Coleslaw Recipe: A Delicious and Refreshing Side Dish

best Coleslaw Recipe

Are you looking for a tasty, refreshing side dish that pairs perfectly with various meals? Look no further than coleslaw! This classic dish is loved by many for its crunchy texture, tangy flavor, and versatility. This article will explore the art of making coleslaw, from basic ingredients to creative variations. Whether hosting a barbecue, attending a potluck, or simply craving a satisfying side, this comprehensive guide will help you create a delicious coleslaw recipe to impress your family and friends.

What is Coleslaw?

slaw recipe

Coleslaw, a versatile salad, originates in the Netherlands but has gained popularity worldwide. This delightful dish revolves around shredded cabbage as its core ingredient, creating a satisfying blend of textures and flavors when paired with a delectable dressing. With its crispness and creaminess, coleslaw has become a go-to option for those seeking a refreshing and satisfying meal, especially during warm summer and outdoor gatherings.

One of the reasons coleslaw has become so popular is its versatility. It can be served as a side dish, accompanying various main courses. Coleslaw adds a refreshing and satisfying element to any meal, Whether paired with grilled burgers at a backyard barbecue or used as a topping for pulled pork sandwiches. It’s crunchy texture and tangy flavor provide a delightful contrast to rich and savory dishes.

Coleslaw also offers numerous health benefits. The main ingredient is cabbage packed with vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. Its calories and nutrients are low, making it an excellent addition to a balanced diet. Furthermore, coleslaw can be customized to suit different dietary needs, such as using vegan or gluten-free ingredients in the dressing.

The History of Coleslaw

cole slaw, copycat kfc coleslaw recipe

The history of coleslaw is an intriguing journey that stretches back through the centuries. Its origins can be traced back to ancient Rome, where a cabbage dish called “colis” was prepared using vinegar and eggs. This early precursor to coleslaw showcased the versatility of cabbage as a key ingredient.

Coleslaw continued to evolve and adapt as time passed, reaching different corners of the world. The Dutch settlers played a significant role in coleslaw’s history, bringing their version, known as “koolsla” to America during the 17th century.

Once in America, coleslaw began to gain popularity and spread throughout the country. Its refreshing and tangy qualities made it an ideal accompaniment to various meals and occasions. Over the years, different regions developed their variations of coleslaw, incorporating local ingredients and flavors.

Today, coleslaw is enjoyed worldwide in numerous forms and styles. From the classic creamy coleslaw to Asian-inspired variations with sesame oil and soy sauce, there is a coleslaw recipe to suit every palate. It has become a staple side dish at barbecues, picnics, and family gatherings, adding a refreshing and crunchy element to the table.

Essential Ingredients for Coleslaw

To create a delicious coleslaw, you will need the following essential ingredients:


Cabbage serves as the base ingredient for Coleslaw. Choosing fresh and crisp cabbage is essential for optimal flavor and texture. The most common variety is green cabbage, known for its mild and sweet taste. However, incorporating purple cabbage can add a vibrant color to eat Coleslaw. Combining both varieties creates an appealing visual contrast.


Carrots add both flavor and visual appeal to easy coleslaw recipes. Grate or julienne the carrots to ensure they blend seamlessly with the cabbage. The carrots’ orange color makes the dish beautiful and adds a sweet taste. The cabbage’s mild flavor mixes well with it. So, Coleslaw becomes tastier overall.


Onions provide a distinct and savory flavor to Coleslaw. Opt for mild options such as white or Vidalia onions when choosing an onion variety freeze coleslaw. Finely chop the onion to prevent it from overpowering the dish. The onion in the Coleslaw makes it more flavorful without being too strong.


celery seeds

The dressing is the critical component of a classic coleslaw recipe, a mix that combines all the coleslaw ingredients. It adds moisture, tanginess, and a creamy texture to the dish. The classic coleslaw dressing typically includes mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, and various seasonings.

  • Mayonnaise: It makes the coleslaw dressing smooth and creamy. It adds richness to the salad. Use good-quality mayonnaise for optimal flavor.
  • Vinegar: Vinegar adds tanginess and helps balance the richness of the mayonnaise. Common choices include white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or rice vinegar. The acidity from the vinegar also helps tenderize the cabbage, enhancing its texture.
  • Sugar: Sugar is put into the dressing to balance the vinegar’s sourness and add a sweet taste. The amount can be adjusted to personal preference but is typically used sparingly.
  • Seasonings: Various seasonings can be added to enhance the flavor profile of the Coleslaw. Popular options include salt, black pepper, celery seed, and mustard. These seasonings add depth, complexity, and a subtle kick to the overall taste.

