor through dessert. The biscuit beignets are a sweet option that uses the same dough as Cracker Barrel's traditional biscuits. The dough is shaped into beignets and fried and topped with cinnamon sugar. Cinnamon sugar is a great way to make canned biscuits taste spectacular so when it's used on made-from-scratch biscuits at Cracker Barrel, it's heavenly. The beignets are large enough to require a couple of bites but still small enough that you won't fill up on them. You can order them as an appetizer or dessert. They come with a super sweet butter pecan sauce as well, but an order of Cracker Barrel's hot chocolate is another great pairing that you should try.


If you can't decide between appetizers, try the beignets and another one of Cracker Barrel's barrel bites in the duo option. You can pair two choices from the barrel bites menu, which includes loaded hashbrown casserole tots, country fried pickles, and white cheddar cheese bites. When you order a duo, the price per item is a bit lower as well, making it a great way to try these different dishes and save a little bit of money.

Apple butter

When you get biscuits and cornbread at Cracker Barrel, don't forget to ask for some apple butter to go with it. The basket of baked goods comes with three biscuits, three cornbread muffins, butter, and jam but the apple butter upgrade is a secret you'll be glad to know. It works on biscuits, cornbread, or even other breakfast items. Made with apples cooked and pureed alongside spices like cinnamon and allspice, it makes a nice dipping sauce for the biscuit beignets or as a condiment on the biscuit breakfast sandwich. But apple butter doesn't actually have any butter and is closer to a thick and heavily spiced applesauce. Try combining it with a side order of fried apples to add a bit of texture and spread it over your biscuits, pancakes, or waffles.


Cracker Barrel's apple butter is rich and spiced just right, with a smooth consistency that's silkier than jam because it doesn't use pectin. If you want to have it at home, you can also pick up natural apple butter or spiced apple butter, which is what they serve in the restaurant, on your way out the door. It works well as a spread but you can use apple butter in many ways, like adding flavor to pork chops, turn simple cinnamon rolls into fall spiced treats, or on top of ice cream.

Loaded hashbrown casserole

This side takes the regular hashbrown casserole and grills it for extra crunch and a whole lot of flavor. It's pretty popular thanks to the extra rich flavors and the versatility of the casserole. Plus, it's just the kind of homestyle cooking that patrons expect from Cracker Barrel. The outside develops a nice crispy crust and the shredded potatoes caramelize. When you add extra shredded Colby cheese, it becomes a side that is filling enough for a meal. The standard order is also topped with more cheese and bacon but you can combine it with other sides to create something new. 


The loaded hashbrown casserole breakfast bowl is a fantastic way to enjoy a side item with enough extras to turn it into an entire brunch meal. You can get it topped with eggs to order, bacon or steak, and tomatoes and green onions. Crispy fried onions complete the dish. If you want to build your own hashbrown casserole dish, consider topping it with chicken tenders, greens, and pinto beans for a different take on a bowl.

Southern half and half

Don't forget about a drink to go with your meal. This combo of lemonade and tea is particularly refreshing, a nice upgrade from regular tea or lemonade. Known as an Arnold Palmer, it was named after the golfer who often ordered this combo in the 1960s and thus, made it popular. This drink is a step up from a boring beverage, made simply by mixing equal parts of unsweetened iced tea and lemonade. This combination of sweet, tart, and fresh is the perfect addition to a salad, sandwich, or hot platter.


Cracker Barrel serves seasonal lemonades, such as their summer watermelon-flavored option. You can get your half and half made with regular lemonade or their seasonal flavor. If you're not sure whether you want to commit to an entire pitcher, they'll make a single serving for you to try. You can then stick with individual orders or get a pitcher for the table.

Biscuit Benny

Some people come to Cracker Barrel knowing that they're going to fill up on biscuits without any regrets. The biscuits are made from scratch and each Cracker Barrel has its own oven just for making biscuits and cornbread. If you want to take this popular menu item and turn it into a meal, try the Biscuit Benny. It starts with a set of Cracker Barrel's famous biscuits and tops them with eggs and hollandaise sauce, plus your choice of breakfast meat.


Eggs Benedict can be filling so if you just want to split this rich dish, consider turning them into sandwiches. You can get an extra side of biscuits with your Benny and turn them into egg, meat, and hollandaise sammies instead. They also pair well with the loaded hashbrown casserole, which you can get added to the top of your Benedict. Cracker Barrel happily customizes everything from your sides to your style of eggs and will even prepare the two biscuit Bennys differently if you ask.

Ice cream or a secret milkshake

Cracker Barrel will put ice cream on the side of its popular dessert items and even make a secret milkshake known as the Cracker Barrel milkshake. This item isn't on the menu but you can have this secret Cracker Barrel item if you ask for it. The Cracker Barrel milkshake is made with vanilla ice cream and chocolate shavings on top. And because it's so delicious, it's become some of the most celebrated secret menu items.


While the shake is good on its own, you can pair it with other desserts to create a custom milkshake. Order the double chocolate fudge Coca-Cola cake and mix in a few pieces to your milkshake. You can also put in an order of coffee to make a mocha milkshake. They have root beer on the menu, perfect for root beer floats but you can also pick up birch beer, cream soda, or sasparilla at the Cracker Barrel store and use them for your float. Your server will happily bring extra cups so that you can work your magic.

Cracker Barrel mixes

You can find many of the popular baked goods in mixes to take home, allowing you to replicate your favorite Cracker Barrel dishes in your own kitchen. This gem isn't exactly hidden but know that it's an option when you're leaving the restaurant. The mixes are kept behind the counter so you won't come across them unless you ask. You can pair it with a jar of the Cracker Barrel spiced apple butter to truly replicate the dining experience. Pair them with the take-home options, which include individual portions of meatloaf, fried chicken, and grilled chicken plus mac and cheese or mashed potatoes on the side. You need to order your take-home dinner with your entree to get the best price; however, you can pick up mixes separately at the store.


Cracker Barrel also has other mixes to make some of the most popular items at home, including biscuits and dumplings, buttermilk pancake mix, and coffee. You can even get old-fashioned candies and sodas. All of these are great ways to take your favorite flavors with you and enjoy them another day.