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+ servings

Classic Coleslaw

his 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 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!
Course Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 25 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 10 servings



  • 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


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 tablespoons sugar, more or less to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard or coarse ground mustard
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1/2 tsp EACH salt, dried dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper, plus more to taste


  • 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.




Homemade 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.

Recipe Variations

  • 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!

Make Ahead

  • 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.