I Tried Dolly Parton’s Coleslaw Recipe — Here’s What I Think

I Tried Dolly Parton’s Coleslaw Recipe — Here’s What I Think

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With barbecue season around the corner, keeping a solid coleslaw recipe in your back pocket is crucial. Cool, creamy, and crunchy, it’s the perfect foil for smoky grilled meats, rich sides, and swelteringly hot days. We know it, we love it.

How to Make Dolly Parton’s Coleslaw 

Dolly’s slaw starts the way most do, with a head of green cabbage. I grabbed a medium head that weighed around 2 pounds, which I later found to be a good size for the amount of dressing and seasonings. Mince or shred the cabbage into small pieces (more on that later) and transfer to a bowl large enough to accommodate a potluck-sized amount of slaw. To the same bowl, add one finely minced onion, one grated carrot, half a diced bell pepper, and a tablespoon of minced dill pickle (or relish, if you prefer). 

The ingredients for the dressing can be added directly to the bowl with the veggies, but I chose to whisk it together in a separate bowl so they could start dissolving and melding into each other before the big toss. It contains: 1 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup sweet pickle juice, 1/4 cup white vinegar, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon salt (I used Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt), and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper.

Pour the dressing over the veggies and toss well with a pair of tongs until the dressing completely coats the slaw. Cover and chill 15 minutes before serving.

My Honest Review of Dolly Parton’s Coleslaw 

I gotta hand it to Dolly, this recipe results in what I would consider the platonic ideal of a classic, mayo-based coleslaw. The dressing is expertly balanced; it’s both sweet and savory, creamy and acidic, rich and bright — quite literally the perfect adornment for shredded raw cabbage. There are hints of pickle-y flavors like celery seed that add a certain je nes sais quoi to the final dish, and the briny pops of chopped dill pickle are a welcome addition. Next time, I’d add even more of them. 

This slaw would of course be right at home on a potluck table beside pulled pork and potato salad, but it would also be the perfect topper for a fried chicken sandwich, or beside some beer-battered fish and french fries. It’s flavorful enough to hold its own, but not so overpowering that it would overshadow the dishes it accompanies.

It’s also ripe for customization: next time, I might add some caraway or celery seeds, a handful of chopped herbs, or maybe some minced jalapeño. It’s a great recipe to use as a jumping-off point. But the dressing? I wouldn’t change a thing.

3 Tips for Making Dolly Parton’s Coleslaw

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