This homemade coleslaw recipe is simply the best! It’s quick and easy, cold, crunchy and creamy and the perfect balance of tangy and sweet!
This best coleslaw recipe is the only one you’ll ever need and will be a go-to side dish for almost any occasion! It comes together in minutes as crisp and colorful shredded cabbage is tossed in creamy, tangy coleslaw dressing with a hint of sweetness. Best of all, it’s light yet creamy at the same time with an assist from sour cream so it’s not drowning in mayo! This coleslaw recipe is the ideal cooling, comforting side to your barbecue favorites or piled on pulled pork sandwiches!
HOW TO MAKE Coleslaw VIDEo
This homemade coleslaw recipe combines traditional coleslaw ingredients with sour cream, Dijon, lemon juice, celery seed and dried dill for dynamic layers of texture and flavor! I’ve given an overview of the ingredients needed below, but the exact measurements can be found in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Coleslaw Ingredient Substitutions
How to Make Coleslaw
This traditional coleslaw is wonderfully quick and easy to prepare and is best chilled – so it’s also make-ahead friendly! Let’s take a closer look at how to make it (full recipe in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post):
- Step 1: Prep the veggies. Thinly slice the cabbage and green onions. Shred the carrots using a box grater or a food processor that’s been fitted with a grating blade. Add the veggies to a large mixing bowl.
- Step 2: Make the coleslaw dressing. Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a separate bowl.
- Step 3: Assemble the coleslaw. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss to coat evenly.
- Step 4: Chill the coleslaw. The coleslaw tastes exponentially better if allowed to chill in the fridge for at least an hour which allows the flavors to meld and the cabbage to soften slightly.
Tips for the Best Coleslaw recipe
Traditional coleslaw is pretty straightforward to make, but there are a few important keys to success:
- Use two kinds of cabbage: green cabbage is delicious on its own, but for a multi-colored, multi-textured coleslaw, combine it with red cabbage or another favorite cabbage.
- Don’t skip the celery seed: it adds an earthy sweetness to this traditional coleslaw recipe.
- Shred your own carrots: pre-shredded bags of carrots at the grocery store are often dry and tough, whereas hand shredded carrots are moist and sweet.
- Use full-fat ingredients: Real mayo and sour cream make for the richest, creamiest coleslaw dressing.
- Use real mayo, not Miracle Whip: If you absolutely MUST use Miracle Whip, omit the sugar from the coleslaw dressing, give it a taste, and then add the sugar a little at a time until the dressing is just right.
- Add dressing as needed: This coleslaw recipe is already on the light side, but if you think you might want an even lighter coleslaw, start with about two-thirds of the coleslaw dressing, give everything a stir and then add more as needed. You can use the leftover dressing as a sandwich spread or veggie dip.
- Season to taste: Taste and add additional sugar, vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste. You will need to taste again and adjust as needed after the coleslaw has chilled before serving.
- Prep ahead: You can prepare elements of this recipe or the entire batch of coleslaw ahead of time. I’ve given detailed instructions on how to do so below.
- Serve within a few hours: Homemade Coleslaw taste the best chilled, but not overly-chilled. The coleslaw dressing will draw moisture out of the cabbage and carrots, eventually making it watery. Hit that sweet spot by chilling the coleslaw for 1-3 hours before serving.
traditional coleslaw Variations
This traditional coleslaw recipe is perfect for pulled pork, but you can make it your own depending on what you’re serving it with. Here are some fun, tasty ideas:
- Use different varieties of cabbage. Different cabbages such as savoy cabbage or Napa cabbage have varying flavors and textures. Find a variety you like and experiment with it!
- Use bagged coleslaw mix. If you’re in a time crunch, substitute the cabbage and carrot blend with a bag of store-bought coleslaw mix. The texture will be slightly softer, but you’ll save some time to make the coleslaw dressing.
- You don’t have to use cabbage! Broccoli slaw is also a popular favorite.
- Make it vegan. Use your favorite vegan mayo and sour cream to make the dressing.
- Add fresh herbs. Mix up the flavor profile depending on what you’re serving it with by adding herbs such as chopped fresh parsley, cilantro, mint, oregano, rosemary, etc.
- Use other shredded vegetables. Try other shredded root vegetables with the carrots like beets, fennel, jicama, water chestnuts, parsnips, etc.
- Add fruit. Granny Smith apples, pineapple, strawberries, grapes, dried cranberries, etc. to play up that sweet and tangy dynamic.
- Add nuts or seeds. Sliced almonds, pecans or roasted, salted sesame seeds add a dimension nutty goodness.
- Add cheese. Crumbled blue cheese or feta would instantly change the flavor profile!
- Make it tangy. Add extra vinegar to make the coleslaw dressing tangier.
- Make it sweet. Add sugar to taste if you like your dressing on the sweeter side.
Tools Used in This RecipeSee Favorite Tools
Save This Recipe To Your Recipe Box
You can now create an account on our site and save your favorite recipes all in one place!
- 4 cups thinly shredded green cabbage (approx 1 pound)
- 4 cups thinly shredded purple cabbage (approx 1 pound)
- 3 shredded carrots (approx 1 cup)
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced
- Add the cabbage, carrots and green onions to a large bowl.
- Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a separate medium bowl. Taste and add additional vinegar for tangier or it it's too tart and you prefer a sweeter coleslaw, stir in additional sugar.
- Pour the dressing over the coleslaw and toss to evenly combine.
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, best if 1-2 hours after combining. Taste again before serving and adjust to taste. For a creamier coleslaw, stir in additional mayo/sour cream.
StorageHomemade coleslaw will last about 3 to 4 days in the fridge, but is at peak freshness within the first few hours of combining. The cabbage will soften over time and the dressing will become runnier. The carrots and red cabbage will also alter the color of the dressing the longer it sits.
- Pre-shredded bagged coleslaw mix: If you’re in a time crunch, substitute the cabbage and carrot blend with two 16-ounce bags of store-bought coleslaw mix. The texture will be slightly softer, but you’ll save some time to make the coleslaw dressing.
- Cabbage: Different cabbages such as savoy cabbage or Napa cabbage have varying flavors and textures. Find a variety you like and experiment with it! However, please don’t use all red cabbage.
- Mayonnaise: Lite mayo, avocado mayo, olive oil mayo or vegan mayo like Vegainase will all work great.
- Sour cream: Nonfat or full-fat plain Greek yogurt should also work, noting that the coleslaw dressing will be a little tangier.
- Fresh Herbs: Mix up the flavor profile depending on what you’re serving it with by adding herbs such as chopped fresh parsley, cilantro, mint, oregano, rosemary, etc.
- Shredded vegetables: Try other shredded root vegetables with the carrots like beets, fennel, jicama, water chestnuts, parsnips, etc.
- Fruit: Granny Smith apples, pineapple, strawberries, grapes, dried cranberries, etc. to play up that sweet and tangy dynamic.
- Nuts or seeds: Sliced almonds, pecans or roasted, salted sesame seeds add a dimension nutty goodness.
- Cheese: Crumbled blue cheese or feta would instantly change the flavor profile!
- Veggies: thinly slice the cabbage, shred the carrots, and slice the green onions. Store in separate airtight containers in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Dressing: can be whisked together and refrigerated up to 5 days in advance.
- Prepared coleslaw: can be refrigerated up to 3 hours before serving.
Did You Make This Recipe?
Tag @CarlsbadCravings and Use #CarlsbadCravngs
Leave a Review, I Always Love Hearing From You!