This classic and easy Coleslaw Recipe is made with crisp cabbage and carrots in a creamy, sweet and tangy homemade dressing! Perfect to make ahead, and great as a side dish or on top of a bbq sandwich!
This is one of my Side Dish recipes I know you’ll want to keep on hand!
Here we are in the thick of summer, which is officially cookout-season here in the Midwest!
It’s great on it’s own, it’s also an absolute staple on top of any bbq sandwich (pulled pork, shredded beef, pulled chicken, etc) in the Midwest. Is that a thing in other parts of the United States or world? Let me know, I’m curious!
How to make sweet and tangy coleslaw?
This is just an overview; the full ingredients and directions are in the recipe card toward the bottom of this post.
- Prep first. I like to get all the ingredients prepped and chopped before starting, since it just makes things go much smoother.
- Make dressing. Make it right in the bowl where the coleslaw will be (rather than whisking the dressing in another smaller bowl and adding it to the cabbage), so you have less dishes to wash.
- Add cabbage/carrots. Give everything a good stir to make sure the dressing coats all the vegetables.
- Chill. The chilling step is super important to not only help all the flavors come together, but for the texture.
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
- Pre-shredded – choosing to use the pre-shredded bags of green cabbage will certainly save you time, so please feel free to use them if you’d like. I would use about 1 1/2 or 2 16 oz packages.
- 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.
- Milk– if you prefer a slightly less thick and creamy coleslaw, reduce the mayonnaise to 3/4 cup and add 1/4 cup of milk (or buttermilk).
- Extra seasoning – after your coleslaw has been refrigerated, give it a toss, then a quick taste. Add more salt and/or pepper if desired.
Absolutely not; you can use any kind of cabbage that you like for your coleslaw. We just really love the color and crunch the red cabbage adds, but feel free to make this with all green cabbage if you’d like.
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 potluck recipe 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 love these mixing bowls for two main reasons: the non-slip bottoms make mixing easier, and the airtight lids mean you don’t have to transfer the contents to another container to refrigerate!
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @the_chunky_chef on Facebook and Instagram!
- 1 cup mayonnaise we prefer to use full fat for the best flavor and texture
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice fresh is best
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground celery seed
- 1/3 cup minced red onion
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 8 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
- 2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
- 2 cups thinly shredded carrots
- Make sure onion, parsley, cabbages and carrots are chopped/sliced/shredded.
- 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, lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper, and celery seed. Whisk until smooth and combined.
Toss and combine
- To the bowl, add onion, parsley, green cabbage, red cabbage and shredded carrots. Toss until well combined and coated.
- Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours, or longer if you prefer a softer coleslaw.
- Before serving, toss/stir coleslaw once more to redistribute dressing that may have settled at the bottom of the bowl. Then serve chilled, with a sprinkle of extra pepper if desired.
Want to save this recipe for later? Click the heart in the bottom right corner to save to your own recipe box!
- This recipe makes a large amount of coleslaw, which I estimate to be about 12 roughly 1 cup servings. Of course, feel free to make your servings any size you’d like.
- Please feel free to adjust the sugar amount to your tastes.
- White wine or red wine vinegar can be used in place of the apple cider vinegar if you prefer.
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.