If you’re in search of some real flavor for dinner, then you know this dish is for you!
It’s not hard to imagine the sweet and savory symphony of maple and bacon, lying atop succulent chicken breasts.
That pretty much sums up the beloved Cracker Barrel Maple Bacon Chicken recipe.
This dish is a big-time fan favorite for good reason. And it’s because of its perfect blend of hearty and comforting tastes.
Join me in making this one together, and I promise, your family will think you stopped by the nearest Cracker Barrel and got this to go.
With a few simple ingredients and my insider tips born from trial and error in my own kitchen, you’re about to create one of the best things to come out of your country kitchen.
Here we go!
Here’s what you’ll need to whip up your own Maple Bacon Chicken:
- Chicken breasts: Get them boneless and skinless.
- Salt & Pepper: To season.
- Vegetable Oil: For cooking your chicken just right.
- Bacon: Cooked well; it’s that salty crunch you crave.
- Garlic: Fresh or powdered, it’s up to you.
- Brown Sugar & Maple Syrup: That sweet touch for the glaze.
- Dijon Mustard: Adds a tangy kick.
- Cayenne Pepper: A little for that heat.
- Cheese: Colby Jack, sliced to melt on top.
- Optional add-ons: Cajun seasoning, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce for extra flavor boosts.
How to Make Cracker Barrel Maple Bacon Chicken
Step 1 – Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) to ensure it’s at the appropriate temperature for cooking the chicken.
Step 2 – Prepare Chicken:
Take your skinless boneless chicken breasts and season them as you like. If you’re aiming for authenticity, keep the seasonings simple with salt and pepper.
Step 3 – Wrap & Coat:
Now, get your bacon and wrap each chicken breast carefully. The bacon not only adds flavor but also keeps the chicken moist while it cooks.
Step 4 – Mix the Glaze:
In a bowl, whisk together some maple syrup, mustard (a nice Dijon works well), and a touch of vinegar—apple cider vinegar is a good choice.
Garlic powder and cayenne pepper can be added for that extra kick of flavor.
Step 5 – Dredge the Chicken:
If the recipe calls for it, you can lightly coat the bacon-topped chicken in a mix of flour, salt, pepper, and paprika before placing them on a greased baking dish or sheet.
Step 6 – Bake or Grill:
If you’re baking, slide the chicken into the oven, or if you’re grilling, place the bacon-wrapped chicken on the grill. Cook for about 6-8 minutes on each side until there’s no pink in the center.
Step 7 – Apply Glaze:
During the last couple of minutes of cooking, brush the bacon-topped chicken with your maple glaze. This will create a sweet and savory caramelized coating.
Step 8 – Let it Rest:
Once cooked thoroughly, let the chicken rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the juices to be redistributed. You can let it rest while you make the cheese sauce in the next step.
Step 9 – Prepare the Cheese Sauce:
Here’s how to prepare a delicious cheese sauce that you can drizzle over Cracker Barrel’s Maple Bacon Chicken.
– 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
– 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
– 1 cup milk (whole or 2% for creaminess)
– 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or a mix of your favorite melting cheeses)
– Salt and pepper to taste
– Optional: a pinch of cayenne pepper or mustard powder for extra flavor
1. Begin by melting the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
2. Whisk in the flour to form a roux. Keep whisking for about 1-2 minutes until the mixture turns a light golden color and has a slightly toasted aroma.
3. Gradually pour in the milk, whisking constantly to prevent lumps from forming. Continue to whisk until the mixture is smooth.
4. Keep stirring frequently until it thickens to your desired consistency. This usually takes about 5-7 minutes.
5. Once thickened, reduce the heat to low and add the shredded cheese. Stir until the cheese is completely melted and the sauce is smooth.
6. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If you’re using the optional cayenne pepper or mustard powder, add it now.
7. Drizzle the warm cheese sauce over the cooked Maple Bacon Chicken just before serving, ensuring a delightful and gooey topping.
Pair your maple bacon chicken with sides of your choice, maybe something that can catch the delightful drippings, like mashed potatoes or a simple salad.
Remember to use a meat thermometer to check for doneness—the chicken is ready when its internal temperature hits 165°F.
Now, enjoy your homemade version of this Cracker Barrel classic!
