Coleslaw

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Enjoy tangy, delicious, and easy Coleslaw with the absolute best creamy (and homemade) dressing!

We enjoy Coleslaw all summer long; add it on top of a BBQ Chicken Sandwich, BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich, or as a BBQ side dish with pulled pork or beef. Switch up your typical hot dog or hamburger with a scoop of Coleslaw.

Overhead image of Coleslaw in a large serving bowl.

Coleslaw

A mix of cabbage, carrots, and tart apple with an ultra-creamy and multi-dimensional dressing. Instead of just using mayo, we also use sour cream, vinegar, and a few ingredients that add such a great flavor.

How to make coleslaw from scratch

  • Prep the veggies. I love using a combination of red and green cabbage. Not only does it make the Coleslaw prettier, it also adds more dynamic flavor. That said, if you only want to use green cabbage, that works great too! To keep things simple, I use the small side of a cheese grater to grate a carrot for Coleslaw.
  • Add an apple. An optional ingredient that I love in this Coleslaw is a Granny Smith apple. It adds a tart sweetness and nice crunch; it’s delicious!
  • Make the dressing. The dressing is as simple as whisking together a few ingredients and tossing it with the veggies. More on the dressing below.

Process shots-- images of the apples being thinly sliced; cutting the apple slices into matchsticks; the coleslaw dressing being made; mixing ingredients together.

The dressing

  • Mayo: Use a good mayonnaise for the dressing; the better the mayo, the better the dressing will taste. I love Hellman’s/Best Foods® (not sponsored) since it has a rich flavor without being overly sweet or tangy.
  • Sour cream: To balance out the mayo (and not make the dressing overpoweringly “mayo” flavored), I like to add sour cream. Use the full-fat type for the ultimate creaminess in the dressing.
  • Apple cider vinegar: The vinegar balances out the mayo and sour cream, adding a much-needed freshness to the dressing. If you don’t have apple cider, white vinegar also works.
  • Dijon mustard: This adds a nice flavor and greater dimension to the dressing.
  • Honey or sugar: I love the natural sweetness the honey adds, but white sugar can be added if desired. I recommend 2 tablespoons of sugar.
  • Celery seeds: If you aren’t familiar with celery seeds, they are a spice that can be found among other spices in the grocery store. They taste just like celery and add a nice depth of flavor.
  • Salt and pepper: These two ingredients bring all the flavors together.
Process shots-- images of the red and green cabbage being quartered; thinly slicing for the coleslaw; adding matchstick apple slices.

How to cut cabbage for Coleslaw

Below I have some photos illustrating how to cut cabbage; both green and red cabbage are cut the same way.

  • Start by removing any outer leaves that are browned or crumpled.
  • Cut the cabbage exactly in half.
  • Cut those halves in half (to get 4 quarters) and then cut out the core of each quarter.
  • Slice each cabbage quarter into very thin shreds. To make things go faster, use a mandoline slicer!
  • Transfer the sliced cabbage to a salad spinner base. Wash thoroughly and spin to dry completely. 

QUICK TIP

Wet cabbage will make a soggy Coleslaw and keep the dressing from adhering well.

Recipe shortcuts

Want to avoid slicing all that cabbage? Use pre-shredded (14 ounce) Coleslaw mix instead! While a pre-shredded mix is overall more spendy, it can be worth it if you don’t have time or want to avoid veggie slicing.

Replace the cabbage and carrot in this recipe with your favorite store-bought bag (or two, depending on the size). There are even coleslaw mixes that have other veggies (like broccoli stems) that can make for a fun change-up.

QUICK TIP

For the quickest prep time possible, get a bag of Coleslaw mix and some fresh (refrigerated) Coleslaw dressing (I like Marie’s® best; not sponsored) and toss the two together until the mix is sufficiently mixed. Doesn’t get much easier than that!

Process shots-- images of the dressing being poured over the ingredients and several views of everything being mixed together

Recipe tips

  • Make Coleslaw ahead of time: This recipe benefits from spending some time in the fridge. I recommend 2 hours at a minimum, or even up to a day in advance. Not only does everything become more flavorful, it also helps soften the cabbage.
  • Change it up: Try adding in some broccoli slaw or different veggies in the mix.
  • To add some freshness and cut through the richness of the dressing, add in some freshly squeezed lemon juice.

QUICK TIP

Did you ever wonder where the name coleslaw came from? Cole is the Latin word for cabbage, which helps it all make more sense. And sla is the Dutch word for salad, so, over time, shredded cabbage salad came to be called coleslaw! [/quicktip/

Overhead image of Coleslaw on a pulled pork sandwich.

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Coleslaw

0 from 0 votes
Enjoy tangy,  delicious, and easy coleslaw with the absolute best creamy (and homemade) dressing!
Print Recipe

Coleslaw

0 from 0 votes
Enjoy tangy,  delicious, and easy coleslaw with the absolute best creamy (and homemade) dressing!
Course Dinner, Salad, Side Dish, Vegetarian
Cuisine American, Vegetarian
Keyword coleslaw
Prep Time 25 minutes
Chilling Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 25 minutes
Servings 8 as a side dish
Calories 181kcal
Cost $5.12

Ingredients

  • 6 cups (331g) shredded green cabbage (~1/2 of 1 green cabbage)
  • 2 cups (165g) shredded red cabbage (~1/4 of 1 red cabbage)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (150g) shredded carrots (~2 large carrots)
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cut into matchsticks (optional)

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup (97g) Hellman's/Best Foods Mayo
  • 1/2 cup (106g) full-fat sour cream
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey (or 2 tablespoons white sugar)
  • 3/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon EACH: fine sea salt, black pepper
  • Optional: 1 and 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

Instructions

  • DRESSING: In a medium-sized bowl, mix together all of the dressing ingredients. Taste and adjust to personal preference. If desired, add in the lemon juice (add slowly, to personal preference). Refrigerate while preparing the cabbage.
  • CABBAGE, CARROTS, AND APPLE: Start by removing any outer leaves that are browned or crumpled. Cut the green cabbage exactly in half and then in half again (to get 4 quarters). Cut out the core of each quarter. Slice each cabbage quarter into very thin shreds. To make things faster, use a mandoline slicer here. If the shreds are long, cut in half. Transfer the sliced cabbage to a salad spinner base. Wash thoroughly and spin to dry completely. Repeat with red cabbage. Shred carrots on the small side of a cheese grater. Cut apple into thin slices. Cut the slices into matchsticks. Add the green cabbage, red cabbage, carrots, and apple to a very large bowl.
  • COMBINE: Pour the dressing over everything, and toss well to combine. It will seem dry at first, but keep mixing. Cover and refrigerate, for at least 20-30 minutes and preferably 2 hours or up to overnight.

Video

Recipe Notes

This recipe benefits from spending some time in the fridge. I recommend 2 hours at a minimum, and up to a day in advance. Not only does everything become more flavorful, it also helps soften the cabbage. Be sure to toss well again before serving.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1side dish | Calories: 181kcal | Carbohydrates: 14.8g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 13.3g | Cholesterol: 14.3mg | Sodium: 151.2mg | Fiber: 3.2g | Sugar: 10.4g

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