Classic Coleslaw Recipe

4.86 from 7 votes

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This Classic Coleslaw Recipe is a fresh, made from scratch recipe that will make you never buy store bought coleslaw again!

Coleslaw is one of the quintessential salads of summer and the unsung hero for many dishes! Coleslaw has so much more potential than a simple pre-made salad mix and can taste so much better when made from scratch. While it can seem a little intimidating to make completely homemade, I assure you with the right ingredients, it is the easiest thing in the world.

coleslaw recipe

Coleslaw Recipe

  • Cabbage – Get green cabbage pre-shredded in the bags, or buy a whole head and shred it yourself. Either works great! They are both cabbage, after all.
  • Yellow Onion – I love the taste onion gives in coleslaw and a little goes a long way. Do not skip the onion! You will thank me 🙂
  • Carrots – Either shred yourself or buy the ‘coleslaw mix’ from the store that has the carrots included. Whatever your preference is.
  • Coleslaw Dressing – I use my simple homemade coleslaw dressing to bring this whole recipe together, made with mayonnaise, white vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Easy!

Back in the day when I newly married into the Brennan family, I made coleslaw for a 4th of July picnic and my father-in-law of all people was devouring my coleslaw. He came up to me that evening and asked “what makes your coleslaw so good?” and I told him the magic is in the dressing. Isn’t that the funniest thing to talk about with your father-in-law? Coleslaw dressing! But, I assure you that this dressing paired with the onions and the hour or two of refrigeration is what makes this coleslaw better than the rest.

If Coleslaw isn’t your summer salad of choice, be sure to check out my macaroni salad, cucumber salad, broccoli salad or southwest chicken chop salad. All fabulous sides for the hot summer months.

coleslaw recipe ingredients

How to Make Coleslaw

  1. Start out with all your ingredients in a large bowl: cabbage, carrot, onion and fresh chives if you have them.
  2. Make the dressing by whisking the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper together until mostly smooth.
  3. Toss everything together and refrigerate. Don’t underestimate refrigerating your coleslaw for at least an hour. That dressing gets a delicious onion flavor and is SO tasty.
  4. Serve cold!


To really mix it up, try adding some other more unusual ingredients. I personally like my coleslaw the classic way but it is always fun to experiment.

You can try:

  • chopped bell peppers
  • red onion
  • slivered almonds
  • poppyseeds
  • Dijon mustard in the sauce

Coleslaw dressing

Can this be made in advance?

Yes, it can! In fact, I prefer it that way because the coleslaw dressing sits with the cabbage and carrots and basically marinates them! You can make this recipe a day in advance. Any more than that and the salad begins to break down texturally.

Or you can make the dressing separately than the salad and a couple of hours before serving mix it all together and set in the fridge.

How long does Coleslaw last?

This Coleslaw Recipe can last 3-5 days in an airtight container in the fridge. I would eat it sooner rather than later though because after a couple of days the texture of the cabbage and carrots get less crunchy and more soft.

Can this Coleslaw Recipe be frozen?

If you added the mayonnaise to your dressing do not freeze this recipe! Mayonnaise does not freeze well and when thawed you’ll end up with a separated watery dressing. Gross.

However, you can freeze the cabbage blend and make the dressing fresh the day you are serving. Make sure to freeze in an airtight container and thaw thoroughly before mixing in the dressing.


What to Serve with this Coleslaw Recipe

This Coleslaw Recipe is the perfect side dish for these main dishes steak skewers, pulled pork or juicy turkey burgers. Notice a trend? YES! They are all BBQ or pot luck staples. That’s because coleslaw is the perfect summer salad. Cold, refreshing, creamy and it compliments so many other dishes.

More Side Salad Recipes!

Save, pin, bookmark or print this recipe because you’re going to want to keep this one! SO much better than store bought!

Have a great day, friends! xo

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4.86 from 7 votes

Classic Coleslaw Recipe

This Coleslaw Recipe is a classic, from scratch recipe that will make you never buy store bought coleslaw dressing again!
servings 8 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • 1/2 head green cabbage shredded
  • 1 large carrot grated
  • 1/2 onion finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives optional

for the coleslaw dressing:


  • For the coleslaw, place cabbage, onion, carrot and chives into a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, stir together mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. 
  • Pour over top veggies and toss to coat. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve. The longer this sits the better it tastes.



Feel free to substitute one bag of coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and shredded carrot) in place of the cabbage head and whole carrot.
LOWER CARB OPTION: To make this even lower in carbs, consider using truvia or stevia in place of the sugar.


Calories: 229kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 193mg | Potassium: 136mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1380IU | Vitamin C: 22.2mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 0.3mg
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cabbage, coleslaw, coleslaw recipe, summer salad

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Recipe Rating

26 Responses
  1. Grandma's Cucumber Salad Recipe | Lauren's Latest

    […] delicious and perfect for potlucks, family get togethers and BBQ’s: Simple Macaroni Salad, Classic Coleslaw, Amazing Broccoli Salad, Southwest Chicken Chop […]

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    […] salad isn’t your thing, try these other tasty salads: macaroni salad, cucumber salad, classic coleslaw or southwest chicken chop […]

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    […] pasta-based salad isn’t your summer salad of choice, here are a few other delicious options: coleslaw, cucumber salad, broccoli salad, southwest chicken chop […]

  4. Vikki Burgess Hoefert

    5 stars
    My mom taught me this recipe 50 years ago. The exception being we use apple cider vinegar instead. I also add a little s & p. It is my favorite coleslaw dressing ever.

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    […] I have for you all Oven Fried Chicken that is basically flavor central and cool coleslaw that is sweet, oniony and totally fressshhhh. So good you’ll seriously consider selling your […]

    1. Cindi

      Thanks for the recipe it’s great. I did add
      1 tsp. Celery Seed or if someone wanted they could use Celery Salt instead of regular Salt.

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    […] over here to get my full coleslaw recipe (cabbage, onions, carrots, etc..), though if you’ve just […]

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    […] has been cooked, we serve our pulled pork on homemade rolls (or store bought Hawaiian rolls) with coleslaw. […]

  8. Wendy from NY

    5 stars
    Holy smoke! This was crazy good, and super easy to make! I didn’t have an onion, will try that next time. I even had a small bit of it for breakfast! Thanks for this keeper of a recipe!

    1. Lauren

      This is a salad for 8 people so divided out, its a little more than one teaspoon per serving, but if you think it’s too much sugar you can definitely cut back 🙂