Best Creamy Coleslaw Recipe

This easy coleslaw recipe is the best: it’s got a healthy spin with no refined sugar and less mayo than most coleslaws. And, it’s over the top delicious!

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.

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Easy coleslaw dressing

What is coleslaw?

So first of all: what is coleslaw? Coleslaw is simply a salad of shredded cabbage tossed with a dressing: either a vinaigrette or mayonnaise-based dressing. It’s quite common in the US, so if you live here you know that every family has their own coleslaw recipe! So making the “best” or “correct” coleslaw definitely depends on your opinion of what the best coleslaw entails.

Funny enough, growing up my family didn’t eat a ton of coleslaw. 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, which is not creamy at all, to the super sweet kind that’s so creamy it’s hard to even eat a few bites.

Best coleslaw recipe

Creamy coleslaw ingredients

So what about our easy coleslaw recipe do we think makes it “the best”? For Alex and I, while we enjoy the vinaigrette style coleslaws, our favorite are the creamy coleslaw recipes we remember growing up. In creating this recipe, Alex and I tinkered with lots of different methods, but we found that mayonnaise is the trick to getting that traditional coleslaw flavor. This resulted in our Best Coleslaw Dressing (which you can use as a salad dressing as well). We use this dressing in the coleslaw recipe below.

Since we love giving recipes a healthy spin, here’s how we’ve created this coleslaw to be our favorite coleslaw recipe to date:

  • Creamy using less mayo than the standard coleslaw. Because we love the nostalgia of creamy coleslaw, we’ve used mayo here, but less mayo than the standard recipe. It’s just enough to get that savory salty flavor.
  • Balanced sweetness with no refined sugar. The other thing we look for in a good coleslaw recipe is a balance of savory and sweet–but it can’t be too sweet! Some coleslaw recipes are full of sugar. For our “best” version, we’ve used just a touch of maple syrup to keep it balanced but not sugary.
  • Secret spices for the win. In our coleslaw recipe, we have two secret spices: chili powder and dill! These are not part of the typical coleslaw, but using them here adds a unique savory undertone that really makes it the best ever.

Related: Dairy-Free Recipes | Jackfruit BBQ Sandwich with Coleslaw

Simple coleslaw recipe

How to make coleslaw

This homemade coleslaw recipe has just four simple steps. You’ll first need to shred the cabbage and carrots (you can purchase a pre-shredded coleslaw mix, if desired). Then whisk together the creamy coleslaw dressing before tossing everything together in a large bowl.

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.

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. I used to just cut it in half and then hack at it 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 a coleslaw recipe has been a breeze! See the video below of me showing how to cut cabbage in our home kitchen.

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And that’s it!

Ok, 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 recipe is…

This easy coleslaw recipe is vegetarian, gluten-free, and dairy-free. For vegan and plant-based, use vegan mayo.

Easy Coleslaw Recipe | what is coleslaw

Best Coleslaw Recipe

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (14 votes, average: 4.57 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x


This easy coleslaw recipe is the best: it’s got a healthy spin with no refined sugar and less mayo than most coleslaws. And, it’s over the top delicious! 



  • 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 (vegan mayo as needed)
  • 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 our simple coleslaw recipe, here are a few more side dish recipes we love:

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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.

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