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I Tried Every Classic Cracker Barrel Breakfast & the Winner Had a Bit of Everything

We sampled all the popular all-day breakfast options to find ones that are most worth ordering.

Like all meals, breakfast is one that's better enjoyed among family and friends, and one of the best places to do that is at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store. The popular establishment not only has one of the most cherished brekkie menus around, but it also has one of the coziest atmospheres to back it up—making it feel more like a small-town mom-and-pop diner rather than a national chain standing at 600-plus locations strong.

The southern-style eatery just has a way of making you feel at home, especially since many of its dishes are, in fact, named after your own family members. You can indulge in Momma's Pancakes, Grandma's Sampler, or even Grandpa's Country Fried Breakfast for a touch of hearty flavors and nostalgia. Really, the only unsettling part of the entire experience is having to narrow it down to just one morning meal.

To help you in your decision-making, I've created a list of the most iconic Cracker Barrel breakfasts by pulling information from the restaurant's archives, customer reviews, and straight from the mouth of a knowledgeable waitress. Then, I took things a step further by testing all of these creations for myself—with the help of a few friends—to find out which really stands as the most satisfying and classic dish of all time. I reckon these results will ruffle some feathers, but my top pick is one that's impossible not to love.

Here's how these nine popular options fared, ranked in descending order from my least favorite to the best entrée of all.

New York Strip Steak N' Eggs

New York Strip Steak N' Eggs from Cracker Barrel
Photo: Megan Hageman/Eat This, Not That!
Nutrition: (Per Order w/Hashbrown Casserole)
Calories: 810
Fat: 38 g (Saturated Fat: 12 g)
Sodium: 5400 mg
Carbs: 28 g (Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 1 g)
Protein: 85 g protein

The New York Strip Steak N' Eggs is the latest dish to hit the breakfast classics menu, cozying up alongside other long-standing savory entrées. But, even though this specific iteration is hot off the press (or grill rather), the double protein combination has certainly graced Cracker Barrel's restaurants before just in slightly different forms. My server also let me know that this upgraded version has already been a popular pick this summer—a comment that solidified its spot in my taste test. The meal comes with a 10-ounce garlic butter-covered steak, two eggs served any style, your choice of one breakfast side (I went with the Hashbrown Casserole) and buttermilk biscuits to top it off. It also comes with the beefiest cost in this survey, coming in at a steep $18.99.

The look: I have to give credit to Cracker Barrel on this one, the steak looks pretty mouthwatering. Plump with a brown char along its spine, it's a sight to see. My eggs were more folded than scrambled and they came in a rich shade of yellow, nearly blended in with the pile of shredded potatoes. 

The taste: I've said it once and I'll say it again: steaks are just not this chain's forte. This is also a prime example of not judging a book by its cover. Because, even though this cut dazzled from the outside, the inside was bland, chewy, and overcooked–significantly more browned than the medium temperature I requested. In congruence with the delicate eggs, I will admit this meal is a filling one, especially with the cheesy and onion-y tender spuds taking up room as my side–probably the highlight of the plate. But, there are other selections on the menu that can tackle your hunger for much less. 

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Old Timer's Breakfast

The Old-Timers Breakfast from Cracker Barrel
Photo: Megan Hageman/Eat This, Not That!
Nutrition: (Per Order w/Bacon & Apples)
Calories: 1,090
Fat: 57 g (Saturated Fat: 19.5 g)
Sodium: 1,765 mg sodium
Carbs: 102 g (Fiber: 6 g, Sugar: 36 g)
Protein: 42 g

An oldie, but a goodie, the Old Timer's Breakfast makes the cut as one of Cracker Barrel's top overall menu itemsof all kinds, not just breakfastaccording to the chain. It all starts with two eggs, as well as buttermilk biscuits accompanied by a bowlful of the chain's Sawmill Gravy, seasoned and cooked with pork flavors, salt, and pepper. Then, you're going to have a couple of hard choices to make. First, you select between bacon or sausage (either smoked patties, plant-based Impossible patties, or spicy chicken sausage). And, finally, you will decide on a side from options like grits, sliced tomatoes, hashbrown casserole, and fried apples. Personally, I opted for the apples and bacon for a total meal cost of $9.99. 

The Look: Fresh yet basic. The eggs were cooked over-easy to my satisfaction and the bacon appeared to be hot off the griddle. Off to the side, slimy yellow fried apples and country-style gravy were each granted their own little bowl—the latter of which reminded me of a clumpy clam chowder. 

