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 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.
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.
- 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.
- Prep Dressing: Whisk the dressing ingredients in a large bowl (per the recipe below).
- Combine & Chill: Add the cabbage and carrots to the dressing and stir to combine. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
- Swap the cabbage for pre-shredded cabbage or slaw mix in the produce section of the grocery store.
- Finley 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.
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.
- 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.
- Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks and Crispy Air Fryer French Fries.
- BBQ Chicken wouldn’t be the same without coleslaw!
- We also love serving a large scoop of creamy coleslaw with pulled pork sandwiches
- Use it in place of lettuce on burgers and other favorites!
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
- Cucumber Avocado Salad – Fresh and easy
- Brussel Sprout Salad
- Cilantro Lime Coleslaw – Garden fresh!
- Old Fashioned Bean Salad – My mother-in-law’s recipe!
- Chickpea Salad Reader favorite!
- Creamy Apple Slaw Recipe
Did you make this Coleslaw recipe? Leave us a rating and a comment below!
The Best Coleslaw Recipe
- 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
- Combine all dressing ingredients in a bowl.
- Toss with cabbage & carrots. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving to allow flavors to blend.
- 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 provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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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 great
That is great, Kathleen! So happy you guys both enjoyed it.
This is the best recipe, I have made this so many times. Instead of sugar I use honey and a little lemon juice.
Great recipe. I improvised by adding a level teaspoon of dried ground mustard and a tablespoon of dry dill weed. DELISH!!!
why don’t you give the measurements for the coleslaw dressing.
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!
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!
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.
Eating this as I type.
Delicious-had it with pizza and jacket potato
It really is the best coleslaw and so easy no need to change.a thing and in no time it’s done
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!
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.
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!
This is Awesome even my fussy husband said it was a keeper
Thank you for a great recipe
You’re very welcome Lorraine!
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.