This is our favorite homemade coleslaw with the most delicious creamy dressing. This coleslaw is quick and easy to make. It is even easy to make in advance.
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Related: Swap cabbage for broccoli and make our easy broccoli slaw
How To Make the Best Coleslaw
This coleslaw recipe is packed with fresh, lively flavors that wake up anything you serve it with. Try this as a topping to sandwiches, served next to ultra-savory meats, like braised beef or pulled pork. Or mound some on top of your next hot dog or hamburger. You won’t believe how easy coleslaw is to make at home. Here are my best tips for making it.
What Is the Best Cabbage to Use?
I love using a combination of red and green cabbage when I make coleslaw. It makes the dish really pretty. You can use just one variety, though. Try green cabbage, red cabbage, savoy cabbage or Napa cabbage.
How to Cut Cabbage for Coleslaw
Whatever type of cabbage you choose, the way to prepare them are generally the same. Here’s how to do it:
- Remove any tattered or bruised outer leaves.
- Cut the cabbage into quarters, and then cut out the core.
- Slice the cabbage quarters into thin shreds. You can hand shred with a knife (like in the photos below), use a mandoline or use your food processor shredding attachment.
Quartering the cabbage makes removing the core easier.
For the best coleslaw, slice the cabbage into very thin shreds.
Recipe shortcut: Use Bagged Coleslaw Mix
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
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.
My Favorite Coleslaw Dressing
Our favorite coleslaw dressing is quick to make and calls for simple ingredients. It’s creamy, flavorful, and fresh.
- Mayonnaise is the base and makes the dressing creamy. When we have a batch in our fridge, we love to use homemade mayonnaise.
- Apple cider vinegar adds a fresh and zesty note to the dressing. You can substitute other kinds of vinegar like red wine vinegar or champagne vinegar.
- Dijon mustard adds extra flavor and a bit of spice.
- Celery seeds taste like mild celery and really do add that “something-something” to the dressing. Their flavor is mild, so if you aren’t a celery fan, I’d still recommend using at least some of the celery seeds called for in the recipe.
- Salt and pepper are a must and bring the flavors in the dressing together.
We don’t add any sugar. Other coleslaw recipes call for sugar. 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.
Adding the Dressing
When you are 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.
We add about two-thirds of the dressing at first, and then add more dressing if we think it needs it.
Make Ahead Tips
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.
More Cabbage Recipes
- For a mayonnaise-free coleslaw, try our Mayo-Free Cilantro Lime Coleslaw Salad.
- This Warm Cabbage and Apple Salad has red cabbage, apples, pecans, and a simple apple cider dressing.
- We both love this Roasted Cabbage!
- For an easy side dish, try our Sautéed Lemon Garlic Cabbage or our Bacon Fried Cabbage.
- If you have leftover cabbage, use it to make this Ham and Cabbage Soup or add it to Homemade Vegetable Soup (I love cabbage in soups).
Our Best Homemade Coleslaw
With a generous amount of acidity from apple cider vinegar and Dijon mustard, our coleslaw recipe is anything but dull. Instead, it is packed with fresh, lively flavors that wake up anything you serve with it. Unlike some of the more traditional or popular recipes for coleslaw, we skip the addition of sugar to our coleslaw dressing. 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.
Sugar: We find that the cabbage and carrots are sweet enough. If you disagree, add a teaspoon or two of sugar (or honey) to the dressing before mixing with the cabbage and carrot.
Watch Us Make the Recipe
You Will Need
1 medium cabbage (about 2 pounds), outer leaves removed
3 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
1 cup (225 grams) mayonnaise, try our homemade mayonnaise recipe
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or more to taste
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard or coarse ground mustard
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper or more to taste
1 to 2 teaspoons sugar or honey, optional, add for a sweeter coleslaw
1Quarter the cabbage through the core, and then cut out the core. Cut each quarter crosswise in half and finely shred. Place the shredded cabbage in a very large bowl (you will have 6 to 8 cups).
2Add the shredded carrot and parsley to the cabbage and toss to mix.
3In a separate bowl, stir the mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, celery seeds, salt, and pepper together. Taste for acidity and seasoning, then adjust as desired. If the dressing tastes too tart and you prefer a sweeter coleslaw, stir in the optional sugar.
4Pour two-thirds of the dressing over the cabbage and carrot then mix well. (Clean hands are the quickest tool).
5If the coleslaw seems dry, add a little more of the dressing. Eat right away or let it sit in the refrigerator for about an hour to let the flavors mingle and the cabbage to soften.
Adam and Joanne's Tips
- Cabbage: Use green cabbage, red cabbage, savoy cabbage or Napa cabbage. For a multi-colored or multi-textured coleslaw, use a combination of two varieties.
- 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.
- Leftover dressing: This can be used as a spread for sandwiches, dip for vegetables, served alongside the coleslaw or with grilled or roasted vegetables, chicken or meats.
- Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values. We have omitted salt and sugar since you will need to add to your tastes.