Best Coleslaw Recipe

This easy coleslaw recipe really is the best! The creamy, savory dressing and crunchy veggies make it totally irresistible.

Easy Coleslaw Recipe

This coleslaw recipe is so good, it will top your “foods I love” list. It’s crunchy, it’s savory, it’s creamy, and it’s tangy and sweet. When we first made it, I realized: I don’t just like coleslaw, I love coleslaw. This recipe is totally balanced in sweet and savory flavors, with the cool crunch of cabbage and carrot. It’s also got a healthy spin: there’s no refined sugar and less mayo than most coleslaw recipes. We found ourselves going back to the fridge for seconds and thirds. Here’s the 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

Why this one is the best coleslaw recipe

What about this easy coleslaw recipe makes it “the best”? Well, Alex and my favorite type of coleslaw is a creamy coleslaw. So we came up with this Best Coleslaw Dressing: it’s got tons of flavor and a healthy spin too. Here’s what makes it “the best”:

  • It’s got 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. 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. This one’s got just the right amount.
  • It’s got secret spices for the win: chili powder and dill! Using these two ingredients in a coleslaw recipe isn’t standard. But 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 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 great fresh, but you can also store it 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator (the cabbage will become less crunchy over time.) Here are the basic steps:

  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.

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. This trick makes this coleslaw recipe or a cabbage salad a breeze:

  1. Remove any outer layers of the cabbage that seem tough or are not fresh, and discard them. With a large chef’s knife, slice off the root of the cabbage.
  2. Cut the cabbage in half through the stem. Then cut it into quarters.
  3. Remove the root of the cabbage by cutting it out with two diagonal slices.
  4. Thinly slice the cabbage in the short direction, using a circular motion with the knife.

Coleslaw variations

Love coleslaw but want something other than the classic? Once you’ve made this coleslaw recipe, make all these tasty variations:

  • Red Cabbage Slaw This side dish has a short ingredient list and comes together in a flash.
  • Easy Vinegar Coleslaw This one’s got no mayo! This tangy vinegar dressing is a perfect pair for crunchy cabbage.
  • Mexican Coleslaw Go Mexican-style with this slaw that features lime, cilantro and cumin. (It’s perfect in tacos!)
  • Easy Cabbage Salad All you need is 6 ingredients, and the tangy flavor makes it a total crowd pleaser.
  • Broccoli Slaw Why not make coleslaw…with broccoli stems? This variation is irresistibly fresh and crunchy.

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.

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Easy Coleslaw Recipe | what is coleslaw

*Best* Coleslaw Recipe


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (43 votes, average: 4.28 out of 5)

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

Description

This easy coleslaw recipe really is the best! The creamy, savory dressing and crunchy veggies make it totally irresistible.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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.)

Notes

*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: June 2020

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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.

3 Comments

  • Reply
    Christie
    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 :)

  • Reply
    Caroline
    July 25, 2020 at 4:09 am

    I love this recipe and have made it multiple times! The seasonings are unique and they work really well.

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