Cracker Barrel Chicken Fried Chicken

Looking for a delicious comfort food meal? Try Cracker Barrel’s Chicken Fried Chicken! The chicken is crispy on the outside and perfectly seasoned served with gravy. Come enjoy a classic dish any day of the week.

copycat Cracker Barrel chicken fried chicken with gravy on a plate.

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What Makes Cracker Barrel Chicken Fried Chicken So Good? 

There probably isn’t a better chicken dish on the planet than chicken fried chicken. The light, crispy crust and moist, perfectly cooked boneless white meat drenched in creamy gravy is the pinnacle of down-home cooking.

While Cracker Barrel’s chicken fried chicken isn’t as good as the version prepared by Southern grandmas, it is pretty gosh darn close.

Why This Is the Chicken Fried Chicken Recipe You Must Try 

Don’t be put off by the calorie count in this traditional Southern classic; this is a meal you must try at least once. And although bacon grease and heavy cream may not be the most diet-friendly ingredients, they are definitely delicious-friendly!

So, if you’re planning to try this recipe for chicken fried chicken, go ahead and make it as tasty as possible. 

Ingredients For This Cracker Barrel Chicken Fried Chicken Recipe

To prepare the chicken, you’ll need:

  • Chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
  • All-purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Buttermilk
  • Water
  • Vegetable oil

To prepare the chicken fried chicken gravy, you’ll need:

  • Bacon grease
  • All-purpose flour
  • Whole milk or heavy cream
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper

Bacon grease adds a lot to this recipe, but if you absolutely won’t use it or don’t have any on hand, you can use cold butter.

For spicier chicken or additional flavor, you can add a little cayenne pepper or garlic powder to the flour for breading the chicken.

Cracker Barrel chicken fried chicken and sawmill gravy ingredients on a tray.

How To Cook Chicken Fried Chicken Cracker Barrel Style

To flatten out the chicken:

  1. Lay a piece of plastic wrap on the counter. Place one boneless chicken breast on it and cover it with another piece of plastic wrap.
  2. Use the flat side of a meat tenderizer to gently pound out the chicken to an even thickness of about half an inch. 
  3. Put the chicken aside, and repeat with the remaining chicken breasts.

To bread the chicken:

  1. Sift the flour, salt, and pepper into a wide shallow bowl.
  2. Whisk together the buttermilk and water in another wide bowl. 
chicken fried chicken breading station.
  1. Coat the chicken breast with seasoned flour mixture and shake off any excess.
  2. Dip the chicken into the buttermilk mixture.
  3. Return the chicken to the bowl of seasoned flour for one more coating and place chicken breast on a wire rack or baking sheet lined with parchment paper to set.
breaded chicken breast.
  1. Repeat with the other pieces of chicken. 

To make the gravy for chicken fried chicken:

  1. While the chicken is resting, heat a cast-iron pan over medium heat. If you don’t have a cast-iron pan use any non-stick pan with a heavy bottom. 
  2. Sprinkle the flour on top of the grease and whisk to combine. 
  3. Continue to whisk for about a minute until you notice a baked pie crust smell.
  4. Pour in the whole milk or heavy cream while whisking. 
  5. When the gravy thickens, turn off the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.
sawmill gravy in a saucepan.

To fry the chicken:

  1. Pour at least four inches of vegetable or canola oil into a dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. You can use an electric fryer if you have one. 
  2. Heat the oil to 350°F. Double-check the temperature with a clip-on thermometer to ensure the oil is at the correct temperature. 
  3. Deep fry one or two pieces of the breaded chicken for about minutes. The internal temperature needs to be at least 165°F. 
  4. Drain the chicken on paper towels.
  5. Repeat until you fry all the chicken.

Serve the chicken fried chicken with gravy, either on top or on the side.

copycat Cracker Barrel Chicken Fried Chicken with sawmill gravy on a plate.

What Goes With This Cracker Barrel Chicken Fried Chicken Recipe 

Mashed potatoesgreen beans, carrots, corn, and mac and cheese are classic sides for chicken fried chicken, but diners may appreciate a refreshing wedge salad or Greek salad.

How To Store Leftover Homemade Chicken Fried Chicken 

Cooked chicken can last in the refrigerator for up to two days in an airtight container. Keep the gravy in a separate container with a lid.

You can freeze cooked chicken fried chicken for up to two months, but you should make fresh gravy when you reheat it.

To store in the freezer:

  1. Place the room-temperature chicken onto a baking tray and freeze it for an hour. Transfer the frozen chicken to a freezer bag or a container with a lid. 
  2. Put the chicken in the coldest part freezer. 

What’s the Best Way to Reheat Chicken Fried Chicken?

The best way to reheat thawed homemade chicken fried chicken is in the air fryer:

  1. Let the chicken come up to room temperature. 
  2. Preheat the air fryer to 375°F.
  3. Spray the chicken with a bit of vegetable oil. 
  4. Heat the chicken on the first side for 3 to 4 minutes, then flip and heat for another 3 to 4 minutes. 

You can use an oven if you don’t have an air fryer:

  1. Allow the chicken to come up to room temperature.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  3. Put the chicken on an aluminum foil-lined baking tray.
  4. Heat for 8 minutes per side.

You can reheat the gravy on the stove:

  1. Pour the gravy into a small saucepan. 
  2. Since the gravy congeals when it sits for a long time, add a little milk or heavy cream to help thin it out
  3. Heat the gravy on medium-low while whisking. 
overhead view of copycat Cracker barrel chicken fried chicken with sawmill gravy and vegetables.

More Cracker Barrel Copycat Recipes

Favorite Chicken Dinner Recipes

Check out even more of my tasty chicken recipes and the best copycat Cracker Barrel recipes on CopyKat!

copycat Cracker Barrel chicken fried chicken with gravy on a plate.

Cracker Barrel Chicken Fried Chicken

Cracker Barrell Chicken Fried Chicken with Sawmill Gravy is a delicious and comforting southern meal.
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chicken Fried Chicken, Cracker Barrel Recipes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 310kcal


Sawmill Gravy

  • 2 tablespoons bacon grease
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk or heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Chicken Fried Chicken

  • Oil for frying
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts


Sawmill Gravy

  • Melt the bacon grease in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. When it melts, add the flour and cook for approximately 1 minute, stirring constantly, until it becomes fragrant like pie dough.
  • Add the milk or heavy cream, and whisk until the gravy thickens. Season with salt and black pepper.

Chicken Fried Chicken

  • Pour 3 to 4 inches of oil into a deep fryer or large pot and heat the oil to 350°F.
  • Combine the flour, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
  • In another bowl, combine the buttermilk and water.
  • If your chicken breasts are not uniform in size, place them between two pieces of wax paper and gently pound them with a meat pounder until they are more uniform. Then pat them dry with a paper towel.
  • Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken breasts in the seasoned flour, dip them in the buttermilk, and then dredge again in the seasoned flour.
  • Deep-fry the chicken in the hot oil until done, about 7 to 8 minutes. Turn the chicken breasts over while frying to make sure both sides are golden brown. Then remove the chicken from the oil and let it drain on a wire rack.
  • To serve, place two chicken breasts onto a plate and pour some sawmill gravy on top.



Calories: 310kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 88mg | Sodium: 1054mg | Potassium: 561mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 162IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 105mg | Iron: 1mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of's Dining Out in the Home, and's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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