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This Easy Homemade Coleslaw recipe is the perfect creamy side dish for all of your potlucks and summer barbecues! The crunchy shredded cabbage and carrots in a tangy creamy coleslaw dressing come together in under 10 minutes and it’s just the thing to serve with your grilled or fried chicken, or on burgers, sandwiches, and sliders, and so much more!

Everybody needs a good coleslaw recipe in their repetoire! We love serving it with these Perfect Grilled Pork Chops with Sweet BBQ Pork Rub, Southern Fried Chicken, and Sriracha Mayo Marinated Grilled Lamb Chops.

a white serving bowl full of homemade coleslaw

Best Coleslaw Recipe

Even though we enjoy coleslaw year round, I really think of it as a summer food. It just belongs on a plate with a cold wedge of fresh watermelon and some hot corn on the cob glistening in melted butter and some ribs!

Truth be told, I never liked coleslaw growing up. Actually, not until well into my adulthood. The problem was that I had only ever experienced soggy, overly sweetened coleslaw and it was terrible. But then I tried making an Asian-inspired version with a ginger peanut dressing and I was hooked on the combination of textures and flavors. It was just a matter of finding an easy homemade coleslaw dressing that I loved.

Leave it to the ladies over at Our Best Bites to find the One. They call it a Memphis-style coleslaw, although for the life of me I can’t figure out why Memphis might be able to claim this coleslaw as opposed to coleslaw through the rest of the South. This recipe is almost the same as theirs except with just a few slight modifications for my tastes.

a bowl of creamy homemade coleslaw with a spoon in it for serving

The crunchy cabbage, which is a fairly bland vegetable on it’s own, serves as a vehicle for the creamy, wonderful homemade coleslaw dressing that is a tangy combination of mayo, apple cider vinegar, sugar, and a few other special additions that enhance this coleslaw from boring to one that is a real crowd pleaser.

And it’s super easy to throw together by using a bag of pre-shredded tricolor coleslaw blend from the store. Although you are welcome to grab a mandolin or food processor (affiliate link) and shred your own if you prefer!

Coleslaw is a classic southern side dish and it tastes amazing with barbecued foods. I HIGHLY recommend making a batch of my Smoked Pulled Pork and piling buttered and toasted buns high with the shredded meat, your favorite barbecue sauce, and a heaping scoop of coleslaw. It’s one of the best meals of all time in my book.

a close shot of coleslaw with celery seeds

Homemade Coleslaw Ingredients

  • Coleslaw mix: I like using a bag of shredded tri-color coleslaw mix from the store to save myself some work. lf you want a more colorful batch of coleslaw, you can shred an extra carrot or some extra red cabbage to go with it. There is plenty of dressing to stretch for a few extra veggies.
  • Mayonnaise: Please, for the love of coleslaw, only use real, full fat mayonnaise. Preferably Hellman’s Best Foods or Duke’s. (Not sponsored but if you know, you know.)
  • Dijon mustard: I love the extra kick and flavor of the mustard in this coleslaw! So many recipes don’t have it, but it makes such a difference and I think that’s one of two major boosters that make this the best coleslaw recipe.
  • Sugar: I don’t love sweet coleslaw that much. It’s more my husband’s style. This is just enough sugar to balance things without being too sweet.
  • Salt: One of my pet peeves is coleslaw that is undersalted and bland. Coarse kosher salt is my preference, but you could use 1/2 teaspoon of regular table salt instead if you need to.
  • Vinegar: Both Chik-Fil-A and KFC use white vinegar in their coleslaw, but I actually prefer the flavor of apple cider vinegar in mine. Either will work though so you can use whatever you have on hand.
  • Onion powder: The recipe I based this off of calls for a tablespoon of grated onion, but I kind of hate messing around with the grater for that small of an amount. Onion powder works just fine for adding the savory flavor we are going for here.
  • Celery seeds: My other favorite flavor enhancer that really sets this coleslaw apart from all the others!
coleslaw ingredients

How to Make Coleslaw

  1. Make the dressing: Combine the mayo, vinegar, mustard, onion powder, salt, and celery seed in a medium bowl. Whisk well to combine.
  1. Toss coleslaw mix with dressing: Place the shredded coleslaw mix into a large bowl and pour the dressing over the top. Toss well to evenly coat the shredded cabbage with the dressing, then cover and transfer to the fridge until ready to serve. You can serve right away, although some folks prefer to let their slaw sit in the fridge for an hour or two for the flavors to marry and the cabbage to soften a bit. Personally, I like a little more crunch.
stirring coleslaw dressing into shredded cabbage and carrots

How long does homemade coleslaw last?

Homemade coleslaw is really best eaten within 1-2 days, although it can last 3-5 days properly stored in the fridge. Keep in mind that as the coleslaw sits longer it will become more watery and the cabbage and carrot shreds will lose some of their crunch.

Recipe Tips

  • If you want a slightly healthier version of this homemade coleslaw, try replacing up to half of the mayo with Greek yogurt instead.
  • Other vegetable additions would be to finely chop a red or green bell pepper, or slice some green onions to add to the coleslaw mix. It’s a little less traditional, but they have the same nice crunch that holds up pretty well to the dressing.
  • If you don’t like celery seed, just go ahead and leave it out of this recipe.
a bowl of homemade coleslaw next to corn on the cob

More Great BBQ Side Dishes

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Easy Homemade Coleslaw
Yield: 10 servings

Easy Homemade Coleslaw

This Easy Homemade Coleslaw recipe is the perfect creamy side dish for all of your potlucks and summer barbecues! The crunchy shredded cabbage and carrots in a tangy creamy coleslaw dressing come together in under 10 minutes and it's just the thing to serve with your grilled or fried chicken, or on burgers, sandwiches, and sliders, and so much more!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon or whole-grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried onion powder (or 1 tablespoon grated onion)
  • 2 teaspoons celery seed (required for classic coleslaw flavor)
  • 1 (16-ounce) bag coleslaw mix
  • 1/2 minced green bell pepper (optional)

Instructions

  1. Combine the mayo, mustard, cider vinegar, sugar, salt, onion powder, and celery seed in a medium bowl. Whisk well.
  2. Place the coleslaw mix and green bell pepper, if using, in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over top and toss to coat. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 5 days.

Notes

  • The farther ahead you make the slaw, the soggier and less crunchy it will be. Some people prefer it that way, but personally I enjoy it best made fresh.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

10

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 184Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 346mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 1g

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Recipe adapted from Our Best Bites.

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