Cracker Barrel: A Southern Tradition

I’ve been plotting this blog for several months now. I started heavily researching back in December, trying to figure out exactly what I wanted this to be. At first, I wanted to avoid chains as much as possible. Then I started to realize that even with traveling, that’s where people end up due to convenience or because they know that’s where they can find something that will agree with their digestive system. While I won’t completely exclude them, I also won’t focus on them either.

The big golden and brown logo beckons you from billboards and signs dotted down the highway. Although it’s in 42 states (a fact I just learned), many people associate Cracker Barrel with the South. It’s hard to resist their combination old general store and traditional Southern food. I rarely even look at the menu because I always go with my standard Chicken N’ Dumplins Platter with Macaroni N’ Cheese and Fried Apples. Let’s not forget the biscuits and sweet tea to complete this delicious meal.

For all of you who cannot consume gluten, I apologize for this NSF picture. Just keep scrolling…


An image of Cracker Barrel's chicken & dumplings, mac & cheese, and fried apples.
All of the carbs.


Craving Southern food, but have dietary restrictions? Find out what you can eat at #CrackerBarrel! Click To Tweet

I was surprised to learn that Cracker Barrel has a special menu if you ask for it. My dad asked if they had a gluten-free menu for my sister. Our waitress retrieved a laminated spiral-bound menu from her manager. There is a specific section for gluten-free items, but it’s actually a Nutritional Information Guide. has info from 2009 and No Gluten has menu items as of 2016.

My sister opted for the Hickory Smoked Ham, mashed potatoes, and fries. She knows this is double carbs, but she was picking options she felt would be safe. Nikki warns that the hickory smoked ham was salty like a country ham would be. She did like it though. Immediately after dinner was over, her stomach began hurting. She suspects it was the mashed potatoes and cautions anyone with dietary concerns when ordering them to ask if they have dairy in them or skip them altogether. This is why she’s a meal tester, folks.

An image of Cracker Barrel's Hickory Smoke Ham, fries, and mashed potatoes.
Hickory Smoked Ham

**UPDATE: Last weekend, we made another trip to Cracker Barrel. Nikki asked for the gluten-free menu and she was brought an updated menu. They now have sections for menu items that are wheat-free, soy-free, fish-free, shellfish-free, tree nut-free, peanuts-free, and egg-free. Each section is broken down into breakfast, lunch, and dinner items. Apologies for the glares/shadows on the pictures.


A picture of Cracker Barrel's wheat-free menu
Cracker Barrel’s Wheat-Free Menu


A picture of Cracker Barrel's milk-free menu
Cracker Barrel’s Milk-Free Menu


A picture of Cracker Barrel's Soy-Free menu
Cracker Barrel’s Soy-Free menu


A picture of Cracker Barrel's fish-free, shellfish-free, tree nut-free, and peanuts-free menu
Cracker Barrel’s fish-free, shellfish-free, tree nut-free, and peanut-free menu


A picture of Cracker Barrel's sugar-cured ham and two bowls of fresh fruit.
Gluten-, soy-, & dairy-free meal: sugar-cured ham and double order of fresh fruits.


Those of you with dietary restrictions, do you avoid Cracker Barrel altogether or do you still eat there? What’s your go to order? Do you have any recommendations for any of our other dietary conscious travelers?

If you found this helpful, you might also find these useful too: what to order at Golden Corral and Smashburger.

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10 thoughts on “Cracker Barrel: A Southern Tradition”

  1. According to Cracker Barrel website all fried foods use a common frier, so rather than the mash potatoes making her sick there is a 100% known cross contamination with French fries. We have also been told to ALWAYS call ahead and ask for a manager, also note not all food is made in house so if anything is prepacked the food sales rep might not have updated the company, here is the website for the allergy safe menus,

    • Thanks for the info, Laura. Luckily, my sister doesn’t have an allergy. She has food sensitivities related to IBS. She can’t have mashed potatoes because they use milk (she is gluten-, dairy-, & soy-free). I recommend that anyone with a food allergy should always call ahead no matter where they’re going.

    • Hi Karen! Thanks for the question. They do have a menu that you can ask for in the restaurant. It’s broken down into allergy (gluten, milk, soy, etc). Grits are included under the section for food that doesn’t contain milk. It’s not listed under the wheat section, however grits are derived corn or hominy, they are typically free of gluten. You can also check out no gluten which has some helpful info. As always, it’s best to ask your server for sure as things can vary from location to location.


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