Dolly Parton’s Coleslaw Is the Summer Side Dish You Need

This Dolly Parton coleslaw recipe from Dollywood's 1989 cookbook has a secret ingredient: pickles!

The best summer side dishes have a few things in common: They’re simple to prepare, require little or no cooking and pack in plenty of flavor and texture without being too heavy. You can’t deny that coleslaw ticks all these boxes, no matter what part of the country you’re from or where you stand in the great mayo vs. vinegar debate.

A Dolly Parton coleslaw recipe from the 1989 cookbook Dollywood Presents Tennessee Mountain Home Cooking has been making the rounds thanks to an article on Epicurious. As far as we’re concerned, Dolly can do no wrong when it comes to cooking. We’re huge fans of her 5-layer casserole recipe and her hack for perfectly fluffy scrambled eggs. And like everything Dolly Parton touches, this coleslaw recipe is pure magic.

Read on to learn how to make Dolly Parton coleslaw and what makes it so special.

How to Make Dolly Parton’s Coleslaw

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  • 1 medium head cabbage, minced
  • 1 medium onion, finely minced
  • 1 carrot, minced or grated
  • 1/2 bell pepper, minced
  • 1/4 cup sweet pickle juice
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dill pickles, minced or 1 tablespoon pickle relish
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt


Step 1: Combine

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.

Step 2: Enjoy!

Cover and chill until serving, at least 15 minutes.

Also, check these amazing coleslaw mix recipe to make for the dinner.

What makes it so good?

They don’t call it Tennessee Mountain Home Cooking for nothing! Dolly’s coleslaw recipe gets its strength from Southern elements, specifically sugar and relish. The mayonnaise, white vinegar and pickle juice balance one another out, making a dressing that’s not too sweet, acidic or thick.

If you’re looking for a little more flavor, we recommend adding a little bit of Dijon mustard or celery seed. For a spicier coleslaw, substitute jalapeno or habanero pepper for bell pepper.

No matter how you prepare this coleslaw, we recommend pairing it with Southern comfort food and following it up with one of Dolly Parton’s cakes.

Sarra Sedghi
Sarra Sedghi is a Birmingham-based writer and editor specializing in food, travel, and history. Her work has appeared in Allrecipes, Atlas Obscura, Eater, MyRecipes, Polygon, and Tasting Table. She excels at narrative writing, and received her MFA in Narrative Nonfiction from the University of Georgia in 2017.