Cracking the Code: Recreate Cracker Barrel’s Iconic Fried Turkey Recipe at Home

If you’re a fan of Cracker Barrel’s legendary fried turkey, you know that it’s a dish like no other. Crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, and bursting with flavor, it’s a culinary masterpiece that keeps folks coming back time and time again. But what if we told you that you could recreate this beloved dish right in your own kitchen? Prepare to be amazed as we unveil the secrets to making Cracker Barrel’s fried turkey recipe at home.

The Cracker Barrel Fried Turkey Experience

Before we dive into the recipe, let’s take a moment to appreciate the Cracker Barrel fried turkey experience. Walking into the cozy, rustic atmosphere of a Cracker Barrel restaurant, you’re immediately greeted by the tantalizing aroma of fried turkey wafting through the air. It’s a scent that ignites your taste buds and sets the stage for a truly memorable meal.

But what sets Cracker Barrel’s fried turkey apart from the rest? It’s the perfect balance of flavors and textures. The crispy, golden-brown exterior gives way to tender, juicy meat that has been infused with a blend of seasonings that can only be described as pure magic. And let’s not forget the crowning glory – the creamy, savory gravy that takes this dish to new heights of deliciousness.

The Secret Ingredients

Now, let’s get down to business and uncover the secret ingredients that make Cracker Barrel’s fried turkey recipe so irresistible. According to our research, the key components are:

  1. Turkey Breast: While Cracker Barrel likely uses whole turkeys, we’ll be focusing on the breast portion for ease of preparation. Look for fresh, high-quality turkey breasts or opt for frozen ones if you’re planning ahead.

  2. Creole Seasoning: This blend of spices, often including paprika, garlic, onion, and cayenne pepper, adds a kick of flavor and a touch of heat to the dish.

  3. Buttermilk: This tangy liquid not only tenderizes the meat but also contributes to the crispy coating when combined with flour.

  4. Flour: A crucial component for creating the signature crunchy exterior, choose all-purpose flour or a combination of flour and breadcrumbs for extra crispiness.

  5. Seasoned Salt: Brands like [Brand 1] and [Brand 2] (based on frequency from URLs) are commonly used to enhance the flavors of the turkey and coating.

  6. Gravy: No fried turkey is complete without a generous serving of creamy, peppery gravy. Cracker Barrel’s version often includes bacon, onions, and a touch of milk or cream.

The Step-by-Step Recipe

Now that you know the key ingredients, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get cooking! Here’s a step-by-step guide to recreating Cracker Barrel’s fried turkey recipe at home:


  • 2-3 lbs turkey breast, pounded thin (about 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick)
  • 1 tsp Creole seasoning
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp garlic salt
  • 1 tbsp seasoned salt (e.g., Lawry’s)
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • Vegetable oil or canola oil for frying


  1. Prepare the Turkey: Season the pounded turkey breast slices with Creole seasoning, salt, and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

  2. Set Up the Dredging Station: In one shallow dish, whisk together the eggs, 1 tbsp flour, and buttermilk. In another shallow dish, combine the 1 1/2 cups of flour, garlic salt, seasoned salt, and black pepper.

  3. Double Dredge: Dip each turkey slice into the egg mixture, allowing the excess to drip off, then coat it thoroughly in the seasoned flour mixture. Repeat this process for a double coating, ensuring every inch of the turkey is covered.

  4. Fry Away: In a large skillet or dutch oven, heat 1-2 inches of vegetable or canola oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot (around 350°F), carefully add the coated turkey slices in batches, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Fry for approximately 3 minutes per side, or until golden brown and cooked through.

  5. Drain and Serve: Transfer the fried turkey to a wire rack or paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil. Serve hot, accompanied by your favorite sides like mashed potatoes, green beans, and biscuits, and don’t forget the gravy!

Cracker Barrel-Style Country Gravy

To truly replicate the Cracker Barrel experience, you’ll need to whip up a batch of their signature country gravy. Here’s how:


  • 5 slices maple bacon
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 4 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 – 3 1/2 cups milk (adjust for desired thickness)
  • 3/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  1. Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat until crispy. Remove and crumble, reserving the bacon drippings in the pan.
  2. Add the butter and diced onion to the drippings and sauté until the onion is translucent.
  3. Sprinkle in the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly, to create a roux.
  4. Gradually whisk in the milk, adding more or less to achieve your desired gravy consistency.
  5. Season with black pepper and salt.
  6. Bring the gravy to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5-7 minutes, or until thickened.
  7. Stir in the crumbled bacon and serve hot over your fried turkey and sides.

Tips and Tricks

  • Pound the Turkey Evenly: Use a meat mallet or rolling pin to pound the turkey breast to an even thickness, ensuring even cooking and crispy coating.
  • Don’t Skimp on the Seasoning: Generously season both the turkey and the coating for maximum flavor impact.
  • Use a Thermometer: To ensure the turkey is cooked through, use a meat thermometer and aim for an internal temperature of 165°F.
  • Let it Rest: Allow the fried turkey to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving, allowing the juices to redistribute throughout the meat.
  • Adjust the Gravy Consistency: Add more or less milk to achieve your desired gravy consistency, keeping in mind that it will thicken slightly as it cools.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I use chicken instead of turkey?

Absolutely! This recipe works beautifully with chicken breasts or tenders, making it a versatile dish for any occasion.

2. Can I bake the turkey instead of frying?

While frying is the traditional method for achieving that crispy exterior, you can certainly bake the coated turkey breast in the oven. Bake at 400°F for approximately 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.

3. How can I make this recipe healthier?

To lighten up the recipe, you can use an air fryer instead of deep-frying, or opt for baking the turkey. Additionally, try using egg whites instead of whole eggs, and consider swapping in whole wheat flour for added fiber.

4. Can I make this ahead of time?

While fried turkey is best served fresh, you can prepare the coated turkey slices in advance and refrigerate them until ready to fry. The gravy can also be made ahead and reheated when needed.

Final Thoughts

Cracker Barrel’s fried turkey is a true culinary masterpiece, and with this recipe, you can now enjoy that same level of deliciousness right in your own home. Whether you’re hosting a family gathering or simply craving a taste of nostalgia, this fried turkey recipe is sure to impress and satisfy. So, gather your ingredients, roll up your sleeves, and get ready to transport your taste buds to a world of crispy, juicy, flavor-packed goodness.

Cracker Barrel Country Fried Turkey: Happy Thanksgiving!

Leave a Comment