Coleslaw is a favorite side for picnics or BBQs and it’s easy to make ahead of time!

In this coleslaw recipe, crisp and colorful shredded cabbage is tossed in a very simple creamy dressing with a hint of sweetness.

With some cabbage (or coleslaw mix) and a few basic ingredients, this will be a go-to side dish for almost any occasion.

a prepared coleslaw recipe in a bowl

A Classic Coleslaw Recipe

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

  • You need just a few ingredients, most of which you likely have on hand.
  • Use green and red cabbage or coleslaw mix to make it even easier.
  • The creamy coleslaw dressing takes just 2 minutes to make.
  • This is great for gatherings since it is best made ahead of time.

Ingredients

BASE: We use a mixture of regular green cabbage, a bit of red (or purple) cabbage, and shredded carrots. You can swap this out for a bag of coleslaw mix but don’t limit it to cabbage try any “slaw” that your store carries.

DRESSING:  Homemade coleslaw is so good because of the zesty creamy dressing. If you’re short on time (or ingredients) store-bought dressing can be used, you’ll want something tangy and sweet.

How to Make Coleslaw

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

  1. Shred Cabbage: Finely shred cabbage using a mandoline, a food processor, or make thin slices with a knife. For the carrots, I grate them on the larger side of a box grater.
  2. Prep Dressing: Whisk the dressing ingredients in a large bowl (per the recipe below).
  3. Combine & Chill: Add the cabbage and carrots to the dressing and stir to combine. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

ingredients in bowls to make The Best Coleslaw Recipe

Variations

  • Swap the cabbage for pre-shredded cabbage or slaw mix in the produce section of the grocery store.
  • Finely cut an apple (toss it in a bit of lemon juice) to make it into a Creamy Apple Slaw Recipe.
  • Use the creamy dressing in the recipe below or the vinaigrette dressing in the notes.
  • To make this recipe lighter, use yogurt in place of some or all of the mayonnaise.

The Best Coleslaw Dressing Ingredients

How to Make Coleslaw Dressing

The creamy dressing for this easy coleslaw recipe is homemade but ready in about 2 minutes. It’s so good!

What’s in Coleslaw Dressing? This coleslaw recipe uses mayonnaise as a base for a creamy slaw (my favorite kind) but I’ve included a vinaigrette-based dressing in the notes too.

Mayonnaise adds a creamy texture while the vinegar adds a slight tang. The small amount of sugar balances the dressing. Make sure you don’t skip the celery seed, it really adds a lot of flavor to this dish. This dressing is great on coleslaw but it’s also perfect on broccoli salad. Mix the dressing well before adding to the cabbage mixture. Taste and season with salt and black pepper.

Overhead shot of Coleslaw with coleslaw dressing on top ready to mix

Holly’s Tips

  • Don’t skip the celery seed, it adds flavor to this classic coleslaw recipe.
  • Whisk the dressing in a large bowl (instead of a small bowl) and add the cabbage to toss it all together, one less dish to wash!
  • Coleslaw is best once it’s chilled for at least a couple of hours.
  • If serving at a potluck or summer event, ensure the slaw isn’t left out in the sun. Place the bowl of slaw in a larger bowl filled with ice to keep it chilled.

What to Serve with Coleslaw

We know that KFC coleslaw is great with chicken but we love this fresh crisp version even more. We love it with any kind of bbq dish.

serving a coleslaw recipe with wooden spoons

How to Store

Store this coleslaw in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. After a couple of days, it may release a bit of water, drain it away (and add a tiny bit of mayonnaise if needed).

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!

a prepared coleslaw recipe in a bowl
4.99 from 1525 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

The Best Coleslaw Recipe

This creamy coleslaw is the best salad or sandwich topper. It's the perfect make-ahead dish, ideal for a BBQ or potluck!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Chill Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 6 servings
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Ingredients  

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

Dressing

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

Instructions 

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

Video

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
4.99 from 1525 votes

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.

Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Coleslaw in a white bowl with spoons and writing
coleslaw in a bowl with spoons and text
homemade coleslaw in a white serving bow with a title
coleslaw in a white bowl with wooden spoons and writing

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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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Comments

  1. Can I use apple cider vinegar in this since I don’t have cider vinegar? I’m going to make this for dinner this evening and don’t want to go to the store.

  2. Excellent salad that is easily scaleable. I made it for 20 people and added 1 cup of dried cranberries for taste and texture. Great taste!5 stars

    1. You can make it a day ahead, the slaw may release a little bit of liquid. You could also mix the dressing the day ahead and toss it together a few hours before serving.

  3. This is a great salad, and to make it even healthier, don’t add sugar, but add 1/2 cup fresh chopped pineapple and a half cup of walnuts.5 stars

  4. This is a great salad, and to make it even healthier, don’t add sugar, but add 1/2 cup fresh chopped pineapple and a half cup of walnuts.5 stars

  5. Best coleslaw. My husband liked it and doesn’t usually like coleslaw. I had to substitute finely grated celery in the dressing for celery seed but the dressing was great5 stars

  6. This is the best recipe, I have made this so many times. Instead of sugar I use honey and a little lemon juice.5 stars

  7. Great recipe. I improvised by adding a level teaspoon of dried ground mustard and a tablespoon of dry dill weed. DELISH!!!5 stars

    1. To find the full list of ingredients and amounts you can find them by scrolling to the bottom to the recipe or hit the “jump to recipe” button in the top header. I hope this helps Elaine!

  8. This is the most delicious coleslaw I ever had. My husband normally likes potato salad but since I made this for him he actually prefers this. It’s such a great side dish or sandwich topper. Thanks for sharing!5 stars

  9. I love this recipe. The perfect coleslaw and I made it. If it looks like you need more just make another batch of dressing. It’s so easy. Thank you soo much for this.

  10. I had lost my mother’s coleslaw recipe, and was looking for something just like this! The celery seed is a new twist, but it adds a wonderful dimension. Thanks so much-delicious!5 stars

  11. Just yummy! Used a prepackaged bag of coleslaw. Dressing was easy-peasy. Used plant-based mayo to make it vegan friendly. Will try the vinaigrette recipe next time.Thank you for sharing this recipe.5 stars

  12. Just made this to go with a bbq brisket. I used a 16oz bag of coleslaw mix which came out to 6 cups. The flavor is amazing! Just the right amount of sweet and tart, and it wasn’t drowning in sauce. Just the way I like it!5 stars

      1. My family LOVES this cole slaw! I make it weekly. The only change I make is to add 1 tablespoon of sugar vs 2 tsp. We like it a little sweeter.5 stars

  13. Super easy. Super quick. The hardest part was grating the carrot because I didn’t want to dig out my food processor. Lol. Good for the arms anyway. Oh my gosh this was so tasty! I just used regular cabbage and carrot, as that’s what I had in the fridge. Next time, I might try reversing the measurements of cider vinegar and white – or maybe try a touch of balsamic? Thank you for the quick and easy recipe.5 stars