This simple Copycat KFC Coleslaw Recipe is made with crisp cabbage and carrots in a creamy, sweet and tangy buttermilk dressing! Perfect to make ahead, bring to a cookout as a side dish, or on top of a bbq sandwich!
This is one of my Copycat recipes I know you’ll want to keep on hand!
When it comes to KFC’s side dishes, everyone knows how delicious their mashed potatoes and gravy and biscuits are.
But my favorite one; the one that I get each and every time we indulge in the Colonel’s chicken… is the coleslaw.
It’s the perfect blend of sweet, tangy, and creamy! I crave it all the time.
Plus, it’s really easy to make and is actually best when it’s made ahead… that’s what I call a fantastic side dish!
How to make copycat kfc coleslaw?
This is just an overview; the full ingredients and directions are in the recipe card toward the bottom of this post.
- Chop. Even though this recipe uses pre-shredded cabbage and carrots, to get a similar texture to KFC’s coleslaw, give the cabbage and carrots a few pulses in a food processor or chop with a knife.
- Grate. To keep from biting into a large piece of shallot/onion, grating it over a box grater (or handheld grater) works perfectly.
- Make the dressing. I like to make this in a large mixing bowl, so won’t need two separate bowls. The coleslaw is added right on top of the dressing.
- Toss and chill. Give everything a good stir, stirring up from the bottom, then cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
I definitely prefer using real, full fat mayonnaise to make coleslaw. Hellman’s (Best Foods) and Duke’s are two brands from the Midwest that I love. I don’t recommend using Miracle Whip for this recipe, as it’s not the same thing as mayo, and will alter the flavors.
Variations of this recipe
- Cabbage – choosing to use the pre-shredded bags of green cabbage will save you time, but if you’d like to shred your own cabbage and carrots you certainly can. You’ll need one small to medium head of green cabbage, and 3 large carrots. Peel the carrots and core the cabbage, then shred on a box grater or chop then use the food processor.
- Red onion – instead of using a shallot, feel free to use some red onion.
- Green onions – I love adding some chopped green onions to my coleslaw for added flavor and crunch!
- Sugar substitutes – I’ve not tested using any sugar substitutes in this coleslaw, but I’m almost certain they could be used. I would follow whatever ratio the package suggests to get the amount needed.
- Buttermilk– using buttermilk adds a great extra level of tang, but if you don’t have any, you can replace it with an equal amount of additional whole milk.
- Extra seasoning – after your coleslaw has been refrigerated, give it a toss, then a quick taste. Add more salt and/or pepper if desired.
Some pre-packaged bags of coleslaw mix contain shredded green and red cabbage, as well as carrots. While using red cabbage won’t change the taste at all, it will obviously change the look. KFC’s coleslaw recipe doesn’t contain any red cabbage, so if you’re going for a close copycat, it won’t match aesthetically.
Since coleslaw most often contains mayo and/or other dairy, for food safety reasons, once it’s been out for 2 hours, you should toss it. When properly refrigerated and kept in an airtight container, it should last about 3-4 days.
Making coleslaw ahead of time
Coleslaw is an amazing thing to make for a cookout or potluck because it’s actually supposed to be made ahead of time.
Once you mix it all together, it’s best to refrigerate it for at least 2 hours, but honestly, if you can make it a day ahead of time, it will have the best flavor and texture.
The dressing will coat the cabbage and take away the strong crunch. Generally, it will get creamier and softer the longer it sits in the refrigerator.
Leftover coleslaw should be refrigerated in an airtight container and consumed within 3-4 days.
I’ve had this food processor for years, and I love it’s efficiency and large capacity! It’s certainly an investment, but one I feel has more than paid for itself over the years. However, any food processor will work for this recipe.
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @the_chunky_chef on Facebook and Instagram!
- 16 oz bag coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots)
- 1 large shallot
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 1/2 Tbsp white vinegar
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- Add coleslaw mix to a food processor and pulse a few times to chop the cabbage and carrots a bit.
- Gather a large mixing bowl (one that has a lid is great, otherwise you'll need some foil or plastic wrap).
Make the dressing
- To the large mixing bowl, add mayo, sugar, buttermilk, whole milk, lemon juice and vinegar. Whisk until smooth and combined.
- Peel the shallot, then grate with a box grater over the bowl with the dressing.
Toss and combine
- To the bowl, add chopped coleslaw mix. Toss until well combined and coated.
- Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or longer if you prefer a softer coleslaw.
- Before serving, toss/stir coleslaw once more to redistribute any dressing that may have settled at the bottom of the bowl. Then serve chilled, with a sprinkle of extra pepper if desired.
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- Please feel free to adjust the sugar amount to your tastes.
- Apple cider, white wine, or red wine vinegar can be used in place of white vinegar if you prefer.
- If you don’t have a food processor, or would rather not use one, you can just use a sharp knife to chop the cabbage and carrots to a finer texture.
- I’ve estimated this recipe serves about 6, but feel free to divide it up into as many servings as you’d like.
The Chunky Chef is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.