Coleslaw Recipe

4.45 from 20 votes

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This Classic Coleslaw is a fresh, made from scratch recipe that will make you never buy store bought coleslaw again! Cabbage, carrots and onion tossed with my homemade creamy coleslaw sauce, get ready to make the coleslaw of your dreams! If Coleslaw isn’t your summer salad of choice, be sure to check out my macaroni salad, cucumber salad, broccoli salad or seafood pasta salad. All fabulous sides for the hot summer months.

coleslaw in serving bowl on a tablescape

Why You’ll Love this Salad

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.

Tips for Success with this 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!
classic coleslaw

How to Make Classic Coleslaw

For full recipe details, including ingredients needed and measurements, see the printable recipe card down below. Here is step by step what you can expect when making this recipe:

coleslaw ingredients

Combine Veggies

Start out with all your ingredients in a large bowl: cabbage, carrot, onion and fresh chives if you have them.


Make the Dressing

Whisk the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper together until mostly smooth.

Toss to Combine + Refrigerate

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. Serve cold!

coleslaw tossed in a bowl

Optional Coleslaw Mix-Ins

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
  • cran-raisins

What to Serve with Coleslaw

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

classic coleslaw in a bowl

Storage + Make Ahead Directions

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 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.

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.

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! The printable recipe card is below. Have a great day, friends!

classic coleslaw in a bowl
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4.45 from 20 votes

Classic Coleslaw Recipe

This Coleslaw Recipe is a classic, from scratch recipe that will make you never buy store-bought coleslaw dressing again! Here's how you can prepare this perfect summer side dish.
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, combine cabbage, onion, carrot, and chives in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, stir together mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper.
    coleslaw ingredients in a bowl
  • Pour over top veggies and toss to coat. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. The longer this sits, the better it tastes.
    dressing poured over coleslaw mixture



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

28 Responses
  1. Cherelyn

    5 stars
    I seldom provide feedback but feel compelled due to your stellar blog. High quality photos, directions and recipes make for an impressive experience. Kudos to you and the effort you make on this project.

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  5. 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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    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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  9. 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 🙂