If you are a 90s kid, love traditional Southern American food, or often drive through interstate highways, it would be very unlikely if you never ate at Cracker Barrel.
But I have bad news for all those Cracker Barrel lovers who have turned vegan and wonder, “does Cracker Barrel have vegan options?”
Unfortunately, Cracker Barrel vegan options are minimal. In fact, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that having full vegan meals at Cracker Barrel is almost impossible unless you can order a few sides and call it a meal. And vegans clearly aren’t happy with it…
You can still stop at Cracker Barrel for a quick snack, though, and enjoy the homey vibe the place is known for.
What Can Vegans Eat at Cracker Barrel?
You won’t find any vegan menu at Cracker Barrel, but as usual, I have put together a list of all the vegan options at Cracker Barrel to save my fellow vegans from the trouble of having to figure it out.
Here’s everything vegan that you can find at the popular roadside restaurant:
- Salads without meat and croutons and with a vegan dressing
- Plain baked potato
- Plain baked sweet potato
- Plain bread, toast, and English muffin
- Some vegetable sides
- Fresh fruits
- Certain syrups, sauce, and dressings
Oatmeal available at Cracker Barrel can be made vegan. However, you have to make a special request for it.
Let’s briefly discuss each of these Cracker Barrel vegan choices to figure out which ones are wholly vegan and what items you need to be careful with while placing the order.
Cracker Barrel offers a few different types of salads. These include Country House Salad, Chef Salad, House Salad, Mixed Green Side Salad, and Brussels Sprouts n’ Kale Salad.
Although Cracker Barrel’s website lists Mixed Green Side Salad as dairy-free, I recommend confirming it with your server before ordering.
Whichever salad you order, order it without meat, eggs, croutons, and cheese. Also, make sure to choose a vegan dressing.
2) Plain Baked Potato/Sweet Potato
Even though the baked potato and sweet potato offered at Cracker Barrel aren’t vegan, as they’re served with butter and sour cream, you can order them without toppings.
I know what you’re thinking: “what’s a baked potato without toppings?”. But, you gotta do what you gotta do!
You can pair them up with vegetable sides and/or top them with a vegan dressing to add some flavor.
Many restaurants use lard or other animal fats while baking potatoes and sweet potatoes. Does Cracker Barrel follow the same practice? It’s not clear.
While researching is anything at Cracker Barrel vegan, I came across a comment from a Cracker Barrel employee asserting that they don’t rub baked potatoes and baked sweet potatoes with lard. Hence, they could be vegan-friendly.
However, there were also some contradictory comments on the same platform…
From the contradictory comments, there appears to be a difference in practice at different Cracker Barrel locations. Therefore, I recommend that you always confirm first or ask them to prepare your baked potato or sweet potato without using any butter or lard.
3) Plain Bread, Toast, English Muffin
Good news for y’all bread-loving vegans! Cracker Barrel offers a good range of bread options, most of which are vegan, according to various sources. However, I would still recommend confirming with your waiter to be on the safe side.
Vegan bread options at Cracker Barrel include multigrain toast and sourdough bread. The English muffins you find at the Southern food restaurant are also vegan (yay!), but you know the drill – ask for bread without butter. You can order peanut butter, some jam, or a vegan syrup separately to go with your bread and/or muffin. Pair it up with a steaming hot cup of tea or coffee for a quick pick-me-up while on a road trip.
4) Vegetable Sides
In addition to salads, Cracker Barrel also offers a range of vegetable sides. But, sadly, most of them appear to contain meat seasonings—it says so on their menu—and margarine or lard.
Therefore, your best bet would be to order Fresh Steamed Broccoli or Boiled Cabbage.
Cracker Barrel also offers Breaded Fried Okra, which, according to a restaurant employee, is vegan. However, they are cooked in the same fryer that is used for cooking meat. So, whether you want to eat fried okras or not depends on how strictly you adhere to the vegan philosophy and diet.
You can, however, try asking if they can make any other whole vegetable side for you without using any meat seasoning and butter or lard.
What About French Fries? Are Cracker Barrel Fries Vegan?
When all else fails, the good old French fries always come to vegans’ rescue as they’re available at almost every restaurant and are typically classified as vegan. However, some vegans may be concerned about the oil and the fryer used to make fries.
At Cracker Barrel, they are made in soybean oil, as mentioned on their allergen menu. This means they are fit for the vegan diet.
5) Fruit Sides
For those times when you’re on the road without food and cannot find any other eatery apart from Cracker Barrel, even the fresh, seasonal fruits that they offer can be a life-saver. They also make good snacks for our health-conscious vegan fellows. You can find Fresh Apple Slices and Fresh Seasonal Fruits in all Cracker Barrel locations. You may also find Low-Sugar Fruit Spread in some Cracker Barrel outlets, so try asking for it.
The restaurant’s fruit sides menu also includes Fried Apples.
Are the Fried Apples at Cracker Barrel Vegan?
Some online sources claim that Cracker Barrel’s Fried Apples are vegan. But, as a responsible vegan always does, I recommend confirming it with your server whenever you stop by a Cracker Barrel.
6) Syrups, Sauce, and Dressings
It might be pretty clear by now that you cannot get a good, hearty vegan meal at Cracker Barrel. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to rely on fresh fruits when you stop for a short food break at one of their interstate highway locations.
