My family of 4 spent $130 to have Cracker Barrel make our Thanksgiving dinner, and I'd do it again for any holiday

My family of 4 spent $130 to have Cracker Barrel make our Thanksgiving dinner, and I'd do it again for any holiday
  • We've made Thanksgiving dinner for decades. This year, we ordered from Cracker Barrel instead.

  • For $130, we received a turkey breast, seven sides, and a cinnamon-roll pie.

  • It was so stress-free and tasty that we're thinking of ordering from the chain again for Christmas.

My husband and I love to cook, but after making a full Ina Garten Thanksgiving dinner in October, I knew I wouldn't have the stamina to cook another Thanksgiving meal just a few weeks later.

We'd never considered ordering our holiday meal from a restaurant, but this year, we decided to try Cracker Barrel's "heat n' serve" family dinner.

For $130, I ordered a turkey-breast dinner designed to serve four to six people (plus a few extras) to pick up the morning before Thanksgiving.

Here's what Cracker Barrel Thanksgiving was like for me, my husband, and two teens.

Cracker Barrel's Thanksgiving meal was easy to order and customize.

Photo of computer screen, ordering Cracker Barrel thanksgiving dinner
Ordering the meal from Cracker Barrel was easy.Terri Peter

The turkey dinner from Cracker Barrel cost about $105. It was easy to customize online, and we could choose our pickup time.

It came with an oven-roasted turkey breast, cornbread dressing, turkey gravy, cranberry relish, sweet-potato casserole, sweet yeast rolls, and my choice of one country side dish.

I chose green beans, then paid $15 for an additional side of mashed potatoes and gravy. I also added a $12 cinnamon-roll pie for dessert.

Picking the meal up couldn't have been easier.

Cracker Barrel holiday meal pick up sign with arrow on grass
Picking up the meal from Cracker Barrel was simple. Terri Peters

After placing my order, I received a few emails from Cracker Barrel with instructions on how to pick up and heat my meal.

On the morning before Thanksgiving, my husband and I drove to the restaurant at our selected time. We were impressed with the clear signage and easy pickup system.

We gave our name to a woman at a table who entered a refrigerated mobile unit and returned with our box of food.

Before we knew it, we were heading home with a backseat full of delicious Thanksgiving food.

Large Cracker Barrel box with smaller box on top in backseat of a car as man closes car door
Our Cracker Barrel haul was huge.Terri Peters

Our meal was packaged in a thick, easy-to-carry cardboard box with a lid and handles.

Because we received a ton of food for $130, we stored it on ice in coolers in our garage until it was time to reheat it the following day.

The box was filled with everything we needed for a Thanksgiving meal.

Aerial shot of Cracker Barrel premade thanksgiving meal with rolls, cinnamon buns, gravy, and foil packages
We stored our food in coolers until we were ready to cook it. Terri Peters

We honestly could not believe how simple and well planned the meal was.

Everything was included, down to individually packaged pats of butter for the rolls. All we had to do was familiarize ourselves with the reheating instructions.

The instructions on how to reheat each dish were simple and thorough.

Cracker Barrel Thanksgiving dinner reheating instruction booklet with photos of each dish
Terri Peters

Cracker Barrel included a booklet in our box with detailed heating instructions for everything in our meal kit.

It also had a recipe section in the back that listed a lot of uses for leftovers, from stuffing muffins to turkey soup.

Each side dish had its own reheating instructions.

Foil trays of green beans, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and sweet potato casserole from Cracker Barrel
Some side dishes needed to be reheated in the oven. Terri Peters

Unlike cooking on Thanksgiving, when you have to intricately plan out when each dish needs to go into the oven, the reheating process was simple and required no planning.

The turkey and most of the side dishes needed to be reheated in the oven. A few dishes, including the green beans, were designed to reheat on a stovetop.

After we followed each step, we were rewarded with a painless and easy Thanksgiving meal.

Turkey, gravy, stuffing, rolls, mashed potatoes, and other Thanksgiving dishes from Cracker Barrel in serving dishes on kitchen island
My Cracker Barrel dinner looked homemade. Terri Peters

Once everything was heated through and spread out on my kitchen island, I couldn't tell the difference between a meal I'd have cooked myself and Cracker Barrel's version.

All our Thanksgiving classics — from green beans to mashed potatoes — were accounted for, and everything looked delicious.

Cracker Barrel's turkey was the best I'd ever had.

Sliced. turkey on wood cutting board
Cracker Barrel's turkey blew me away.Terri Peters

I'm a food writer, and I've been cooking turkeys for a long time. This year alone, I made a whole turkey using a Garten recipe and cooked turkey breast just to try out leftover-turkey recipes.

Even still, the turkey breast we brought home from Cracker Barrel was the most delicious, moist, and flavorful turkey I'd ever had.

The leftovers have been a joy to use in my post-Thanksgiving recipes, and I've been snacking on the turkey since we served it.

Based on our experience, I would order a holiday meal from Cracker Barrel again.

Plate with a roll, turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, stuffing, and cranberry sauce
Cracker Barrel may cater our Christmas dinner, too.Terri Peters

Overall, the experience was wonderful.

As we reheated our Cracker Barrel meal, my husband turned to me and said, "I may never go back to cooking." I'd have to agree.

It was an incredible relief not to have to plan all our recipes, grocery lists, and cooking schedules. I also didn't have to worry about cleaning a ton of pots and pans.

Instead, we got to focus on family time with our two teenagers.

We're so impressed by the quality and ease of Cracker Barrel's Thanksgiving meal that we've already started looking at its Christmas dinners.

Read the original article on Insider