Cracker Barrel Chicken and Rice: Ultimate Southern Recipe

Ah, the simple joys of Southern cooking! There’s something undeniably comforting about dishes that remind us of home, family gatherings, and the warmth of a well-loved kitchen. Among these cherished recipes is the Cracker Barrel Chicken and Rice – a dish that brings a taste of the South right to your dining table. In this article, we’ll dive into the heart of this beloved recipe, exploring its rich flavors, nutritional benefits, and the various ways you can make it your own. From the classic recipe to creative twists, we’ve got you covered. So, let’s get started and bring a bit of Cracker Barrel’s homestyle cooking into your home! If you’re interested in more Southern-style restaurant recipes, check out our collection of Black-Eyed Pea Restaurant Recipes.

Introduction to Cracker Barrel Chicken and Rice

Introduction to the Comfort of Southern Cooking

Imagine yourself on a cozy front porch, rocking chair creaking gently, with the comforting aroma of a home-cooked meal wafting through the air. This is the essence of Southern cooking, and at the heart of it lies the Cracker Barrel Chicken and Rice recipe. A dish that’s not just a meal, but a warm hug on a plate.

The Popularity of Cracker Barrel’s Chicken and Rice

Cracker Barrel, known for its down-home charm and mouthwatering comfort food, has made its Chicken and Rice a staple on dinner tables across the country. This dish, with its creamy texture and savory flavors, captures the essence of Southern hospitality. It’s a simple yet satisfying meal that resonates with anyone who craves a taste of home-cooked goodness.

In this part of our culinary journey, we’ll explore the roots of this iconic dish, understanding why it’s become a beloved classic in American cuisine. Stay tuned as we delve into the heartwarming world of Cracker Barrel Chicken and Rice, a recipe that’s more than just food – it’s a celebration of comfort, family, and tradition.

Recipe Overview

Cracker Barrel Chicken and Rice

Cracker Barrel Chicken and Rice: A Detailed Recipe

Ready to bring the comforting taste of Cracker Barrel into your kitchen? Let’s roll up our sleeves and dive into the heart of this classic dish. The beauty of the Cracker Barrel Chicken and Rice recipe lies in its simplicity and the wholesome goodness of its ingredients.

Ingredients and Their Healthy Alternatives


  • Boneless, skinless chicken
  • Cream of mushroom or chicken soup
  • Onion
  • Garlic powder
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • Mushrooms
  • Chicken bouillon
  • Water
  • Chicken tenderloins
  • Cooked rice (brown or white)

Healthy Alternatives:

  • Opt for organic soup to avoid MSG and gluten.
  • Use brown rice or wild rice for added nutrients.
  • Consider riced cauliflower for a low-carb alternative.

Step-by-Step Cooking Instructions

  1. Preparation: Start by preheating your oven to 350°F. If you’re using frozen chicken, let it thaw first. Chop your onions and mushrooms, and dice the chicken for easy layering.
  2. Assemble the Dish: In a greased baking dish, lay out the chicken tenderloins. In a separate bowl, mix the cream of mushroom soup with diced chicken, mushrooms, onion, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and bouillon. Gradually stir in water to achieve a creamy consistency.
  3. Bake: Pour the creamy mixture over the chicken tenderloins. Bake uncovered for 40-50 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the top is golden and bubbly.
  4. Serve: Place the baked chicken and sauce over a bed of hot rice. Enjoy the creamy, savory goodness!

This recipe is a perfect blend of ease and flavor, making it ideal for both weeknight dinners and special occasions. In the next section, we’ll explore the nutritional aspects of this dish, ensuring you can enjoy this Southern classic with health in mind.

Nutritional Insights of Homestyle Chicken Rice

Health Benefits and Nutritional Breakdown

When indulging in the Cracker Barrel Chicken and Rice, it’s not just about savoring the flavors; it’s also about understanding what goes into our bodies. This dish, when tweaked with healthier alternatives, can be both a comfort to your soul and a benefit to your body. For more healthy, Southern-inspired dishes, explore our Southern Black-Eyed Peas Recipes.