The Taste: I understand that I may not be the target audience for this morning meal, but I found it to be boring. I lost it in the shuffle of other meats, sweets, and more elaborate plates. Sure, the eggs are fine. The apples are sweet, cinnamon-coated, and tender—more of a dessert really. And, the bacon is actually quite palatable in that in-between state of too fatty and too crisp that most people can agree on.

My only real objection was related to the gravy. It's overly smoky and peppery and gives you a chalky mouthfeel like it was mixed from a powder. Without this disappointing overload of calories and sodium, the selection does make for a decent light breakfast at a great value of just $9.99. It just wasn't anything special.

Homestyle Breakfast

The Homestyle Breakfast platter from Cracker Barrel with optional bacon and hashbrown casserole
Photo: Megan Hageman/Eat This, Not That!
Nutrition: (Per Order w/Bacon & Loaded Hashbrown Casserole)
Calories: 1,270
Fat: 76 g (Saturated Fat: 29 g)
Sodium: 2,450 mg
Carbs: 90 g (Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 11 g)
Protein: 57 g

Cracker Barrel's Homestyle Breakfast could alternatively be called the "freestyle breakfast" since hungry patrons have the freedom to piece together their own plate for $9.99. Each one automatically comes with two eggs and biscuits and gravy, just like the Old Timer's plate. But, here the meat options are essentially endless including samplers of ham, bacon, and sausage all rolled into one, plus choices like fried chicken, sirloin steak tips, and even fried catfishall available for an upcharge. Lastly is the side selection including standard options or dishes like fresh fruit, hashbrown casserole tots, and buttermilk pancakes (again offered for an additional fee). 

The look: Almost identical to the previous breakfast. However, on this order, I requested my eggs scrambled and the cheesy potato casserole was my side of choice over juicy fried apples. 

The taste: Each component was up to scratch once again. That is, with the exception of the dense and dissatisfying gravy–you already know how I feel about that. However, after some evaluation, I realized that this meal is essentially just the Old Timer's Breakfast disguised under a new name to make it sound more hip, chic, and probably more appealing to the young folk. The two breakfasts even come with the same price tag–a big hint at their likeness. I pulled Homestyle ahead in the rankings only because it seems to come with a more diverse range of meat options. But, that is the only unique feature I can see. 

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Grandpa's Country Fried Breakfast

Grandpa's Country Fried Breakfast from Cracker Barrel with country fried steak and fried apples
Photo: Megan Hageman/Eat This, Not That!
Nutrition: (Per Order w/Apples)
Calories: 1,480
Fat: 68 g fat (Saturated Fat: 21.5 g)
Sodium: 2,715 mg
Carbs: 152 g (Fiber: 7 g, Sugar: 38 g)
Protein: 65 g

I'll tell you what, if fried food was left off the menu at a southern-style joint like Cracker Barrel, customers would be having hissy fits left and right. Luckily, the chain excels in this department and some of the fried-up goodness even slithered its way onto the breakfast lineup. Most notably, there's the time-honored Grandpa's Country Fried Breakfast. This one actually comes with a dealer's choice between country fried steak or chicken fried chicken both topped with gravy. Since it's a CB staple, I went with the steak. Two eggs, a side choice, and biscuits and gravy additionally round out the $12.49 meal. 

The look: The crispy golden-crusted steak isn't quite as big as the New York Strip. But, it's still reasonably meaty, taking up about half the plate. Eggs here were ordered over medium and appeared a tad more greasy than the rest slopped into the corner. Fried apples were sequestered to their bowl and the biscuits and gravy arrived on their own side plate, looking the same as ever. 

The taste: A step up from the sirloin without a doubt. That's what happens when you coat food in salty breading and deep fry it into oblivion. It's not quite as crunchy and fresh as I would have have hoped but it does have a pleasant juicy flavoring–you just have to not look at it too close because the grayish-brown coloring of the steak is rather off-putting. Surprisingly, I didn't mind the gravy on top here as I believe it would have been too dry in its absence. The biscuits and gravy companion, on the other hand, are overkill if you ask me. If you do happen to fancy the gravy (and lots of it) then this hearty meal is for you. Otherwise, I would look over yonder to a different part of the menu. 

