I Tried Dolly Parton’s New Mac & Cheese, and I’m Never Making It from Scratch Again (It Tastes Homemade!)

published May 28, 2024
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Dolly Parton Mac & Cheese
Credit: Nina Derwin

Is there anything Dolly Parton can’t do? Obviously the answer is no, but her entrepreneurial spirit never ceases to surprise us. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and country music icon not only has her own theme park, Dollywood, but in 2022 she launched a line of baking mixes in collaboration with Duncan Hines. Breakfast items were introduced shortly thereafter, and since then the collection has continued to expand. 

As I am no stranger to Dolly’s culinary confections, I was delighted when I heard she had a new item on grocery store shelves. Her latest release? A party-size tray of Homestyle Macaroni and Cheese that I simply couldn’t get my hands on fast enough.

Credit: Nina Derwin

Weighing in at nearly five pounds, the box of frozen macaroni and cheese is certainly a commitment. It is meant to serve nine people, which means that in the best-case scenario my husband and I would be eating a lot of it this weekend or, in the worst-case scenario, we would be wasting quite a bit. But my curiosity was insatiable, and it was a risk I was willing to take. So, I turned on the oven and preheated it to 400°F as per the instructions.

Though I am not sure what I expected considering the size of the tray, I was surprised that the macaroni and cheese would take 60 to 65 minutes to cook. A commitment, indeed. I placed the tray on a baking sheet and put it in the oven, cozying up on the couch to watch a true crime documentary while it baked.

An hour later the oven timer rang, and the macaroni and cheese was ready for my taste test. When I pulled it out of the oven, I immediately took notice of the crispy, browned exterior, and I crossed my fingers for a smooth and creamy interior.

Credit: Nina Derwin

I served my husband and I each a heaping scoop, sprinkled it with fresh black pepper, and dove in. The verdict? Dolly has done it again. The mac and cheese was creamy like the most comforting of comfort foods. The top layer was perfectly crunchy, and the cooking instructions were just right. Not unlike the Dolly’s Favorite Chocolate Cake I made earlier this year, it was an exercise in self-control not to eat the entire thing. 

Needless to say, Dolly’s brand new Homestyle Macaroni and Cheese will be my go-to contribution to dinner parties and barbeques all summer. Sure, I could spend hours making mac and cheese from scratch, but I’d honestly rather spend my time with family and friends instead of shredding cheddar cheese and making a roux. Thanks to our beloved Dolly Parton, we can spend a little less time in the kitchen and still enjoy the soothing taste of homemade macaroni and cheese.