Caloric Content and Nutritional Value

A standard serving of this dish, prepared with the original ingredients, typically contains a balanced mix of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. The chicken provides a hearty dose of protein, essential for muscle repair and growth. Opting for brown or wild rice adds fiber, aiding in digestion and providing a slower release of energy.

By substituting the cream of mushroom soup with an organic, gluten-free version, you reduce the intake of processed ingredients and MSG, making it a healthier choice for those with dietary sensitivities. Additionally, incorporating vegetables like mushrooms and onions not only enhances the flavor but also boosts your intake of essential vitamins and minerals.

It’s important to note that while this dish can be made healthier, it’s still a comfort food at heart. Moderation is key, and it’s best enjoyed as part of a balanced diet.

Customizing Your Comfort Food Chicken Recipe

Personalizing Your Chicken and Rice

The Cracker Barrel Chicken and Rice recipe is wonderfully versatile, allowing for numerous customizations and variations. Whether you’re catering to dietary restrictions or simply looking to add a personal twist, there’s plenty of room for creativity. If you’re looking for other Southern rice dishes with a twist, you might enjoy our Black-Eyed Peas and Rice Recipe.

Variations for Dietary Restrictions

Cracker Barrel Chicken and Rice

For those with dietary restrictions, this recipe can be easily adapted:

  • Gluten-Free: Use a gluten-free cream of mushroom or chicken soup.
  • Low-Carb: Replace rice with cauliflower rice or a mix of quinoa and farro.
  • Vegetarian: Consider using a plant-based protein in place of chicken and a cream of mushroom soup made with vegetable broth.

Creative Twists on the Classic Recipe

  1. Add More Vegetables: Elevate the nutritional value by adding broccoli, peas, or green beans to the mix.
  2. Spice It Up: For those who enjoy a bit of heat, add a dash of Cajun seasoning or red pepper flakes.
  3. Cheesy Delight: Sprinkle some grated cheddar or Parmesan on top before baking for a cheesy crust.
  4. Herb Infusion: Fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, or parsley can add a refreshing twist.

These variations not only cater to different tastes and dietary needs but also keep the recipe exciting each time you make it. Experimenting with different ingredients can lead to discovering your new favorite version of this classic dish.

Cooking Tips and Tricks

Mastering the Recipe: Tips and Tricks

Cooking the perfect Cracker Barrel Chicken and Rice is an art that comes with knowing a few handy tips and tricks. These insights will help you enhance the flavor, texture, and overall appeal of this beloved dish.

Ensuring Perfect Texture and Flavor

  1. Chicken Selection: Opt for fresh, quality chicken. If using frozen chicken, ensure it’s thoroughly thawed to maintain texture.
  2. Rice Cooking: Cook the rice al dente to prevent it from becoming mushy when baked with the chicken.
  3. Balanced Creaminess: Adjust the water or broth in the soup mixture to achieve the desired creaminess without making it too runny.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Overcooking the Vegetables: Add softer vegetables like peas or broccoli later in the baking process to avoid them turning mushy.
  • Skipping the Seasoning: Proper seasoning is key. Taste and adjust salt, pepper, and herbs to ensure a well-flavored dish.
  • Uneven Cooking: Spread the chicken and rice evenly in the dish to ensure uniform cooking.

Remember, the beauty of this dish lies in its simplicity and the love you put into it. Don’t be afraid to experiment and adjust the recipe to suit your taste.

Serving and Pairing Suggestions

Complementing Your Dish

Once you’ve mastered the art of making Cracker Barrel Chicken and Rice, the next step is to serve it in a way that enhances its flavors and makes for a memorable meal. Here are some serving and pairing suggestions that will take your dish to the next level.

Side Dishes and Drink Pairings

  1. Vegetable Sides: A side of steamed green beans, roasted Brussels sprouts, or a crisp garden salad can add a fresh contrast to the rich flavors of the chicken and rice.
  2. Bread Selection: Serve with warm, buttery biscuits or cornbread to soak up the delicious creamy sauce. For a healthier option, consider whole grain rolls.
  3. Drink Pairings: A glass of chilled white wine, such as Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc, complements the creamy texture of the dish. For a non-alcoholic option, try iced tea or a refreshing lemonade.