Stuffed Cheesecake Pancake 

Two Buttermilk Pancakes layered with cream cheese cheesecake filling, topped with Fresh Strawberries, powdered sugar and Strawberry Syrup at Cracker Barrel
Photo: Megan Hageman/Eat This, Not That!
Nutrition: (Per Order w/Bacon)
Calories: 1,460
Fat: 71 g fat (Saturated Fat: 32 g)
Sodium: 2,700 mg
Carbs: 152 g (Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 73 g)
Protein: 41 g

Cheesecake for breakfast? If Cracker Barrel says it's okay then it's okay in my book. This treat was released in the summer of 2022 and has become a favorite among sweet tooths–a trusty pick for those times when normal pancakes just don't seem sugary enough. The dish consists of two buttermilk pancakes layered with cream cheese filling topped with strawberries, whipped cream, powdered sugar, and strawberry syrup. The $11.99 entree also comes with two eggs and either thick-cut bacon or smoked sausage. And, if sweet isn't your style in the a.m., you could also indulge in this plate's savory twin, Cracker Barrel's Pancake Tacos.

The look: The presentation is pristine. Served on a delicate white and blue patterned plate, the stuffed pancakes (really just normal pancakes folded hamburger style) are golden brown. The strawberries are bright and fresh, and the dollop of whipped cream on top was clearly applied by a professional. Next to this, the platter of scrambled eggs and bacon looked sad and dull.

The taste: I think I worked this one up a lot in my mind and was a little let down. Don't get me wrong, it's cloyingly delicious. The mixture spread between the fluffy pancake halves is like a cross between cream cheese and a custard doughnut filling. It's smooth and rich paired with the juicy berries and the syrup ties everything together, tasting like a jam and syrup mashup. It's something I would order again, especially as a shareable for the table. But, with each bite, I couldn't help but think about how I enjoyed the chain's brand-new French Toast Bake so much more—I'm still dreaming about it.

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The Country Boy Breakfast

The Country Boy breakfast from Cracker Barrel
Photo: Megan Hageman/Eat This, Not That!
(Per Order w/Sirloin Steak Tips & Loaded Hashbrown Casserole)
Calories: 1,420
at: 93 g fat (Saturated Fat: 34.5 g)
Sodium: 3,000 mg
Carbs: 91 g (Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 10 g)
Protein: 74 g

The perfect morning-time meal for a growing boy. This entree's main draw is the protein pick between sirloin steak tips, sugar-cured ham, or country ham. Between the three, sirloin tips seemed like the obvious pick and that's exactly what I ordered. It's also served with not two but three farm-fresh eggs, and not one but two breakfast sides. Then, guess what else is tacked on? That's right, another helping of biscuits and gravy. The chain never gets tired of this stuff, huh?

The look: Intimidating. It's a large heap of food, plain and simple. I counted 13 total glistening and plump steak cubes. The yellow eggs were piled into a mound and I had my eye once again on those cheesy potato slivers. The biscuits and gravy were accounted for but hardly even noticeable amongst the rest.

The taste: After the chain's sirloin steak fumble, I didn't have my hopes set high as I bit into this beef. But, I was pleasantly surprised by its tenderness and rich flavor. I think I even murmured, "oh, that's tasty" out loud (don't worry I wasn't dining alone so it wasn't weird). The medallions appear to actually be doused in garlic butter like the sirloin is supposed to be and paired with a coagulation of eggs, each forkful is pure breakfast bliss. The remainder of the meal takes a backseat compared to this, but that was more than okay with me. At the end of the day–or I guess at the beginning of the day since we're talking about breakfast–this is still the meat-forward Cracker Barrel breakfast you want on your plate.

Momma's French Toast Breakfast

Momma's French Toast breakfast platter from Cracker Barrel
Photo: Megan Hageman/Eat This, Not That!
(Per Order w/Sausage Patties)
Calories: 1,370
Fat: 84 g fat (Saturated Fat: 29 g)
Sodium: 1,370 mg
Carbs: 109 g (Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 35 g)
Protein: 51 g

There's nothing quite like Momma's cookin'. I guess that's why her breakfasts at Cracker Barrel are so dang popular. Two of her specialties are currently available on the menu, the first of which is Momma's French Toast Breakfast. The toast itself is made with sourdough bread hand-dipped in the chain's special egg batter before being griddled and topped with butter. You can also pick your poison in terms of syrups. 100% Pure Natural, sugar-free, blueberry, and strawberry are all on the table right now—the latter two are presumably seasonal selections, however. To balance out the sweetness, two eggs and either sausage or bacon are also factored into the $11.59 price tag.

The look: Four slices of griddled sourdough wound up on my plate, all divided in half and pushed to opposite sides of the platter. Less of a dusting and more of a heavy snow of powdered sugar rested on top as well as an orb of butter. For this meal, I ordered my eggs over easy with sausage patties.

