Dolly Parton's Old-Fashioned Soup Recipe Has A Secret Ingredient You'll Never Guess

You’ve got to hear the heartwarming story behind it.

Dolly Parton isn't just a superstar in the entertainment world, she's also a force in the kitchen. Dolly learned how to cook by watching her mother, who utilized low-cost and often home-grown ingredients to get dinner on the table each night. With 12 kids' mouths to feed, that job kept Dolly's mother very busy, but she often came up with creative ways to make meager meals feel special.

You may have heard the legend of stone soup before, but Dolly's story is a little bit different. According to the story she shared with Hallmark, her mother would send all 12 children out to search for stones in the woods whenever she was making the soup. Once the children returned, they'd scrub their rocks until squeaky clean, then pile them up for their mother to assess. Dolly's mom, careful to balance her time between her 12 growing children, would determine which of the kids looked like they needed a little extra love or attention that given day, then she'd choose their stone. That stone would go right in the soup.

Even though the dish was inexpensive and humble, the stone made it feel like it had a bit more substance and depth. Plus it's loaded with filling vegetables and a comforting broth, making it a great sharable dish for the chilly winter months in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. You can find the full recipe below. Now, on to dessert! In her cookbook, Dolly's Dixie Fixin's, the country music legend shared one of her favorite recipes for walnut pie that's very similar to a classic southern pecan pie. It couldn't be any easier to make, and her holiday table is rarely complete without it. Find the recipe for her delicious walnut-studded pie below.

Dolly Parton's Stone Soup

(Thanks to

  • 2 quarts chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
  • 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 (14 ½ ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 small head cabbage, coarsely chopped
  • 1 pound turnips, peeled and diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 smoked ham hock
  • 1 stone, thoroughly cleaned (optional)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  1. In a large pot, combine stock, potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, turnips, carrots, onion, garlic, and the ham hock. Finally, add the stone. Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce heat to low to simmer until vegetables are tender, about 2 hours.
  2. Remove the ham hock and pull the meat off the bone. Chop into ½ inch pieces, then return to the pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then serve immediately. Don't eat the stone!

Dolly Parton's Walnut Pie

(from Dolly's Dixie Fixin's)

  • 1 fold-out pie crust
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup light corn syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 ½ cups finely chopped walnuts
  • Whipped cream to garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a 9-inch pie plate with the thawed crust.
  2. Using a mixer, beat the eggs in a large bowl. Gradually add in the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and vanilla, mixing until combined. Add in the melted butter and beat until fully incorporated.
  3. Pour the mixture into the pie shell, then evenly sprinkle the walnuts on top. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 300 degrees to bake the pie for an additional 45 minutes. Place an aluminum foil collar around the edge of the crust after 30 minutes. After completely cooled, serve with a dollop of whipped cream.
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