With a generous amount of acidity from apple cider vinegar and Dijon mustard, our favorite coleslaw is anything but dull. Instead, our coleslaw recipe is packed with fresh, lively flavors that wake up anything you serve with it. Try this as a topping to sandwiches, served next to ultra-savory meats, like braised beef or pork. Or, mound some on top of your next hot dog or hamburger.
What’s the Best Cabbage for Homemade Coleslaw?
There’s no right or wrong answer, here. Use green cabbage, red cabbage, savoy cabbage or Napa cabbage. For a multi-colored or multi-textured coleslaw, use a combination of two varieties. Most often, we use a combination of green and red cabbage.
How to Prepare Cabbage for Coleslaw
Whatever kind of cabbage you choose, the way to prepare them are generally the same.
Remove any tattered or bruised outer leaves, remove the hardy core and then slice into very thin shreds.
Coleslaw Recipe Shortcut: Bagged Mixes
As an alternative, you can buy bags of pre-shredded cabbage or coleslaw mix. They usually range between 10 and 16 ounces — so you may need a couple bags for our recipe. Simply replace the cabbage and carrot called for in our recipe with your favorite store-bought bag. We have even seen bagged coleslaw mixes that include shredded broccoli stems (delicious) and other vegetables if you’re in the mood to try something a little bit different.
Joanne’s Recipe Tip: Only Add Two-Thirds of the Dressing at First
When you’re ready to mix up your coleslaw, don’t just dump in the whole bowl of dressing. Instead, start with about two-thirds, give everything a stir and then see just how much more dressing you feel your coleslaw needs.
If you decide it’s perfect the way it is, don’t throw away that leftover coleslaw dressing! Keep it in the fridge (it will last for days, if not weeks). Use it as a spread for sandwiches, a dip for vegetables or sauce for meats and roasted or grilled vegetables.
Side note: Unlike some of the more traditional or popular recipes for coleslaw, we skip the addition of sugar to our coleslaw dressing. For our tastes, the cabbage and carrots are sweet enough. If you disagree, add a teaspoon or two of sugar to the dressing before mixing with the cabbage and carrot.
How to Make Coleslaw Ahead of Time
Coleslaw is easy to make in advance. The vegetables can be shredded a day or two in advance and kept in a resealable bag in the refrigerator.
As for the dressing, mix it up and store covered in the refrigerator for weeks. Combine the cabbage, carrots and dressing the night before or day of serving — we like the crunch of the vegetables to still be present. The longer the cabbage sits in the coleslaw dressing, the softer and less crunchy it will become.
(By the way, clean hands are truly the best tool when it comes to mixing coleslaw).
Are you looking for more side dishes?
Check out our Potato Salad Recipe with lots of tips for making it best. Or, for a wintery version of coleslaw take a look at our Warm Cabbage and Apple Salad Recipe. Speaking of apples, our Fresh Apple and Fennel Salad is also a great side.
For more coleslaw inspiration, take a look at this slightly more traditional coleslaw recipe from Food Network. Or, this homemade coleslaw from Epicurious with green peppers and onion added. And for something completely different, there’s this vinegar coleslaw (no mayo) from Serious Eats.
- 6 cups (18 ounces or 510 grams) shredded cabbage
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and finely grated
- 1/2 cup packed fresh parsley leaves, chopped
- 1 cup (170 grams) mayonnaise, try homemade mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard or coarse ground mustard
- 1 teaspoon celery seeds, optional
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Mix cabbage, carrot and parsley together in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, stir the mayonnaise, cider vinegar, mustard, celery seeds, salt and pepper together. Taste for acidity and seasoning then adjust as desired.
- Pour two-thirds of the dressing over the cabbage and carrot and mix well. (Clean hands are the quickest tool). If the coleslaw seems dry, add a little more of the dressing. Eat right away or let it sit for a while to let the flavors mingle and the cabbage to soften.
- *Leftover dressing can be used as a spread for sandwiches, dip for vegetables, served alongside the coleslaw or with grilled or roasted vegetables, chicken or meats.
Store-bought Bagged Coleslaw Mix: You can buy bags of pre-shredded cabbage or coleslaw mix. They usually range between 10 and 16 ounces. Simply replace the cabbage and carrot called for in our recipe above with your favorite store-bought bag.
Make Ahead: The vegetables can be shredded a day or two in advance and kept in a resealable bag in the refrigerator. As for the dressing, mix it up and store covered in the refrigerator for weeks. Combine the cabbage, carrots and dressing the night before or day of serving — we like the crunch of the vegetables to still be present. The longer the cabbage sits in the coleslaw dressing, the softer it will become.