You can add some flavor to the otherwise bland and boring sides with a vegan syrup, dressing, or sauce. Here are the options you’ll find at almost every Cracker Barrel location:
Vegan Syrups at Cracker Barrel
- 100% pure, natural syrup
- Sugar-free syrup
- Blueberry syrup
Vegan Sauces at Cracker Barrel
- Good ol’ ketchup
- BBQ sauce
Vegan Dressings at Cracker Barrel
- Balsamic herb vinaigrette (always there to rescue vegans from not–so–vegan-friendly eateries)
- Fat-free Italian dressing
The widest variety of options that vegans can find at Cracker Barrel is in the beverages section. Vegan beverage options at Cracker Barrel include:
- Fruit juices – apple, orange, grapefruit, cranberry
- Tomato juice
- Earl Grey tea
- Old-fashioned lemonade
- Raspberry lemonade
- Iced teas
- Root beer
- Apple cider
- Soft drinks
- Mello Yello
Note – Please note that most of these drinks contain sugar, which some vegans prefer to avoid as much as possible because of its commercial refining process using bone char. You can refer to my article entitled “Are Sour Patch Kids Vegan?” for a more detailed discussion over the controversial status of commercially refined sugar in the vegan community.
Are There Any Vegan Options at Cracker Barrel for Breakfast?
One of the many reasons people love Cracker Barrel is that they serve breakfast all day long. But, since you’re a vegan now, it might pain you to know that you cannot enjoy their famous, mouthwatering pancakes anymore.
However, you can still have a decent breakfast at Cracker Barrel.
According to Cracker Barrel’s allergen guide, their grits are dairy-free, so you can order them. If you don’t like grits, you can order bread and/or English muffin with peanut butter and fruit spread. Get some fresh seasonal fruits on the side and pair them up with a cup of coffee or tea or a glass of fruit juice.
You can also request them to make oatmeal with water and without milk.
Does Cracker Barrel Offer Any Vegan Desserts?
Although the dessert menu at Cracker Barrel doesn’t seem to have anything vegan, an employee of the restaurant said (on an online platform) that their peach and blackberry cobblers are vegan if you order them without ice cream.
Food Items at Cracker Barrel That May Appear Vegan but Are Not
Following are some of the items on Cracker Barrel’s menu that may appear vegan but actually contain non-vegan ingredients:
- Whole Kernel Corn – contains butter/lard
- Sweet Whole Baby Carrots – contain butter/lard
- Country Green Beans – contain butter/lard
- Turnip Greens – contain butter/lard
- Mashed Potatoes – contain dairy
- Hash brown Casserole – has milk
- Coleslaw – contains egg
- Vegetable soup – contains milk
- Tortilla soup – contains milk
Non-Vegan Items at Cracker Barrel
The majority of the items on the Cracker Barrel menu are non-vegan. Since they are too many, it is not possible to list them all here. To make it simple for you, only the items that have been highlighted in this article are vegan or can be ordered to be made according to vegan dietary guidelines. All the remaining food items are non-vegan.
Are There Any Vegetarian Options at Cracker Barrel?
Cracker Barrel does offer quite a few vegetarian options.
In addition to the vegan options discussed in this article, vegetarians can also order the following foods:
- All varieties of eggs (make sure they don’t have bacon)
- French toast
- Mashed potatoes
- Baked potatoes
- Grilled cheese
- Macaroni and cheese
- Saturday Chicken n’ rice (without meat, of course)
To sum up, unlike vegans, vegetarians can have a pretty decent meal at Cracker Barrel.
Are Cracker Barrel Grits vegan?
As per the restaurant’s allergen guide, the grits they offer are dairy-free, which means they are vegan-friendly. However, I would recommend confirming it at the restaurant for your peace of mind.
Is Cracker Barrel Oatmeal vegan?
Cracker Barrel oatmeal is precooked in milk. You can, however, try and request if they can make it in water for you.
Are Cracker Barrel fries vegan?
Yes, Cracker Barrel French fries are vegan. But they’re made in the same fryer used for meat, so some vegans may prefer to avoid them.
Are the fried apples at Cracker Barrel vegan?
As discussed above, fried apples at Cracker Barrel seem to be vegan-friendly. However, I would suggest confirming with the server if they genuinely do not contain any butter.
Are the biscuits at Cracker Barrel vegan?
No. The free biscuits that they offer at Cracker Barrel are buttermilk biscuits, which means they contain dairy. Hence, they are not vegan (sad, I know).
Are the pinto beans at Cracker Barrel vegan?
While beans are vegan-friendly on their own, the pinto beans available at Cracker Barrel are, sadly, not. According to the company, they’re made the old-fashioned way and contain meat seasonings.
Are Cracker Barrel hash browns vegan?
Cracker Barrel doesn’t offer hash browns. Instead, they offer hash brown casserole, which contains milk and meat seasonings.
Cracker Barrel Vegan Options – The Sum–Up
Known for its classic charm (read: wooden rocking chairs, stone fireplace, and country music), tabletop peg games, unlimited supply of biscuits and corn muffins, and of course, delicious Southern food, Cracker Barrel has been one of the most popular Southern restaurants in the U.S. for a long time.
The mere fact that Cracker Barrel has 660 locations in 45 states is enough to testify to Americans’ love for this incredible, old-country restaurant.
In my opinion, and I am sure most vegans would agree with me, Cracker Barrel is not the place to be if you’re looking to have a good or even a decent vegan meal. However, if you happen to find yourself in an area where there isn’t any option other than Cracker Barrel, then you wouldn’t go hungry at the restaurant. There are some vegan options at Cracker Barrel.
However, when ordering food at Cracker Barrel or in any restaurant that doesn’t have an exclusively vegan menu, I strongly recommend confirming with the server the ingredients of an item before placing an order. We all know how often animal ingredients are sneaked into apparently vegan foods.
Want to learn about some other restaurants? Read my article Red Lobster Vegan Options to determine if they offer anything for vegans at the seafood restaurant.