Dolly Parton’s Five Layer Dinner Recipe

Dive into Southern Comfort: Dolly Parton’s Five Layer Dinner Recipe

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Prepare to experience a taste of Southern charm with Dolly Parton’s Five Layer Dinner recipe. This beloved dish, made famous by the iconic country music legend herself, is a hearty and comforting meal that brings together layers of wholesome ingredients in a single pan. With thinly sliced potatoes, flavorful ground beef, sweet onions, juicy tomatoes, and vibrant bell peppers, this dish is a celebration of simple yet delicious flavors. Join us as we unravel the secrets behind this classic Southern favorite and bring a touch of Dolly’s magic into your kitchen.


  • 3 large russet potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb lean ground beef, browned and crumbled
  • 2 large onions, sliced and rings separated
  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced OR 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 green bell peppers, chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil, as needed


  1. Preheat and Prepare:
    • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with olive oil or cooking spray.
  2. Layer the Potatoes:
    • Arrange a layer of thinly sliced potatoes on the bottom of the prepared baking dish, overlapping slightly to cover the entire surface.
  3. Add the Ground Beef:
    • Spread the browned and crumbled ground beef evenly over the layer of potatoes.
  4. Layer the Onions:
    • Arrange the sliced onions and separated rings over the ground beef layer.
  5. Add the Tomatoes:
    • If using fresh tomatoes, layer the sliced tomatoes over the onions. If using canned diced tomatoes, spread them evenly over the onions.
  6. Top with Bell Peppers:
    • Sprinkle the chopped green bell peppers over the tomatoes, ensuring even distribution.
  7. Season and Drizzle with Olive Oil:
    • Season the entire dish with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Drizzle with olive oil to help prevent sticking and enhance flavor.
  8. Cover and Bake:
    • Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and cooked through.
  9. Serve and Enjoy:
    • Once cooked, remove the foil and serve the Five Layer Dinner hot, straight from the oven. Garnish with fresh herbs such as parsley or chives, if desired.

Cook Notes and Variations:

  • Cheesy Twist: Sprinkle shredded cheese, such as cheddar or mozzarella, over each layer for added richness and flavor.
  • Tex-Mex Flair: Add a layer of canned black beans or corn kernels between the ground beef and onions for a Tex-Mex-inspired variation.
  • Vegetarian Option: Substitute the ground beef with cooked lentils or crumbled tofu for a vegetarian-friendly version of this dish.

Keto and Low Carb Versions:

  • Keto Version: Omit the potatoes and substitute with low-carb alternatives such as cauliflower florets or turnip slices. Ensure all other ingredients are keto-friendly and adjust seasonings as needed.
  • Low Carb Version: Follow the keto substitutions mentioned above and use lean ground turkey or chicken in place of ground beef to reduce the fat content.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

  1. Can I Prepare This Dish Ahead of Time? Yes, you can assemble the Five Layer Dinner ahead of time and refrigerate it, covered, for up to 24 hours before baking. Simply bake as directed when ready to serve.
  2. What Side Dishes Pair Well with This Meal? This hearty dish pairs well with a simple green salad, crusty bread, or steamed vegetables for a complete meal.
  3. Can I Freeze Leftovers? While you can freeze leftovers, the texture of the potatoes may change slightly upon thawing. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 month and reheat in the oven or microwave before serving.
  4. How Can I Adjust the Seasonings to Suit My Taste? Feel free to customize the seasonings by adding herbs such as thyme, rosemary, or paprika for extra flavor.
  5. Can I Use Different Types of Bell Peppers? Absolutely! Experiment with different varieties of bell peppers, such as red or yellow, to add color and sweetness to the dish.

In conclusion, Dolly Parton’s Five Layer Dinner is a timeless Southern classic that embodies comfort and flavor in every bite. With its layers of potatoes, ground beef, onions, tomatoes, and bell peppers, this dish is a testament to the simple joys of home-cooked meals. Whether you’re a fan of Dolly Parton or simply looking for a delicious and satisfying dinner option, this recipe is sure to hit the spot. Explore the suggested variations or add your own creative twist to make it your own. So gather your ingredients, preheat your oven, and get ready to savor the warmth and goodness of Dolly Parton’s Five Layer Dinner.

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