The Best Coleslaw Recipe

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Crisp and colorful Coleslaw is a welcome and popular dish for picnics or BBQs. Creamy and zesty, with a hint of sweetness it is the best fall and summer salad.

This homemade coleslaw recipe uses simple and basic ingredients of coleslaw with great flavor that makes it such a popular recipe. Fall in love with coleslaw, and add this salad to almost any meal.

Bowl of Coleslaw in a bowl with two wooden serving spoons

Coleslaw is a Classic Side

This is the best coleslaw recipe, perfect for parties and summer potlucks because it is so simple to make.

  • You need just a few ingredients! Use green and red cabbage with shredded carrots for the base (or coleslaw mix to make it even easier).
  • This simple coleslaw dressing needs just mayonnaise, vinegar, seasoning, and a little sugar.
  • No need to cook the cabbage, just toss the cabbage mixture with the dressing and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
  • This is great for a gathering as it is best made ahead of time.

How to Make Coleslaw

Colorful coleslaw can be made so quickly! Just 3 simple steps to the perfect creamy side dish.

  1. Finely shred cabbage and carrots.
  2. Whisk the dressing ingredients in a large bowl (per the recipe below).
  3. Add the cabbage and carrots and stir to combine. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

Below are our favorite tips, notes, and variations.

ingredients in bowls to make The Best Coleslaw Recipe

Coleslaw Mix

Red & green cabbage and carrots are shredded to create the base of this recipe. You can use a mandolin or a food processor to just cut the cabbage very thinly with a knife.

Another option (and time saver) is to purchase pre-shredded cabbage or coleslaw mix in the produce section of the grocery store.

Toss in an apple to make it into a Creamy Apple Slaw Recipe.

What’s in Coleslaw Dressing?

There are two types of dressing, this coleslaw recipe uses mayonnaise as a base for a creamy slaw (my favorite kind). You can also use the vinaigrette based dressing below.

The mayonnaise gives this dressing its smooth texture, while the vinegar adds a slight tang. The small amount of sugar balances the dressing.

To make this recipe lighter, use yogurt in place of some or all of the mayonnaise or try your favorite healthy dressing.

The Best Coleslaw Dressing Ingredients

How to Make Coleslaw Dressing

In addition to the creamy dressing is in the recipe below, you can use a vinaigrette dressing. Either one is delicious and you’ll want to make sure you don’t skip the celery seed, it really adds a lot of flavor to this dish.

Option 2: Vinaigrette Coleslaw Dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon celery seeds
  • salt & pepper to taste

Overhead shot of Coleslaw with sauce on top, before mixing together

What Goes With Coleslaw?

We know that KFC coleslaw is great with chicken but we love this fresh crisp version even more. Try it with Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks, and Crispy Air Fryer French Fries.

We also love serving a large scoop of creamy coleslaw with pulled pork sandwiches, or as a side dish for barbecue days full of burgerspork chops, and other favorites!

Closeup of coleslaw in a white bowl

How to Store

Store this coleslaw in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. Coleslaw made with a vinaigrette will keep for 2 weeks. Unfortunately, coleslaw made with a mayonnaise base will not freeze well.

More Easy Sides You’ll Love

Did you make this Coleslaw recipe? Leave us a rating and a comment below!

Bowl of Coleslaw in a bowl with two wooden serving spoons
4.99 from 208 votes
Review Recipe

The Best Coleslaw Recipe

Prep Time 15 minutes
Chilling Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Holly Nilsson
This creamy coleslaw is the best easy salad or sandwich topper.  It's the perfect make ahead, ideal for a BBQ or potluck!


  • 3 cups green cabbage finely shredded
  • 2 cups purple cabbage finely shredded
  • 1 cup carrot finely shredded


  • ½ cup mayonnaise/dressing
  • 1 Tablespoon white vinegar
  • ½ Tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon celery seeds
  • salt & pepper to taste

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  • Combine all dressing ingredients in a bowl.
  • Toss with cabbage & carrots. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving to allow flavors to blend.

Recipe Notes

Cabbage and carrots above can be replaced with coleslaw mix.
 Don’t skip the celery seed, it really adds a lot of flavor to this dish.
This dish is best after the flavors have had a chance to blend. Resting in the fridge also helps to soften the slaw.
Option 2: Vinaigrette Coleslaw Dressing:
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon celery seeds
  • salt & pepper to taste

Nutrition Information

Calories: 160, Carbohydrates: 8g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 8mg, Sodium: 148mg, Potassium: 207mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 3942IU, Vitamin C: 31mg, Calcium: 39mg, Iron: 1mg

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Keyword best coleslaw dressing, best coleslaw recipe, cole slaw, coleslaw, creamy coleslaw
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
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Coleslaw with a title
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About the author


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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

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Recipe Rating


  1. Great recipe! We are on vacation and have limited supply of ingredients. This recipe is simple and delicious.5 stars

  2. Thank you for this very tasty recipe! Would it also be good with a touch of ketchup? I never thought of homemade coleslaw but I am in now! Thanks again5 stars

    1. We have not tried adding a touch of ketchup but I would love to hear how it turns out for you if you try it!

  3. Just made this for the second time. It is delicious! Can’t wait for dinner tonight. This amazing coleslaw and some pulled chicken sandwiches. Mmmm. Thanks for a great recipe!5 stars

  4. We were on vacation and needed an easy recipe for coleslaw and this recipe fit the bill. I loved that it didn’t have too much mayonnaise. It tasted fresh and delicious. My 1 year old granddaughter couldn’t stop eating it!5 stars

  5. Fresh ingredients are best! Make it yourself! This recipe is fantastic!
    Nothing pre-packaged or off the shelf.5 stars

  6. Perfect proportions veggies yo dressing. I didn’t add any salt or pepper. It seemed perfect without any. So pleased with the creamy version, I’ll be trying the vinegar style soon. Better than any slaw I’ve found in a deli.5 stars

  7. I’ve made this several times. I love this recipe because it is quick and easy to make. It is a great side and goes well with so many dishes.5 stars

  8. This is a delicious side dish for ham dinner too. I used bagged slaw for easy prep, but it was a bit coarse for my liking, so I used kitchen scissors to refine it a bit. Everyone enjoyed it, even the picky eaters. Had a nice crunch and sweet/sour balance and added great color to the meal.5 stars

  9. I have failed repeatedly to make satisfactory coleslaw. You’d think it would be the easiest dish on the planet. Not.
    I used these instructions to slice the cabbage:
    I wilted the cabbage and carrots according to the instructions:
    The wilting has a substantial impact on texture, which I like. YMMV.
    After that I added the dressing made exactly as described here. Easily the best coleslaw I’ve ever had. The only reason to not put it in a pulled pork sandwich is that you don’t eat pork.

    1. Hi Alicia, you could swap the mayonnaise for plain greek yogurt. If doing so, I would swap it 1:1 :)

    2. Hi,
      To make slaw vegan I’ve used tahini (1/4 cup) and honey instead of sugar and caraway seeds instead of celery seed… and it is soooo yummy!!! Or if you want something more traditional you can use veganaise (1/2 cup). Follow Your Heart is the best brand for veganaise FYI! I’ve been loving it for 20 years and nothing else compares (I’m not vegan anymore but I still use it on my sandwiches).

  10. Delicious! Even my coleslaw biased partner enjoyed. We ate this atop the slow cooker pulled pork. Marvelous together! Thank you.5 stars

    1. The nutrition information is listed under each recipe on the recipe card. The coleslaw is 160 calories per serving. Enjoy Shelly!