The Best Homemade Coleslaw Recipe

5 from 8 votes
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A homemade coleslaw recipe is a must-have at any barbecue, but I like to enjoy my easy coleslaw recipe all year round. It’s a crispy, creamy slaw recipe packed full of flavor – and so easy to make.

A bowl with homemade coleslaw

There might be no easier way to eat your veggies than in a recipe for coleslaw. With just a handful of coleslaw ingredients, you get a creamy recipe packed with vitamins that makes the perfect side dish or topping. It’s believed that the earliest iteration of what we know as coleslaw salad – or, sometimes, cold slaw – came from 18th century Holland. It’s also from the Dutch that it takes its name – “koolsla”, which means “cabbage salad”.

My vinegar coleslaw recipe is so quick and easy to make and perfect for when you want a crunchy, sweet something to add to dinner, lunch, or to bring to summer potlucks or cookouts.

A close up of homemade coleslaw

What Is Coleslaw

Coleslaw is a cabbage-based side dish, usually served cold, that originated in the Netherlands in the 1700s. Mixed with other vegetables, a traditional coleslaw dressing is sweet and tangy in flavor, with a mayonnaise-based sauce. A quick coleslaw is easy to make and can be easily adapted with different flavors and ingredients, depending on your tastes.

Is Coleslaw Good For You

A cole slaw recipe has many benefits when made fresh and from scratch. My slaw dressing recipe is based around cabbage, which is at its healthiest when eaten raw. Cabbage is high in fiber, antioxidants, and Vitamins C and B. It also helps to reduce inflammation and can keep your heart healthy by reducing bad levels of cholesterol.

What Is Coleslaw Made Of

For my coleslaw mix, you’ll need:

Ingredients for coleslaw
  • Cabbage: For the best coleslaw recipe, use green cabbage. Optionally, you can add just a handful of red cabbage among the white for some extra color. You only need a little or the color will leak and stain the coleslaw sauce.
  • Carrots: Go for full-size, organic carrots if you can.
  • Creamy coleslaw dressing: For the slaw dressing, you’ll need mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, celery seeds, sea salt, and black pepper.
  • Sugar: Optional. It’s the easiest way how to make coleslaw sweeter, though you can substitute it with honey or maple syrup.

How To Chop Cabbage For Slaw

To get this cabbage slaw recipe’s star ingredient thin enough to eat, you’ll want to use a mandoline, shredder, or box grater to finely shred your cabbage. You can also make thin slices with a knife, then chop them into smaller, thin vertical slices to mix well with the other ingredients in this homemade coleslaw. If you’re using a knife, be sure to use a sharp one for ease and precision of cutting.

Then, grate or shred the carrots so they are similar in size and shape to the shredded cabbage. This will make stirring the coleslaw salad easier.

How To Make Coleslaw Dressing

To make the coleslaw dressing, mix the spices with the mayo, apple cider vinegar, and lemon juice. Whisk this creamy recipe well so it creates an emulsion and doesn’t split.

Steps for mixing dressing for coleslaw

How To Make The Best Homemade Coleslaw

To assemble this easy coleslaw recipe, mix the cabbage with the carrots in a large bowl until combined. Pour the vinegar dressing into the cabbage mixture and incorporate it well.

If you wish, add a small handful of shredded red cabbage and stir until just combined. You can even add it right before serving. Otherwise, the color will bleed into the classic coleslaw recipe.

Cover and place in the fridge before serving.

Steps for preparing coleslaw

Chef’s Tip: This cabbage slaw recipe should sit before serving for at least two hours. This enhances the slaw recipe’s flavor. But, be aware, the longer the cabbage sits in the slaw dressing, the softer it will become.

What To Serve With Coleslaw

How to improve the best coleslaw recipe? Serve it with these:

A bowl with homemade coleslaw

Can You Make Coleslaw Ahead Of Time

Yes, but no more than 24 hours in advance. Any longer and this slaw dressing recipe will get soggy and the cabbage will lose its crunch. 

How To Store Coleslaw Dressing

Store your homemade coleslaw in an airtight container in the fridge. It will keep for 3-5 days.

More Easy Side Dishes

If you try this homemade coleslaw dressing recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

The Best Homemade Coleslaw Recipe

5 from 8 votes
By: Samira
A homemade coleslaw recipe is a must-have at any barbecue, but I like to enjoy my easy coleslaw recipe all year round. It's a crispy, creamy slaw recipe packed full of flavor – and so easy to make.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 16

Ingredients 
 

  • 14 oz cabbage green, 1/2 medium-sized head or 4 cups shredded
  • 3 oz carrots 2 medium or 1/2 cup shredded
  • red cabbage optional, just a handful of shredded

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1.5 Tbsp apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice optional, 1/2 a small lemon
  • 1/2 tsp celery seeds
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt or more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper or more to taste
  • 2 tsp sugar or honey – optional for a slightly sweeter coleslaw

Instructions 

  • Use a mandoline, shredder, or box grater to finely shred the cabbage. You can also make thin slices with a knife, then chop them into smaller, thin vertical slices. If you're using a knife, be sure to use a sharp one for ease and precision of cutting.
  • Grate or shred the carrots so they are similar in size and shape to the shredded cabbage. This will make stirring the coleslaw salad easier.
    If using red cabbage, also grate or shred about a handful.
  • Mix the spices with the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, and lemon juice. Whisk well so it creates an emulsion and doesn't split.
  • Assemble the coleslaw – mix the cabbage with the carrots in a large bowl until combined. Then add the vinegar dressing and incorporate it well. 
    If using red cabbage, only add it at the end and stir until just combined. You can even add it right before serving to avoid its color leaking into the dressing.
  • Cover the coleslaw and place it in the fridge before serving. It's best to let it sit for at least 2 hours. This enhances the slaw recipe's flavor.
    But, be aware, the longer the cabbage sits in the slaw dressing, the softer it will become.

Notes

Store your homemade coleslaw in an airtight container in the fridge. It will keep for 3-5 days. If you want to make it in advance, I recommend preparing it no more than 24 hours in advance. Any longer and this slaw dressing recipe will get soggy and the cabbage will lose its crunch. 
 
Check the blog post for more tips and serving recommendations. 
Course: Condiment, Side
Cuisine: Dutch, European
Freezer friendly: No
Shelf life: 3-5 Days

Nutrition

Calories: 59kcal, Carbohydrates: 3g, Protein: 0.5g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0.01g, Cholesterol: 3mg, Sodium: 90mg, Potassium: 64mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 917IU, Vitamin C: 10mg, Calcium: 14mg, Iron: 0.2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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