These pairings not only enhance the taste but also turn your meal into a well-rounded, satisfying experience. Remember, the key is to balance the richness of the dish with lighter, fresher elements.

Storage and Reheating

Preserving the Flavor: Storage and Reheating

The Cracker Barrel Chicken and Rice is not just a delight to eat fresh out of the oven; it can also be a delicious leftover meal if stored and reheated properly. Here’s how to keep the flavors intact for days after you’ve cooked it.

Best Practices for Leftovers

  1. Cooling Down: Allow the dish to cool to room temperature before storing it. This prevents condensation that can make the rice soggy.
  2. Refrigeration: Store the leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Properly stored, it can last for up to 3-4 days.
  3. Freezing: For longer storage, freeze the dish in a freezer-safe container. It’s best to consume it within 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Reheating Tips

  • Oven Reheating: Reheat in a preheated oven at 350°F until it’s heated through. This method helps retain the texture better than a microwave.
  • Microwave: If you’re short on time, you can also reheat it in the microwave. Cover the dish with a microwave-safe lid or wrap to keep the moisture in.
  • Adding Moisture: If the dish seems a bit dry, add a splash of water or chicken broth before reheating to bring back its creamy texture.

By following these storage and reheating tips, you can enjoy your Cracker Barrel Chicken and Rice multiple times, with each serving as delicious as the first.

That wraps up our comprehensive guide on making, serving, and preserving the classic Cracker Barrel Chicken and Rice. We hope these tips and tricks help you create a dish that’s not just a meal, but a warm, comforting experience. Happy cooking!


Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, we address some common queries and concerns about the Cracker Barrel Chicken and Rice recipe. These FAQs will help you navigate any uncertainties and enhance your cooking experience.

Addressing Common Queries and Concerns

  1. Can I make this recipe gluten-free?
    • Absolutely! Simply use a gluten-free cream of mushroom or chicken soup. Also, ensure that any other added ingredients, like chicken bouillon, are gluten-free.
  2. What can I use instead of chicken tenderloins?
    • You can substitute chicken tenderloins with boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs. Just cut them into appropriate sizes for even cooking.
  3. How can I make this dish healthier?
    • Opt for organic, low-sodium cream of mushroom or chicken soup, use brown or wild rice instead of white rice, and add more vegetables like broccoli or peas for added nutrients.
  4. Can I freeze the cooked Cracker Barrel Chicken and Rice?
    • Yes, you can freeze it in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat in the oven or microwave.
  5. What are some good side dishes to serve with this?
    • Light and fresh sides like a green salad, steamed vegetables, or roasted Brussels sprouts complement the richness of the dish. Warm biscuits or cornbread are also great accompaniments.
  6. Can I prepare this dish in advance?
    • Yes, you can assemble the dish and refrigerate it for up to a day before baking. Just add a few extra minutes to the baking time if you’re starting from cold.
  7. Is it possible to make this recipe in a slow cooker?
    • Certainly! Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker and cook on low for 4-6 hours. If you prefer a crispy top, transfer it to an oven-safe dish and broil for a few minutes before serving.


Wrapping Up the Southern Comfort Experience

As we come to the end of our culinary journey with the Cracker Barrel Chicken and Rice recipe, it’s clear that this dish is more than just a meal. It’s a symbol of comfort, a taste of home, and a testament to the simple yet profound pleasures of Southern cooking.

Final Thoughts and Encouragement to Try the Recipe

This recipe, with its creamy texture, savory flavors, and heartwarming essence, is a perfect example of how food can be both nourishing and comforting. Whether you’re cooking for a family dinner, a special occasion, or just a cozy night in, this dish is sure to bring smiles and satisfaction.

We encourage you to try this recipe, experiment with the variations, and make it your own. Remember, the best dishes are made with love and a dash of creativity. So, don your apron, gather your ingredients, and get ready to enjoy a delicious serving of Southern hospitality right in your kitchen.

Thank you for following along with this guide. We hope it inspires you to create memorable meals and cherish the joy of cooking. Happy cooking, and enjoy your Cracker Barrel Chicken and Rice!

Leave a Comment