Best Creamy Coleslaw

This easy coleslaw recipe really is the best! It’s a healthy spin with no refined sugar and less mayo than most recipes⁠—and it’s totally irresistible.

Easy Coleslaw Recipe

Can we geek out about coleslaw for a minute? First of all, I haven’t met a lot of people who love coleslaw. (Perhaps you are one?) Coleslaw is delicious and all, but it’s usually not the top on someone’s “foods I love” list. This coleslaw recipe, though. When we first made it, I realized, I think I love this coleslaw! This recipe is totally balanced in sweet and savory flavors, and it has a healthy spin. There’s no refined sugar and less mayo than most coleslaw recipes. I found myself going back to the fridge for seconds and thirds. Keep reading for our easy coleslaw recipe! And bonus, we’ve got a video showing you how to shred cabbage: the right way.

Related: 15 Summer Side Dishes You Need

Easy coleslaw dressing

What’s the definition of coleslaw?

Coleslaw is simply a salad of shredded cabbage tossed with a dressing. It can be either a vinaigrette (like in our Vinegar Coleslaw) or mayonnaise-based dressing. Here in the Midwestern US, it seems like every family has their own coleslaw recipe! So making the “best” or “correct” coleslaw is pretty subjective.

Funny enough, my family didn’t make a ton of coleslaw when I was growing up. But it was always present at picnics and potlucks throughout my childhood. There are lots of takes on a coleslaw recipe: from the vinaigrette version to the super sweet kind that’s so creamy it’s hard to even eat a few bites.

Best coleslaw recipe

Ingredients in the best coleslaw recipe?

So what about this easy coleslaw recipe makes it “the best”? Well, Alex and my favorite type of coleslaw is a creamy coleslaw recipe: so that’s what we’ve made here! We tinkered with lots of different methods, but we found that (no surprise here!) mayonnaise is the trick to getting that traditional coleslaw flavor. But we gave it a bit of a healthy spin, resulting in our Best Coleslaw Dressing. Here’s what makes it “the best”:

  • It’s creamy using less mayo than the standard coleslaw. We love the nostalgia of creamy coleslaw so we’ve used mayo here. But it’s less mayo than the standard recipe! It’s just enough to get that savory salty flavor.
  • The sweetness is balanced with no refined sugar. A good coleslaw recipe has a balance of savory and sweet–but it can’t be too sweet! Some coleslaw recipes are loaded with sugar. Here we’ve used just a touch of maple syrup to keep it balanced, but not sugary.
  • It’s got secret spices for the win. Our coleslaw recipe has 2 secret spices: chili powder and dill! While they’re not part of the typical coleslaw, using them here adds a unique savory undertone that really makes it the best ever.

What else to do with cabbage? Go to our 12 Top Cabbage Recipes.

Simple coleslaw recipe

How to make coleslaw

This homemade coleslaw recipe has just a few simple steps to make it! This coleslaw is best enjoyed fresh, but it can be stored in the fridge for up to a day, noting that it will become slightly soggy over time.

  1. Step 1: You’ll first need to shred the cabbage and carrots (you can purchase a pre-shredded coleslaw mix, if desired).
  2. Step 2: Whisk together the creamy coleslaw dressing, made with mayo, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, chili powder, and dill.
  3. Step 3: Toss everything together in a large bowl.

Variation: Try our Red Red Cabbage Slaw or Easy Vinegar Coleslaw instead! Even better, mix it up with Broccoli Slaw.

Video: How to cut cabbage

The only challenging part about making a coleslaw recipe is how to cut the cabbage! Alex and I have recently learned a trick to cutting cabbage that makes it much easier to cut. Before I knew this trick, I would hack at a cabbage until I got some “shreds.” Sometimes my knife would slip and they’d be super uneven. After we learned this little trick to how to cut cabbage, making this coleslaw recipe or a cabbage salad a breeze!

Are you convinced to try our easy coleslaw recipe? Want to try your hand at our method for how to cut cabbage? Let us know if you try it, and what you think in the comments below!

This coleslaw recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten-free, and dairy-free. For vegan and plant-based, use vegan mayo.

Easy Coleslaw Recipe | what is coleslaw

*Best* Creamy Coleslaw

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (35 votes, average: 4.34 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x


This easy coleslaw recipe really is the best! It’s a healthy spin with no refined sugar and less mayo than most recipes⁠—and it’s totally irresistible.



  • 1/2 head green cabbage, enough for 4 cups shredded*
  • 1/2 head red cabbage, enough for 4 cups shredded
  • 1 carrot, enough for 1 cup shredded
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (or vegan mayo)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper


  1. Shred the cabbage.
  2. Shred the carrot, using a grater or a handheld julienne shredder.
  3. Make the coleslaw dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, dill, chili powder, and salt. Keep whisking after the mayo gets lumpy, until the mixture comes to a creamy consistency.
  4. Mix the cabbage, carrots and coleslaw dressing together and serve immediately, or refrigerate until serving. (The coleslaw is best fresh, but can be stored refrigerated for up to 1 day.)


*Note: this equates to about 20 ounces of vegetables or about 1.5 pounds of bagged coleslaw mix

  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Raw
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Coleslaw recipe, Easy coleslaw recipe, Simple coleslaw recipe, What is coleslaw, Side Dish Recipes, Gluten-Free Side Dish Recipes, Dairy-Free Side Dish Recipes

Looking for side dish recipes?

Outside of this coleslaw recipe, here are a few more side dish recipes we love:

Last updated: December 2019

Subscribe for free weekly recipes & more!

About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.


  • Reply
    March 29, 2020 at 1:49 pm

    I am so happy to find your website! As I looked up healthy menu plans for I week, I came across your posts for so many delicious looking recipes. I am printing recipes, ordering groceries for pick up, and then looking forward to cooking. Thank you for offering SO much for a very busy wife & mother of 10 ( 6 still living at home & eating everyday:) I was wondering if you could print the recipes without the large section of black . We are definitely trying to cut back on our ink during this time.

    • Reply
      Alex Overhiser
      March 29, 2020 at 7:56 pm

      I’m so glad you’re enjoying the recipes! Unfortunately, our recipe card software doesn’t allow different printing options. It should be pretty easy to copy and paste the recipe to a Word document and print that way if you prefer.

      Please report back on which recipes you enjoy :)

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.