Tips and Tricks for Perfecting the Recipe
Before you fire up your grill or preheat the oven, gather your ingredients and let’s talk about making your Cracker Barrel Maple Bacon Chicken stand out with simplicity and flavor.
Crispiness is Key:
- Get your chicken skin superbly crispy by patting it dry before coating it with flour.
- Use bacon grease in your skillet for an extra layer of flavor and a golden-brown sear.
- For safety, always melt butter in a skillet over medium heat to prevent burning.
- Add garlic powder to your butter for an aromatic twist, but be careful not to let it burn; a little goes a long way.
Balance Your Flavors:
- Cayenne pepper is potent, so start with a pinch and adjust to taste for that perfect spicy kick.
- The sweetness of maple should be prominent, yet harmonize with the bacon’s saltiness, so measure with care.
Baking to Perfection:
- When using the oven, remember to flip your chicken halfway through for even cooking.
- Watch closely during the last few minutes to ensure your garlic doesn’t char, especially if you’re broiling for a crispy finish.
Remember, these tips aren’t rules etched in stone, but starting points to guide you as you make this recipe your own. Happy cooking!
When you whip up Cracker Barrel’s maple bacon grilled chicken at home, you’ve got a star of a dish that’s just begging for the right supporting cast of side dishes.
Imagine how comforting a scoop of creamy mashed potatoes would be alongside your sweet and savory chicken.
The smoothness of the potatoes plays well with the robust flavors of the sauce.
Here’s a quick list of sides that transform your maple bacon chicken into a family-friendly meal:
- Mashed Potatoes: A classic choice that never disappoints.
- Green Beans: These bring a nice, crisp contrast to the dish.
- Biscuits: Perfect for sopping up that delicious maple bacon sauce.
- Chicken Pot Pie: If you’re going all out, pair with a small serving of chicken pot pie for a hearty feast.
Each of these sides complements the baked chicken without overpowering it.
So go ahead, serve up your maple bacon chicken with any (or all!) of these side dishes, and watch your homemade Cracker Barrel-inspired dinner become a hit!
Variations and Substitutions
If you’re trying to accommodate dietary restrictions or just prefer to mix things up, there are plenty of ways to tweak the Cracker Barrel Maple Bacon Chicken recipe.
- Cheese: While Colby Jack is the usual choice for that melty topping, you can swap it for other cheeses that melt well, like mozzarella or cheddar.
- Bacon: Turkey bacon makes a great substitute for a lighter, less fatty option.
- Seasoning: If you can’t find Cajun or Creole seasoning, a mixture of paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, black pepper, cayenne pepper, oregano, and some salt can mimic the savory-spicy blend.
For a Vegetarian Twist:
- Skip the bacon and brush your chicken with a mix of soy sauce and liquid smoke to retain that smoky flavor.
Sweet and Savory Adjustments:
- Adjust the maple syrup quantity to highlight the sweet or savory to your liking.
- A dash of garlic or onion powder can enhance the savory profile if you find it too sweet.
Remember, these tweaks let you keep the essence of the Cracker Barrel’s Maple Bacon Chicken while making it truly yours!
Cracker Barrel Maple Bacon Chicken
- 4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 Salt & Pepper for seasoning
- 2 tbsp Vegetable oil
- 8 slices Bacon
- 2 cloves Garlic
- 1/4 cup Brown sugar
- 1/4 cup Maple syrup
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper
- 1 cup Shredded cheese For cheese sauce
- 2 tbsp Unsalted butter For cheese sauce
- 2 tbsp All-purpose flour For cheese sauce
- 1 cup 2% milk For cheese sauce
- Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
- Wrap each breast in bacon to add flavor and retain moisture.
- Whisk maple syrup, Dijon mustard, vinegar, garlic powder, and cayenne for the glaze.
- Dredge bacon-wrapped chicken in seasoned flour mixture.
- Bake or grill chicken 6-8 minutes per side until cooked through.
- In the last minutes of cooking, brush on the maple glaze.
- Let chicken rest for a few minutes after cooking.
- While resting, prepare your cheese sauce for drizzling.
- Melt butter in a saucepan; whisk in flour to form a roux.
- Slowly add milk, whisking to a smooth consistency.
- Stir until sauce thickens, about 5-7 minutes.
- Lower heat; melt in shredded cheese until smooth.
- Season, then drizzle over chicken to serve.
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