Are Cracker Barrel's Hash Browns Fresh Or Frozen?

Cracker Barrel is famous for its wholesome country entrees and sides, and the chain's hash brown preparations are particularly beloved among customers. As a result, many wonder whether this popular side is served up fresh or frozen. A Reddit thread shed light on this common question when a line cook divulged many trade secrets related to the restaurant. Upon being asked whether they had any "magical hashbrown casserole secrets" up their sleeve, the Cracker Barrel employee replied, "Our recipe is pretty simple. It's like onions, cheese, margarine, cream soup base, salt, pepper, and frozen hash browns." Based on this response, it appears the chain favors frozen hash browns over fresh.

According to the Cracker Barrel website, certain items are indeed made fresh. This includes mashed potatoes and gravy made "from scratch all day long," as well as hand-breaded chicken. The chain also "hand rolls" its biscuits to ensure optimum freshness, much to the delight of its carb-loving customers. As for the hash browns, they're conspicuously absent from the chain's list of homemade items.

Why do restaurants serve frozen food?

You would think that a restaurant that prioritizes a down-home experience would avoid frozen food at all costs. However, it's challenging for any restaurant to serve fresh items exclusively, as frozen food is a lot more cost-effective. Frozen items can also last longer, which prevents food waste and cuts costs even further. As reported by Food & Beverage Insider, the pandemic also had a major impact on restaurants' use of frozen food.

Purchases of frozen items increased by 40% when compared to figures from 2019, according to a survey that included both full and casual-service restaurants, Food & Beverage Insider stated in 2022. Among the frozen goods purchased by restaurants, potato-based products were second in popularity, right behind frozen vegetables. This stands to reason, as preparing potatoes from scratch is a bit labor-intensive. With hash browns, potatoes must be shredded, then soaked in water, drained, and fried. Despite Cracker Barrel's preference for wholesome homemade food, this process would slow kitchen staff immensely, which would likely frustrate customers seeking their favorite hash brown dishes in a timely fashion.

Delicious hash brown preparations at Cracker Barrel

Cracker Barrel offers diners a few tasty hash brown preparations, including its loaded hash brown casserole. This premium side consists of a grilled hash brown adorned with melty Colby cheese and bacon bits for an added bit of fatty flavor. You can also enjoy the simpler yet still delicious hash brown casserole, which offers everything except the bacon bits when compared to the loaded version. Both versions come with chopped onions, as well as salt, pepper, and a special seasoning blend. The chain also dishes out hash brown casserole tots, giving customers an easier, snackable, bite-sized option.

While hash browns are typically considered a breakfast food, they're actually available all day at Cracker Barrel. Cracker Barrel's iconic hash browns may arrive at the restaurant frozen, but that doesn't mean that this side dish isn't tasty and filling, much like the other items you can order on the menu at this southern-style restaurant chain.