You can make a tasty homemade coleslaw by mixing fresh cabbage, carrots, mild onions, and a good dressing. It goes well with many dishes. Coleslaw is a great side dish because it has a crunchy texture, bright colors, and tasty flavors. It is perfect to go with many meals. Try different ingredients and measurements to make a homemade coleslaw and a recipe you love. Enjoy!

Traditional Coleslaw Recipe

It is a good recipe for a basic coleslaw recipe that you can modify and add to:

To begin, gather the following fresh ingredients for your Coleslaw:

  • One small head of cabbage, finely shredded 
  • Two large carrots, grated
  • One small onion, finely chopped 
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise 
  • Two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar 
  • One tablespoon of Dijon mustard 
  • One tablespoon of honey and lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste 


Step 1: Prepare the Dressing

Mix mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, salt, and pepper in a bowl. This dressing is creamy and tangy, and it makes your Coleslaw taste irresistible.

Step 2: Combine the Vegetable

bagged coleslaw mix cabbage and carrots

Combine shredded cabbage, grated carrots, and finely chopped onion in a big bowl. These colorful vegetables will add texture and visual appeal to a large bowl of your favorite coleslaw side.

Step 3: Dress the Coleslaw

Pour the prepared dressing over the vegetable mixture. Use a spatula or tongs to mix the veggies with the creamy dressing gently. Mix the two dressing ingredients well so every bite is tasty.

Step 4: Chill and Serve

If you are not serving the Coleslaw immediately, chill it in the fridge overnight for at least one hour after dressing. Chilling the dish makes the flavors mix better and improves the taste of creamy Coleslaw overall. When you are prepared to serve, mix the Coleslaw once more to spread the dressing. Then, it is ready to eat and enjoy!

Variations on Classic Coleslaw

The usual Coleslaw is yummy, but you can adjust it with many recipes. You can make Coleslaw more fun by using various ingredients and flavors. This way, you will give it a unique twist and add excitement to your meals. Here are a few creative ideas to inspire your coleslaw variations:

Apple and Walnut Coleslaw

Adding diced apples and toasted walnuts to your coleslaw introduces a delightful combination of sweetness and crunch. The crispness of the apple complements the crunchy cabbage, while the walnuts provide a pleasant nutty flavor. This variation adds texture and complexity to the dish, making it a perfect accompaniment to grilled meats or a refreshing sandwich addition.

Spicy Coleslaw with Jalapenos

For those who enjoy a bit of heat, consider incorporating finely chopped jalapenos or a dash of hot sauce into your coleslaw. The spicy element adds an exciting twist to the dish, creating a flavor profile that balances well with rich and savory main courses. Adjust the amount of jalapenos or hot sauce to your desired level of spiciness, ensuring it complements your overall meal.

Asian-inspired Coleslaw

Infusing your coleslaw mix with Asian flavors provides a unique and enticing variation. Create an Asian-style coleslaw using sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic. The sesame oil adds a distinct nutty aroma, while the soy sauce brings a savory umami flavor. The ginger and garlic provide a subtle kick, enhancing the overall taste. This bag of coleslaw mix and type is great with Asian meals, like stir-fries or sushi. You can also enjoy it as a side dish with grilled teriyaki chicken.

Mediterranean Coleslaw

Give your coleslaw a Mediterranean twist by incorporating ingredients like feta cheese, kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes, and a tangy vinaigrette. The creamy and salty feta cheese adds richness, while the kalamata olives provide a salty and robust flavor. The juicy cherry tomatoes bring a burst of freshness to the dish. Tossing these ingredients with a zesty vinaigrette, such as a lemon-herb dressing, creates a Mediterranean-inspired coleslaw that pairs wonderfully with grilled fish or lamb.

Conclusion: The variations on classic coleslaw are endless, allowing you to unleash your creativity in the kitchen. Experimenting with different ingredients and flavors adds excitement to the dish and enables you to tailor the coleslaw to complement your main course.

Tips for Perfecting Your Coleslaw

To make your best Coleslaw almost perfect every time, keep these tips in mind:

Fresh Ingredients: 

Good ingredients in your Coleslaw are essential for the best taste and texture. Try to find fresh and colorful cabbage, with green as the primary color, or a mix of green and purple for a nice look. Choose firm carrots that have a vibrant orange color. Use mild onions like white or Vidalia for a subtle yet distinct flavor. Fresh ingredients will contribute to the overall crispness and taste of your Coleslaw.

