Cracker Barrel has long been a favorite store and fast-food chain since 1969 and when it comes to vegetation and vegan options it is a little outdated. There are lots of tasty food options on the menu for meat eaters but when it comes to vegetarian and vegan food the choices are limited.
Frustratingly, it is often difficult to establish what is and isn’t vegan at Cracker Barrel so we have taken a look for you.
The vegan options at Cracker Barrel include the following:
- Plain baked potato
- Plain baked sweet potato
- Steamed broccoli
- Oatmeal (when made with water instead of milk)
- Grits (when made with water instead of milk)
- Soft drinks
- Tea and coffee
We will take a look at these options in more detail below and explore what options may be vegan. It is best to check for yourself also before you order to ensure that the items you eat are 100% vegan-friendly.
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The Vegan Menu
Taking a look at the ingredients list that we could find and the allergen information on the website we believe the below to be true in terms of food items being vegan. If you are in doubt about what items are definitely vegan it is best to check in-store when you are eating.
You can also ask about how the food is cooked so you can be certain that there is no cross-contamination. While chains do not generally differ from one other you may be able to find that one store is different than the other, particularly in terms of cooking food and the potential cross-contamination.
While some food items are ambiguous in terms of them being vegan the freshly steamed broccoli is certainly vegan. The only thing that you will need to check is that it is not cooked or dressed with butter or animal-based fats.
From what we know this is the case so you are free to eat the steamed broccoli if you are vegan. This may be the same for the vegetable side dishes such as corn, beans, carrots, and green beans but they may have some animal fats added before serving.
If you are vegan you can choose from a choice of standard baked potatoes or sweet baked potatoes, both of which are very satisfying. They are generally served with butter or sour cream but Cracker Barrel will serve it to you plain or with a little brown sugar.
You can always look at some other items on the menu or sauces and condiments to make your baked potato more exciting. The baked potato is a safe option for many vegans so you will be used to what you can and cannot add to it.
There are options to have vegetables, salad, and pinto beans with your potato which many people choose to accompany their trusted potato.
Toast and Bread
Cracker Barrel offers a variety of vegan-friendly bread including white, seeded, multigrain, and sourdough. You can enjoy the bread or toast with jam or peanut butter or, if you know that you are visiting, you can bring your own vegan spread.
It may seem a bit boring eating out and only having bread or toast but the quality of the bread at Cracker Barrel is good and there is a variety of different slices of bread to choose from.
Like the bread, at Cracker Barrel the English muffins are vegan-friendly and can be served with vegan-friendly spreads, jams, and nut butter.
Fruit is, of course, vegan friendly, which means that you can enjoy the fruit side dishes that are on offer on Cracker Barrel. The fruit options include:
- Fresh apple slices
- Fresh seasonal fruit
Like fruit, vegans are mostly safe when it comes to the salad as long as you pay attention to the sauces and dressings. Cracker Barrel has a Mixed Greens Side Salad that appears to be vegan but it is worth checking to ensure there is no sneaky dressing added.
You should make a point of asking for your salad to be crouton and cheese-free as many salads are often served with these items.
Grits and Oatmeal
When made with water grits are suitable for vegans but not when they are made with milk. You may be able to ask for grits and oatmeal to be made with plant-based milk but this may not be possible as often chain restaurants cannot offer bespoke items.
You also need to check that neither is made using animal products such as butter or lard. You can add a variety of toppings to your oatmeal, including fruits and applesauce or you may want to bring your own peanut butter or vegan sauces.
Dressings, Sauces, and Syrups
Dressing can add an extra element to your dish and are something that many vegans struggle with due to many being made using animal fats, cheeses, and milk.
If you are vegan you can look forward to enjoying the following dressings, sauces, and syrups:
Vegan Salad Dressings:
- Balsamic Herb Vinaigrette
- Fat-Free Italian
Vegan Sauces and Condiments:
- BBQ Sauce
- 100% Pure Natural Syrup
- Blueberry Syrup
- Low-Sugar Fruit Spread
- Sugar-Free Syrup
The choice of vegan beverages available at Cracker Barrel includes:
- Coffee (black or with plant-based kinds of milk only)
- Hot Tea
- Orange Juice
- Lemonade (a choice of flavors)
- Apple Juice
- Apple Cider
- Grapefruit Juice
- Tomato Juice
- Ice Tea (a variety of flavors)
- Stewart’s Sodas
- Coca-Cola and Diet coke
- Blue Sky Sodas
- Water (still or sparkling)
Possible Vegan Options
Country Vegetable Plate
Consisting of whole baby carrots, corn, and green beans. This dish sounds vegan but may not be if they are cooked or dressed with butter which is common for these types of vegetable.
Fries are generally safe for vegans to eat but as we cannot see how the fries are cooked we cannot confirm that they are vegan-friendly at Cracker Barrel. It does say on the website that the fries are cooked in soybean oil which does indicate that they may be vegan but it is best to check before you order.
Breaded Fried Okra
Yes, okra is a vegetable and it states that they are cooked in soybean oil like the fries but it does not confirm that there are no animal products used so it is best to check with a server in store.
Like the fries and the okra, you would expect the beans served at Cracker Barrel to be free from animal products or animal by-products but this cannot be confirmed and as some cholesterol is mentioned in the nutritional information it could indicate that the beans are coated in some animal fat.
Side of the Day
You can often find special dishes called ‘side of the day’ at Cracker Barrel and it is generally cabbage or Lima beans, depending on which day you visit. You can check with the server or on the menu to ensure that the side of the day is vegan-friendly and is not served using animal fats.
Foods to Avoid
There are many items on the Cracker Barrel menu that you can make vegan at home or you will find on some other vegan-friendly menus but they are definitely not vegan at Cracker Barrel. These items include:
- Hash brown and hash brown casserole (as they contain milk and butter)
- Vegetable soup (as it contains milk)
- Tortillas ( as they contain milk)
- Coleslaw (as it contains egg)
To confirm, it is best to choose whole food options at Cracker Barrel if you are in doubt that items may have been cooked using animal fats or have butter and other animal fats or cheese added at the end.
To summarize, the below foods are suitable if you are vegan and are planning a trip to Cracker Barrel:
- Baked Potato (no butter or cream)
- Baked Sweet Potato (no butter or cream)
- Fresh Steamed Broccoli (no butter added)
- Fresh Seasonal Fruit
- Fresh Apple Slices
- Grits (if made with water or plant-based milk)
- Oatmeal (if made with water or plant-based milk)
- Pinto Beans (no butter added)
- Sweet Whole Baby Carrots (no butter added)
- Whole Kernal Corn (no butter added)
- Country Green Beans (no butter added)
- Boiled Cabbage (no butter added)
- Lima Beans ((no butter added)
There is likely to be sauce such as ketchup and mustard to add to your plain food items if you want to make your meal more exciting. In general, avoiding food that looks processed or does not have a full list of ingredients next to it will ensure that you keep to a vegan-friendly diet.