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Classic Coleslaw Recipe

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When you have the best coleslaw recipe as your side dish, everything just tastes better

What’s a staple at BBQs, potlucks, birthday parties, and all sorts of celebrations? A creamy classic coleslaw recipe with mayo and vinegar dressing is one of the foods that often gets invited out.

But don’t reserve coleslaw just for entertaining. Family dinners—especially those featuring specialties like southern fried chicken—are enhanced with a simple homemade coleslaw recipe.

Today I’m sharing one of my favorite slaw recipes. I love the tang of a good coleslaw and this is one of the best mixed salads I’ve tasted!

You’ll often find signature coleslaw recipes at places like Chick-fil-a, KFC, and Jamie Oliver. For good reason: all generations enjoy the sweet-sour taste and it pairs well with anything you serve it with.

Classic Coleslaw

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Grilled and smoked meats like burgers and dogs and fish and chips wouldn’t be the same without a great coleslaw side.

It’s also one of those recipes that keeps well in the fridge for a couple days if you store the cabbage and carrots undressed. Pour dressing over the slaw about an hour before you want to serve it to retain that fresh, crunchy taste.

Although coleslaw offers a nuanced flavor, there’s nothing exotic about it. Salad ingredients like cabbage, carrots, and green onions are easy to grow in your own garden but they’re even easier to find at your local grocery store.

Classic Coleslaw Recipe

Wherever you get your ingredients, don’t pass up the opportunity of a bowl full of good taste and great benefits.

If the cool creaminess, crunchy texture, and tangy flavor of slaw doesn’t entice you to add it to your recipe repertoire, the beneficial perks of cabbage will certainly grab your attention.

You might call this “Ode to a Cabbage”. The humble cabbage is a treasure trove of good-for-you nutrition. It’s rich in several phytonutrients and vitamins like A, C, and K (it’s actually richer in Vitamin C than oranges). And cabbage is high in fiber but low in calories.

So move over Peter Rabbit—that cabbage is mine!

Classic Coleslaw Recipe


The very easiest way to make coleslaw is to use bags of already shredded cabbage, carrots, or coleslaw mix.

Typically, you’ll find a bit of purple cabbage mixed in with the green cabbage and a few shredded carrots in coleslaw mix so it’s already exhibiting a bit of colorful personality.

You can also shred your own cabbage and carrots. Use a mandoline, or a food processor’s grating attachment makes quick work of the job, but a sharp knife and a few moments will also yield fresh ingredients. FYI, one small head of cabbage yields about two cups of slaw.


My favorite coleslaw dressing is simple—which might be why it’s my favorite! Simply whisk mayonnaise, milk, vinegar, and sugar together. I also like to add chopped parsley and onions for an extra flavor kick.

Want to go beyond the classic? Substitute buttermilk or sour cream for about half the amount of mayo in my recipe. Lemon juice can be used instead of vinegar, and it dials down the tang a little.

Swap out sugar and use honey and a little ginger. Spice it up with a teaspoon of mustard or horseradish cream. Toss in a sprinkle of celery seed or sunflower seed. Finely chopped celery and bell peppers add interesting diversions, too.


Pour the dressing over the cabbage and carrot mix. Pop it into the fridge to chill for a bit (about an hour) because slaw tastes much better when the cabbage has time to marinate in the dressing. Just don’t leave it in there too long if you want to retain the fresh crunch.

However, if you want to make coleslaw ahead of time, you can make a freezer version that keeps for months. You trade the creaminess for that convenience but it is also delicious. And leftovers—if you have any—can be refrozen without losing quality.

  • FREEZER COLESLAW :: Grate one medium head of cabbage. Add one teaspoon of salt and
    let it stand an hour. Squeeze out the juice. Add one grated carrot and one finely diced green pepper to the cabbage.
  • Make a simple syrup of one cup of vinegar, one-fourth cup of water, and two cups of sugar. Tie one teaspoon of celery seed and one teaspoon of mustard seed into a small cloth bag and drop it into the syrup mixture.
  • Bring it to a boil and boil for one minute. Let it stand until it becomes lukewarm. Remove the cloth bag and pour the syrup over the cabbage mixture. Spoon into freezer containers and freeze.

Whatever recipe additions you choose, coleslaw makes everything taste better!


Classic Coleslaw Recipe

Classic Coleslaw Recipe

When you have the best coleslaw recipe as your side dish, everything just tastes better! What’s a staple at BBQs, potlucks, birthday parties, and all sorts of celebrations? A creamy classic coleslaw recipe with mayo and vinegar dressing is one of the foods that often gets invited out!
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: coleslaw
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 127kcal


  • 1 bag coleslaw mix
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 2 chopped green onions


  • In a large bowl, toss the coleslaw mix with shredded carrots.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, milk, vinegar, sugar, parsley and green onions.
  • Toss dressing with mix and refrigerate until serving.



Calories: 127kcal
Tried this recipe?Follow me on Pinterest @spaceshipslb

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Melodee Fiske

Melodee is a mom of two energetic and independent boys who fuel her need for coffee. She is a foodie who loves creating and photography so has combined her passions to share with the world. When she’s not behind the camera, she’s giving piggy back rides, building car tracks or running to Target…again.


    1. Avatar

      Hannah Griffin

      May 15, 2018 at 12:20 pm

      We made this on Sunday night and it was the perfect compliment to our meal!

    2. Avatar


      May 17, 2018 at 11:23 am

      Thanks for the recipe, perfect! – I will definitely make my own coleslaw salad!

    3. Avatar

      Tin Lopez

      May 21, 2018 at 1:59 am

      This is one of the best mixed salads my family tasted!

    4. Avatar

      Geri Sonnenberg

      May 30, 2018 at 2:39 pm

      looks awesome! how big is the package of coleslaw used in this recipe?

    5. Avatar


      June 12, 2018 at 3:10 pm

      Looks great! Thanks for the recipe! Pinned! Thank you for sharing on Merry Monday! Hope to see ya next week!

    6. Avatar


      February 8, 2019 at 9:46 am

      By far best coleslaw recipe EVER. I usually just buy the bottled dressing but never again!

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