Dressing Consistency:

The consistency of the coleslaw dressing plays a vital role in its overall appeal. The dressing should coat the cabbage and other vegetables evenly. Depending on your preference, you can make the already creamy coleslaw dressing thicker or more tangy by adding more mayo or vinegar. Starting with the recommended measurements is a good idea. Adjust them gradually until you get the creaminess and tanginess you want.

Make Ahead:

Coleslaw often benefits from some time for the flavors to meld together. You can make Coleslaw ahead of time by putting it in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. During prep time for this break, the dressing can soak into the veggies and make the Coleslaw taste better. The cabbage also softens slightly, making it more tender and easier to eat.

Proper Seasoning:

Seasoning is key to achieving a well-balanced and delicious coleslaw. Taste the Coleslaw before serving and adjust the seasonings as needed. To improve the flavor, add salt, or ground black pepper for a bit of heat or sugar to balance the tanginess. Finding the right mix of seasonings can turn your original kfc coleslaw recipe from good to excellent. Don’t hesitate to experiment and tweak the above kfc coleslaw recipe to suit your taste.

Texture Enhancement:

Consider incorporating additional ingredients to add extra texture and interest to your Coleslaw. You can make your dish more delicious. Add diced apples or raisins for sweetness. Toasted nuts or seeds will give a crunchy feeling, and fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley can add freshness and flavor. These additions enhance the visual appeal of your Coleslaw and provide a delightful contrast of textures.

Customization and Experimentation:

Don’t be afraid to customize and experiment with your coleslaw recipe. Try different types of cabbage like Napa or Savoy to experience distinct tastes and textures. Try new dressings like yogurt or citrus for a different coleslaw taste. Add veggies like bell peppers, radishes, or jicama to your dish to add more texture and taste. There are countless possibilities. Get creative and make the perfect coleslaw recipe as you like it.

Serving and Pairing Suggestions

easy coleslaw recipe

Coleslaw is a versatile side dish that pairs well with various main courses. Here are some ideas for how to serve and pair food to spark your culinary creativity.

  • Serve Coleslaw alongside grilled burgers or hot dogs at a backyard barbecue.
  • Include Coleslaw as a topping for pulled pork sandwiches or fish tacos.
  • Have Coleslaw with fried chicken or fried seafood for a tasty mix of textures.
  • Try serving Coleslaw as a tasty side dish for grilled or roasted 
  • meats, like chicken or ribs.
  • Incorporate Coleslaw into your summer picnic spread for a refreshing and crunchy addition.

Remember, the possibilities are endless when serving and pairing Coleslaw. Let your imagination run wild!


Can I use red cabbage instead of green cabbage for Coleslaw?

Yes, you can use red cabbage instead of green cabbage for Coleslaw. Red cabbage adds vibrant color to your Coleslaw, making it visually appealing. Green cabbage and Napa cabbage have different tastes. Napa cabbage has a hint of earthiness in its flavor. You can make Coleslaw using red cabbage or mix it with green cabbage for a different look and taste. Experiment with different red and green cabbage combinations to find your preferred balance.

How long can Coleslaw be stored in the refrigerator?

Coleslaw can typically be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Store your Coleslaw in a sealed container or cover it with plastic wrap tightly to keep it fresh. It will help prevent moisture loss and maintain its texture. If you notice any signs of spoilage or an off smell, it’s best to discard the Coleslaw.

Can I substitute mayonnaise with a healthier alternative?

Use Greek yogurt or a mixture of Greek yogurt and light mayo instead of regular mayonnaise for a healthier alternative. Greek yogurt adds a tangy and creamy taste, like mayo. You can make a creamy dish with fewer calories by mixing Greek yogurt and light mayonnaise. Adjust the ratios to achieve the desired taste and texture.

Can I make Coleslaw in advance for a party?

Yes, making Coleslaw in advance for a party is a great idea. Allowing it to sit in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight can enhance the flavors. The dressing will have more time to blend with the vegetables, resulting in a more flavorful coleslaw. It also gives the cabbage a chance to soften slightly, making it more tender and easier to eat. Stir the Coleslaw before serving to even out the dressing.


Coleslaw is a classic and versatile side dish that adds freshness and crunch to any meal. Many people love Coleslaw. It’s made of shredded cabbage, carrots, and a delicious dressing that’s easy to make. Using a standard or custom recipe, you can make Coleslaw in many ways to fit your liking. Next time you want a tasty side dish, try Coleslaw. It’s refreshing and satisfying, with delicious flavors.