I Tried Dolly Parton’s Newest Line of Duncan Hines Mixes and There Was One Clear Winner in the Lineup

published Jan 19, 2023
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Duncan Hines x Dolly Parton
Credit: Duncan Hines

Truthfully, there’s not much that anyone can tell me that would sway my opinion of Dolly Parton. She’s Southern, fun, kind, and she knows how to bake a mean cake. And if you ask me, that’s the recipe for being a pretty amazing person. Another reason I love Dolly? My grandma loves here and if she’s Granny-approved, she’s alright with me!

Around this time last year, I had the absolute pleasure of chatting with Dolly herself to hear all about her new collaboration with Duncan Hines. The line — which featured a Southern Style Coconut-flavored cake mixSouthern Style Banana Pudding-flavored cake mix, Creamy Buttercream Frosting, and Chocolate Buttercream Frosting — was a limited-time offering and at the time, thought to be a one-of-one. But of course, in true Dolly fashion, more is always better.

Already on shelves now, the new extension of the Dolly x Duncan Hines line has four new items and no, they’re not just cake mixes. For this second release, Dolly has given us two Famous Brownie Mixes in Caramel Turtle and Fabulously Fudgy varieties ($3.49 each), a Sweet Cornbread Mix ($3.29), and a Buttermilk Biscuit Mix made with real buttermilk ($3.29) — all equipped with alternate recipes on the back of the box. And since I’m always thinking about you, I decided to give three out of four of them a try to let you know if they’re worth braving the grocery store aisles to find. (After all, it is Dolly, so they’re guaranteed to sell out quick!)

Credit: Ni'Kesia Pannell

Famous Brownie Mixes

Though there are two Famous Brownie Mixes in the new lineup, I opted to only try one: Fabulously Fudgy. (Well, really, my 9-year-old niece told me she wasn’t into trying the caramel one, so I tucked it away for a special occasion for myself.) To be honest, I was a little nervous about the amount of chocolate in the brownies, but seeing how excited my niece was to make them, I took one for the team.

I let my niece take over the entire process, only stepping in when needed. Making them was super-simple and didn’t take long — even with me popping in to walk her through certain spots. What I don’t think we expected, however, was the crisp on the outside, gooey on the inside dessert that got us through the night. My fear of them being too thick and chocolatey was instantly removed as I went back to the pan more than once to sneak a piece or two of Dolly’s delicious mix.

Credit: Ni'Kesia Pannell

Buttermilk Biscuit Mix

As a born and raised Southerner, I love a good biscuit. Slap some homemade strawberry jam or some good ol’ butter on there and you’ve got yourself a very happy gal. Apparently though, Dolly loves biscuits too, which is why this mix made its way into this second line.

My niece helped out with this one too and just like the brownie mix, it was so easy to do. We did run into one problem though. Instead of coming out with 14 regular-sized biscuits like the back of the box notes, we unintentionally produced seven super-large biscuits — or cathead biscuits, as Dolly calls them — instead.

But whether our final result would have been 14, seven, or even just three, the one thing we both understood is that those biscuits were dang good. They were the perfect mixture of buttery, soft, fluffy, and good as all get out. To be honest, if I didn’t tell you they came from a box mix, you most likely wouldn’t have known! I slapped some homemade strawberry jam from one of my favorite local businesses in between my biscuit for breakfast the next morning and loved it then, too.

Credit: Ni'Kesia Pannell

Sweet Cornbread Mix

If this is the safe space I believe it to be, I am not ashamed to admit that I have a real deal obsession with cornbread. To be completely honest, I will always choose a piece of cornbread over a biscuit. And Dolly Parton’s sweet cornbread mix did me the favor of reminding why I feel that way.

I loved the fact that it was moist and buttery, but yet just enough sweet to eat as a midday treat for myself instead of regular overindulgence of Oreo cookies. When I pulled it out of the oven, it was truly one of the most beautiful versions of cornbread I’ve ever seen.

I’ve always been a Jiffy kind of girl if I’m doing a boxed cornbread mix (most of the time though, I’m usually baking from scratch), but this option that Dolly has so graciously blessed us with has given my longtime favorite a run for its money. And I’m totally OK with that.

So which one do I think gets the title of overall champ? While they are all delicious in their own right, I’d have to — without a doubt — go with the cornbread. But don’t just take my word for it — you can grab these limited-edition offerings in grocery stores now. And on February 8, you can try your hand at nabbing one of Dolly’s baking kits that includes the four mixes, a Dolly-inspired tea towel and spatula, recipe cards, and a note from the Iron Butterfly herself all for just $40 on the Duncan Hines site.