How to Eat Keto at Cracker Barrel

Medically Reviewed by Kathleen M. Zelman, RD, LD, MPH on February 12, 2024
4 min read

If you’re on the ketogenic diet, Cracker Barrel’s carbohydrate-rich menu with a Southern flair doesn’t exactly come across as keto-friendly. But there are plenty of entrees that fit keto guidelines, and they serve breakfast items like eggs, bacon, and sausages all day. If you’re heading to Cracker Barrel for a bite to eat, here are a few tips on how to eat keto.

The keto diet can be restrictive. Your daily nutrition will focus mainly on fatty foods, which should make up anywhere from 60% to 80% of your daily calories. Proteins should account for about 15% to 20%, while your carb intake should be restricted to about 5% to 10%. For a 2,000-calorie diet, this will work out to about 165 grams of fat, 75 grams of protein, and 40 grams of carbs.

Because you’re on a high-fat diet, your body will burn fat for energy and produce an acid molecule called a ketone. Ketones fuel your body with energy just like glucose. Ketosis is the term used for the metabolic state your body goes into when ketones are present in your blood. If you take in too many carbs, you risk coming out of ketosis.

Keto-friendly foods include:

  • Full-fat dairy products
  • Greek yogurt
  • Non-starchy and fibrous vegetables
  • Fatty oils
  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

From buttery biscuits to mashed potatoes or the fried chicken, most of the items on Cracker Barrel’s menu are too high in total carbs to fit into the keto diet. To make choices that work with this diet, it’s best to have a look at their online menu ahead of time.

But if you didn’t get a chance to prepare, the best option is to stick to eggs, meats, and veggies to keep it as keto-friendly as possible.

Keep your carb intake as low as possible with breakfast options like:

  • 2 eggs (2 grams carbs, 10 grams fat, 14 grams protein)
  • Sugar-cured ham (2 grams carbs, 29 grams fat, 36 grams protein)
  • Country ham (12 grams carbs, 26 grams fat, 66 grams protein)
  • 3 slices of bacon (0 grams carbs, 17 grams fat, 14 grams protein)
  • Two turkey sausage patties (1 gram carbs, 6 grams fat, 13 grams protein)
  • 2 smoked sausage patties (2 grams carbs, 19 grams fat, 13 grams protein)

Cracker Barrel serves breakfast all day, so you can satisfy your eggs-and-bacon craving anytime you want.

Whether it’s lunchtime or dinnertime, Cracker Barrel’s low-carb options from the “Lunch n’ Dinner” and “Home Cooked Classics” section of the menu will satisfy your taste buds and help you stick to the keto diet.

This includes:

  • Grilled chicken tenders, (5 grams carbs, 7 grams fat, 48 grams protein)
  • Spicy grilled catfish, 2 fillets (2 grams carbs, 11 grams fat, 38 grams protein)
  • Hamburger steak (1 gram carbs, 31 grams fat, 36 grams protein)
  • Lemon pepper grilled rainbow trout, 2 fillets (6 grams carbs, 14 grams fat, 43 grams protein)
  • Grilled sirloin steak (1 gram carbs, 17 grams fat, 49 grams protein)

If you want to add sides or extra items to your meal, skip the hash browns and biscuits. Instead, stick to low-carb options like:

  • Country green beans (7 grams carbs)
  • Steamed broccoli (6 grams carbs)
  • Turnip greens (6 grams carbs)
  • Cup of pot roast soup (8 grams carbs)

To add a little extra flavor to your meal, go with low-carb dressings and toppings like:

  • Dill pickle ranch (2 grams carbs)
  • Buttermilk ranch (3 grams carbs)
  • Blue cheese dressing (3 grams carbs)
  • Real butter (0 grams carbs)
  • Sour cream (1 grams carbs)

Here are some things you should pass up when you place your order:

  • Three pancakes with butter (111 grams carbs, 29 grams fat, 9 grams protein)
  • Hashbrown casserole (37 grams carbs, 8 grams fat, 5 grams protein)
  • Hushpuppies (7 grams carbs, 2.5 grams fat, less than 1 gram protein each)
  • Fried apples (37 grams carbs, 2 grams fat, less than 1 gram protein)
  • Biscuits with gravy (86 grams carbs, 34 grams fat, 17 grams protein)
  • Grits (15 grams carbs, 2.5 grams fat, 2 grams protein)

Another menu item you should steer clear of is bread. There are several types on the menu, but all of them are high in carbs and not a good choice for the keto diet.

Desserts on the Cracker Barrel menu include biscuit beignets, fruit cobblers with ice cream, and double fudge chocolate cake with ice cream. They do have some fat, but they also have more than 70 grams of total carbs each, which makes them off-limits if you’re trying to stay in ketosis. For beverages, you can stick to water or go with plain hot coffee or unsweetened tea to wash down your breakfast. You can also choose from a selection of diet sodas that are low in calories and carbs.