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Grilling season is here, and there’s one side dish that always hits the spot: coleslaw! Forget boring salads – this classic is a party in a bowl, packed with flavor and texture. It’s creamy, tangy, and with a touch of sweetness, making it the perfect complement to any grilled dish.

Why You’ll Love Coleslaw

  • Super Easy: This coleslaw takes just a few minutes to prep, perfect for busy nights or potlucks!
  • Flavor Fiesta: Creamy, tangy, and slightly sweet, coleslaw cuts through rich BBQ or fried chicken like a dream. It’s the perfect balance!
  • Veggie Boost: Packed with fresh cabbage, carrots, and other healthy stuff, this recipe sneaks in extra veggies without tasting boring.
  • Goes Anywhere: Coleslaw isn’t just for cookouts! It’s great with fish tacos, sandwiches, or even jazzes up a grilled cheese lunchbox.
  • Make it Yours: Don’t like it too sweet? Less sugar! Feeling fancy? Add chopped apples or dried cranberries for a fun twist!

Ingredients Needed To Make Coleslaw

  • Green cabbage 
  • Purple cabbage 
  • Carrots
  • Mayonnaise
  • Sugar
  • Apple cider vinegar 
  • Lemon juice
  • Celery seeds 
  • Onion powder
  • Kosher salt 
  • Black pepper

Substitutions + Alternatives

Can I use regular mayo?

Feel free to make this recipe your own. I use dairy-free mayonnaise, but feel welcome to choose your preferred mayo option without any recipe adjustments. Unless specified otherwise, you have the flexibility to use the mayo of your choice for the recipe.

How To Make Coleslaw

  1. Grab a big bowl and your favorite shredding tools (knife and board or food processor). Shred the green and purple cabbage (pre-shredded mix works too, but fresh is best for texture). Grate the carrots until thin for a nice mix of textures.
  1. In your bowl, whisk together mayo, sugar, vinegar, lemon juice, celery seeds, onion powder, salt, and pepper for a creamy dressing.
  1. Add the shredded cabbage and grated carrots to the dressing and toss gently with a spoon or spatula until everything is coated.
  1. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (ideally overnight) to let the flavors mingle and create that classic crisp coleslaw texture.
  2. Grab a spoon and enjoy your coleslaw chilled alongside your main course.

Variations & Substitutions

  • Sweet and Crunchy: Add chopped apples or dried cranberries for a touch of sweetness and textural contrast.
  • Tangy Twist: Mix in a tablespoon of Dijon mustard for a tangier coleslaw dressing.
  • Light and Creamy: Substitute Greek yogurt for part of the mayonnaise to lessen the calories.

Commonly Asked Questions

Can I use pre-shredded coleslaw mix instead of shredding the cabbage and grating the carrots myself?

Absolutely! Pre-shredded coleslaw mix is a great time-saver. Just be sure to check the expiration date and quality of the pre-packaged mix before using it. Shredding your own cabbage and carrots will give you the freshest flavor and best texture, but pre-shredded is a convenient option.

Can I make this coleslaw ahead of time?

You bet! In fact, coleslaw actually tastes better the longer it sits. The flavors have a chance to develop and meld together beautifully, so feel free to make it a day or even two in advance.

My coleslaw seems too watery, what can I do?

If your coleslaw seems a bit watery, it could be because the cabbage released some extra moisture. Here are a few things you can try:

  • Drain the cabbage: After shredding the cabbage, place it in a colander and press out any excess moisture with a paper towel.
  • Let it sit: Once you’ve tossed the vegetables with the dressing, let the coleslaw sit for 10-15 minutes before serving. This allows the cabbage to soften slightly and absorb some of the dressing.
  • Adjust the dressing: If you find the coleslaw is still too watery after these tips, you can try adding a little less dressing next time.

How long will coleslaw stay fresh in the refrigerator?

Coleslaw will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in an airtight container.


Coleslaw is the perfect companion for so many dishes. It’s the must have for grilling season.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Coleslaw
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 227kcal


  • Large mixing bowl
  • Grater (for carrots)
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Mixing spoon
  • Plastic wrap or lid for covering


  • 3 cups green cabbage finely shredded
  • 2 cups purple cabbage finely shredded
  • 2 cups carrots grated
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 ½ tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ¾ tsp celery seeds
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper


  • In a large mixing bowl, combine mayonnaise, sugar, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, celery seeds, onion powder, kosher salt, and black pepper. Mix until well combined.
  • Add finely shredded green cabbage, purple cabbage, and grated carrots to the bowl with the dressing.
  • Toss the vegetables with the dressing until evenly coated.
  • Cover the coleslaw with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving to allow the flavors to meld.
  • Serve chilled and enjoy!


  • Add chopped apples or dried cranberries for a sweeter flavor and extra crunch.
  • Mix in a tablespoon of Dijon mustard for a tangier coleslaw dressing.
  • Substitute Greek yogurt for part of the mayonnaise to reduce the calorie and fat content while adding a tangy flavor.
  • Experiment with different types of vinegar such as white vinegar or rice vinegar for a slightly different taste profile.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 227kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 792mg | Potassium: 213mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 5639IU | Vitamin C: 24mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 1mg
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