The taste: Maybe not the best plate of french toast I've ever had, but it comes close. Each egg-washed piece of sourdough was cooked to perfection—not burnt yet not too gooey at its nucleus. Instead, its texture was chewy with a light crisp on the fringes. The creamy and fresh-tasting butter also cascades down, seeping into every corner of the plate. I didn't detect cinnamon or other strong flavors on the bread itself. But, that's okay, because the 100% pure natural syrup took over in this department, adding just enough sweetness to satisfy any sugar cravings. The eggs and meat were handy to have on the side as well for some umami relief—the proverbial cherry on top of this downright tasty meal.

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Momma's Pancake Breakfast

Three buttermilk pancakes topped with butter & served with two eggs, bacon or sausage and maple syrup at Cracker Barrel
Photo: Megan Hageman/Eat This, Not That!
Nutrition: (Per Order w/Bacon)
Calories: 1,090
Fat: 55 g fat (Saturated Fat: 20 g)
Sodium: 2,870 mg
Carbs: 113 g (Fiber: <1g, Sugar: 10 g)
Protein: 37 g

Momma was at it once again. This time with the Pancake Breakfast–and this one's a real doozy. In the previously mentioned blog post from Cracker Barrel itself, this meal took the top spot as the chain's most popular menu item across the board. So, I already knew I was in for a treat. It's nearly identical to the layout of the french toast dish, offering eggs and meats alongside the sweets. Of course, here the toast is swapped for three buttermilk pancakes, and you will pay a little bit less since the pancake pick is priced at just $9.99.

The look: The bacon and over-easy eggs came out looking a tad greasy yet par for the course. What I really want to talk about, though, is the pancakes. Golden with toasty edges and crowned with a butter ball, they're a work of art. I did expect them to be slightly larger, just based on past encounters, but I couldn't wait to dig in either way.

The taste: I understand why this meal wins in the Cracker Barrel popularity contest. You have your eggs and bacon which ease you into the experience with a few savory and salty notes. Then, it's on to the main event. You can tell these pancakes are going to be good based on appearances alone. Those crispy rings around the perimeter are like tasty promises—and they delivered. The surface of each hotcake was buttery with a light crunch, then the dollop at the top soaks in for an extra dose of buttery deliciousness. Inside, the texture is fluffy and rich, never mealy. The maple syrup is hardly even needed, but always a welcome addition. I have to say, Momma was really cookin' when she created these two entrées.

Grandma's Sampler Pancake Breakfast

two Buttermilk Pancakes, two eggs & a sampling of Thick-Sliced Bacon, Smoked Sausage & Ham at Cracker Barrel
Photo: Megan Hageman/Eat This, Not That!
(Per Order w/Sugar Cured Ham & Loaded Hashbrown Casserole)
Calories: 1,300
Fat: 73 g fat (Saturated Fat: 30 g)
Sodium: 4,010 mg
Carbs: 104 g (Fiber: 4 g, Sugar: 8 g)
Protein: 58 g

For customers with a wandering eye, Grandma's Sampler Pancake Breakfast could be just what you need. The meal is just like it sounds, offering a taste from many areas of the breakfast menu. It comes with two eggs served any style, one breakfast side, and a meat sampling, including bacon, a smoked sausage patty, and either sugar-cured or country ham. Last, the pièce de résistance is the plate of two buttermilk pancakes with butter and your choice of syrup. Grandma offers all of this for a price of $11.39–not too shabby if you ask me.

The look: I thought with a name like Grandma's, this might contain dainty portions. But, I was wrong. Altogether, it's over a plate and a half of food, separated into the eggs, meat, and side sampler and then a platter featuring just the two gleaming flapjacks.

The taste: A breakfast both grandma and I approve of. Needless to say, the pancakes are once again scrumptious with their soft insides and crisp outsides. There are fewer of them to love, but still plenty for one person. I also adore this meal because it offers the best of the best on the opposing platter as well. It's not just an afterthought. Here, you don't have to pick between bacon and sausage. You automatically receive both as well as a bonus piece of ham which is a game-changer—specifically the sugar-cured variety. And in addition to your eggs, you also get the privilege of picking a side, so you can still indulge in that heavenly cheesy potato casserole.

As a whole, the breakfast is the epitome of a down-home comfort food breakfast and just a smidge better than the previous offering due to its diversity. Sorry, Momma, but I think Grandma has you beat on this one.

Megan Hageman
Megan is a freelance writer based in Columbus, Ohio. Read more about Megan